Standing Out With Personal Emails
Question: What should I be doing with my email promotions to separate myself from the competition?
The real secret to standing out from the rest of the inbox is to get personal. This is absolutely more work than just collecting a list and sending a newsletter, and it will pay off.
Hone in on Your Target
Thanks to services like Agency Access, anyone can build a perfect list. When it comes to using those lists, my best advice is to send individual emails to each individual person. Clients end up on newsletter lists all the time, but if they get a personal note, even in plain text, that’s unique. Address them by name and add a comment about their recent work, e.g. the latest illustration for their magazine. This tells them that you didn’t just pull them off a database, but you actually want to work with them.
© Marc Scheff
Find Out What They Want
Do a little legwork to find out how a target client likes to get submissions, and how often. Some like email, some like paper, some like attachments, some really, really don’t. One way to find out is to look on their company website. Many clients, especially bigger ones, post submission guidelines, and a newsletter is a kind of submission. Another way is to ask them.
Give it to Them
A personal note to your potential client shows you’re interested in them and not just a job, and will result in a much higher rate of return on your investment. Keep these emails tailored with specific detail about your personal connection. Mention anyone who referred you or anytime you may have met them in person.
Here’s a template:
Hi <CONTACT NAME>,
My name is <YOUR NAME> and I would love to work for you and <COMPANY NAME>.
My name is <YOUR NAME> and <REFERRER'S NAME> suggested I contact you and show you my work.
It was great to meet you at <EVENT NAME>, thanks for letting me take this opportunity to show you my work
I have taken a look through the kind of work you use and I think I would be a great fit. I especially liked the last issue of <PUBLICATION NAME> and <ARTIST NAME>’s illustration.
You can see some of my work here: <YOUR URL or ATTACHMENT or PDF or WHATEVER THE CLIENT SAID THEY WANT TO SEE>
I would love to know about any opportunities to work with you. Please feel free to contact me at this email or at this number, <YOUR PHONE NUMBER>.
How Personal Should You Get?
To really stand out in email, nothing beats name recognition. One way to do this is arrange a face-to-face meeting. Make a point to go to events where you and a specific potential client might connect socially, or set up a brief meeting (more free tips on how to do this authentically and without being creepy in “Things You Never Learned in School”).
Now, when you send an email, they will see your name and associate it with the pleasant time they had meeting you. That client is more likely to pick up that email and, more importantly, reply.
Marc Scheff is an illustrator whose work has appeared in publications including Spectrum, ImagineFX, and more. Marc has taught illustration at the Academy of Art University, podcasts with the good people at Drawn Today, and recently co-founded Awesome Horse Studios, the free livestream demo/crit channel. See and learn more at: Marc Scheff
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