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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

The Art & Science of Cold Outreach: Unlocking the Power of Personalized Communication

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

Winston Churchill

In today's highly competitive business landscape, connecting with potential clients, partners, or influencers is crucial for your growth and success as a soloprenuer.

One powerful strategy for growth is through email outreach. While the term "cold email" might sound impersonal, when executed correctly, it can be a highly effective tool for initiating meaningful conversations and building valuable relationships.

In this post, we will delve into the art of cold email outreach, exploring proven strategies, best practices, and actionable tips to help you master this valuable skill.

Types of Outreach

Cold outreach via email can be used for dozens of reasons, almost all of them related to expanding your network and reach in some way.

Client Acquisition or Partnerships/Relationships-Building

  • To Propose a Meeting

  • To Invite to an Event

  • To Offer a Gift

  • To Inquire About A Job or Professional Endorsement

  • To Inquire About A Collaboration (Interview, Guest Post)

  • To Ask for Donation

  • To Give Feedback

  • To Offer A Service

Linkbuilding & Content Promotion/Distrubition

  • To Share Ego-Bait Content

  • To Request Link Inclusion

Step 1: Prospecting & Research

One of the first steps of successful cold email outreach is thorough research and building your list of prospects. This can take weeks, months, even years (assuming you're not in a rush).

Choose prospects carefully- those who would benefit from your email. Segment into groups based on pain-point. Take the time to understand your recipients' backgrounds, interests, and pain points and segment your lists accordingly. This knowledge allows you to craft personalized and relevant emails that grab their attention and demonstrate that you've done your homework.

There are many tools available to support this step, helping you track open rates, responses and follow-ups.

Step 2: Crafting an Engaging Email

An Attention-grabbing Subject Line

The subject line is the first impression your email makes. It determines whether your recipient opens the email or hits the delete button. A well-crafted subject line should be concise, compelling, and relevant. It should pique the reader's curiosity, highlight the value they'll receive, or address a pain point they're facing. Experiment with different subject lines and A/B testing to discover what works best for your target audience.

Clear and Concise Flow & Structure

When writing a cold email, keep it concise and to the point. Structure your email in a way that's easy to read and understand. Start with a personalized greeting, briefly introduce yourself and your purpose, speak to their pain points, clearly communicate the value you offer, and end with a clear call-to-action. Break up your text into short paragraphs, use bullet points or numbered lists to convey information efficiently, and ensure your email is scannable. Short and sweet will keep their attention.

Authenticity & Value

To stand out from the plethora of emails in your recipients' inboxes, demonstrate genuine interest in their work or achievements. Tailoring your message to their specific needs significantly increases the chances of engagement and positive responses. Reference a recent article they wrote, a project they completed, or a success they achieved. Compliment them sincerely and show that you've taken the time to learn about their endeavors. Additionally, offer something of value upfront, such as a useful resource, exclusive insights, or a unique perspective on a relevant topic.

It's so important to BE HUMAN! As such, you could even decide to include a photo or video of yourself so that recipients know you're real.

A General Outreach Template/Checklist

  • INTRO: 1 sentence about who you are and why you're contacting them. Include social proof such as your own accolades.

  • WARM-UP: A specific comment or compliment to their work, why you like them or why they are unique

  • COOL-DOWN: Gently identifying their problem, their blind spots. Include specific examples of how their website, social, etc could be improved

  • OFFER: Your USPs, Why you're their ideal solution, what reciprocal benefit is provided, Specific Topic/Title Ideas

  • DATA: Statistics, Proof (Portfolio), Average Pricing

  • INVITE: links to see portfolio, more examples, ask for a demo

  • CTA: link to schedule/connect or learn more. Something catchy and compelling like "See for Yourself..."

Outreach Examples

To Offer Services

Hi there [first name],

I'm a huge fan of your [publication/brand] and wanted to connect. I'm a [role] in the [their industry] space and believe that your brand voice and my writing tone match great.

I come from a [your experience as it applies to this gig] background and also get all of my experience from [something you do personally as it relates to this gig] myself! I recently just [insert something that will wow them. For example:....]

If you ever have any openings for [contributing writers, content writers, etc.], I would love to be considered. Feel free to take a look at my samples here: [insert writing samples landing page link] [3 topics you have experience writing in] are all areas I thrive in! 

Shameless plug:

[These are all examples of things you could add if they apply to you]

  • I have a fast turnaround time of [insert time]

  • I prioritize SEO in all projects 

  • My writing style has a natural flow, which connects and CONVERTS

If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me a message back. And if you’ve read this far, thank you so much for your time!

Best, [your name]

Hi ___,

I’d like to write for your website. I was thinking I could contribute

  • Title + 1-2 sentence description

  • Title + 1-2 sentence description

  • Title + 1-2 sentence description

Once we land on a direction, I can have an article ready for you within 1-3 business days for $X. Happy to jump on a kickoff call at your convenience.

P.S. If helpful, my LinkedIn recommendations linked here can give you an idea of how my work and writing style.



To Share Ego-Bait Content: "We wanted to let you know that your business was mentioned in our latest blog post. Would you consider linking to this post on your website's blog or news section, or at the very least sharing with your social following? We'd be so grateful for the cross-promotion!"

To Request Link Inclusion: "I noticed your recent post and wanted to pass along this resource which may also be of interest to your readers"

To Gain a New Client: Hey [name], Saw your post and thought I'd drop you a quick note. I'm a senior ____writer based in ____ and would love to connect and hear more about your needs in the coming year, if you have any. Hope you have an awesome weekend,

These short and sweet messages can lead to new connections, discovery calls, new projects and more. All you need is one good lead or opportunity. Never underestimate the power of the "boring", tedious or repetitive work to turn things around in the best way.

Key Email Reminders

  • Them First, Self Second (Address customer needs/problems THEN Solutions )

  • Keep it Short & Sweet: Get to the point. A lengthy introduction is simply not necessary these days. Instead, simply share your social media links, Loom video or photo and cut to the chase with your copy and message: "I have the solution to your problem and the #1 thing that caught my attention was..."

  • Personalize/Customize: Tailor your offer and message, especially if they’re asking for certain qualifications,

  • Make it a GIVE, not an Ask

  • Avoid trial assignments or unpaid work. Instead, project your image as a professional with strong systems and processes, an expert who knows what they're doing and is here to make their job easier.

Step 3: The Follow-Up

What are the chances that your email will arrive in their inbox at the exact perfect time that they are considering and shopping around for a freelancer? Pretty slim.

Therefore PERSISTENCE is your key to success!

Don't be discouraged by initial non-responses. A Follow-up call or email or check-in is key to increasing your chances of getting a reply. Craft polite and concise follow-up emails, reminding recipients of your previous message and reiterating the value you can bring. However, be mindful not to come across as pushy or intrusive. Respect their time and decision, and maintain a professional tone throughout your follow-ups.

Typically you should wait a week or more before following up.

Step 4: Experimentation

The average success rate of cold pitching/cold calling is around just 2% Yes, your chances are low, but not impossible. It's a numbers game, but also a bit of strategy too.

While you can up that success rate with better targeting and messaging it's important to not get hung up on the Nos. They’re part of the process. Every rejection or non-reply builds your resilience and potential for improvement.

The Harsh Reality:

Your 1st or 2nd cold email to them will be ignored.

Your first 100 sent might not get a single response.

Your 101st might be someone telling you off or asking you to never contact them again.


The 200th just might be your next client.

Stay positive! Stay hopeful! The key is to KEEP GOING! Send, analyze metrics, make changes, and repeat. Expirememnt over and over again until you find your magic formula. This takes TIME and patience.

If you give up, you have no shot. If you stick with it, your chances shoot way up. Consistency and determination will eventually pay off, I promise.

Step 5: Holistic Marketing

Of course it can be exhausting to constantly seek out clients via cold outreach. So an equally important strategy is to always be building your biz so that clients come to you first!

Here are a few strategies to become a magnet for sales and success, how to structure your business in a way that attracts your ideal clients:

  • TAILOR your brand identity products, services and messaging to your target audience by understanding their demographics, characteristics, needs, and pain points, as well as their aspirations, values, and desires.

  • DELIVER exceptional value and high-quality service and solutions to generate word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals from satisfied clients, which can attract new, like-minded clients

  • SHOWCASE your expertise by establishing yourself as a thought leader and go-to resource. Build trust, credibility and authority in your industry by sharing advice, opinions, and in-depth knowledge through high-value educational content such as social media posts, blog posts, videos, podcasts, or other resources across visibility channels

  • CULTIVATE strategic partnership with like-minded businesses or individuals, creating a mutually beneficial network that attracts ideal clients through shared audiences.

  • OPTIMIZE your online presence, ensuring that your website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines.

  • ENCOURAGE feedback, client testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients to build trust and influence potential clients' decision-making

By implementing these strategies, you can create a magnetic business structure that is innately drawing in your ideal clients, those who are already aligned with your offerings and eager to work with you.

Wrapping It Up

When executed strategically and thoughtfully, cold outreach can open doors to new opportunities and foster valuable connections. By conducting thorough research, personalizing your messages, and offering genuine value, you can significantly increase the likelihood of engagement and positive responses.

Remember, cold outreach is a skill that improves with practice and experimentation. Embrace the power of personalized communication and unlock the potential of cold email outreach to propel your business forward.

If you're looking to maximize the impact of your cold outreach and want expert assistance in crafting compelling and magnetic messages to optimize your outreach efforts, I'm here to help. Contact me today to take your biz to the next level.


Erin Ratliff is a holistic business coach and organic growth marketer for heart-centered, eco-forward soul-preneurs.

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