How to Pitch to a Startup

How to Pitch to a Startup

September 27, 2018

We receive a lot of pitches. A lot. And some are more compelling than others when offering services and products that will help our startup. From web designers that want to “take our website to the next level” to Amazon consultants that can “fully optimize our listing”, we receive solicitations nearly every day. We wish we had money to give to all of you to help us out, but—spoiler—we don’t. In the competitive world for business from startups, we put together a few tips to get your pitch noticed by up-and-coming startups.

1. Put my name in the subject line of your email.

And PLEASE don’t put “One last chance…” or “Did you miss my email?” in the subject line. If my name is in the subject line, it’s really clear that you’ve taken the time to at least do a mail merge. It means something to us!

2. Minimize up-front fees.

We’ve gotten a lot of really compelling offers only to find out that the firm requires a monthly retainer for 6 months without any guaranteed deliverables. Startups obsess over cash and committing to a monthly retainer never feels like a good idea. If you’re really confident in your service, backload the payments so we pay you when we see results, or better yet, tie your payments to results. We will always pay commissions for extra sales!

3. Find a way to meet in person.

If you can, let us know when you’re in the area and we can grab a coffee or a beer. It’s much more personal and we form much deeper connections with people outside of just email. Or, find a trade show or a conference that we’re attending!

4. Do your research!

At least make a small effort to research our company before pitching us. And not just “I LOVE ZORPADS” in the subject line or the body of the email. Take a few seconds to write a sentence about our product. We really do read most emails, and a few seconds will get you a long way. Tell us why you think our product is interesting, where you’ve used it, or where you can see it in retail and why your product/service is perfect for it.

5. Be excited about your work!

If you’ve got a cool product or service, let us know! Tell us you have the best way to grow a social following. That you have a unique platform that was featured on Shark Tank. That you just raised a Series A. Tout your accomplishments!

6. Show us before you tell us.

We once had a social post that got 100 likes overnight, only to find out the next day that someone had then pitched us a social media following program. While we didn’t end up going with the service (we want only organic likes for @zorpads), it was really compelling.

7. Use my product!

We do go back into our orders to see if the person who pitched us actually purchased our product. Seriously. And Zorpads are only $5/pair, so no excuses. It’s an easy way to show that you’re an actual person rather than a robot.

8. Make my life easier.

Make everything seamless. Make using your service the easiest thing in the entire world. If I have to fill out a spreadsheet make sure it’s super clear. Better even, fill it out for me and have me look it over. Any way you can make my life easier will help you out immensely.

9. Send case studies for other companies you’ve worked for.

Success begets success. We are compelled by other companies finding success with your products, so let us know! Statistics, spend, numbers, all helpful. Definitely send them our way.

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