A recent survey indicates that half of American workers will be freelancers by 2027. Freelancing is different from traditional full-time work in many ways, but as with any job you still need to communicate via email with the utmost professionalism. If anything, email is even more important in freelance work, since reporting to clients remotely means you rely on it as your main form of communication
Keep these etiquette tips in mind to make a good impression in your emails with clients and prospects. Using email in a professional manner improves your brand reputation and gives clients more reason to trust you
Treat Your Email Like a Business Email
Business email addresses tend to be simple: firstname.lastname@example.org. The address you use as a freelancer should be equally professional. In many cases, it will be the first thing a client sees when you reach out to them.
It also helps to include an email signature with your contact information. This display of courtesy will be appreciated if a client ever has trouble finding it.
Check Your Email List
It’s difficult to maintain a professional relationship with clients if your emails frequently end up in spam folders. A client won’t hire a freelancer whose emails they never see, and emails that show up as spam won’t inspire confidence in your sender reputation.
If you do email marketing that involves sending bulk emails, this is a risk. Sending emails to addresses that are no longer valid results in a high bounce rate. And if your bounce rate is too high, you could be tagged as a spammer.
Avoid this by using an email verifier tool to check your list before sending emails. It will remove invalid addresses in order to keep your bounce rate low.
Prioritize Grammar & Spelling
Grammar and spelling errors have a negative impact on a client’s impression of you. To avoid this, treat every email you send the way you would if you were applying for a job. It’s yet another way to establish yourself as a serious professional.
Never include comments or mention topics you wouldn’t include in an email to a coworker. Freelance work is still work. Treat it accordingly. One offensive comment in an email can permanently damage your relationship with a client.
Structure Your Emails Properly
Your clients are busy people. They want you to get the point when you email them.
That said, they’re still people. You don’t want to be robotic in your communications. Thus, it helps to follow a simple formula when structuring an email:
- a clear and relevant subject line
- a friendly personalized greeting
- and a concise point or question.
You might follow this with a warm message like, “Enjoy the weekend!” when appropriate. This structure helps you strike the balance between being professional and being human.
Don’t Assume Privacy
Always assume someone other than the direct recipient might read your email. There’s a high possibility they will if your client shares relevant emails with coworkers or managers. Always assume a third party might see your messages, and avoid negative comments that could be costly.
Send Emails Sparingly
Don’t forward anything to a client that you wouldn’t forward to your boss. You don’t want to clutter their inbox.
It’s also important to avoid sending too many emails to a former client. There will likely be instances when a relationship with a client stagnates between projects. Bombarding them with emails asking when more work will be available is a bad idea.
Simply reach out once every few weeks, then trust that your client will get back to you with new projects when they’re available.
As more people begin to freelance, you could end up competing with half of the American workforce in the coming years. Set yourself apart by maintaining the utmost professionalism in your emails.
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