In my post on Monday, I mentioned about doing a post on how to pitch locally – and I had quite a few people get in contact to say they really wanted to read it. So here it is!

As is often the case with The Freelance Lifestyle, the posts I write challenge me to up my game as much as they (hopefully) do for you. I have been a lazy pitcher, so writing this post has givin me the kick up the butt I need.

How to pitch slap your local community

I’ve come up with five steps to pitching to your local community.

1) Identify who your local community is

Who is your local community? I live in Bracknell, so my direct community is in my town, but often expands out to the larger Berkshire (and occasionally Hampshire) area. If you’re based in one of the big cities, go for a particular area. This doesn’t necessarily need to be your immediate local area though.

Another thing to consider is who your target customer is. For me that’s generally women aged 20-45, often mums who have just started their own business. So for me, it’s smart to focus on areas where this target market will be – like schools, community groups and Facebook Gossip Girl groups. One of the best ways to find out more about where they are is to get networking.

2) Identify your own USP

What makes you stand out from the competition? What’s your unique selling point? It could be your experience, your knowledge or your ability to work well with people. This will help you build your pitch.

3) Decide on a pitching method

How do you want to pitch? There are lots of different ways. You could:

  • Give out flyers at your local business park
  • Head to a networking event
  • Email pitch. (My method of choice)
  • Offer clients an incentive to recommend you to others (I’ve just emailed my clients to offer them a £15 Amazon voucher if they refer me to someone who then hires me)
  • Cold call. I’m afraid I’m not brave enough to do this, after spending a couple of years doing it in various jobs, but if you have the gift of the gab this might be your best option. As a personal note, I hate being phone pitched to.

4) Develop your pitch

I’m a big believer in keeping things short and sweet. Most people get enough emails and calls, so you want to get to the point as soon as possible. Same goes for networking and flyers. The beauty of the internet is that you can put more detail on your website, and give them the URL.

The basic things you’ll need for your pitch is –

  • An idea of what their business is and does
  • An idea of what they’re currently doing instead of the service you offer (for example, if you’re a social media manager, do they have a social media presence already?)
  • A short (ideally just a couple of lines) introduction to what you do.
  • A couple of lines on how your services can help them
  • An introduction offer – this isn’t essentially, but sometimes an introduction offer can help edge that person into getting in contact, which brings us to…
  • Contact details. How else are they going to get in touch?

For years, I avoided pitching because I thought it had to be in a certain format – and very formal. Actually, I think local businesses prefer something a little more personalised and friendly.

Sketch out an idea of what you want to get across, and if you’re emailing or giving out flyers put together the content for a template.

5) Do it!

Pitching has been on my To Do list for the last two weeks. Actually, it’s been on my To Do list for months, but I’ve been putting it off due to wedding and honeymoon stuff. Now that’s done, I’ve decided to block out tomorrow to get pitching.

There are things you shouldn’t do though…

How to be a bad pitch b*tch

  • Dropping someone a long, long email about your service. What’s your first reaction when you get a long email? I usually delete it or put it in the ‘read it later’ folder that I never actually read. They’ll probably do the same.
  • Pitching without listening. If you’re doing your pitching over the phone or at a networking event, don’t forget to listen. Think about it – is it better to pitch to someone without knowing much about their business, or smarter to spend five minutes finding out about their business so you can tailor your pitch to them? Additionally, I’ve been to some networking events where someone (and I’m afraid to say, it’s usually a man) strolls up, throws their pitch in my face, then looks bored as soon as they realise I’m not their target market. Even if someone isn’t right for your business, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show an interest – after all, they might know someone else who is perfect.
  • Not doing your research. Lazy research is going to make you look foolish when the person you’re pitching calls you out on it.
  • Follow up to networking pitches. Had a great conversation with someone? Don’t forget to drop them an email a day or two later. Sometimes, people need a prod.

Are you a pitch superstar? What are your top tips? Share them in the comments below!