If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you’re going to spend a lot of your time in the early part of your venture sending cold emails to potential clients and collaborators. Having a template for the people you’re reaching out to can speed up the process and save time for things that actually make money.
We all have to eat, right?
Having a solid cold email template can help a creative entrepreneur save time and effort in crafting individual emails—with a caveat.
Rigid templates are fine. Cold emails with room to be personalized are great. For cold emails to be effective, they need to balance efficiency with personalization.
The emails I send to marketing directors at large companies are different from the ones I send to small businesses or agency owners offering parallel services. However, they all share the same general flow and features.
I started out by sending 100% unique cold emails to everyone in the first month of going out on my own. It took 30 minutes to an hour on average to draft a compelling pitch for that person. While they were a nice touch, they were also a huge waste of time.
As time went on, I saw what worked and what didn’t. The cold email template became shorter, more templatized and easier to send off en masse.
What Is a Cold Email?
A few months ago, I was talking to a college student at my alma mater who was interested in starting her own business instead of the traditional route—graduating college and working for someone else for a few years to gain experience.
I was explaining to her the importance of consistently sending out emails to potential partners and clients each week—building networks, finding other creatives to collaborate with, etc.
I even have a spreadsheet dedicated to this routine. It has three pages depending on the type of business. Each page can be filtered by the person’s name, company, date last updated, whether I’ve sent the email or heard back, etc. It’s pretty thorough.
We had been talking for about ten minutes when she finally asked, “What’s a cold email? If there are cold emails, can there be hot emails?”
Good question and close. Let’s start over.
A cold email is an unsolicited email sent to someone who hasn’t expressed interest in my services and likely has no knowledge of who I am. Cold emails, for creative entrepreneurs, typically try to establish a new business relationship or sell a service to a potential client.
A warm email, on the other hand, is an email sent to someone who has some prior relationship or connection with the sender. We’ve either interacted before at an event, have mutual friends or someone else prepared them for my email.
In most instances, warm emails are more successful. This is because there’s either a prior relationship to help the conversation along.
That doesn’t mean cold emails can’t be though. I’ve gotten some of my highest-paying jobs and best referral partners from cold emails.
What I’ve Learned from Sending Hundreds of Cold Emails in 2022
Customize for Each Person
A cold email is, by nature, to someone we don’t know. That doesn’t mean I can’t customize it for them though.
If they’ve worked on a project that I’ve seen before, I might mention it. If we have a mutual friend, I may mention that also.
Ultimately, I’m trying to establish some sort of relationship quickly.
Whenever you’re a business owner, you get a never-ending list of cold emails from bots with terrible grammar.
I need to separate myself from the others quickly—upfront and in less than two sentences.
Most people are busy. Most people also have other emails to get to. Emails that are making them money.
My cold email template has become shorter and shorter as I’ve sent more and more cold emails. At the time of this writing, I’ve sent over 250 in the past six months.
The best way to be brief is to be a ruthless editor. Trim the fat. Use an economy of words.
I don’t elaborate on the quality of my work because my work should speak for itself. I also don’t give mine or my company’s story because they can look on our About page for those. The recipient and their needs are what matters.
The goal is to get in, offer value and get out. Anything more is just me indulging an ego and wasting their time.
Make Your Portfolio Prominent
I once spent an hour writing a DM on LinkedIn to someone that I really wanted to work for. This was one of the first times I’d done something like this, and I was nervous.
For context, I was sending this DM in April of 2020. The pandemic was raging, creatives were getting laid off left and right and I just wanted to move back to Louisville to be closer to my fiancé.
I perfected every word in the message, took a breath, hit send, and boom, I got a response.
I sent this person a lot of words without any proof that I could actually deliver quality content. He had no idea if I was full of it or a great possible hire. Either way, his first impression wasn’t as positive as it could have been.
Now, I make sure it’s impossible to miss links to my portfolio. It’s visible the second you open the message—even on mobile.
In my template, there are two links: my website and demo reel. I place them both on separate lines after the second paragraph. The words ‘website’ and ‘demo reel’ are bolded, the links are blue and the URLs aren’t shortened.
If the recipient wants to view my work, they can’t miss it.
The Importance of Your Signature
Now that we have a general idea of how to write a cold email to potential clients, we need to talk about the final piece—the signature.
There are several reasons why it’s important to set up a signature in your business email:
- Professionalism: A signature helps to establish your professional identity and makes it easier for others to identify you as an employee or representative of your company.
- Contact information: A signature provides your contact information, including your name, title, company name, and contact details such as your email address, phone number, and website. This makes it easy for others to get in touch with you or find out more about your company.
- Branding: A signature is an opportunity to include your company logo and other branding elements, helping to reinforce your brand and make a strong visual impression on the recipient.
- Consistency: A signature helps to ensure that all of your emails have a consistent look and feel, which can help to establish your company’s brand and professional image.
- Legal requirements: In some cases, a signature may be required by law, such as when sending emails related to financial transactions or legal agreements.
Overall, your signature helps establish your credibility and professionalism. It also makes it easy for others to get in touch with you or find out more about your company.
I include my signature on every email and response and on every device or app I use. It takes a little time, but it’s worth every second.
I do this so people I’m communicating with always have easy access to my website and phone number in case they need me.
How many times have we needed to make a phone call to someone we’re in a long email chain with and then have to dig through the thread to find their contact information? It’s frustrating and avoidable.
By including your signature in every email, you’re making yourself easier to get in touch with than your competitors.
My signature format is pretty basic. It includes my full name, phone number, email and website on separate lines. I don’t include company logos, branding or anything fancy. That’s not the point.
Cold Email Template
Good morning [Firstname],
My name is Dixon, Partner at Mammoth Creative. I’m reaching out today to see if your team ever needs help [insert specific offer here].
We’re a creative agency based in Louisville that helps companies and causes around the Commonwealth connect with people through high-quality creative services.
Copied below are links to our website and demo reel:
If this interests you, feel free to reach out any time. My contact info is in the signature below.