Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Essential Elements To Include In Your First Email To New Freelance Prospects

First impressions matter the most in the business world, and freelancing is no exception. You need to make the most of your first email to new prospects, but it can be hard to tell what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.

But if you use these 5 essential elements in every pitch, you’ll be well on your way to success. Here they are:

1. A compelling subject line

If your subject line doesn’t attract your prospect’s attention, then none of the rest of your message matters. People get hundreds of emails per day, and if your subject line looks like “just another pitch,” they might not even bother opening the message.

If your freelance prospect has been referred to you, make sure your subject line is specific. Show that you already know about them and their needs, such as:

  • Blogging opportunity for
  • Your social media services quote

If your first email is a flat out cold pitch (meaning there’s no current connection between you and the prospect), then compelling is the way to go. Give them a good reason to open your email:

  • Why you need video content for your site
  • How to improve your traffic with blogging

2. A personalized message

Templates are helpful. They definitely save time when you pitch. But do they help you land more clients? Probably not!

So don’t bother pitching unless you’re going to deliver a personalized message for your client. Show that you understand their needs and position yourself as a solution to the problem.

For example, “I visited today and noticed you didn’t have any graphics with your blog content. Do you need someone to help create post headers and infographics?” 

This shows the prospect that you actually bothered to visit their site and see how you could help them before pitching.

In addition to personalizing your message to their needs, you should also address them personally. In marketing, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. That should work for you as well! Always use their name in the first line and avoid pitching prospects from the “Contact Us” form or the email address where possible. Find the business owner’s email address and use it instead.

3. Benefits of working with you

Next, make sure your email focuses on the benefits of working with you. Many freelancers like to show off their skills and expertise in a pitch email. But prospects don’t care that you’re good at your job. They care about how you can help them.

The best way to do this is using case studies of your success. Say you’re a social media manager. You could say something like this:

I ran across the Twitter profile for Your Company Name and noticed you have less than 500 followers. Do you need someone to help improve your reach online? I’ve helped my current clients:

  • Gain 30,000 engaged followers in less than 6 months
  • Increase their web traffic from social media by 25%
  • Get featured on Social Media Today

If you’re new to freelancing and don’t have a lot of personal case studies to back you up, then rely on industry statistics! For example, “Did you know blogging every day can increase your search traffic by up to 50%? You won’t regret hiring me as your new blogger.”

4. Social proof

Especially when you’re cold pitching, you don’t want prospects to just take your word for it that they should work with you. That’s why you should include social proof in every email.

What is social proof? It’s basically evidence that other people know you, work with you, trust you and would recommend you. Landing pages are covered in them. Testimonials, positive reviews, social following and page share counts are all examples of social proof.

But you don’t want to overcrowd your first email to a new freelance prospect so keep your social proof simple. Links to your social pages and website as part of your signature should be enough. If you have a testimonials page on your site, then link straight to it!

5. A call-to-action

You might think it’s clear from your email message what you want a client to do next. You want them to email you back, hire you, and send you a bunch of money. That is much more likely to happen if you actually use a call-to-action.

First, here’s what not to say: If you want, please let me know if you’d be interested in working with me.

What to say: Interested in continuing the conversation? Hit reply or let’s set up a phone call. Here are a few times I’m available…

Instead of giving them an ultimatum (hire me or don’t reply), you’re showing them exactly how they can keep chatting with you about the prospect of working together. The longer you keep them on the hook, the more likely they’ll become a client.

Getting quality freelance clients is a marathon, not a sprint. But if you use these 5 essential elements in every pitch, you’ll definitely find yourself ahead of the competition.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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