Say you wanted Double Chocolate Fudge ice cream, but the ice cream folks kept handing a single scoop of Mango Fruity Bubblegum across the counter.

ice cream! You’d leave and go where you got to pick the flavor, right?

So why do so many copywriters passively let the universe pick their clients for them — when they should be actively picking their own?

The Part Where I Take My Own Advice

I’ve long told my readers to pick their own clients — that waiting for clients to pick you renders your copywriting career about half as gratifying as it could be.

And no, I’m not talking about the basic marketing activities everyone does.

Instead, I’m talking about targeted pitches, where you pick the clients, projects (or causes) that interest you, and then pitch them. In a rare example of  me taking my own advice, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

How? (I lay out a six-point plan for pitching higher-value clients in this post.)

Once again, I’m firing up my favorite foot-in-the-door tactic; the lumpy mailer. I covered it in some detail in this post, but in simplest terms, I’m defining a short list of high-value prospects, and sending something fun and three dimensional (in this case, a toy).

It’s Fun. It’s Affordable. And It Works.

The lumpy mailer is designed to stand apart in a pile of mail (it’s a parcel, after all), and once opened, it delivers a fun, short, powerful message (via a drop card attached to the toy).

In this case, I sent two clients wind up chattering teeth (communications being the common thread), and customized the message for each client.

The goal here isn’t instant success. It’s to open the prospect’s door to a pitch, softening them up so my phone call isn’t a cold call.

And yes, it almost always works.

That’s not to say I always close the deal; the prospect may have little interest in what I’m offering. But the lumpy mailer demonstrates interest, creativity and yes — that I’m fun to work with.

It’s Working

The score so far? Excellent. My highest priority target received the mailer last Thursday, and sent a very promising email over the weekend (I’d planned to call this week, but now don’t have to). We meet in two weeks.

I called the recipient of the other mailer, who immediately recognized me (Oh yeah, you’re the chattering teeth marketing guy.")

While their budget doesn’t include the project I pitched, I was asked to get back in touch in two months, when the new budget would be drawn up.

Sure, the dance has just begun, but at least I’m out on the dance floor. And yes, I’ll share my upcoming lumpy mailer results with you (including the results of my engagement marketing project pitch in two weeks).

The moral? Pick your client and projects instead of letting them pick you. Years from now, you may not be any richer, but you will be a lot happier.

Keep pitching, Tom Chandler.