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5 Tips on Writing a Cold-Email to a Client

by Margaret Penney | February 10, 2017

Most freelance designers need to cold-email new business prospects and potential clients from time to time. It’s a reality of the business, especially if you are a go-getter designer, and something it’s worth taking the time to get right. You may have found a company you like and now have to craft that perfect email to get them to take notice and potentially hire you. Outlined here are five tips on what to include, and what not to, in that bold cold-email.

1. Keep It Short

You can assume that most people are fairly busy with one thing or another, and that is most certainly the case for anyone who runs a business. Time and attention are at a premium, so keep your email short, concise and to the point. You want to inform them about why you are emailing, but make sure to get to the point quickly.

2. Be Personal

You can also assume the person on the other end, is in fact, that (a person)  so try to adopt a tone of friendly cordiality and keep the email from sounding like a form letter as much as you possibly can.

Make sure you know about the client business beforehand, and try to mention something about it, or ask a question about an individual client project, for instance.

3. Demonstrate Interest

Make sure to let the client know why you are emailing them. Demonstrate that you care about their work or that you are impressed by their design projects. Explain to them why you are emailing them specifically, and not some other company.

4. Don’t Ask for Anything

The first email is an introduction in which you outline a little about your design experience and demonstrate an interest in their business. Don’t ask for money or a job in this email. Don’t sound like a telemarketer or a needy nuisance. The goal is to let them know you exist and that you appreciate their business. The goal is to have them realize that this could be a person they would like to hire because you’re excellent, personable, and a great designer.

If anything, you’re selling them on your capabilities, but you’re not asking them for anything. If they decide they want to hire you later, they will. You just want to make that process be a given for them, and be as simple as possible.

5. Show, Don’t Tell

Since the email is brief, you’ll want to include the basics about you and your design business only. You can tell them more about your business on your website, so make sure to link to it in the email and make sure your design portfolio is awesome.

To learn more about creating a killer design portfolio, check out the 5 Tips to a Great Portfolio article.


Margaret Penney is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Margaret is a teacher, designer, writer and new media artist and founder of Hello Creative Co.


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