Email Script: How to respond to creative inquiries
by Chris Wilson
As an artist, illustrator, designer, or any other visual freelancer, your inbox is part of your day-to-day. The emails you send and receive everyday can range anywhere from replying to creative inquiries, back and forth communication between you and a client on current freelance projects, negotiating your rate for your next freelance job, discussing revisions, getting paid on time, or simply sending a thank you.
Most of the time when artists send emails, they stick to these two email misconceptions:
1. Keeping emails short It’s okay to write long emails. Potential clients will read your entire email no matter how long it is as long as it applies to them, it addresses their needs, and helps solve their problems.
2. Simply answering questions You may get creative inquiries where the only thing the sender is asking is, “How much do you charge?” But if you simply send a reply stating your rate, you’re not establishing the value behind why they should work with you. You’re just competing on price with a handful of other creatives they sent the same email to.
When you know how to write compelling emails, it means you’re able to effectively use key psychological principles with email in an authentic way that can grow your business. Resulting in emails that get opened, read, and replied to even by the busiest creative decision makers.
However, the most powerful email script you can have in your tool belt is an effective reply to any creative inquiry. When you receive a creative inquiry, there is a multitude of things you have to ask yourself before you respond, but the three main ones are:
● Is this client qualified to work with me?
● Can they afford to pay your rates?
● Is this project aligned with my interests, style, and values?
The goal of all of your creative inquiry replies is to boost their confidence in hiring you by establishing the value you offer.
Here’s what an effective email response to a creative inquiry looks like -
Subject:Re: *LEAD NAME, let’s get started on your illustration
Hi *LEAD NAME,
Thanks for getting in touch with me, I’d be happy to help you with your magazine illustration. Recently, I *MENTION A RECENT PROJECT, CASE STUDY, OR ACCOMPLISHMENT [This “qualifier” is what generates confidence in hiring you.]
I’d love to chat with you about the possibility of doing the same at for you. I just need just a few more details about your project (timeline, intended usage, and a better understanding of your creative vision, etc.)
As you know, there are many possibilities for illustration - from a small black and white illustration to a full color spread. My illustration project rates start at *YOUR PROJECT RATE MINIMUM.
Do you have 10 minutes for a quick phone or Skype chat Wednesday at 11AM Pacific?
Thanks, *YOUR NAME
Your goal in these beginning stages is to establish your value by mentioning a recent successful case study or accomplishment you’ve had on similar projects. This way you’ll avoid competing on price with the other creatives they sent email inquiries to.
Remember, the number one concern a potential client has when they are hiring a visual creative is “Are they going to make me look good for hiring them.”
So it’s your goal to establish confidence in your work, so they won’t second guess your rates or in hiring you.
Determining their budget
By stating, “…illustration projects start at $_____,” you’re filtering out those who don’t meet your minimum budget requirements. This way you don’t go through the process of generating a proposal only to find out their budget was crazy low.
Also, you aren’t trying to get an immediate sale in this first email. This will come later.
Because you want to avoid having them make a decision in hiring your based on price.
When you establish your value first, you’re price is a triviality. You can use any of the following qualifiers to help establish your value:
● Recent successes and/or case studies from past clients.
● Your education if you came from a notable school
● If you’re just starting out and don’t have any past clients, you can create a personal project that showcases your work in the same context someone would hire you for. So if you want to do magazine illustrations, you can create a 10page magazine of your work laid out in magazine format.
A call to action
At the end of your email it’s best practice to include a simple, but direct call to action to schedule a chat at a specific time. You’re making it as easy as possible for them to further discuss their project.
NOTE: When you’re on the phone with your client, never feel pressured to name a price right then and there. If they ask your for a specific price, you can say-
“I’d love to give you a price, but I’d feel more comfortable reviewing my notes and giving you a more specific proposal. Giving you two or three options at different price points.”
This way you can use more effective pricing strategies like offering different packages priced at different tiers. So they’ll compare your prices against your own prices and not against your competition.
The success of your client’s project hinges on your design, illustration, or photography.
The visuals you create have a massive amount of selling power. It determines how your clients product fits with an audience. In most cases, your visuals are the biggest factor in how your client will be able to generate revenue from their project.
So when you respond to a creative inquiry, remember to establish your value by showcases past successes, do your best to inquire about their specific needs, and include a specific call to action.
Just tell them your concept for an art, photography, illustration or design book (they will also do a humor and a food + drink book based on Tumblr blogs). Entry form over at the Chronicle Books Tumblr. Contest details over here.
- Art: Calling all photographers, illustrators, or anyone else making visually interesting things that would translate well to print.
- Food + Drink: Are you an epicure? We want to see cookbooks, food memoirs, and whatever else you’re cooking up!
- Humor: We still want to be amused, so keep the LOL-worthy book ideas coming.
Here’s how to enter:
- If your Tumblr deserves to be a book, craft a post pitching the idea. Include a proposed title, a written synopsis of the book-to-be (200 words or less), and examples that communicate your concept (photos, animated gifs, artwork, video, text, or any media supported by Tumblr). We will check out your post, along with your entire Tumblr blog.
- Tag the post “TumblrBookSearch”
- Give us a link to the post and your contact information using this form.
Here’s what you could win:
3 Grand PRIZES (One from each category): Your book idea considered for publication, $300 worth of Chronicle books, a feedback session with a Chronicle Books editor.
3 Runners-up: $100 worth of Chronicle books
The contest ends 3/2/2015, so don’t miss your chance to enter. Winners will be announced 4/6/2015.
Read the official rules for more information, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Here’s a recently discovered fun site. Connect with fine artists and illustrators at dada.nyc New York.
DADA is a creative community for professional visual artists. Draw, Connect and Create. You can start a digital drawing on DADA and email it to friends inviting them to add to and continue the drawing. Creating an exquisite corpse like the Surrealists of the 1920’s, only digitally and online so that artists continents apart can collaborate.
Or you can stop in and draw your Visual Status every day with a new sketch or drawing, or reply to another artist with a drawing.
Levi’s has teamed up with SkillShare (a site that allows people to enroll in really hip online classes) to offer 6 classes from visionary artists with 100% of class proceeds going to arts+music education for kids through 826 National.
- The classes are taught by renowned artists such as Cubby Graham, David Carson, Bang Bang, Benjamin Samuel, Brock Davis, and Linda Eliasen.
- Sign up on each course page. Promo Code for free classes: OURMARK
- Not only do you get the great course information, you create your own projects that get shared in the SkillShare site gallery.
With your help, they’re hoping to raise thousands of dollars for art and music education for kids. 100% of all the proceeds are being donated thanks to Levi’s.
Artist Marketing Resources recommends that artists submit their work to art professionals in positions to help them with their careers. But a professional approach is a must! This ebook guide is for artists. To help artists avoid common mistakes that mark them as amateurs. This ebook includes cover letters you can use and detailed advice on how to submit your art to art consultants, art curators, museums, galleries, fine art publishers, art licensing companies and more. Get your copy here.
Download image Download image Vivian Van Dijk, Editor-in-Cheif of EYES IN Magazine. (PRNewsFoto/EYES IN Magazine) NEW YORK, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Vivian Van Dijk, Editor-in-Chief and President of EYES IN Magazine, (Periodic Publication), introduces…
Call for Entries: CorelDraw International Design Contest, closes June 30 2013
CorelDRAW Design Competition
With a total of $100,000 US in prizes and a Grand Prize valued at $28,450 US, the 2013 CorelDRAW® International Design Contest is one of the industry’s biggest competitions! This year’s categories include: Advertising, Fashion, Vehicle Wraps, Illustration and Fine Art, plus a category just for Students and an all-new category for Speed Drawing. It’s the chance for designers and artists of all backgrounds and skill levels to gain global exposure for their work and win valuable prizes.
- A total of $100,000 US in prizes up for grabs
- Earn worldwide recognition for your work
- Get inspired by CorelDRAW users from around the globe
- Discover the all-new features of CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X6
For full contest details, please read the Official Rules (.PDF)
Please note: Your artwork must be saved in CorelDRAW X6 or Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™ X6.
Jester Jacques Gallery in the UK is accepting submissions for their newest project–they are putting together a collection of 50 drawings/paintings/illustrations to make an E book.
Do you want to submit your art? See examples of what they like and read the full submissions details here.
Mixed media collage artist Agent X submitted his art images to ArtistSpot on recommendation of Artist Marketing Resources. ArtistSpot now features the Art of Agent X on their site.
ArtistSpot created these promotional images and sent the images to the artist to use to promote his ArtistSpot prints and t-shirts.
View the entire Agent X collection available on ArtistSpot.
Ever since launching my blog on February 3, 2009, it has been my goal to provide artist-readers with news and information they can use to enhance their art careers. I have already invested thousands of hours into the task of keeping Artist Marketing Resources alive with active and current information and resources for you the artist, and the Artist Marketing Resources blog now has over 20,600 followers.
Here is your way to support this blog in return + receive promotions of your art and website–DONATIONS WITH PERKS!
Perks for Artists
Perks for artists! Get your website or blog link on the side bar of the Artist Marketing Resources blog homepage. Get a dedicated blog post about you and your art! And more. How?
Donate $10. and we will add your website link to our homepage sidebar, where it will stay for a full year or longer.
Donate $25. and we will add your link to our homepage sidebar, plus post a short blog post including one jpeg image that you provide, along with your website link. This is better than paid ads since our blog posts remain up forever and are included in Google search engine results + blog posts auto-feed into our LinkedIn group Artist Marketing Resources, which has over 2 thousand member artists and art professionals.
Donate $50. and will add your link to our homepage sidebar, and we will write a full blog post with to 3-5 jpeg images and one or more links. Your blog post will auto-feed into our LinkedIn group Artist Marketing Resources, which has over 2,000 member artists and art professionals.
Donate $100. or more and will add your link to our homepage sidebar, plus post a short blog post including one jpeg image that you provide, along with your website link.and we will write two full blog post with to 3-5 jpeg images and one or more links. Blog posts auto-feed into our LinkedIn group Artist Marketing Resources, which has over 2 thousand member artists and art professionals. Plus we will share each blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest where we have several thousand followers on each platform.
How to get these great perks? Make a donation here : http://artistmarketingresources.webs.com/apps/donations/
This company or collective is interested in connecting with illustrators, graphic artists, painters, and creative writers!
- Gryphon Design Collective
- JOIN THE COLLECTIVE
- Gryphon Design Collective promotes worldwide talent in the fields of illustration, graphic arts, painting and creative writing. They recruit designers from around the globe to create original personalized children’s books, learning games, fine art cards, and notebooks. If you are interested in contributing to their growing collection with your unique artistic designs, illustrations and creative writing, please complete this online form.
- They will contact you if we have an opening that aligns with your talents
This is just one of many thousands researched and gathered together in our Artist Resources share lists. Our PDF lists are continually updated and expanded. Each resource includes one or more clickable links like in the listing above. Here are our available PDF artist resources lists: