December 24, 2021

Success story from reader Brian Byrne

Fellow list member Brian Byrne replied to my recent message about cold emailing with an email outreach success story and - bonus! - the template he used to achieve it (shared with permission):

Hi Jonathan,

Really interesting topic and I totally agree with you about cold emailing, using the same template over and over again. We all get them and we should all ignore them.

I want to share with you how I introduce myself to potential clients and it kind of happened by accident. I’m a graphic designer and strategist based in Ireland and decided to target architects as I have a background in architecture. I was flicking through an interiors magazine and came across a retrofit of a beachouse not too far from where I live. It was a beautiful job in a beautiful location—so I Googled the architect found out he was an award-winning architect based in Dublin. I decided to send him an email and it went like this...

Hi ------,

I just happened upon your adaption project in R----------l featured in this month’s Image Interiors and Living magazine. I love architecture that’s sympathetic to our landscape so I was particularly drawn to it. Such beautiful work!

My name is Brian Byrne, and I’m a graphic designer and creative strategist. I’ve just rebranded my design studio and having just seen your work thought this would be an ideal opportunity for an introduction. The rebrand includes a new name — Lands. We are primarily a brand design studio — encompassing design, strategy, positioning, messaging and naming. We also offer a full scope of services from print publications to digital design.

We are continuously looking for opportunities to work with new people, so, if you think we might be a good fit for a project or two, I’d be happy to have a chat at your convenience.

Kind Regards


That one email generated a €10,000 project, brand strategy and visual identity refresh and the architect in question has recommended me to so many people now! It was a resounding success so I’ve used this email on numerous occasions and it continues to open doors for me. The beauty is you only really have to adapt the first couple of lines—the compliment, I like to call it. And the rest of the mail, where you talk about yourself can be replicated. But you do have to put in the time to research your targets and most importantly the compliment must be genuine!

I think this ’template’ could be replicated across any industry, so please feel free to share.

Kind Regards


To reiterate Brian’s conclusion, I believe that it’s critical that the compliment be 100% genuine.

Whenever I do cold outreach to a stranger (i.e., introduce myself to someone), it’s usually because I just stumbled across something amazing that they did and I contact them while my emotions (and language) are still all gushy and raw and specific. If I wait to ping them, the vibe would be gone.

It’s also worth noting that I DON’T do this as part of a planned campaign that I’m running where I send out multiple messages per day for some period of time, but rather I merely have a process in place that I follow whenever I’m blown away by something someone did.

It could be a particular passage in a book that they wrote, or a brilliant insight in a podcast episode, or a hilarious moment in a livestream replay, or tweet storm that finally helped me understand a complex topic, or any of the dozens of other ways and places that people publish their thoughts these days.

Here’s the thing...

If you have a simple process that you can follow every time you have the slightest desire to give a stranger a genuine compliment, you’ll soon find that you start giving a lot more compliments.

And if you start giving a lot more compliments, you’ll soon find that you start making a lot more friends.

And if you start making a lot more friends, you’ll soon find that you start landing more and better clients.