*ding* A new email hits your inbox from a client.
Should be a win, right? But sometimes it feels overwhelming, scary and even makes you wanna barf at times.

I know I’ve had a bunch of emails over the last decade that I wished I had someone sitting on my shoulder and telling me what to write.

For this article, consider me your tiny chef (hello ratatouille reference) sitting on your shoulder and helping you cook the best email responses to the most common emails you’ll get.

So when I first started, and even quite a few years into my creative career, I often got caught up on the email communication side of things.

When defending my designs, I’d get too emotional.

When seeking new work, I’d sometimes get too eager.

And when setting boundaries or telling client’s what to do, I’d lose my backbone and not feel confident in what I was serving up.

Tell me I’m not the only one who has felt like this! And if you are feeling this now, if this hits in a spot you didn’t know it would, read on because I have a bit of a buffet for you below.

So why is it important to communicate effectively over email?

When researching this topic, I tend to look at the data and see what the stats say. So here’s a mind-blowing stat…

306.4 billion emails were sent per day in 2020. The number is expected to reach 347.3 billion in 2023!

Is that not insane? Now with over half of those being spam, breaking through the noise and ensuring that what you are communicating is being heard is more important than ever.

In addition to this, we all know that emails are devoid of tone and can sometimes be misinterpreted (unless you send a solid gif). When emailing clients at any part of the conversation, it’s imperative that we know what we are saying and saying it in a way that it will be not only heard and understood but responded to.

While emailing client’s isn’t my go-to preferred option (I much prefer a call or video chat to be able to read tone and see reactions), it’s a necessary evil sometimes. You also want to keep in mind that if it’s in email, it’s in writing and everything that comes with that core truth. It can be great when used as something to reference back to, but really, you need to be mindful that not only can it be referred back to, but used as evidence, so be sure to write like it could be seen in court (sounds dramatic but I’ve been there!)

The New Enquiry Script

Let’s start at the start of the meal, shall we? So this is when a client has reached out with a new project or job and they’ve given some of the details but you’re needing more to be able to quote.

Hi [client],

Thanks so much for reaching out. I would love to work with you on [project], it sounds like a great fit!

Before I can provide a quote, I will need a little more information from you so I can provide an accurate cost. I’ve listed some questions below that will help shape the brief of this project. If you could please answer those for me, and/or provide any more details, that would be helpful in putting together an estimate for you.

[list out questions, be as detailed as possible, and ask what you need to know. These should preferably be numbered from the start so you both have a reference system if things get complex]

Once I have this information, I would love to schedule a call with you to clarify anything you or I need to know.

Again, thank you so much for reaching out and I cannot wait to bring your project to life!

[insert your name and email signature]

The I Need More Info Script

Ok at this stage we are all up in the thick of the meal. There’s sauce on our face, we don’t care. We just need more info to keep going. The two key things about this email are timing and clarity. You want to be as clear as possible WHAT you need and WHEN you need it by. The added bonus of this is you are also spelling out what happens if they don’t deliver on time and take the responsibility off your plate.

Hi [client],

Hope you are doing well. I wanted to touch base with you on the project we are working on together [clients are busy, include the project name or description].

Currently, I am awaiting more information on

  • [list out the things you require]
  • [dot point form makes this feel like a checklist]
  • [be specific, direct and clear]
  • [where possible, give deadlines]

Once I have this information, I can get started on the next stage. If the above information can be delivered by [pick a due date] we can be in the best position to deliver this project on time for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and we can work through these together.

[insert your name and email signature]

The Scope Creep Script

This one is a short and sweet one for a reason. Scope creep is common but often creatives think I’ll just take another bite on, it’ll be fine, it’s probably my fault anyway. Um, no, my fickle freelancer, this is scope creep and it wasn’t budgeted for at any point. It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility to call it out as early as possible and know how to reinforce that boundary. Keep it profesh, keep the emotion out of it and lead with facts.

Hi [client],

Thanks for sending this added information.

Unfortunately, this request falls outside the scope of this project we originally agreed upon and quoted. I’d be happy to provide an updated quote to accommodate this change, let me know if there is a convenient time to discuss this so we can set up a quick chat.

[insert your name and email signature]

The Wrap Up Script

This one is a cause for celebration! We made it to the end, we got there and it’s time to get paid. This particular script considers that the work is done and complete, BUT the client still needs to settle the bill. This is important as it puts the expectations in writing, clear and concise and ready for them to take action.

Also, please please please remember we don’t hand over final files before the bill is paid. Ever.

Hi [client],

We made it! I’m so excited to announce that your project is complete and ready for delivery.

If you could please settle the balance of your invoice so I can process the final payment, that would be fantastic. And if you are in a rush, send me the receipt of payment and I would be happy to hand over the finished files. Please note that final payment in full is required for the handover of the files to happen.

Thank you for having me on this project, I’ve enjoyed working with you and your business and look forward to us working together again soon!

[insert your name and email signature]

The Seeking New Work Script

Got a new skill? Learnt how to make something easier for your client? Or have an idea you want to pitch using your skills that you just know the client would be perfect for? Time to pitch! Remember your best asset is an existing client. They know what you do and do well, and they also don’t need to be sold to because they know what it’s like to work with you. It’s a win all round, so let’s use that to our advantage.

Hi [client],

Hope you have been well since we last spoke.

I’ve been taking some time to upskill in [area you are upskilling in e.g. Instagram Gifs, animation, etc]. The main goal is to make this into a future service offering for my business, but while I am learning, I would like to offer this to you at a discounted rate. **This is a personal preference, you don’t need to offer if you don’t want to**

If this is something you are interested in, please let me know and I can put together a quote for you. If not, please feel free to share this with someone you think might be interested. 

[insert your name and email signature]

BONUS The Break Up Script

Ok, super sweet bonus time! Now we all know that sometimes things go sour. This would be a situation where you are parting ways with a client that is simply a pain in the ass, but we are trying to maintain the relationship and not burn a bridge.

Hi CLIENT,

Recently there have been some problems with our working relationship. Although it isn’t easy to say, I think that another company may be a better fit for you and your specific needs.

I have several same SERVICE PROVIDERS in my network who are actively looking to connect with companies like yours. If you’re interested, I would love to refer them to you. They do fantastic work and I think they will be a great fit for your brand’s needs.

As of DATE I won’t be able to assist you with WHAT YOU DO any further.

Thanks for your understanding, wishing you all the best.

*Note if you or they have obligations based on your contract, make sure you let them know in this email so it’s in writing and you’re on the same page. Things like paying balances and finished files, all of that.

If you liked that small bite, you’re gonna love my Email Recipe Bases Handbook with over 30 email templates to help you tackle any situation from new client work, saying yes or no to different situations including exposure and free work, as well as a few break up scripts.

Sounds Delicious, I want a copy!

Do you struggle with Pricing?
Wish someone would calculate it for you?

Grab your FREE access to my Billable Hour Calculator while it’s still free!

Consider this the first delicious bite into the profitable business you’ve salivated over for so long…

Sounds yum, sign me up!