The Biggest Problem You’ll Face When Crafting ‘Warm Emails’ for Prospects — And What to Do About It

I began using email strategically way back in 2000. I was in corporate sales at the time, and I was tasked with generating my own leads. I eventually added other direct response strategies to my toolbox. But email was always one of my top go-to methods.

Over time, I started calling my approach “warm email prospecting” to distinguish it from cold calling and mass emailing. I think of warm email prospecting as “artisan prospecting,” because each email is personally handcrafted and written for one person only.

I’ve since refined this approach multiple times for solo professionals. And I’ve taught it to thousands of freelancers in dozens of creative and professional industries.

Today, warm email prospecting has become an essential part of helping my coaching clients get their freelance copywriting businesses off the ground.

But even when people understand the value of warm email prospecting, they can still get stuck on what to say in those emails. And sometimes, the problem of “what should I write?” becomes a big stumbling block.

As a result, you spend way too much time writing these emails. And pretty soon you get bogged down—especially when you’re trying to send out several emails a day.

The Warm Email Template

To speed up the process of writing these emails, I’ve developed a warm email template you can follow:

Let’s quickly review each of these components:

  • Meaningful Connection: A statement that ties what you do to something you noticed about that particular prospect. It does not need to be a person or event. It can be something you noticed on the prospect’s website. Or a company attribute that would make the prospect need someone with your skill set. (More about this in a minute.)
  • Value Statement: A sentence or two that explains what you do, for whom you do it and why you’re different from many competitors. It can also explain why that difference matters.
  • Credibility URL: A link to your “About Me” page, some relevant samples, testimonials, a success story about how you helped a client solve a challenge, or anything that would help you sound credible. It doesn’t have to be a link, however. It can be a list of recent clients. Or a description of an award you’ve received. Or a big accomplishment, number of years of experience or information about your unique background.
  • Soft Invitation to Connect: No need to be wordy or elaborate. Keep it low-key. And consider using a question. You could ask, “Should we connect?” or maybe, “Would it make sense to schedule a brief call soon?”

It’s important to keep your email short and to the point: 125 words or less!

Even with this template, many writers still have a hard time figuring out what to write. And that’s why I like to keep a list of warm email archetypes handy for inspiration and reference.

Warm Email Archetypes

An archetype, to put it simply, is a pattern of behavior. With repetition, the pattern becomes familiar and eventually becomes a set “type” or archetype.

In the case of warm email prospecting, archetypes are a useful concept because most warm emails tend to fall into one of several types. If you write a lot of warm emails, you’ll start to notice these patterns yourself. And you’ll eventually default to using just two or three types.

By recognizing these archetypes at the outset, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration. You can use the archetypes to guide your writing—making the process faster and smoother—and making your emails more effective.

In short, they’re a quick and easy way to construct an email that connects with the prospect, shows you’ve done your homework, demonstrates your value and leverages existing relationships.

The 10 Warm Email Archetypes

Over time, my list of warm email archetypes has grown to ten. Even so, it isn’t a comprehensive list, and you may think of others.

Don’t think that you need to memorize these archetypes and use them all. Again, once you get the hang of it you’ll end up using only two or three at most. And that’s totally okay!

To get you started, here’s the first five (with fill-in-the-blank scripts):

1. The Sherlock: Point out something you uncovered about the prospect and match it to your services and/or differentiator. Demonstrate that you did some detective work.

Structure of a “Sherlock” warm email:

“I read/heard about ____________________. So I did some digging around and found that you are also _________. I’m writing because I do __________ for __________. Unlike most designers, I also have ______________. Here’s a ___________ [sample/article/other credibility element]. Should we connect?”

2. The Industry Enthusiast: Leverage either an industry specialty, topic niche, or personal or professional passion as your direct (or implied) meaningful connection.

Structure of an “Industry Enthusiast” warm email:

“I read/heard about __________. In fact, that’s why I’m writing, because I have a [passion/experience/deep domain expertise] in _________. I work with _______to _____________. Here’s a ____________ [sample/article/other credibility element]. Should we connect?”

3. The Idea Wellspring: Offer to share a few relevant and valuable ideas with the prospect—and make that invitation via your warm email. Position yourself as a valuable resource.

Structure of an “Idea Wellspring” warm email:

“I read/heard about __________. In fact, that’s why I’m writing. I have some ideas on how you could _________[result] through _______________ [what you do]. I work with __________ to _____________.  Here’s a ____________ [sample/article/other credibility element]. Should we connect?”

4. The Staffing Stopgap: Take advantage of a potential need for outside professional help—either because it’s obvious that the client is looking for help, or because the situation you uncover shows that there’s a need for what you have to offer.

Structure of a “Staffing Stopgap” warm email:

“I read/heard about your need for__________ [job opening]. I’m writing because I work with __________ companies to help them __________. Unlike most designers, I also have ______________. Here’s a ___________ [sample/article/other credibility element]. Should we connect?”

5. The Purpose-Driven Freelancer: Go after opportunities that are aligned with your purpose or cause. (Similar to Industry Enthusiast archetype.)

Structure of a “Purpose-Driven Freelancer” warm email:

“I saw what you’re doing with __________. I’m writing because I’m deeply passionate about _______ because of ________ [some experience or life event]. That’s why I’m writing. I work with organizations that focus on ________ to help them _____________. Here’s a ___________ [sample/article/other credibility element]. Should we connect?”

If you’d like to receive the remaining five archetypes, with accompanying scripts, click the button below to receive a beautifully designed PDF list of all ten archetypes that you can print for easy reference.

Again, I suggest you start by picking one or two archetypes and giving them a try. Then, test a few others to see which ones work best for you and your prospects.