Do you ever wake up in the morning and say “I can’t wait get today rolling so that I can have people completely ignore me?”

No, of course not. But that’s what’s going to happen when you do cold outreach.

In general, a good cold outreach campaign yields a 1% response rate.

That doesn’t even mean that 1% are “yeses” either, just means that you’ll get a response.

It’s heart wrenching, it’s soul crushing. It’s the same emotional nightmare of your teenage years during prom season again as an adult.

Set your expectations low

The first step in this process, before any emails go out is to put your thick skin on, recognize that you may not get one single response, and set your expectations extremely low.

By doing this first, you’ll set yourself up for not feeling defeated or invisible.

It sucks to get no responses, I’m not going to lie, but unfortunately when you have zero relationship with the person receiving your email, the chances are very slim that you’ll be important enough to them to get a response.

How would you feel if you got this email

I try to imagine myself getting this email and how I would feel and react.

I get tons of emails where I can tell immediately that the sender didn’t even bother to look at my site or social profiles or anything about who I am and who I serve.

It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to hit someone’s homepage and about page to see what they are about.

Which leads me into the next step

Make it personal

By spending a minute or two learning a bit about who that person is or what that company does goes along way in making the email more “you” focused.

If you haven’t heard the term “you” focused before, it’s the positioning of the content to be focused on the recipient rather than yourself.

By taking some queues from the about page and potentially something that the person posted about on social media over the weekend, you can:

  • Ask them a specific question to start the email off
  • Congratulate them on some award or achievement
  • Set a tone to the email based around a casual or professional language

Keep it short to only 1 or 2 sentences.

Make it valuable

You shouldn’t be just blasting anyone that could be a client.

You want to target only those ideal people you know you can help with your services.

Don’t just email someone because they partly fit your business.

In the email you are sending, give them something of value that they can walk away from reading the email and be better off for reading it.

This can be:

  • A resource to download, like a checklist
  • Personalized video of a quick win for them to do
  • A link to a resource that will help them along to accomplishing their goals

Remember this email is “you” focused and by sharing with them some piece of information that can help them even if they don’t respond to you, will earn you trust them.

Make the next step super simple

Sum up the email, which shouldn’t be more than a few short sentences, with a clear call to action.

Something like “If this sounds like it makes sense to you, reply with a ‘yes’ and I’ll take care of the rest.”


The last thing is to followup. There are arguments for how much and how often, but I’ll leave that to you.

I like to followup only once. Mainly because I don’t want to bug them if the timing isn’t right, but also because it creates a sense of urgency too.

See in the followup I explicitly tell them that this is the last email they’ll be receiving from me out of respect for their inbox and their time.

This email is usually the one that gets the responses, not the first one, to be perfectly honest.

If you keep these 6 steps in mind in your next cold email outreach campaign, you’ll more likely have much better success than the average 1%.

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Running your freelance business

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