The Definitive Guide to Using Cold Outreach to Land Graphic Design Clients

Customer acquisition is key to success. Whether you’re a graphic design agency or a freelancer, you can’t just sit back and wait for clients to come to you. Well, you can, but if you do, you might just find yourself without any client at one point. And that’s not good for your sales funnel.

So in this article, let’s look at how you yourself can reach out to potential clients. There are several ways you can do this, but let’s focus on one of the tried and tested ways: via a cold outreach.  

Cold Outreach

When you conduct a cold outreach, you’re simply reaching out to “cold” leads, or those you haven’t had any prior interaction with.You can do this in many ways. For example, some companies still call potential clients en masse to sell their services or products. Others conduct their cold outreach via social media. 

By far, though, for marketers, the most effective way to conduct a cold outreach is still via email. Just look at the results of this Chief Marketer survey in 2018:

Source: Chief Marketer

The results are not so surprising. Despite the growth of social media, email remains ubiquitous. According to Statista, there were 3.930 billion email users worldwide in 2019. This number is expected to grow to 4.481 billion in 2024. 

Source: Statista

In other words, that’s a goldmine of potential graphic design clients out there. Now all you need to do is conduct that cold email outreach properly.

Conducting the Cold Email Outreach

We’ve established cold email outreach campaigns are an effective way to generate leads. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can conduct these campaigns any way you like. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide you should follow to be effective:

1. Create a Customer Persona

Before you start sending out emails, you need to determine the types of people you want to reach out to in the first place. In other words, you have to create your customer persona, or your ideal customer.

 In this case, you probably want to reach out to marketing or advertising agencies, or even publishing companies. You can also reach out to the marketing departments of companies that sell a type of product or service. The idea behind creating a customer persona is this: You don’t want to waste your time sending out emails to people who will not be interested in your service in the first place.

2. Create Email List

Now it’s time to create that email list. Nowadays, that’s very easy to do because of the availability of tools you can use. You don’t even have to have the names of the people you want to reach out to. 

Just go straight to the email finder to look for those relevant contact details., in particular, allows you to directly search for verified contact information even if all you have are the job role and the company. 


Make a list of the contact details of the people you wish to reach out to in your campaign. I suggest getting the contact information of more than one person in each company to increase your chances of getting a response.  

3. Write That Cold Email

Writing a cold email is not exactly the same as writing a letter to someone you know. Since the person you’re writing to doesn’t know you, you’d have to exert a little more effort to make your email stand out. 

Take a look at these proven strategies you should implement to be effective:


According to Business2Community, 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. That means that you need to nail this so your target client will read your email at the very least. 

One way to catch the attention of your cold leads is by personalizing subject lines. You can do this in many ways. For example, you can mention a friend or acquaintance you have in common with the recipient, if any. You can highlight your cold lead’s interests or greet them a happy birthday on their birthday.

But the most common way to personalize is by including the first name of the recipient. According to Optinmonster, this can lead to open rates as high as 21.2%!

Introduce Yourself Right Away

Many of those who write cold emails commit this same mistake: they spend a good deal of time talking about their product or service in the first paragraphs they end up introducing themselves only in the last part of the email. 

If you’re writing to someone who doesn’t know you, this isn’t the ideal email structure. Always bear in mind your cold lead is busy, so it’s best to clearly state who you are in the beginning and your reason for writing. You can include client’s testimonials about your work. If that client is someone your cold lead knows, better.  

But don’t spend too much time talking about yourself. Your cold email should still ultimately be about your cold leads, and how you can help them reach their goals with your awesome graphic design skills. 

Talk Like A Real Person 

Don’t be tempted to use language that’s too formal and overly salesy when writing your cold email. Although the purpose of the email is to sell your services, you don’t want to sound like you see your cold lead merely as a potential client. 

Avoid using language that’s too informal, too. Remember, your cold leads don’t know you. If you act like you’re their really close friend even if you’re not, you might just turn them off.

When writing your email, then, your best bet is to strike a balance between friendly and formal. You want to sound approachable but not to the point it feels like you’re trying too hard to be close to the person you haven’t even met. 

Offer Value

Remember when I said your email should be about your cold lead? Well, this is what I meant by that. Instead of spending too much time talking about what you do, talk about how you can help your cold lead. 

For example, if you specialize in web design, you can point out some of the things that could be improved in your cold lead’s company website. If you specialize in marketing materials, you can propose some changes to the company poster you saw near your house. The key is to identify specific pain points and offer your service as a way to address them.

Be careful not to overly criticize, though. There’s a way to bring to the surface some pain points without being too blunt about it.

Use a Clear CTA

Never leave your cold leads hanging. Always include a clear call to action by the end of your email. Remember, your CTA is your final instruction.  If it’s not there, your cold leads won’t know what to do if they become interested in your service. If it’s unclear, they won’t know what to do either.

A simple “Drop me a line” can do the trick. Or you can ask if you can meet for a free consultation. But make sure to provide details, like the date and time of the meeting. The more specific your CTA, the better. You can use a personalized email shortener like T2m to make your link stand out.

Don’t limit yourself to a single CTA in the body of the email. Your email signature can be used to generate leads as well. Here’s a nice article on Small Biz Technology that discusses how to use your email signatures as a CTA.

Sample Cold Email

Now that you know how to write a cold email, in this section, let’s look at a sample cold email that follows all those tips we talked about:

Subject line: Hi [name]! Need logo for [company name]?

Hi [first name]!

Sorry, I know you probably don’t like cold emails. Here’s a really cute cat to make your day :))

Kidding aside, I’m [Your Name], and I must say I’m a huge fan of [Name of Cold Lead’s Brand]! I saw your recent logo, and I thought we could help improve it (I’ve been working as a freelance graphic designer for seven years).

Would you be available for a 10-minute chat on Tuesday? I have many ideas I would like to pitch to you 🙂


[Your Name]

P.S.: Here’s a link to logos I made for [Big Company Name In Lead’s Industry] and [Big Company Name In Lead’s Industry]  

This is a great cold email for a number of reasons. It’s personal and fun at the same time. It offers value but doesn’t criticize too much. Its aim is to sell, but that aim isn’t made too obvious because of the careful choice of words. Finally, there’s a specific call to action that leaves no room for interpretation.

This template is ideal if you’re looking for clients for logo design. You can modify it, depending on the types of clients you’re looking for. 

The Secret to Effective Cold Email Outreach

Always remember that cold email outreach is both an art and a science. 

It’s a science because to be effective, there are certain rules you have to follow. It’s an art too because you have to think outside the box to catch your cold lead’s attention. 

If you’re guided by this statement when reaching out to cold leads, I’m pretty sure you’ll be landing those graphic design clients in no time.






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