is Cold-Emailing a Good Idea to Get New Clients?

Is cold emailing clients still a good idea in 2024?

You’ve tried everything – freelance portals, social media groups, online communities, professional organizations…

Unfortunately, booking a consistent stream of clients can be difficult, even if you employ all the weapons in your freelance arsenal.

Wondering what to do next, you remember an old-school technique that many don’t even consider a possibility anymore.

That technique is the traditional email pitch. Is it too aggressive?

Is it too much work?

Can it actually deliver results?

The effectiveness of the technique depends on a couple of things. The homework you do before sending out those emails is one of the most important success factors.

What’s a Cold Email?

Cold emailing freelance clients

Let’s clarify some terminology first – an email you sent out to prospective clients who don’t know anything about you is called a cold email.

Cold emailing refers to getting in touch with prospects that you haven’t contacted previously. These aren’t people who have looked at your website or gotten in touch with you via social media.

These are individuals or entities that you believe could be turned into clients due to information you have about them.

Acing cold emails can be very challenging.

For a start, many people aren’t going to respond well to unsolicited messages. That is why you have to deliver eye-catching, relevant information.

Even if you get them curious enough to click through and read your offer, the chances of someone converting are still fairly low.

So, why should you bother with cold emailing at all?

The Benefits of Email Pitches

Cold emailing can be very difficult to get right. If you’re strategic and intuitive about it, however, the results can be quite rewarding.

Some of the biggest benefits of pitching by email include:

A chance to stand out

  • Being bold enough to send out an email when a person isn’t expecting this is definitely bold.

    Such a move will never go unnoticed, especially if your message is crafted in a way to further capture the interest of your target.

    To get positive attention, however, you’ll need to put quite a lot of effort in personalizing your message and making sure it reaches the right person at the right time.


  • Sending out an email costs you nothing. All you’ll have to dedicate to such a campaign is your time and a bit of creativity.

    Thus, if you don’t have enough funds to try out another form of marketing, an email pitch would be a great idea.

Easily scalable

  • It’s up to you to decide how many prospective clients you’re going to contact.

    Email pitches are incredibly scalable. You can mail one entity or send out a 100 messages.

    As long as you make sure the texts are personalized enough to get the target interested, you can send out as many cold emails as you’re capable of.


  • An email pitch doesn’t have to be pushy or too marketing-focused.

    You can use this opportunity to build your network and invest in some long-term client acquisition.

    Such emails tend to work really well as they don’t pressure prospects. Nobody wants to be rushed into giving money.

    When you send out professional pitches that are more long-term in nature, you’re establishing the foundations of solid professional partnerships.

A chance to build your reputation

  • An email pitch can be informative, entertaining and unique.

    It’s up to you to decide what kind of content you’re going to feature and how the message will be formatted.

    If you manage to craft out something unique and engaging, you’ll be investing in your freelance reputation.

All of this sounds great but you’ve already noticed the condition – you have to do email pitching right in order to get the desired results.

How do you make that happen?

The answer is simple – through content that is relevant, unique and highly personalized.

The Steps of Writing Cold Emails That Convert

Being a freelancer can put you under a lot of pressure to ensure a consistent line of work.

You know well enough that some periods get you challenged with the completion of multiple projects while other instances are completely devoid of professional opportunities. 

To avoid the second scenario, you may want to consider some of the email pitching steps bound to give you quick and impressive results.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Sending out your cold emails to the right prospective clients is probably the biggest prerequisite for the success of the campaign.

In other words, you don’t want to waste your time on people who have absolutely no interest in what you have to offer as a freelancer.

Do a bit of research in the field that you’re professionally active in.

Check out websites and social media. Go on freelancing portals. Read professional news and journals – they can reveal information about exciting new projects and the opportunities to get involved in those.

Do your research before sending cold emails

Once you have a list of several potential clients, think about what you have to offer.

Are you a good match?

Do your experience and know-how come close to the potential client’s needs?

Have you done similar work in the past?

Answering these questions right now will help you decide whether to pitch (and if you decide to do so, you’ll be aware of your biggest strengths).

Step 2: Draft Your Content

People tend to get annoyed when they get unsolicited email.

It’s your job to make sure that a prospect will be interested rather than angry at you. Start by coming up with the perfect subject line.

A good subject line is descriptive and captivating at the same time.

Here’s one example of an excellent cold email subject line:

”Let’s Talk about XXX.”

It works because you’re opening the doors to conversation.

You’re also doing a bit of personalization by letting the client know what it is that you can help them out with.

cold email template

A few other examples of amazing cold email subject lines include Have You Dealt with XXX Challenge Yet, Remove the Guesswork from XXX Right Now, Got Problems? I Got Solutions.

All of those address a specific pain point. They’re also conversational, unorthodox and a bit humorous. 

When you have the subject’s interest with the opening line, you can move on to crafting informative, exciting content.

Give them some value. Be direct, confident and concise. If possible, feature some visuals and format the text in a way that makes the most important bits stand out.

These approaches save prospects time and they will know what you’re all about (and if they want to get involved) in a matter of seconds.

Step 3: Send the Email and Follow Up

Follow up with cold email clients

You’re now ready to send that message.

When you do, give your prospect a couple of days to respond.

You want to be persistent without appearing pushy or desperate.

That’s why following up in a few days makes the most sense. 

As a general rule of thumb, following up three to four days after sending your cold email is considered good etiquette in the business world.

Once again, your message should provide some value and get the prospect curious about you. If you achieve those goals, you’ll most definitely hear back from the recipient.

Make your follow up brief and polite. Let the prospect know you’re available for a chat.

You may even want to share a little professional “secret,” promising to reveal a bit more during a personal chat.

The key here is to get a response. The nature of the response doesn’t matter.

Even if it’s a negative one, you’ll at least have a good idea about where you stand with the respective client.

Step 4: Don’t Get Discouraged

Chances are that you’ll get turned down numerous times.

Also, you probably wouldn’t hear from many of the leads that you contacted.

All of that is ok.

Email pitches can be difficult to master. Instead of getting discouraged, view each one as a learning opportunity.

Ask yourself if there’s anything you could have done better. Consider changing the text a little bit. Refine your potential client selection strategy.

A few tweaks here and there will give you a good idea about what’s working and how you’re missing the mark.

Cold emailing requires consistency and dedication. Yes, a failure to see results could make you want to give up.

By doing so, however, you’ll miss on amazing opportunities to connect and get involved in new projects.

Give yourself a few minutes each morning (or evening) to do research and send out a couple of emails.

Keep track of your communication to implement an effective follow-up strategy. The more organized and structured you are in the approach, the likelier you are to see results.

Email pitches can convert, sometimes even better than more innovative digital marketing approaches. Take your time and keep on going.

You’ll get your exceptional opportunity sooner or later.

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