Personal Performance


Emails. We write them all. And we all wish we wrote better: emails that convince, seduce, inspire, and sometimes even sell.

Emails makes it possible to reach almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. This gives you the opportunity to reach a potential customer or collaboration partner with the right message, at exactly the right time. In 2014, approximately 196.3 billion emails were sent and received every day. That huge number will hit a new high of a whopping 236.5 billion in 2019. And that means that if you don’t do something to differentiate yourself in an overcrowded “inbox”, your email will likely remain unopened.

Email can be a powerful tool for building new relationships and scoring new business, but you need to learn how to capture someone’s attention from moment one. When starting your own freelance business, it is very important to learn to consistently send strategically created “cold” emails to acquire new customers. This is especially important if you have just started your business, you are looking for the first batch of new customers for your product or service, or you are trying to expand your customer base.

The art of making a special first impression through email requires a deep understanding of how people interact with their inboxes and what will make them read (and respond). And to make it even more challenging, you have a limited amount of time to make that first impression.

On average, it takes a person about 100 milliseconds to form a first impression of someone. Email recipients take a similar amount of time to determine if your message is worth reading. If your email address resembles spam in the slightest form or comes across as disingenuous, expect your emails to never be read.

These are the six steps to writing emails that make a great first impression.

1. Use a professional email address

You want to be taken seriously, right? Use your best judgment when selecting a professional and appropriate name for your email address, depending on the type of industry you are in. If you have an email address such as [email protected], I can guarantee that your email will not be read. Not only will your messages be more likely to end up in the junk folder as spam or advertising, but even if someone opens your message, they will very quickly form an opinion of you based on your memorable (for all the wrong reasons) email alias. Using a Gmail account or your own domain email address is highly recommended, and make sure to set your name and business photo. A professional signature with your name, telephone number, e-mail address, the link to the company website (with portfolio) are also important. This makes it easy for your potential customer to look at your work and determine whether you are suitable for the assignment.

2. Use creative and relevant subject lines

In addition to looking at the sender’s name and email address, the subject line is the biggest determinant of whether or not your email is opened. Good subject lines are both tempting and genuine, while bad lines can be misinterpreted as spam. It is advisable to use a number of fixed topic rule templates and keep track of which ones are successful. For example: “(Company name) Online marketing plan”. As a result, the recipient knows immediately what this email relates to and that I already have a plan for them. Remember, most inboxes receive a high volume of junk e-mail on a daily basis, so if your subject line doesn’t catch the recipient’s attention at first, it will likely be ignored.

3. Make it personal

Take the time to really do your homework before reaching out to potential clients. Can you learn about their personal interests or beneficial details about the company by reading their websites and social media pages? A great example began with the subject line “A Mutual Love of Animals and Content Marketing.” Because the sender took the time to research the customer and found that he was posting thousands of dog photos on Instagram, he was able to connect in a much more personal way. The use of first names in e-mails is also advisable because the use of Mr. or Mrs. Huppeldepup immediately creates a business distance between both parties. Nothing shows relevance more than a personal connection.

4. Deliver to expectations

It’s one thing you have a potential customer opening your emails, but keeping their interest and actually living up to the expectation created with the smart subject line is another complete difference. Make sure the first sentences and paragraph of your email contain enough relevant detail to keep the reader engaged. A brief mention of how you discovered the client, the plan you put together for him or her, and statistics or examples of how you have done a similar or relevant project in the past (including a link to a relevant website) all help in delivering the expectations.

5. Keep it short and sweet

Never write more than three short paragraphs when sending “cold” emails. This has to do with the understanding of how we use email. Most of us have a very short attention span and customers often skip pieces to the point where it becomes concrete. Is it you they are looking for or not? By keeping your emails short and sweet, you avoid flooding a potential customer with information. For easy readability, use paragraphs of no more than three or four lines, clear sections, and bullets. Avoid long sentences as much as possible, adjust the draft to the minimum number of words without loss of quality and impact.

6. Achieve confidence and credibility

First impressions generally stick. If you can build confidence at an early stage, then you are well on your way. Your email should clearly demonstrate that you are a subject matter expert or leader on the subject. Do so without going into too much detail and without appearing pedantic.

Let your past work (shown in previous emails) speak for itself. Always include a “call to action” at the end of your “cold” emails. What’s the next step? A good example to close your e-mail is: “I would like to hear when you have time to talk about this week”, which shows that you are ready to start immediately.

Good luck and keep practicing!