As a freelancer, carrying out the actual work is only half the battle – you’ve got to be able to win the work first. That’s why honing your pitching skills and adapting them to different situations is so important. Sending an email to introduce yourself needs a completely different approach to how you pitch for work on a freelance talent site.
Ensuring that your pitch is strong means you stand a better chance of beating your competition to the work. It’s also helps you kickstart better client relationships. In this article, we share our top tips for building the perfect freelance email pitch. You can find our list of things to avoid when pitching for work in a separate article!
1. Make your message concise and succinct
The chances are the person(s) you’re emailing is super busy with their own day. The last thing they want to see landing in their inbox is a lengthy email full of links and attachments. And that’s if all those links even make it past their spam filter.
To capture your recipient’s attention and engage them with your pitch, keep your email concise and succinct. The information you share should be easy to digest in a way which helps keep their focus all the way through.
That way, you’re more likely to get a response from them, and hopefully the opportunity for a conversation where you can then go into more detail. Even if their answer is no, that’s a step above being ignored!
2. Stay away from blanket messages but avoid overfamiliarity
Sending generalised blanket messages won’t get you anywhere when it comes to pitching for work.
An obvious and simple way to personalise your message is to address the person(s) directly with their name, rather than using general greetings such as ‘Hi there’. Other ways you can make a freelance email pitch more bespoke include:
- Referencing something the business has done that you’ve enjoyed or admired recently.
- Referring to the business’s brand identity, mission and/or values.
- Creating an executive summary at the beginning of your portfolio summarising why you’re pitching for the project and why you believe you’re a good fit for the company.
Just be careful to avoid any over-familiarity! It can come across as being rather aggressive.
3. Demonstrate how you share the company’s values
As well as looking for somebody with the right skillset, any client you work with will naturally gravitate to the freelancer who shares their values and ethos. If you get on and have some common ground, it will help foster a successful working relationship.
Do plenty of research about the business and its brand identity so that you can refer to it in your pitch (as well as any subsequent exchanges). Rather than simply acknowledging it, earn bonus points by going on to explain how and why you believe you’re a great match for the business or specific project.
4. Don’t let your subject line take second place
In the same way you wouldn’t go into a business meeting or a networking event with an unkempt appearance, it’s important that your subject line isn’t just an afterthought.
When you meet new or prospective clients in real life, you want to make a strong first impression and your physical appearance plays a huge part. A well-thought-out email subject line is the digital equivalent of this.
Compose a subject line that doesn’t scream ‘spam’, whilst still standing out in an email inbox with high traffic so that your message turns the right heads. The best ones in this scenario get right to the point by summarizing what the email is actually about. For instance: ‘Conscientious freelance copywriter for financial services content’.
Avoid truncating the subject line by keeping it short, sweet and to the point, as well as ensuring that it’s clear what your email is regarding.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that some email platforms preview a few lines of the email message itself, as well as the subject line.
5. Ask a peer to proofread and sense check your pitch
Ensure that your spelling and grammar are tip-top when sending emails to prospective clients. Typos and poor grammar send out negative signals, and will most likely result in your email being sent straight to the bin, rather than inspiring a response.
Get someone to sense check your email pitch from the perspective of your desired recipient. Not only will it help flag up any spelling or grammatical errors, but it will also help make sure that the way you’ve formatted and delivered your information makes sense. Test a few different subject lines on them too!
6. Make sure your portfolio and online profiles are up to date
When you pitch to a potential client, they’re very like to hunt you down on social media to get a feel for what you’re all about. Make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date and work-friendly so that you can start making a great impression even prior to meeting.
Similarly, if you share links or attachments to your portfolio along with your email pitch, make sure you’ve given them a refresh so that you’re circulating the most current (and impressive) version.
7. Be confident but not arrogant
It goes without saying that confidence is key, and that confidence is an appealing attribute in anybody you’re going to work with. However, there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance.
Stay on the right side of it by communicating your experience and achievements in a matter of fact and authentic way. You don’t need to overdo the humility either (which can seem just as false).
Another important thing to remember here is honesty. Exaggerating or embellishing your experience might win you the work to begin with, but doing so is more likely to start your working relationship off on the wrong foot. Particularly if you badly underdeliver on your claims!
8. Don’t forget to follow up – but be patient
Last but certainly not least, make sure to send a follow-up email to demonstrate your eagerness and help push your pitch to the top of the pile.
Choosing when to send this follow-up message can be tricky and it largely depends on the individual circumstances. For example, if you’re responding to a call-out for pitches, the client might have stipulated a date by which they intend to respond. However, if you’re reaching out with a pitch of your own, you can approach your follow-up tactics differently.
Whatever the scenario you’re in, just be sure not to send your chaser too early or this might come across as impatient and annoying.
Check out our freelancer resources and guides for more support and guidance.