Before we dive into the essentials of a respectable cold email, I would encourage you to have a functional website up. A simple one pager that showcases your Demo Reel and the pertinent information of how to contact you will do.
If you don’t have a website yet, ensure at minimum you have a demo reel and resume ready.
You should also know your rates & service terms.
What makes a good cold email?
First thing, know who you are writing to and the purpose of your email.
Decide what type of email are you writing:
Is it a cold email? Or a pitch email?
Purpose: to start a conversation. It’s often known as the ‘Letter of introduction’ email. You’re simply putting yourself out there to get on someone’s radar.
Who: It could be potential clients, talent agencies or even other creatives/ influencers that you may want to collaborate with.
You want to present yourself as a professional and hopefully get them to respond to your mail, visit your website, or listen to your demo.
Cold Pitch Email
In voiceover, I mainly write cold emails.
Depending on the type of voiceover you enjoy doing, I’d recommend to
Step 1: Niche Down on Areas / Industries You Enjoy Voicing & Doing
Now, I know some of you may want to take any work and everything out there, (just in case).
However, my rule of thumb is to focus on areas and topics of things you enjoy or don’t mind learning and voicing.
For instance, I’m not into medical narration, it takes double the time with the pronunciation and it’s not my strength so I don’t focus on it.
Whereas, I enjoy eLearning, specifically in the Language Learning, or children focused content. Thus, I target eLearning companies that create Language Learning content or specifically develop children educational content.
Or, perhaps you enjoy explainer videos and like learning about Real Estate. Finance and topics related to the Legal world. So you can target companies that are in those industries. However, it is very likely they’ll outsource video content creation to marketing, video production, creative media agencies.
In this post, we’ll focus on using Google to find leads. However, there are man other ways, which I’ll cover in another post.
What to Google?
When googling, I’d use a combination of these key words.
*This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Company / Companies
i.e. ‘Creative Media Agencies’ / ‘Explainer Company Content Production Companies’ – (Insert Location)’
What you are searching for are companies that create training or produce video content for other companies. Make sure the companies you come across don’t just house them aka LMS (Learning Managment System) or provide the authoring tools, i.e. Lectora, Camtasia, which is the software side of things to put the training together.
Once you have come up with a list of companies/ agencies you want to reach out to, it’s time to move to the next step.
Step 2: Research
Spend 15-20 minutes to check out the company. Scroll through the site.
- Check out some of the content they’ve produced. Make sure they do narration and it fits your style and what you like to do and what you’re good at.
- Check to see if they have a VO roster or not? If yes, how can you apply to be on it?
- Check the about page – learn about their values, see if you can find the appropriate person to contact. Look for people with titles with keywords such as:
*Not an exhaustive keyword list
Creative Media/ Content Creator
Design / Designer
Developer / Development
If there’s no specifics about their team members, head to LinkedIn to see if you can find the best person to contact.
- Search for the Company you’re interested in => View Page
- Go to the People’s tab
- In the Search employee’s box type in a combination of the key job title words.
- You can follow them on LinkedIn and slowly build rapport, or you can send them a message via LinkedIn, or try and figure out their email address. Decide what makes the most sense to you and what you feel comfortable with.
How to find individual email’s address?
You can Google, or visit hunter.io to try and find one and figure out the email convention of the company.
All this research will give you a head start. Any commonalities you find you can use, can help turn a cold email into a slightly warmer one.
For example, maybe you have something in common with an instructional designer, or you have the same values as the company or you’ve got an insightful thought, comment, or come across an article you feel can be useful for them, share it.
Avoid the BS and the generic false flatter people often receive, ‘oh I love your project portfolios’ with no specifics on why you ‘love it’. If you want to compliment, compliment sincerely and share a specific reason. i.e. why it resonates with you.
Step 3 Track
Once you’re done your research, have a tracking system in place for your hard work in finding the potential company leads and potential person who would be in charge of hiring you.
There are a ton of tools out there. Use what works for you to help you stay organized.
Why is it important to keep track of these things:
- Obviously, to see who you’ve emailed
- Know when you last contacted someone so you can schedule follow ups
- Add notes as needed so you know what you talked about
- Track what type of cold emails works best to get a response
Why does it matter?
Because to grow your business and to keep it consistent you’ll need to be marketing all the time. And part of this consists of sending out emails. Tracking helps to keep you consistent, avoid duplication, see your progress, what’s working and your results. It’ll help your outreach to be come more efficient and easy to repeat.
Step 4: Craft an Enticing Cold Email / Pitch
Let’s look at the vital ingredients for a well-crafted cold email /pitch.
In Step 2, you did your research, so show you did your homework.
Finding a name to address makes you stand out more than a typical To Whom May It Concern, or Hello. Avoid the ‘generic’ address to start your email off with a bang.
The only caveat to this is if you really can’t find anyone to address or, in your research, the submission guidelines tell you to email it to the generic address.
Grab the attention of people with your subject line that compels them to want to open your email. Some things to consider:
- Keep it brief – Research suggests 7-9 words is optimum
- Catch their eye in the subject title. Use their name. For example: “Tim, don’t miss out on this voice talent.”
- Use a headline that shows you know what their audience want. Example: “Video Idea: The Real Estate Closing Process: What to Expect When (INSERT COMPANY’s Name) Work With You.
- Talk to their pain points. “Carina, need to find an Asian Canadian Voice Actor for your next project?”
- Who referred you to contact them? Use their name. “Jessie Rowland suggested I drop you a line.”
Remember to keep it professional. Your objective is to get your email opened.
For a cold LOI email, remember the purpose. It’s a quick note to introduce yourself. Kinda like dating, it’s like saying hey! You seem cool, I’d like to get to know you more. Wanna grab coffee sometime? Let me know.
a cold pitch is saying, hey I’d like to get into relationship with you, what do you think?
The key is to Keep it Short & Sweet.
Personalize When You Can.
If possible, make it pertinent to who you’re writing to. Maybe you came across something that you think they’d be interested in because you saw something they posted on social media, like they love pizza. Share with them a great pizza joint in town.
Or, maybe you read an article they wrote or came across an interview they did and picked out a comment that you genuinely found interesting.
Say something unique about yourself or add humor to your message that helps people see your personality while keeping it professional.
Have a Call to Action.
Ask them one question. For example, if you aren’t sure if the person/company your sending your LOI to has an internal voiceover roster. Ask them.
Or, if you know they don’t have one, ask how they source voice talents for their projects. Depending on what their answer is, it will influence how you respond and your next steps.
Hi (insert name/ company) Team,
I recently moved to Toronto and wanted to connect with some local eLearning agencies. [Start with something personalized] I’ve completed for various corporate eLearning projects primarily in [Highlight your niche] i.e. in the consulting and fintech industries.
I saw on your site that you have created eLearning materials for [Brand A, and Brand B – tie this back to your niche you mention above].
I’m curious if your company has an internal voiceover roster since many companies have a list of professional voiceover talents now for their team to easily access.
~ Best (Insert name) Voiceover artist
(Make sure you have your contact info in your signature, phone number, website, social handles)
Easy Breezy and not salesy!
This is just one example template. For more templates, Click Here to Get.
For a Cold Pitch
Add a Hook
The objective of including a hook is to show you understand their client or business needs and you have something fresh to say. You want to spark their interest and get them eager to know more.
Your hook should appear as close to the beginning of your email pitch as possible.
Here are some ideas:
- Generate interest with a question:
“Is video marketing a priority for your business right now?”
- Compliment on something that caught your attention recently:
“Your recent IG Reel on the components needed to be in a legit will was interesting. What if you expand on the topic and create an explainer video that demonstrates how it is like to have your team prepare and guide them through this important step of life?”
- Inform them you can address a current problem for their audience or business:
“Did you know 90% of millennials worry they’ll never be able to get a foot on the property ladder? My explainer video content idea is to show your millennial audience how attainable home ownership really is.”
- Or provide them stats they may find interesting/ useful:
“Did you know that content marketing helps educate your audience, improve brand awareness and build trust and credibility with your audience. And that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world? According to Mushroom Networks, in 2020 – 3 billion searches per month are done on YouTube.
Remembering keeping it Short & Sweet?
Now you’ve got them hooked. Get to the point by stating your idea or proposal. And anything you mention, should be relevant information that builds on your idea.
This is one of the most essential ingredients.
Be clear and direct about the benefits of your pitch. Focus on them.
How is your pitch relevant? How can you help them promote their product or services? What do you think their audience will find helpful?
For instance, how often do you purchase a product and there is an instruction manual that comes with it on how to set it up, use or assemble it. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they created an explainer video you can listen and instead of trying to figure it out with words and 2D photos. You can pitch them.
Share with them Why You? Why Your Voice?
Keep it pertinent. It could be you love their product, or perhaps you have worked in the industry before. This is a place where you can share your portfolio, your reel, or work you’ve done.
Avoid the the mistake of writing a long life story.
What if you don’t have a portfolio yet? Don’t worry. Link them to your website where they can hear your demo reel and read more about you.
If a client loves your idea and you can demonstrate your ability to deliver what you say you can do that’s all that matters.
Step 5: Make it Easy for Them To Follow Up
Remember to include your basic contact details in your signature. This includes your phone number as some people still prefer to pick up the phone, and your location so they know what time zone you are in.
Nowadays I see some people include a calendar link in their professional signature where people can book a time that’s convenient for them directly to chat.
At the end of the day, the purpose is to build a relationship for the long haul. And the end game of a cold outreach is to get a response and keep nurturing the relationship over time, until the he/she tells you to stop emailing, or yes let’s collaborate.
So making it easy for them to follow up is just the icing on the cake after you send off your cold email.
The people who respond, you take the next step.
The people who don’t, follow up with them because they’re in your niche and you have an interest in them.
At the end of the day, persistence is your friend. Following up a few times is key.
Let’s face it, we all get a lot of emails. And I’ll bet you can relate. Sometimes you do receive a well-crafted email, but it just came at the wrong time because you are busy. You had plans to respond later but then you forgot to. Or it’s just a no, not right now but maybe down the road.
Thus, if they don’t respond, follow-up. Just send a gentle reminder. There’s no need to go nutso or get rude or passive-aggressive.
Here’s another easy breezy template:
Sending over a quick follow-up to my email last week about xyz and bumping my email to the top to help you save time from searching. Let me know either way!
You know that saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?”
Don’t give up on follow up. Be Effective, Intentional and helpful rather than annoying.
You can start off with an email every week and then switch it to every couple of weeks.
After a few times you can also just ask if you should stop following up.
I can imagine how busy you are and perhaps you haven’t had time to respond. Either way, I just wanted to check if you’re still interested and don’t want to bombard you with more emails. If you’re not interested, just let me know, and I’ll stop following up. Thanks!
Find a comfortably uncomfortable balance that works for you. Modify the follow up to your comfort level but be consistent.
Other Follow Up Scenarios
For the ‘no, not right now responses.’ You can exercise permission marketing.
Ask if you can follow up in a couple of months. If they say yes, diarize to follow up in a couple of months and remember to deliver personal and relevant messages.
For those who have responded, and you have created rapport with:
- Document the touch points you have with your clients
- Follow- up monthly, quarterly, or as you have agreed upon with your clients
What kind of things should I include in your touch points?
The people you’ve established rapport with, you can consider sending them:
- new demos;
- highlight any recent work;
- anything interesting and relevant new or information you think your clients may enjoy;
- updates on changes on your website, equipment, new rates, terms of services, or;
- simply a quick check in to see how they’ve been and if there’s any project in the pipeline coming up that they may require assistance with
Now that you know the mistakes to avoid in cold outreach and the essential fixings to include in a good cold email
I hope you’ve been inspired to rethink your approach to cold emailing and is committed to try and improve.
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