Cold emails? We're talking about cold emails?
We get it, amigo, we get it.
But let's revisit the friendship we have here: You're like that cool kid who was both talented and benevolent. We're like your nerdy best friend. You've already got 99% of this game down. We're just here to sneak that last 1% into your pocket so you can stay at the front of the pack for as long as you desire.
These various 1%s often seem "boring". But they're what separate the good from the great. And besides, we've distilled all the requisite research into ~ 1,000 words to make it as painless to absorb as possible. After all, your success is our success.
So yes, cold emails. Shall we, compadre?
In the business world, cold emailing is a form of digital marketing employed to help achieve a determined goal. This could be engaging with potential clients or promoting a new product, for example.
Cold emails are given this particularly appealing name since there usually isn't an existing relationship between the sender and recipient before the email correspondence. The recipient hasn't asked to receive the email, but unlike spam, the content is intended to be of genuine value to that specific individual.
Wait, but why?
While reply rates can be as low as 1-3%, effective cold emails can actually deliver a higher ROI (return on investment) than social media marketing and online display ads. Not that this info is necessarily especially relevant to us as actors, but we want to at least lay out a couple of persuasive facts and stats for those who'd rather watch an endless re-run of their latest self-tape takes than think about bashing out some cold emails.
We're going to unpack a very specific type of cold email here — one we've developed from researching trends in the business space, then alchemised for us actor ninjas.
As mentioned above, introductions and professional relationship building are some of the best uses for cold emails.
At this point, we might be thinking, "Been there, done that. No success whatsoever".
Fair, but how many of these went something like:
We've absolutely been guilty of this back in the day.
These emails tend to be largely ineffective for three reasons:
It's impersonal. One could very easily send this same email to every CD or producer on the planet.
We're asking for more value than we're giving. Sure, they may decide to keep our CV on file, but there's no super compelling reason for them to want to "work with" us.
99% OF ACTORS ARE ALL SENDING A VARIATION OF THIS SAME EMAIL.
The ninja move
'Coz we're badass Dojo actors, we're gonna make some badass ninja moves. In regards to cold emails, we’re gonna flip all the above. Our cold emails will be:
Value giving, with no ask.
Rare (and therefore far more welcome).
Our cold emails are going to be celebrations.
Humans love to be recognised and appreciated — we're hardwired that way. Back in our caveman days, recognition and appreciation meant we were more likely to survive and propagate. Interestingly, however, celebrating others isn't a hugely common practice in our society. That's what makes it so effective.
A fun side-effect of implementing this strategy is the empowerment it cultivates in us. After we've run this game plan a few times, we start to see ourselves as equal to the folks we're reaching out to — which we ultimately are, though this industry tends to suggest otherwise. We're simply one creative reaching out to another. And trust us, this is far nicer real estate to occupy.
Let's work through this in real-time. Who's an individual we'd like to introduce ourselves to?
Research. Is there a recent achievement we can celebrate? e.g. A released piece of work, an award, funding success, the announcement of a new project etc.? If there isn't something recent we can alchemise, make a note to review again at a later date.
Draft. Start to piece together an email that expresses our congratulations with no ask. No pitch. No strings attached. Just sincere, concise written applause.
Idiot-proof-ify. Run spell-check and read the copy out loud. It takes two minutes, but can completely change how we're perceived. Remember, this is our recipients' first impression of us. We want it to be both positive and professional.
Sign. We've written a whole article on email signatures and why we're wise to have (at least) one. In this scenario, if the recipient feels so inclined, we've made it as easy as possible for them to further explore who the hell we are. We aren't asking them to, we're allowing them to.
Send. Midweek is ideal. Avoid weekends and obscure hours of the day/night (these are real people with real lives, after all).
Let. It. Go. Easier said than done, we know. Like, we really know. Send these emails with a 0% expectation of a response. These cold emails are akin to long-term investments. If an immediate reply appears in our inbox, that's the cherry on top.
As a lil' Scooby snack, here's an actual, real-life example of an email Tahlia sent to a producer who’d just received funding for their next project. We offer this not as the holy grail of cold emails, but to provide a loose framework for how this could look "in the wild".
. . .
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.
While we can't always reply to every message, we honestly do read each one.