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WEB SCHOOL How I Landed My First Ever Web Design Client for $1500 with Cold Emails


New Contributor
Feb 5, 2018
Lake Placid, New York
Oftentimes on this forum it's preached that you have to go out and speak to people in person in order to land clients. While I fully understand the benefits of speaking to people in person having done door to door office supply sales, there are benefits to using E-Mail and cold calling too. So, here is exactly what I did to land my first web design project for $1500. The only other website I've made is my own and I did it in a weekend.

Step 1. Figure out what type of business you're targeting

First you need to figure out what type of businesses you want to design websites for. Between Fox and Sean Marshall. Just go look at their threads.

Step 2. Find a list of businesses you can pitch websites to or make your own list

Second you need to find businesses you can E-Mail. There are a lot of different ways to do this. Usually towns, counties, and states have lists of their certified vendors available. These lists are entirely free because it's considered public information and they usually include the owners personal email address. You can't really do better than someones personal email address. NEVER E-Mail generic addresses like info@[businessname].com. This will ruin your sender reputation and then your E-Mails will go directly to spam folders.

Step 3. Pick the business you can help the most

After you have a list, pick the business you can help the most from that list. Look for businesses that have either no website or a website that wouldn't look out of place in Stranger Things. If you find a business with a very active FaceBook page but no website, there's your golden opportunity. They understand the benefits of digital marketing, but just haven't taken the time to create a website. They've probably even looked into it before.

Step 4. Create a mockup on a subdomain you own

This is the step that should be taking up most of your time. If it's not and you're not getting any responses at all, you're not spending enough time on the mockup. Do a mockup of most likely their home page, or if they have a landing page you found you could do one of that too. I've had success with both.

Your mockup should be amazing. It should be exactly what they are looking for. If you don't know what they're looking for, figure out what they're looking for. See where they're currently advertising their business, how their advertising their business, what words they use when advertising their business, what designs they use when advertising their business, how they write on their personal social media accounts, how they take pictures, etc. There is no shortage of information nowadays on pretty much anyone so there's really no excuse not to get to know your prospects better than they know themselves.

Step 5. Draft an E-Mail to show them the mock-up you've made

You should be personalizing your E-Mails. If you're not you won't get responses, and they probably won't even look at the mock-up you did assuming the mockup is as generic as your E-Mail is. So, tailor it to them. There are a ton of ways to tailor an E-Mail specifically to someone. Draw on what you learned about them when creating a mockup for them. Do they take awesome pictures, or is their logo sweet? Tell them. Then tell them to check out how awesome it looks in the website you just made them.

Step 6. Check that your E-Mail won't get caught up in a spam filter

Use a tool like to test your E-Mail and make sure it will actually get to the person you are sending it to. This step should not be overlooked and should be done every time you send out a cold E-Mail.

Step 7. Send out the cold E-Mail

I always send out my cold E-Mails on Tuesday. This gives me two days to follow up, Wednesday and Thursday, then a bit of a break from me E-Mailing them. Then I can follow up again the next week on Monday and Wednesday. Yes, I follow up on every cold E-Mail I send roughly five times. Why wouldn't I? The worst that could happen is they say they don't want me to E-Mail them anymore (this is a lesson in selling in general).

Here is the exact E-Mail I used to land a $1500 client as my first client. I had absolutely zero connection to this business, and I don't even live in the same state as them. Sensitive information has been removed.

Subject: [first name], Quick Website Question

Hi [first name],

I recently came across your business and noticed you had a really active Facebook page, but didn't have a website. I also noticed you're a certified vendor of [town name]. Is there a reason you don't have a website yet?

I took the liberty of making a quick mock-up home page for you using essentially the information and pictures from your Facebook page.

https://[their business name].[my website].com

You can see an idea of what your site could look like. Not all the linking pages/info is live, but it still let's you get a feel for what a website would add.

I'd also like to add a short section towards the end about you and how you started your business. I find adding information like this to a site really adds to peoples willingness to pick up the phone and contact you about work. People really enjoy personal touches like that.

If you're interested in speaking to me about your website, just shoot me a message back or you can call or text me anytime at [my personal cell phone number].

Talk Soon!
[my first name]

P.S. You're welcome to use this home page for free. Just let me know if you want me to send over the files to it!

Hope this helps at least one of you start your web design side hustle. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask, I'd be happy to give some back after all this forum has given me. If this is in the wrong place let me know!

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Nov 29, 2016
Did you get this from reddit or are you the same guy? Or maybe reddit got it from you lol
Last edited:


Apr 1, 2019
I wonder if you could skip the mock-up process and instead show them a similar website already made for another business and tell them it could look something like that?

It's just..making a brand new website for every potential client...seems inefficient. I would be spending half a day on every single lead.

Lex DeVille

Sweeping Shadows from Dreams
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jan 14, 2013
It's just..making a brand new website for every potential client...seems inefficient. I would be spending half a day on every single lead.
You mean it seems like hard work and you want a shortcut.

How many web design clients do you have now? If the answer is less than one then your web design approach is already inefficient.



New Contributor
Feb 5, 2018
Lake Placid, New York
You mean it seems like hard work and you want a shortcut.

How many web design clients do you have now? If the answer is less than one then your web design approach is already inefficient.

Just wanna say, it means a lot to see you respond to a thread I made! Your posts on freelancing got me to take the plunge into doing my own work and building my reputation instead of building someone else's. I actually started up with doing writing projects on UpWork and am still doing them now! It's given me so much freedom to learn the basics of running a business and working with clients.

As for being.simon's comment. It isn't inefficient. Each website mockup you make will help you learn the skills to develop better and better websites. You'll never learn a new skill without doing it so what would you rather, make a bunch of websites without getting paid or make a bunch of websites with the potential to get paid? I know I'd rather at least have a chance to get paid.

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