How I won Fortune 500 clients through simple outbound marketing

Once upon a time I owned a video production agency.

We worked with high-end event planners who could afford $30-150k per project.

We tried all sorts of inbound marketing tactics to get leads for projects, but eventually realized we had been overlooking the most valuable marketing tactic of all.

We had overlooked outbound marketing.

Simply put, outbound marketing is reaching out to your clients instead of waiting for them to come to you. For us, that meant building a list of 30 dream clients and then doing everything we could think of to get in front of them.

5 steps to landing your dream clients

I’m about to unpack this strategy in more detail, but first I want to hammer this home as simply as I can:

If you want to land dream clients, build a list of prospects and do whatever it takes to get in front of them.

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Step 1) Build an avatar of your dream client

The easiest way to do this is to ask yourself:

“Who are the best clients I’ve ever had?”

Think about who your best clients are from the past and use that as a framework for creating an avatar of who your dream client is.

Be specific when you write up this description!

  • What is the size of the company?
  • Who is the decision maker at the company?
  • What industry are they in?
  • What budgets should they be willing to pay?
  • What other factors are important to you in a dream client?

Write the answers to these questions down and create a description of what your dream client looks like.

Struggling with this? Read more here:

Step 2) Research your dream clients

Once you have an avatar of your dream client built, the next step is to research and find those dream clients.

In almost any industry, there are aggregators. There are places or publications where your dream clients congregate and talk with each other.

These may be:

  • Trade associations
  • Directories
  • Online Forums
  • Trade publications
  • Blogs
  • Industry awards
  • Conventions
  • etc.

Find these aggregators and use them as a foundation for building your list of dream clients.

Step 3) Strategize your outreach

Once you have a list of 10-20 dream clients, it’s time to start figuring out ways to get in front of them.

Ask yourself:

“What could I do that these prospects couldn’t ignore?”

Think outside of the box for this.

Example: In a recent campaign, I hollowed out an old vintage book and filled it with a wax-sealed hand-written letter, and a scroll containing information about my company.

It’s easy to ignore an email, it’s hard to ignore an eye-catching physical package.

Be creative with this and think outside of just the digital realm.

Need help? Try the ideas in these posts:

The goal of the strategy is simple: To start a relationship between you and the dream prospect.

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Step 4) Create the assets

Every strategy is going to require some sort of assets.

Those may be:

  • letters written to the client,
  • custom videos,
  • supplies, or
  • packaging for your message.

(The assets will look different for every campaign.)

Just be sure to give yourself the time and focus to create these assets, because these are the most important part.

This is what the prospect will see and their first impression of you.

Don’t skimp here. Put in the time and money to make these assets these look good.

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Step 5) Start the campaign

Once you have your list of prospects and your strategy in place, it’s time to implement the campaign.

Send out the packages, start the launch sequence, and do whatever it takes at this point to get the attention of these dream clients.

And don’t forget to follow up! If you put all the hard work into this outreach, don’t just let them slip by.

Follow up – and be diligent and organized about it.

Remember, the whole goal is to do whatever it takes to get in front of these clients.

Until they say no, stay after them and do whatever you can to get in front of them.

Quality vs quantity

When sending out campaigns like this, you can approach this in a couple of different ways.

  1. If you take the quality approach, then you may only focus on 5-6 dream prospects and put extra love and care into everything you send them.
  2. If you take the quantity approach, then you may be reaching out to 30+ prospects with a message that is still custom-tailored, but a bit more templated.

Neither approach is wrong or better than the other. It all depends on the business you’re in and your business goals.

But the important part is that you know what you want and that you keep your outreach personal and relevant.

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Outbound marketing takes time

Just being honest, this whole process takes a lot of time. The research, strategy, asset creation and implementation are all long time consuming processes.

I’d estimate 10-30 hours per campaign you run.

But the payoff is huge. The payoff is that you are starting a relationship with your dream clients.

So don’t get discouraged…you will see success!

Have you tried outbound marketing? Has it worked for you? Share your story in the comments!

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  1. This is great advice, and I love that it’s customizable for any industry. (Over here using it as a freelance writer). Great job Jake!

  2. Thanks a lot for this great article!

    I am big fan of inbound marketing. Because it doesn’t push people into something. It is all voluntary. But as you said it is hard to target specific clients with inbound marketing. And sometimes it just takes a lot of time to build an efficient inbound marketing.

    I like the practical approach of your article. It is a great reminder on the effectivity of outbound marketing. From my experience I can tell that the research part takes a lot of time. But when it is done right, chances are high to win great clients through outbound marketing. So its time to reach out again 😉

  3. Jake, AWESOME advice man. We’ve done things like this in the past and won some great partnerships that felt like a “shot in the dark”. Yet we got their attention, and it led to great things.

    Recently I have been hitting my head against the wall figuring out how to get in with this exact market for our new company. This never even occurred to me. I can’t believe it.

    THANKS for the reminder and insights.


    1. No problem David. I am glad you have found this strategy effective as well. In a world of digital, do something physical and it will stand out from the noise!

  4. Thank you for sharing. How do we know who exactly to contact within the company? Are we to assume it is the marketing division within the organization? I have been wondering how designers get freelance work with some of these companies.

  5. love this! Would love to know more on the other articles (Step 3), unfortunately you need to log in to view! 🙁

    1. @disqus_ke9kehL0K9:disqus, thanks for pointing that out. The content is 100% free and requires NO login. We simply had an error on our links. They should all be working now. Enjoy!

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