Several years back, I started a project called, I Design Your Logo. It was a simple idea, my friend and I designed one logo for one company each day. We also wrote a blog post and spent the day talking about their company and new logo.
Companies would purchase a day on the calendar, which at the beginning of the year, started at only $2. It increased by $2 every day following with December 31st costing $730.
One of our marketing strategies was to offer a few days on the calendar to people with a high level of influence. Our thinking being: (1) They'd be able to help us reach new customers and, (2) people would be more interested in having a logo designed by a company that has also designed (insert impressive name) logo.
The strategy worked.
After 12 months, we had designed 365 finalized logos, which included designs for Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Peter Shankman and Mark Cuban (to name a few).
At the time, we were often asked how we were able to get these high-profile clients on board. I mean, after all, we weren't one of them ourselves. We were just two guys from the Midwest with a different approach a fairly commoditized service.
The answer wasn't earth-shattering, nor was it something that anyone else couldn't do themselves. The trick to getting these clients was to ... wait for it ... ASK.
Yep, that's the big secret. Shockingly simple.
Honestly, most people are blown away when you tell them that someone as big as Mark Cuban responded to your email. Truth be told, at the time, I was too.
Over time, I've come to realize that while Mark is exceptionally good about responding to messages, many high-profile individuals do have a certain degree of accessibility. That said, Mark, and the others I mentioned above, are extremely accessible. In spite of having a million other things to do, they take the time to respond to people that have: (1) figured out how to reach them in the right way and, (2) wrote a concise, personalized and value-added message.
It's a rarity to find these highly accessible people and I honestly have no idea how they do it.
I recently watched an interview with Fred Wilson, who is arguably one of the most successful and sought after investors of all time. In the interview he mentioned that, on average, he responds to roughly 20 cold emails per day.
That's not to say he'll invest in you, but at the very least, he's accessible enough to give you a shot.
If you're planning to reach out to someone like Mark or Fred, an @ message on Twitter is likely not going to get it done. You need to figure out where it's best to reach the person you're trying to connect with. Ideally, this is a place with a minimum amount of noise. Often times, email is the best channel.
However, the real key is in the message. Finding out how to reach someone is easy. Cutting through the clutter is not.
Be thoughtful, be concise and be certain to make it about them, not you. In other words, why is what you're doing or asking going to benefit them.
In the end, it's just a matter of doing it. As Wayne Gretzcy famously said, "you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take".
As for I Design Your Logo, it was a short-term project. However, based on those first emails in 2010, I've been able to continue doing talking with many of the people we originally worked with. In fact, Mark continues to support me to this day.
If you're interested in seeing what that first email to Mark looked like, contact me here and I'd be happy to share it with you.