Freelancers need clients to help keep the lights on and for challenges but these prized calves, rarely knock on your door every second. It’s, your job to seek them out and make yourself available.
This is where marketing comes in. It’s the bait for attracting juicy clients and serving them with the good stuff you have to offer.
There are several outreach strategies for graphic designers;
- Social media marketing for freelancers,
- Content marketing for designers,
- Search engine optimization and paid advertisement.
Some designers like Chris do, have turned their full attention to these platforms and do less design work.
While these are great avenues for attracting clients, there’s one marketing strategy, few freelancers use in lead generation, though its proven to be 40 times more effective than social media- Emailing.
If you reading this right now you are in for a complete guide on how to write the best cold emails for a freelance design business, resources for making the job easier, and everyone’s favorite…templates!
What’s cold email for freelance design businesses?
Cold emails are sent to recipients you have no contact with! It’s an age-long marketing tactic used to introduce a business to potential clients via the content of an email.
Designers can use cold emailing to reach out to potential clients in their target market, introduce themselves and their design services, and pitch their expertise and experience.
Cold emails for graphic design outfits are simple. All you need is just the email address of a prospect and woola your business and its offerings are delivered to a client you never had a sit down with.
Here are 2 reasons you want to use cold emails as an outreach strategy for your business
Lead generation. Get your business in front of clients, without paid advertisement or prior social media knowledge.
Invitation. Make connections with colleagues for collaboration or mentorship. Simply send an email to an admired designer, for collaboration or mentorship.
In these two instances, an acquaintance is not necessary and a positive response will level up your design career
Below is a step-by-step guide on cold email for Freelancers, complete with resources to help you letters that get responded to.
Find your buyer.
Cold email for projects works best for designers who sell to specific target audiences rather than the 7.8 billion people in the world!
Before reaching out identify your specialty i.e. logo, posters, web design, illustration, motion, etc then find clients by industry I.e. Tech, Real estate, Finance, and Health.
Servicing a specific industry builds expertise for your brand. It is an attractive feature for companies who usually want experts handling their design.
To find industries use
- Global data. An online business directory with industries and companies.
Image Credit: Global Data
Alternatively use a simple google search: Top 100 <preferred industry> in <preferred country>.
When you find your target company, the next step is your target person
Send Freelance design cold emails to the right person
Avoid sending emails to generic customer service or sales emails. Instead research persons with decision-making authority and send your emails there.
Your target recipients should have these titles
e.g CEOs, or
Head of sales and marketing
Head of Branding, and communication.
Again this is hard since emails aren’t on public display and social media platforms don’t display the emails of their users to the general public.
To solve this problem first use LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a directory of businesses and their staff. Your target is likely on LinkedIn and you just need to find them.
Supposing you wanted to work with a client like PayPal, your best bet would be someone who manages content at PayPal.
To find out who this person is type in their likely role followed by the company name
This already provides you with a list of people who work in the marketing section.
You can click the see all people’s results tab for more options and choose who has the highest decision-making power.
If you don’t have a company in mind just type out the role of your desired target e.g. marketing lead, head content manager, VP content marketing, and pick the companies that interest you.
Next use an email finder like a hunter.
Hunter is a handy website that’s super easy to use and gives efficient results.
It allows you to type in the URL of any company and provides a list of emails associated with that company. Your target’s email is likely to be on this list.
Didn’t see what you were looking for?
Not to worry you can guess their email by observing the pattern your target company takes when it comes to email names.
If for instance, they follow the first name.Company.com pattern, then you can safely type in your target’s name. Company. Com.
Now’s the time to craft that winning mail!
When sending cold emails avoid the generic types i.e emails without customizations. These emails will likely hit the spam folder, and never get opened or responded to.
To write an effective cold email for your graphic design businesses, add information relatable to the company receiving your email.
This informs your recipient that it’s a mail crafted just for them, not a million and one other people.
To craft custom messages, do this
1 Include the name of your recipient
- Include company name where necessary
- state a compliment where necessary or motion a problem your design could solve e.g. poorly designed landing pages, low-converting social media posts, or inconsistent branding.
Whoever reads your email gets the sense that you took the time to read up on them!
Graphic design cold emails are best done in bulk. These can be tedious if you do them one at a time.
Here are resources to make email personalization an automatic process
- Cloud HQ
Image Credit: Gmass
Cloud HQ is a bulk email tool for use right inside Gmail. It works with google spreadsheets and lifts off names, addresses, salutations, etc from the google spreadsheet you connect it to.
A good email, cold or not follows a structure. This includes; email address, Subject line, salutation, body, and a goodbye statement.
When writing cold emails your response rate depends on your subject line, body, and a closing statement.
Subject line: 33 percent of responders open a mail based on its subject line A good graphic design cold email contains a precise subject line.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid words flagged by email trackers as spammy.
Using spam words eliminates the chances of your graphic design cold email being successful from the start!
Use – ortto for spam words to avoid when sending a cold email for your graphic design business
BODY: The body of your cold email should follow these 3 C’s
- Compliment. Start your email with a positive statement about your recipient’s Brand. It could be an award, an eye-catching design feature, or a feature you resonate with personally. Warm them up!
- Case study. Include real-life examples of how your current offering solved a problem for a business. It’s okay if you don’t have something you’ve accomplished; you can include case studies of others. E.g., how a known brand got better sales through improving its design. The importance of graphic design to businesses examples you can use.
- Call to action. Your closing statement should be a call to action. Don’t leave a client wondering what to do instead ask them to reach out and provide channels for doing so. E.g social media handles
Tip: When sending cold emails avoid including pricing in your first mail. You want your clients to respond first, build a relationship and talk about their business.
Cold emails have a 15-25 percent open rate and a 1-5 response rate. This calls for persistence. Send your first email then follow-up emails when you don’t get a response.
You should wait 2-3 business working days before sending a follow-up and can send a third time if you don’t get a response. But after this, it’s best to refocus your energy elsewhere.
Like every good marketing strategy measurement is a must-do
You must have a measurement system in place to track: Number of sent emails, open rate, response rate, leads, and follow-ups.
The Gmass tool is a great resource for measuring Cold emails. It comes packed with open rate metrics, bounce, and response metrics too.
You can also schedule your follow-up messages in Gmass for clients who don’t respond!
How many cold emails Should I send?
Cold email kings and queens like Alex Berman and Lairen Gonzalez advise you to send 100 cold emails per week.
This is because Cold emails follow a formula based on volume: The more cold emails you send the higher your chances of landing clients for your business.
Remember that quality counts as well and 100 spam-like emails are as good as 0
Follow the tips mentioned here for quality cold emails and use the tools listed to do this without much fuss.
Here’s a recap of how to write a cold email for graphic designers
- Don’t sell to everyone
- Send to authoritative employees
- Research your prospective company
- Send a customized email
- Structure properly; Good subject line & the 3c’s
- Be persisted
- Measure, measure measure
5 Tools mentioned in this guide and their uses
Global Data. Used for searching companies according to industries
LinkedIn: For company research, e.g. CEO, head of marketing
Hunter.io: Discovering emails of target persons
Gmass- For personalization of bulk emails
Ortto- For spam words to avoid
We promised you templates. Enjoy them now.
Cold email templates for graphic designers.
Hey there, find below cold email templates for freelancers looking for work. Its tailored to graphic designers but customizable for other freelance roles.
They are further divided into different communication stages; from the first email you send to follow-ups emails for closing non-responsive clients.
Cold email template with 3c’s
A simple way to structure cold emails for your audience is to wrtie with the 3 Cs in mind i.e Complement, Case study, and call to action.
Subject: Content @ xyz
A friend told me about xyz and the more I dig into your services and achievements the more I love what you are doing.
Recently, I helped xyz in its rebranding campaign.
The brand felt it was time for a new look that would endear it to customers and increase sales. My redesign led to an xyz amount in revenue. I would love to do the same for xyz
Mind If I send my contact for a quick call?
Cold email template for designers without the 3 c’s
You can make an effective sales pitch without the 3 c’s for dynamic results.
I’m reaching out to see if the team at xyz needs help with designs for its communication materials.
I know this is a crucial aspect for your company and would like to offer a service that provides visuals according to your needs.
These designs would be thoroughly researched and reflect your brand’s unique offerings to the public and increase leads and ultimately sales.
A bit about me: I am a designer experienced in managing visuals for businesses in the xyz space.
If you require this service or would like something a bit more, please reach out and we can discuss further.
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.
Follow up emails become necessary when your emails don’t get a response. Follow up for a response.
Here are some follow up templates
Follow up with a trigger e.g., social media post, award, hiring, Notable mention
Subject line: Congratulations on xyz, some ideas about achieving your goals.
Hello, great work from the team this morning on LinkedIn.
I’m sure the team is super busy the team at xyz is super busy but have you given thought to my proposal?
I am available for a recap over the phone or a conversation next week.
Alternatively, you can pick a date from my calendar (leave a link)
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.
Option 2: Without triggers
Subject: Re content @ xyz
Hi, am sure things are spinning super-fast at xyz .
How do I know? My 3 days’ mail hasn’t been responded to?
Kindly take a few seconds to review and get back.
You can reach me via this thread.
I am also available for a quick call. Kindly pick a date that works for you here (leave a link to your calendar e.g., google or Calendly)
Third time follow-ups.
You might need to send for a third-time persistence is key here!
Subject line RE: Content @
I thought I’d get in touch with the team again to find out its thoughts on my proposal
I am available for a call. A simple reply via this thread would be good too.
Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you
Close up Email templates for designers
Your prospect might never reply to any of your emails. It’s best to close things up in a way you can pick up the conversation at a later time or at least end the conversation on a pleasant note
Subject: Content@ xyz
I have sent a few emails with my proposals and I haven’t gotten a response.
This tells me one of 3 things. Kindly let me know which of them applies so I can be guided accordingly
- You are interested in my offer but you are super busy at the moment. We can schedule a call for next week. Here’s my calendar (Leave a link)
- You are not interested in my offer and it’s one you would consider later not now.
Kindly let me know which of them applies so I can be guided accordingly
NB: It’s important to always leave a friendly impression
Cold emails like everything work when you put in the right effort!