Cold emailing is a divisive topic among medical writers. Some swear by it, while others have never had success even after sending dozens of emails.
We don’t like it when random people email us, so why is it any different when we email complete strangers to see if they are looking for freelance medical writing support?
Obviously, the best way to find work is to be findable – this is the approach I teach in my freelance medical writing course.
When clients contact you, they have a job that definitely needs doing – an immediate need. But when you contact clients out of the blue, they usually aren’t looking for a writer. Hence, you end up in the “file away until we need you, but we’ll most likely forget about you” pile.
The exception is if you are pitching health articles to magazines or media who are used to receiving article pitches from freelance writers regularly (check out my article pitching guide if you’re looking for those opportunities).
But SO many medical writers on LinkedIn seem to be promoting cold emailing as a successful way to find lucrative freelance medical writing clients like healthcare brands, medical businesses, hospitals, associations and non-profits.
So what exactly is cold emailing, and how could it help your freelance medical writing prospects? Let’s dive in!
What is cold emailing?
Generally speaking, cold emailing is the act of sending unsolicited emails to potential customers or clients who have not expressed interest in your products or services.
In medical communications, cold emailing involves emailing potential medical writing clients to enquire if they have any available work while talking yourself up and promoting your key selling points (why they should work with you and how exactly you help them).
Cold emailing is a form of email marketing, but it differs from traditional email marketing in that the person you’re emailing isn’t already familiar with your company or brand.
The goal of cold emailing is obviously to generate freelance medical writing work by making connections with new clients.
A well-written cold email can introduce your services to a potential client, build rapport and persuade them to schedule a call or visit your website.
However, cold emailing can be tricky.
If you don’t follow the right principles, your emails can be ignored and marked as spam.
Why should I use cold emails to grow my freelance medical writing business?
Those medical writers who have seen success through cold emailing love it because it can be:
- A successful way to reach a large number of potential medical writing clients
- A cost-effective way to market your freelance writing services
- A targeted way to reach people who are already interested in your niche medical writing skills
- A personal way to connect with potential clients and build long-term client relationships.
However, it takes time and effort to write effective cold emails that generate results. If you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re unlikely to see any success.
How can I write effective cold emails?
While cold emailing can be effective in reaching lots of medical writing clients and generating new connections, it’s important to approach it carefully to avoid coming across as spammy or intrusive.
Some key points to consider when writing cold emails include:
- Do your research: Before you send an email, take the time to learn about the client’s company and needs, and tailor your email. For example, mention relevant medical writing projects you’ve worked on that are similar to what they do.
- Personalise your emails: Address the client by name if possible, and use a conversational tone. This will help you build rapport and make the email feel less like spam.
- Explain your unique value proposition: Clearly explain what value or benefit you can provide to the client. How can your medical writing skills solve their problems or help their customers achieve their goals?
- Keep your emails short and to the point: Keep your cold emails concise and write in plain English. Busy clients are more likely to engage with shorter emails.
- Offer something of value: Give the client a reason to read your email and take action. Maybe you want to offer an introductory new client rate of 20% off your usual freelance medical writing rates, for example.
- Include a clear call to action: Include a clear call to action. What do you want the client to do after reading the email; should they call you or email you back?
- Be compliant: Make sure you’re compliant with relevant email laws. It’s generally a good practice to include an option or note giving clients the option to unsubscribe from future emails.
- Follow up: If you don’t receive a response, consider sending a polite follow-up email after a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes, the first email might not have been seen or caught the client’s attention.
Remember that not all clients will respond positively to your cold emails (they are unsolicited, after all), and some might consider them intrusive. It’s important to respect boundaries and preferences.
The success rate of cold emailing depends on a number of factors, including the quality of your email and the number of clients you’re contacting. The more clients you contact, the better chances you’ll have. Cold emailing is a numbers game!
Here are some additional points to keep in mind when cold emailing:
- Use a professional email address and sender name
- Use a clear and specific email subject line
- Avoid using all caps or exclamation points
- Proofread your emails carefully before sending them (a writing aid like Grammarly can help)
- Create a tracking system to measure who you’ve emailed, how many times and any responses.
What are the main challenges associated with cold emailing?
Even if you’ve followed the tips mentioned above, you may still find cold emailing challenging. Common challenges include:
- Low response rates: Cold emails often have low response rates due to clients being busy, sceptical of unsolicited messages or overwhelmed by email volume.
- Spam filters: Your email might end up in the clients’ spam folders, meaning it will never be seen.
- Rejection and negative responses: Some clients may respond negatively to cold emails, considering them invasive or unwelcome.
- Building trust: Establishing trust with a client who has no prior relationship with you can be challenging. You need to demonstrate your credibility and authenticity.
- Competition: Your clients might already be receiving lots of unsolicited emails from other medical writers, making it harder to stand out.
How can I find medical writing clients to cold email?
Finding medical writing clients to cold email involves a bit of work. You’ll need to:
- Brainstorm a list of your ideal clients, both general (eg hospitals) and specific (eg your local women’s hospital)
- Be clear on the services you’re offering – patient education, web content, marketing copy, slide decks
- Research the companies to see what types of medical content they produce
- Find the right person or department to email.
Most people get stuck on that first point. Do you know who your ideal clients are?
If you’re not sure who medical writers can work for, my Breaking Into Health Writing course explains it all in detail! You’ll learn about freelance and employed opportunities for medical writers around the world. View the course details here.
How can I measure the success of my cold emailing campaigns?
To measure the success of your cold emailing campaigns, track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates (if you include links) and response rates. However, success isn’t just about immediate conversions. It can also involve building relationships, getting valuable feedback or creating awareness about your medical writing services.
Remember that cold emailing is just one approach among many in terms of finding clients for your freelance medical writing business.
To improve your chances of success, continually refine your strategy, test different approaches and always prioritise providing value to your recipients.
What if I never achieve cold emailing success?
Cold emailing isn’t for everyone, so don’t feel bad if you don’t love this strategy. Some medical writers thrive on the challenge, while others just feel uncomfortable. Some writers send out many emails and never get anywhere, while others find success after just a few. It is very hit or miss, unfortunately.
Ultimately, you don’t HAVE to cold email to establish a successful freelance medical writing business. There are plenty of other ways to find medical writing clients – but being findable is key. Focus on your website’s SEO and networking instead.
If you want to find clients without cold emailing, check out my How to Become a Freelance Health Writer course and I’ll teach you how.
Cold emailing templates for your medical writing projects
While every cold email should be different, below, you’ll find a general structure you can use as a starting point. Obviously, these examples are generic and need personalisation. The more personalised and unique your email can be, the better!
|Email subject||Medical Writing Services for Your Company
Do You Need A Medical Writer?
Expert Medical Writer Looking to Collaborate
Medical Communications Support
Enhancing Your Hospital’s Communication with Expert Medical Writing
|Polite greeting||Dear [Name],
I hope this email finds you well.
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I’m a medical writer with [NUMBER] years of experience in the industry. I’ve worked with a variety of clients, including pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and academic institutions.
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a seasoned medical writer with a passion for translating complex medical concepts into clear, engaging and informative content.
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a dedicated medical writer with a passion for translating complex medical information into clear and impactful content. As a healthcare professional focused on delivering exceptional patient care, I believe that effective communication plays a pivotal role in ensuring the best outcomes for patients and the medical community.
|Explanation of why you are writing||OPTION 1
I’m writing to you today because I’m confident that I can help [CLIENT] with your medical writing needs [LIST EXAMPLES]. I have a deep understanding of the medical field, and I’m skilled in a variety of writing formats, including scientific papers, clinical trials and marketing materials.
I’ve always been deeply impressed by the impactful work you do in [MENTION A RELEVANT AREA OF THEIR WORK, LIKE RESEARCH, PATIENT EDUCATION OR MEDCOMMS]. As someone who shares your dedication to advancing medical knowledge and improving patient outcomes, I am excited about the possibility of collaborating with you to bring your vision to an even wider audience.
|Explanation of how you can help your client achieve their goals||OPTION 1
With [X] years of experience in medical writing, I have had the privilege of working on a diverse range of projects, including [MENTION SPECIFIC PROJECTS YOU’VE WORKED ON]. My expertise allows me to distil complex medical information into accessible content that resonates with both medical professionals and the general public.
What sets me apart:
I am confident that my experience and skills could add value to your ongoing and future projects. Whether you’re looking for [LIST THE TYPES OF MEDICAL WRITING PROJECTS THE CLIENT TYPICALLY PRODUCES], I am well-equipped to deliver results that exceed your expectations.
The focus of [CLIENT] on [MENTION CLIENT’S MISSION OR A RECENT INITIATIVE] truly resonates with me. Having spent [X] years working in the medical writing field, I have had the privilege of contributing to various projects, including:
I am inspired by the prospect of leveraging my skills to support [CLIENT]’s efforts in disseminating accurate and accessible health information to those who need it most. By collaborating, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
With over [X] years of experience in medical writing, I have successfully collaborated with hospitals, research institutions, and healthcare organisations to produce a wide range of materials, including:
I understand the unique challenges and opportunities that hospitals face when conveying medical information to various audiences, from patients to medical professionals. My ability to convey complex concepts in a clear and engaging manner can contribute to your hospital’s mission of promoting health literacy and informed decision-making.
I would love to work with [CLIENT] to enhance your communication efforts. Whether you require expertly written patient education materials, research summaries for peer-reviewed publications, or informative articles for your hospital’s website, I am confident in my ability to deliver tailored solutions that align with your goals.
|Call to action||I would love to discuss how my expertise aligns with your needs and explore potential medical writing opportunities you may have now or in future. Would you be available for a brief phone call on [LIST DATE]?
Alternatively, please feel free to reply to this email with any questions about my services so I can provide further information.
|Link to work samples||You can find some relevant samples of my work here [LIST SAMPLES AND EXPLAIN HOW EACH SAMPLE IS RELEVANT TO THE CLIENT’S TYPICAL MEDICAL CONTENT].|
|Sign off||Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to the possibility of working together in future.
Best regards,[YOUR NAME] [YOUR CONTACT INFO] [LINKEDIN PROFILE + WEBSITE + PORTFOLIO]
|Extras||Attach relevant writing samples|