For many of us, the idea of a traditional work environment or career is vanishing. Changes in technology, the gig economy, increased mobility, and a desire for freedom means more and more people are opting for a freelance working lifestyle. It’s easy to see why — the idea of working from home, not having to deal with office politics, and the ability to work on your own terms is very attractive.
The only problem? There’s competition — lots of it! A recent study found that between a third and half of all Americans are now involved in the temporary, short-term, or freelance job market, and that number is increasing in the U.S. and around the world.
With so many freelancers, self-employed workers, and other gig economy participants out there, how do you stand out? Well, one way that freelancers get themselves noticed is by pitching their services, normally in an email — and email is something that we know a little bit about! Read on, for the SaneBox Scoop on how to write the perfect freelance pitch email.
Step 1 — Realize What a Freelance Pitch Email is For
A freelance pitch email is normally used in a few different ways:
As a “cold email” to businesses who might be interested in your services, these typically have extremely low response rates.
As a response to a request for work on a freelance marketplace like Upwork or Freelancer.
In response to a freelance job ad requesting freelancers apply for a particular project or piece of work.
The first option is very difficult to do — that’s why we’re going to focus on options two and three in the rest of this article.
Step 2 — Read the Job Description Three Times
If you want to create an effective pitch email, you need to ensure you completely understand what the client is looking for. Read through the job request or job ad numerous times. Look at all the specifics they are requesting. Ensure that you have the skills, experience, approach, and expertise to deliver on the freelance project. If you don’t, then don’t apply. If you do, it’s time to take the next step.
Step 3 — Do Your Research on the Client’s Business
Next, you’re going to research the client’s business. Look them up in Google, read their website and blog. See who their competitors are. Look at the marketing channels they use. Get an idea of the sector and industry they are in. Explore their products and services. You want to have a good understanding of the place that you’re applying to work — this step alone will help you stand above 90% of your freelance competitors.
Step 4 — Never Use a Generic Response to a Job Ad
You should write all of your freelance pitch responses from scratch. Don’t be tempted to use a generic, form email. Clients can spot these from a mile away, and they ensure your email will be quickly vaporized into its constituent pixels.
Step 5 — Address Their Specific Needs, Tell Them How You are Going to Solve Their Problem
It’s time to put the email together, here’s how to do that.
Address the recipient by name — if their name is in the ad or the email address, be sure to use it. If not, try and find their name from the website or via other means. It creates an instant connection.
Respond to each point in the job ad or request for work — go through the ad and respond to each point specifically in your email. Explain how you are going to help and what you can do in each area. Use some of the language they use when responding.
Don’t be afraid to use humor, sparingly — most requests and ads get dozens of responses. If you want to stand out, feel free to use a little humor if you think it will work.
Use the research you’ve gained about the company — talk about their products, services, or other research you’ve found. This shows you have done your homework and you understand their business.
Talk to their “unspoken” needs — see if you can read between the lines and answer the unspoken problem they might need to solve.
Step 6 — Cite Strong Examples and Portfolio Pieces
For a freelancer, the proof is in the portfolio. Be sure to cite and link to examples of your experience, expertise, and how you have helped other clients in similar situations.
Use niche examples directly relating to their sector, industry, or specialization.
Tell them about similar clients and businesses you have worked with.
If you have stats on how you work has helped previous clients (e.g. revenue generation, visibility, etc.) be sure to mention them.
Step 7 — Reassure Them About Your Professionalism
Clients aren’t just hiring you for your expertise. They’re also looking for professionalism. Tell them about your reliability, speed, review process, how you communicate, and more. Give them a reason to trust you beyond just your experience.
Step 8 — Sign off by Requesting You Work Together
Finish the email by thanking them for their time and telling them you look forward to working with them. It’s just a little bit of subtle influence that might make them think about working with you.
That’s it. We know freelancers who have repeatedly used these techniques to get much higher acceptance rates for job ads than is standard in the industry. Good luck in your burgeoning freelance career!