Shortly after Sarah Turner launched her copywriting business in 2013, she discovered one of the clients she’d gotten through a job board was underpaying her by hundreds of dollars.
Turner said she was accidentally included on an email in which her employer, a content agency, said they typically paid $300 for work like Turner’s. But she was booking $30 per assignment.
“That was the catalyst for me to get my own clients, charge $300, and cut out the middleman,” said Turner, whose 8-year-old business, Sarah Turner Agency, offers freelance copywriting for clients in the healthcare industry, content-marketing strategy, and training programs for copywriters.
Today, Turner avoids job boards and instead relies on a roster of stable clients that she built from cold-emailing people she wanted to work with, she said. Her strategy established a recurring model that booked $2.6 million in revenue last year, according to documents viewed by Insider.
Turner shared her cold-email template, along with six of her tips for creating the perfect message to entice prospective clients.
When searching for the right person to contact, Turner stressed the importance of emailing the CEO or another decision-maker instead of searching for a generic address. You want to reach the people at the top, even if it’s intimidating, she said.
“That was scary and took a little bit of work to get over the fear of that,” Turner said. “I have learned that those people are far more accessible than you realize.”
What’s more, it’s become trendy for executives to share their contact information on social-media profiles, Turner said. When hunting for email addresses, be sure to include Instagram and other platforms in your search.
The subject line is one of the most important details of a cold email, Turner said. After all, those are the few words that will determine whether someone opens your message.
Make sure you research the recipient enough to find a relevant or personal topic you can reference, but avoid making it sound like clickbait, Turner said. In the template she shared, Turner noted the subject’s website.
The next step is writing an introduction that engages the person. Turner suggests referencing something recent in the recipient’s life, as she did in her template.
She mentions hearing the person speak at a recent conference. “This makes the conversation immediately feel relevant to their life,” Turner said.
Then, Turner addresses what she thinks the client’s goals are. In this case, that’s understanding “the importance of an effective online presence” that “earns them money,” she writes in the template.
Research is key to that step, but there’s only so much you can find online, she said. If you’re not sure, take a guess that fits with the person’s online presence or business objectives.
Turner continues by highlighting how she can help the subject achieve those goals. “I’m Sarah Turner, a professional copywriter who specializes in inbound marketing for wellness leaders with integrative approaches,” she writes.
It’s important that the resounding message of the email comes back to how you can help them, Turner said. She lists the ways she’s helped previous clients — increasing website traffic and getting them published in online outlets — and names some of her prominent customers.
In addition to detailing what she can provide as a business partner, Turner offers a no-strings-attached bonus that both starts the relationship off on a positive note and engages reciprocity.
Because the prospective client works in the health and wellness space, Turner included a free recipe book she created. “This free recipe book doesn’t have my name anywhere on it, so please feel free to share and claim it as your own,” she writes.
Lastly, make your request to the client. In this case, Turner asks to have a phone call with the subject so they can discuss the person’s marketing.
“Make sure you sound like this call is going to be intentional,” she said. “Sound respectful of their time.”
What’s more, she asks the person to schedule a call with her using a Calendly link. “Make it easy for them to know what to do next,” she said.
Now that you’ve spent time crafting the perfect cold email, save what you’ve produced and keep it as a template, Turner said. That way, you don’t have to repeat the entire process and can simply fill in the personal details.
She advises that people save their template and highlight the fields that need to be changed, that way an email doesn’t go out with the wrong information. After all, you want the messages to be precise, to hook the client and land the deal.