As creative freelancers and self-employed folk, we regularly rely on email pitches to secure commissions. But, how do you write an email pitch?
As with anything, practice makes perfect. That said, there is a loose framework that you can use to begin upping your pitching game and receiving more commissions as a result.
Curious? Keep scrolling to learn how to write an email pitch.
And, if you’re keen to learn more about securing commissions as a freelance or self-employed creative, check out my Online Courses for Creatives.
How to write an email pitch: 7 things you should always include
1. A great subject line
Think about it: an email subject line is the very first thing the receiver reads – it’s their first impression of you. So, what would compel them to open and engage with your email – particularly when it’s likely they receive a high volume of email pitches?
Try to keep it concise, representative of the email contents (as opposed to reading like spam or clickbait), and personal, if possible.
2. The person’s name
If you take only one thing away from this blog post, let it be this: email pitches should always be personal. If they read like a copy-and-pasted round-robin emails, it’s unlikely you’ll secure any work off the back of them, and very likely they will simply go unanswered.
Find out the name of the person you’re pitching to, either by searching on the company website, social media sites such as LinkedIn or by calling or emailing the brand and asking who you should send pitches to.
It takes next to no time to find out somebody’s name, but shows that you have initiative and that you want to work specifically with that person or brand.
Don’t forget to double and triple-check that their name is spelt correctly, too.
3. An ice-breaker
Think of this as a super-quick bonding exercise via email. It helps the receiver of your email pitch get to know you a little better, and lays the foundations for a professional relationship to begin to grow.
If you have a connection in common, that could be your ice-breaker. For example: ‘I’m a previous colleague of Jennifer Lewis’, who kindly passed on your contact details so I could send some ideas for [insert project here] your way.’
Alternately, if you don’t have a readymade ice-breaker, try referencing a piece of their work that you particularly enjoyed. For instance: ‘the article you wrote on…’
4. A snappy intro
Let’s not sugarcoat it, whoever you’re writing an email pitch to probably – and I say this with kindness – isn’t interested in learning your entire life story. However, they likely will be keen to learn of your expertise and relevant experience.
So, include a short, sharp, and snappy intro to yourself and your work – explain who you are, where you’re based (if necessary), what you can offer, and an overview of your experience.
5. A solution
Here’s where you provide an outline of how you can solve their problem. So, if you’re a photographer then you would detail how your service can help them to improve their branding, which is directly linked to sales, and so on.
Provide examples, if possible. For example: ‘I noticed that there aren’t many lifestyle images featuring your product on your website or social media. In my experience, lifestyle shots are beneficial because [list benefits of your service here]. I have shot lifestyle images for [insert brands here] which resulted in [insert results here], and I’d love to provide the same service for you.’
6. A snapshot of your previous work
Give the receiver a flavour for your work and demonstrate your skills by sharing a link to your website or online portfolio, or attaching snapshots from projects for them to check out.
Try to ensure the work you share with them is relevant (so, previous projects similar to the one you’re pitching, for example) so you aren’t reliant on their imagination to secure a commission.
Also, don’t overdo it. Share a couple of pieces of work and let them know you can share more on request so as not to overwhelm them.
7. A CTA
Close the email with a friendly call to action (CTA), such as an open-ended question that requires a response. This is simply to encourage conversation even if this first pitch isn’t successful. Try asking: ‘how does [insert company name here] partner with [insert your role here]? I’d love to hear more,’ for example.
If you enjoyed reading this post, check out my post on the 7 things you’re actually allowed to charge for as a freelancer.