10 Email Templates Every Web Developer Needs to Keep Handy

10 Email Templates Every Web Developer Needs to Keep Handy

Let’s face it — writing emails is not fun. It’s time-consuming, requires rewrites, and needs proofreading.

But as someone who runs a web development business, you send emails daily. You virtually run your business on emails. Which means you spend several hours each day crafting and revising them.

Which also means that if you streamline all of this emailing you can save a lot of time. For instance, you could use this time to offer better support, generate more business, and build your brand. But to do all this, you need to master the tool that all successful freelancers have learned to use — email templates.

So here are 10 useful templates to give you a head start. Add them to your favorite email program and save time, become more productive, and grow your web development business.

Template #1: Seeking Referral Work

If you’ve ever noticed how salespeople work, you’ll know they request referrals immediately after closing a deal. It’s almost as if seeking referral business is the last step of their closure process.

Just like salespeople, you too should make such requests a part of your project handover process. Here’s the email you could send:

Subject line:

Know someone who could use my service?

Email:

Hey [first name],

Just wanted to check in and ask if you could recommend me to any of your contacts who could use my services.

As you’d know, referrals make great leads. So, if you know someone who could benefit from my service, I’d really appreciate an intro.

I’d be very grateful for your favor.

Thanks,

[your name]

Tip #1: Name a specific person in your client’s contacts who could hire you.

Consider adding the following text to the template:

“In fact, I was just looking at your LinkedIn contacts and realized that you’re connected with Mr. _________. Would be great if you could recommend me to him. Or, anyone else you can think of.”

Don’t think you’re being creepy (or sounding like a LinkedIn stalker!). You’re just being smart (you have to be in this dog-eat-dog world) and making it easier for the client to pass along your name.

Tip #2: Author Bea Kylene Jumarang from Smashing Magazine recommends plugging in some introduction boilerplate text to this email:

Hi, [friend’s name]. I’m introducing you to [your name]. [He/she] is the designer who did my website, and [he/she] is great: solid design skills, good work ethic and very responsive. I think you’d get some benefit from getting in touch with [him/her]. Contact details: [your email address, phone number, website].

By adding such introductory text, you’ll save the client the effort of writing – something they’ll surely appreciate.

Template #2: Onboarding Clients

When you’ve got a project and are ready to get started, it’s time to send the onboarding email.

The onboarding email is your chance to tell the client how the project will proceed. It eliminates unnecessary exchanges that happen when the client is clueless about what’s going on at your end.

Subject line:

Quick update

Email:

Hey [first name],

Thanks a lot for choosing me for your project. I’m really excited to start working on it.

Looks like I have all the details I need. In case I need anything else, I’ll reach out to you. Otherwise, I’ll update you on [date] with details on how the project is coming along and hopefully have the first version ready for your review. You can find the detailed project plan here [link to the plan doc].

Thanks again for trusting me with your job.

You can always email me if you have any questions.

Best,

[your name]

Tip: If you use a project management software like Basecamp or Trello, introduce it to your client in your onboarding email. Say something like:

“Also, you’ll shortly get an invite from [project management tool]. We use it to keep track of our projects. Would be great if you could get onboard. It will be a lot easier for you to monitor the project progress through it.”

Template #3: Seeking Testimonials

The best time to send the testimonial request email is when a project is freshly delivered because a client is highly responsive at this time.

Subject line:

Could you give me a testimonial?

Email:

Hey [first name],

I hope you’re doing well. Just wanted to ask if you could write me a testimonial.

Or, if you’d rather prefer, here’s one I’ve written:

[testimonial text]

If you’re OK with it, I’ll add it to my portfolio (along with your pic). In case you’d like any changes, please feel free to make them.

I’d be really grateful if you could spare 5 minutes for this.

Thanks,

[your name]

Tip #1: I can’t remember where I read this tip, but it’s a clever one. It suggests being in the “testimonial mode” always.

So, if you send a version or prototype or anything that wows your client and they send you some great feedback, immediately send them a request to use their response as a testimonial.

Here’s a message you could send:

Hey [first name],

Glad you liked the work, and thanks a lot for your kind words! Would you mind if I used your feedback as a testimonial?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Tip #2: For the testimonial text, avoid generic testimonials like “great service provider” or “dependable contractor”.

Instead, focus on how you solved a client’s problems. For inspiration, just google some top WordPress developers and check out their testimonials page. Here’s the testimonial page of developer Bill Erickson. Instead of a great testimonial, choose one that will get you hired.

Tip #3: Try the following easy to use testimonial formula that Joanna Wiebe recommends:

I approached {business name} because __________. {Person at business name} helped me by __________. The result was __________. One thing I liked was their __________. I found the experience __________. I would recommend {business name} to people who need __________.

You can also send the testimonial request email to your clients via LinkedIn.

Template #4: Featuring as Case Studies

Case studies are 100% more powerful than testimonials because case studies show a potential customer how you solved a client’s problem, whereas the most that testimonials can do is share a client’s experience.

Subject line:

Would like to feature you in a case study?

Email:

Hey [first name],

I’m looking to add a new case study to my portfolio and would love to feature your project.

All I ask from you is that you fill out this form (shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes).

And as a gesture of thanks, I’d love to give you a XX% discount on your next project. Once I’ve written the case study, I’ll send it for your approval and if you’re happy with it I’ll go ahead and publish it.

I’d be really grateful for your help.

Thanks,

[your name]

Most clients participate in case studies because they want to help you and are happy with your work, so don’t promise do follow backlinks or exposure for the client’s business (especially if your portfolio isn’t a popular one).

Also, avoid sending case study questions inline in an email. It can get messy to reply to so many questions and could mean a lot of back and forth with emails. Instead, use free tools like Typeform to build beautiful case study questionnaires.

Template #5: Applying for Jobs

Your freelance career or agency is in great shape if all your business comes from referrals or other organic means and not from cold pitches or responses to job board listings.

But if that’s not the case, you’ll find the following template really helpful.

Subject line:

About your freelance developer listing

Email:

Hey [first name],

I’m a freelance WordPress developer specializing in the [ABC] niche. I’ve worked on XX+ projects over the past XX years.

Just stumbled across your developer listing on the [XYZ] job board – looks like the perfect job for me.

I’m a great fit for it because:

Reason for hiring #1
Reason for hiring #2
Reason for hiring #3

Feel free to check out my work and testimonials on my portfolio [link to your portfolio].

Also, let me know if you’d like to see a no-obligations proposal.

And let me know if you have any questions for me.

Thanks,

[your name]

The reasons part of the pitch email needs personalization based on the job ad. Let’s take an example to see how you can do such personalization.

Here’s an example of a job listing where a client has given specific requirements:

A job listing on the Smashing Magazine website.
A job listing on the Smashing Magazine website.

You will use these requirements to personalize your pitch template.

Here’s how:

After you’ve read the requirements, pick the top three that will make you more hireable.

So, for example, for the above job, here’s how we’ll rate the requirements.

  1. Fluent English language skills – the reader will get an idea that you’re fluent in English from your email, so skip this
  2. Knowledge of PHP/MySQL Web Server Environments – generic, skip
  3. Building clean, standards compliant code – could be used
  4. Expert knowledge of WordPress (5+ years) – this is an important requirement, but you’re covering it in your introduction
  5. Up-to-date knowledge of modern web trends – generic, skip
  6. Availability to work during the hours of 9am and 5pm Eastern Standard Time – could be used as it’s a specific requirement
  7. Ability to focus on creating awesome, properly built and tested websites with little need for supervision – could be used
  8. Desire to work with a hard working, loyal, fair and friendly team located in Canada – skip

Next, turn these shortlisted requirements into strong hiring points

The requirement of “Building clean, standards compliant code” can be easily spun into a hiring point by saying something like: “I never submit bloated code. As part of my own self-review process, I make sure that my code passes through all minifiers and is as lean as it can be.”

You get the idea, right?

Template #6: Declining Projects

The benefit of sending decline emails is that the client can start looking to hire someone else. It also helps avoid follow up emails.

Email:

Hey [first name],

Thanks for reaching out and considering me for your project.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to give it a pass. I don’t feel I’m the best person for the job because [an honest reason like: I’m booked for the next 3 months OR it’s not in my area of expertise].

However, I think [person’s name] should be able to help you out. Would you like me to connect you with him/her?

Best,

[your name]

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Template #7: Scheduling Calls

Big development projects often involve a lot of communication. Often, most of it happens on Skype or calls and not in emails. So, keeping a call schedule email can come in handy.

Subject line:

Call at [time], [day]?

Email:

Hey [first name],

Wanted to ask if you could get on a Skype call with me for about 30 min on [day] at [time]?

I had a few things I wanted to talk about:

#1
#2
#3

Please let me know if the timing works for you.

Thanks,

[your name]

Listing the call “agenda” helps the client decide if they can postpone the call or if it’s urgent and needs to be discussed right away.

Also, once you get off the call, write a quick email to the client summarizing any important points that might have been discussed on the call.

You can also consider recording the call if you’re not great at taking notes. But before you record, tell the client that you plan to record it. Here are some tools you can use to record Skype calls and sessions.

Template #8: Following Up

If a potential client doesn’t get back to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to hire you anymore. It could be that they’re keeping too busy or have just missed your email. Follow up emails are helpful in such cases.

Subject line:

Any updates?

Email:

Hey [first name],

I wanted to follow up and see if you’re still interested in hiring me or if you want to talk more about your project?

Thanks,

[your name]

Heather Morgan, CEO of Salesfolk, a company that helps top SaaS companies write cold emails, says that you might want to send up to seven follow up emails. She says, “That’s because about 33% of your total (positive/neutral) responses will come from emails 5-8, so if you’re not sending eight you’re missing out on leads.” Morgan also recommends against repeating the same text in the followu-p emails.

Template #9: Reporting Delays in Submission

Things get out of control sometimes and you might need more time to complete a project than you originally committed to a client. The moment you realize you’re going to miss a deadline, email your client.

Subject line:

[Important] need XX more days

Email:

Hey [first name],

I’ve suffered a XX-day loss to my work week because of [reason]. As a result, it won’t be possible for me to submit the deliverables that were due on [original delivery date]. The earliest I can get them to you is by [revised deadline].

I understand this delay may be inconvenient for you and I sincerely apologize for it.

Is it possible for you to accommodate the new deadline?

Best,

[your name]

If the delay is particularly inconvenient for the client, you may want to offer to forgo some of your fee to make up for it. You may want to add the following line to the email:

Also, I can completely understand if you’d like to deduct a part of my fee to compensate for this delay.

Template #10: Cold Emails

When it comes to cold emails there are no templates that get results. The only way to get a response from a cold email is to do your research and learn the art of writing cold emails.

But to give you an idea of the cold emails that work, I’ve dug up two great samples.

The first one is from Masswerks. It’s simple, direct and effective. In fact, the following cold email earned the agency a $15k consulting project:

A simple and direct example of a cold email that works.
A simple and direct example of a cold email that works.

Masswerks’ email shows that cold emails can be effective without taking the flattery or clever route. Also, note how the agency highlights its results-driven approach without sounding salesy.

The second one I quite like is from freelance designer Jake Jorgovan. The following email brought in $4,250 for Jorgavan:

Another example of a successful cold email.
Another example of a successful cold email.

Morgan recommends keeping the first cold email anywhere between 3-5 sentences. She also gives a great tip on how you can make its subject line more effective. She advises:

If you want your prospects to take notice, you need to engage them on a deeper level. You can do this two ways: one, pose a question about their business, for example, “Question about {Company}’s email conversion rates,” and two, offer a piece of valuable advice like, “Idea to 10x {Company}’s conversion rates.”

That’s it for all the templates. But to make the most of them, you need to enable canned responses in Gmail so you don’t have to copy and paste the templates each time you want to use them.

So let’s look at how canned responses work.

Using Canned Responses in Gmail

Canned responses are Gmail templates that you can insert into your emails with three clicks. To activate Canned responses, go to Gmail settings > Labs > Canned Responses, select Enable, and then click Save Changes.

And you’re set.

Canned Responses is an experimental Gmail feature.
Canned Responses is an experimental Gmail feature.

To save a Canned response, copy one of the above templates along with its subject line and paste it into Gmail. (Remember to remove formatting by selecting the entire text and clicking on the remove formatting icon.)

Now, to add this email as a template, click on the small icon in the bottom right, select Canned responses, and choose the New Canned response option.

Adding a new canned response.

That’s it! Your template is ready to use.

Now, the next time you want to use a canned response, you can choose one that you’ve previously saved.

In addition to enabling canned responses for Gmail, consider installing the following Gmail plugins as well. They will give you more control over how the conversation happens.

3 Free Gmail Plugins to Install Right Now

Boomerang for Gmail

This plugin lets you schedule emails. It’s particularly helpful for freelancers and agencies that serve clients in different timezones. Whether it’s your pitch email or a status update, Boomerang for Gmail helps you deliver emails within your clients’ working hours.

The free plan lets you schedule 10 emails. You can upgrade to unlock additional features like more emails, recurring messages, unlimited tracking, and more.

UglyEmail

This Chrome extension lets you identify emails that have opens and click tracking enabled.

Sometimes some clients could be tracking your email opens and clicks. And if for some reason you aren’t in a position to respond to a certain email immediately, the client may feel that you aren’t responsive. So if you can’t reply right away, it’s best to not read such emails. UglyEmail adds an eye icon in front of all emails that attempt tracking.

PixelBlock

UglyEmail helps you identify emails that are being tracked; PixelBlock lets you block all tracking attempts.

This is a must-have plugin for every web developer or agency because you don’t want your clients to know that you read their email at “1.03 AM on your mobile.” Other than privacy intrusion with such information, a client may feel that you aren’t a true professional because your work spills into your free hours.

For a lot of freelancers, canned responses and the above plugins will suffice. However, if your business has grown to a point where you need more features, try full-blown CRM tools like HubSpot, MixMax, or Streak. The free versions of most of these apps support up to 10 templates.

Wrapping Up

In most email clients, you can access templates with 2-3 clicks. All you need to do after that is make a quick tweak and you’re ready to hit “Send.

So why not start using templates and make sending emails the easiest part of your day. Feel free to use these emails as they are or personalize them so they match your tone and style.

Disha Sharma
Do you use templates? If so, which one saves you the most time? Feel free to share your best tips in the comments below.