The (Important!) Difference Between Cold Messaging & Cold Pitching

If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’ve probably been the victim of more than one spammy cold pitch. And if you’re a business owner, that leaves a mark, where it’s easy to worry that someone else is going to think you’re coming across as “icky” in your sales tactics.

We worry about coming across as “too forward” or being annoying when we initiate a conversation and we run the risk of getting rejected, or worse, ghosted – because there’s nothing more disheartening than being left on “read”.

I’m about to show you how messaging first and being proactive (Habit 1 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) can in fact be empowering, and a huge boost in your confidence and sales, all with an understanding of marketing funnels and the distinction between a “message” and a “pitch”. 


The (Important!) Difference Between Cold Messaging & Cold Pitching


Here is an unavoidable truth: Businesses sell things… there’s no secret there!

So, as a business owner, it doesn’t fully make sense to say that you don’t want to come across like you’re selling something, because the reality is that you are.

We fear putting ourselves out there and tip toe around being “salesy” because of the way we’ve been sold to in the past. 

But you cannot be “icky” when you sell if you’re coming from a place of true service (ie you know full well that your offers are what people need) and you’re doing so in a warm and authentic way.

Now I’m about to say something you might think is crazy… but sending out the first message is NOT salesy. It’s not cold, it’s not “icky” and it’s not annoying. That is, not when it’s done with the insight I’m about to show you.


A cold DM = a DM you send to a cold lead.

A cold lead = a lead who is new to your marketing funnel and who is just meeting you for the first time or just beginning to truly engage with your content.

Your marketing funnel: a model that shows the way a potential customer goes from becoming aware of your brand to purchasing a good or service. 

A warm message: one that connects to the human behind the screen without any initial attempt to sell.

A pitch: a line of talk that attempts to persuade someone of something, with a planned sales presentation strategy of a product or service designed to initiate and close a sale of the product or service. 

A cold pitch: a pitch as described above, but sent to a cold lead.

Now let’s put some of these terms together to create real life examples.

If you send a cold DM (to a cold lead) WITH a warm message, it could look like this:

“Hey [name]! Thanks so much for connecting! I actually came across your post reshared on someone’s page and it literally made me laugh so hard that I knew I just had to follow along! I’m looking forward to networking 😄”


“Hey [name]! Thanks for leaving such a heartfelt comment on my post, I’m thrilled that it resonated with you and I felt called to reach out and say hello! I’d never looked at [the topic] from this perspective before and I’m definitely going to start implementing [the idea] going forward. Hope you’re having a beautiful [week/day] and looking forward to networking!”


“Hi [name], my name is [your name] 😊 I don’t normally do this but I really felt called to reach out after I saw your post on [something they plainly said they’re having a problem with] and I noticed you were struggling with X. I actually work as a [your expertise] and this is something I specialise in helping my clients with. In fact, some of my past clients include [name drop some peeps]. If it makes sense to chat, I’d love to have a conversation here 😄”

The above is GOLDEN because all you’re really doing is creating conversations and recognising this other person across the Internet as a fellow human being that you look forward to networking with. 

You know at the back of your mind that you might have something to offer them, but by all accounts, so could they!

Nowhere above have you introduced any details about an offer, or a price or any features. You’re not telling people about your services, you’re telling people about you, and in that lies the key difference.  

What you have done is observed, empathised, related and opened the door to an opportunity should it feel aligned for the receiver.

Now let’s look at a cold DM with a cold pitch.

You’ve probably had dozens of these in your DMs or inbox on many occasions – you can always just tell can’t you? You get that desire to roll your eyes and that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says ‘this message just isn’t IT’.

A few examples I’ve personally received are:

“Hey girl! Thanks for the follow! My name is [name] I’m a virtual assistant/SMM and I noticed you’re a coach. Are you looking to grow your following? Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you’re interested in any of my services!”


“Hey [name], I’m a [insert profession] and I help [ideal client] increase visibility and grow their brand! I’ve got a new package this month and it’s 25% off! I’m reaching out to see if you’re looking for a VA and if you’d like to chat about how I can help you!”

Or even 

“Hey [name], I’m a VA working with X Agency and I help [ideal client] increase visibility and grow their brand! Not like the spammy accounts! I love working with clients like you and I can help you increase your reach to your ideal clients. My offer is only $90 for a limited time only! Let me know if this sounds like something you need!”

See the difference?

In both sets of examples above, you’re sending cold DMs to cold/new leads but one is a warm message, the other is a cold/unwelcome pitch.


Knowing this distinction is the difference between sitting around waiting for people to come to you and actually going out and creating opportunities for yourself on the virtual space.

Understanding where your leads are in your funnel is essential. When someone is cold and just entering your funnel, they need to be nurtured with a message similar to the first set of examples. 

But that’s not to say pitching doesn’t have a place in your strategy!

You are going to have to pitch at some point, ie. present an opportunity for a business relationship. Timing this carefully is the important part and comes with, once again, a good understanding of your funnel. 

Pairing this approach with a good attraction marketing strategy to attract your leads in the first place, is a recipe for long term sustainability without the “icky” feeling and burnout.

You can’t grow without it networking. It’s time to put yourself out there. 



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