The Cold Client Introduction Email Template (That Actually Works)

By Rob Williams

When I sent the following introduction email template to clients on Folyo a few years ago, it won me, personally, over $30,000 as a newbie freelance web designer. 

I adapted this introduction email template from similar templates given to me by people like Ramit Sethi and others… 

So it’s kind of a big deal.

Here’s the basic outline of what to send to a client who’s looking to hire a freelancer.

The $30,000 Cold Client Introduction Email Template I used:

Subject: Helping you get major benefit

Your blog, article, job post, social profile is amazing. One of my favorite things about it is something you love about the company or client.

In fact, your website, app, or other design project reminds me of a past client, impressive past client, that needed something similar – which tells me you probably want amazing benefit client received received from the project as well.

Can I send you some ideas for how we can work on this?

Why this introduction email template works like crazy…

So this email template made me a ton of money despite not having much of a portfolio

The reason for that is it’s different. 

Most people don’t send sticks out like a sore thumb that it’s different from what most people send… so it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Beyond just memorizing — oh who are we kidding — copy and pasting the wording, it’s much important to know exactly why it’s effective…

Reason #1: It’s tailored to the client, despite being an email template.

Most freelancers send some variation of the following introduction email template:

“Hi, I’m a freelancer. How can I help?”

I’ve found that when you send an email like this you’re telling a client you can’t be bothered to figure out how you’re valuable. You’re saying you can’t solve the problems you’re getting paid to solve.

This makes clients have to figure it out for you. Sure they say they’ll give it some thought and get back to you.

But. This. Never. Happens.

Your once hopeful introduction email seeps to the bottom of their inbox. It turns cold, dusty, and gray. Weeks or months pass. Occasionally, the client sees it and thinks, “Oh yeah, that email.” But every passing day the question goes further away from their mind until one day they shrug and click delete. They exhale and never think about you again.

It repels clients away.

Reason #2: It shows you know who you are emailing and why they should care.

We’ve all sent introduction emails to potential and current clients emails that went ignored. How would your life be different (better) had they responded?

Hmm, let’s see…

  1. More money for you
  2. Better chances to explore your best ideas
  3. Less back-and-forth hassle and time-wasting

Holy guacamole Batman!

Your old introduction email template was bitch-slapping the shit out of you!
Your old introduction email template was bitch-slapping the shit out of you!

Now that it’s clear what YOU get out of these emails, let’s think about what the person receiving your email wanted…

Not sure? Well let’s start with what they DON’T want. And that is: to read all about you.

That leads us to the next reason why this introduction email template is killer.

Reason #3: It makes an authentic connection quickly.

Here’s the truth: the first thing someone thinks when they get your email is: “who’s this spammer?”

Sorry to break it to you. Your mom might love receiving your emails but the rest of us find it to be a nuisance.

How do you fix this?

Make sure that whoever gets your email KNOWS it was written just for them by a real person.

Yup your introduction email template just made you become a real boy.

When you’re a service provider, each client is worth thousands of dollars. You only need a handful to make a lot of money.

It’s OK to spend some time on writing a few emails.

Reason #4: The subject line makes you get to the damn point quickly.

Think about emails you get from friends. They’re completely different from emails you hate getting.

They address you by name, get to the point quickly, and usually contain no fluff. They end with a yes or no question or a simple set of instructions.

Emails like this are catnip.

That’s why the subject line of this email template puts what the clients wants first.

If someone was sending me this email, here’s an example of a subject line they could write that I’d love to get:

Subject: Helping you get more remote design jobs for your customers

Whoever sent this email knows who I am and what I do. They couldn’t send this email to just anyone.

I immediately know it isn’t spam. This makes sure it gets opened.

Reason #5: It gets you to read the email.

Think again about an email from a friend. Do they say:

“Hello, I’m your friend, I’m interested in discussing your plans for this evening. My favorite food is Chinese, and my favorite genre of movie is comedy. Let me know if you’re interested?”

No!

If a friend ever wrote me an email like that, I would forward it directly to the FBI – because there are bones buried somewhere, I guarantee it.

Yet, thousands of freelancers send an email like this everyday because it’s so damn easy to write.

How do you write an email that hooks the client instead?

Where do you start and what should you say in your first line?

I don’t know. It depends on the client.

But I do know how you find out…

Has the recipient written a book or blog post you can read? If so, read it. Learn their name. Learn what they’re all about.

Once you find that out, decide if there’s something about their business that you love.

Then lead with that!

Sincerely discovering what YOU think is great about them will not only feel good it will result in 10× the results.

That’s our opener:

First name

Your blog, article, job post, social profile is amazing. One of my favorite things about it is something you honestly love about the company or client.

Here’s how this looks in action.

Rob

I came across your amazing article on writing emails where you say to lead with something interesting, and… boom.

I’m joking a bit, but the point still stands. If I got this email I would know the person writing to me read this page. That’s enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt keep reading.

It sounds easy, but this usually takes the most time to get right. Try to exhibit an intimate understanding about their specific situation. Lead with something you know they’ll find interesting and shows you actually know something about them.

Next, use your experience to sell an outcome, not yourself.

No one wants to read a 10-page proposal email about you and your awesome websites. People don’t want websites. They don’t want to hire a freelancer. They want something to happen. They want a result.

So focus on selling results.

A good exercise is to pretend you have to remove the words “I,” “me,” or “my” in your email and replace them with “you,” (meaning the client).

What would you say?

I’ve helped hundreds of businesses in your position. I helped X-company to accomplish Y-benefit.

Would become:

Your website reminds me of past client: X-company, which probably means you want Y-benefit they received from the project as well.

This is way more effective because you’re making the client the star of your email. What’s the outcome they want?

Find out then write it down and leave everything else out.

Here’s an example of this part of our template that someone could send me me:

Folyo reminds me of some work I did for WeWorkRemotely, I helped them find over 20 Remote Graphic Design Projects each month to send to their customers which helped them grow to over $20,000 in MRR. I assume that might be something you’re interested in too.

You’ll notice I also don’t include links to any social media or blog. That’s because 1) a prospective client doesn’t care about your work yet and 2) you don’t want them to do anything but reply.

Making them click on your website, LinkedIn profile, or portfolio page, no matter how awesome they are, makes this less likely to happen.

If I want to look at your page, I can ask to see it.

So leave out anything that doesn’t help you get them to reply.

To close your email, avoid the email line that repels clients.

I’m going to tell you a story about a brief time I had as a freelancer.

I’d gone through dry spells before but this one was bad. Each day the stress mounted. The importance of every new client meeting seemed greater than ever before. I went in thinking: “I need this job.”

Yet, each client would slip out of my grasp. Some would say it was a change in plans, others balked at my rate, but most — most just stopped replying altogether. I knew it was something I was doing wrong.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that it was a single phrase I was writing in nearly every email I sent that was causing this hole in my pipeline.

“Let me know how I can help.”

I would spew it out constantly when I didn’t know what else to say, or when I wanted to be helpful. All my emails ended with some variation of “let me know.”

It seemed like a professional way to end an email. By letting a client dictate, I thought I was giving them exactly what they wanted. In reality, I was dumping my work on to them, and saying “here, YOU deal with it.”

It reeked of incompetence and undermined my business. After all, these were problems I was asking to be paid to solve.

So I tested the complete opposite for a few weeks.

Instead of open-ended emails, I prescribed a solution.

At first, this felt wrong. I felt like I was barking orders and bossing clients around. It was scary. (At least until I became drunk with power.) But I slowly noticed a change. Clients were responding to my emails. Even prospects were chirping back. My response rate improved just by suggesting a next step.

If someone wanted a meeting, I’d suggest a time. If I was presenting an idea I would also present how to implement it quickly.

This set the tone that my time was valuable. It proved I was a professional capable of making the right decisions. It showed my hands wouldn’t have to be held throughout a project. It meant I was taking work away from my clients.

In the coming weeks, you’re going to notice yourself ending emails with “let me know”. Sorry about that. It cannot be unseen. The truth is most people do it. It’s become an invisible phrase that our brains turn into “you’ve now reached the end of an email, so there.”

If you don’t apply anything else from this article, just take away this: end your email with a suggested next step.

You’ll know you’re on the right track if a client can reply with a quick “sounds good” to any email you send.

That’s the last line of our template:

Can I send you some ideas for how we can work on this?

The exact phrasing can vary. It doesn’t have to copy this line word-for-word. However, it does have to be something so mind-numbingly easy to reply to that even the busiest client can do it.

Do that and your emails will win you more clients in less time.


This email template will get you a great response rate for a first email, but nothing you write in a first email will be able to improve your response rate like doing one thing:

Following up.

Click here to read my simple follow-up strategy to send to clients after you send this email.

About Rob Williams...

I run Folyo which can help your remote company find the right designer in the next 7 days. I also host Freelance, a podcast about how you can be more effective at independent work featuring remote companies like Basecamp, Converkit, Highrise and more. If you're a designer looking for clients, you can also get a free 14-day trial of my referral newsletter today.

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