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Freelance Email Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Building an Email List & Getting Clients

Make A Living Writing

Freelance email marketing isn’t the first thing that comes to the minds of most writers when considering ways to market their services. 

They think of strategies such as Twitter marketing, Pinterest, LinkedIn headline optimization, or even mobile marketing as a way to get clients.

However, building an email list is one of the most effective ways to break through the competitive landscape of freelance writing and help you land repeat clients. 

It can be the key to getting more freelance writing jobs.

So read on to discover how you can start leveraging this powerful channel to get the results you want.


Benefits of Email Marketing for Freelancers

Email marketing has an ROI (return on investment) of 4000%, which makes it one of the most cost-effective ways to market your services. 

Also, email is the most preferred channel by prospects for marketing messages. 

It’s a reliable and affordable platform for securing more clients

Here is a list of additional ways building an email list can benefit you as a freelance writer:


Helps You Make More Personal Connections

Building a contact list for your freelance email marketing efforts isn’t just about collecting high-quality leads, you also need to forge deeper connections with your subscribers. 

Unlike many other forms of marketing in today’s climate, such as social media where you are trying to connect with thousands of people at the same time, email offers an easy way to send personalized messages that are more relevant to your recipients, and therefore get better results.


Provides an Avenue to Nurture Prospects

The one-to-one nature of email makes it the perfect channel to use not only as a way to attract clients but also to nurture them so that they think of you when they are in need of writing services.

One way to do that is by writing an email asking for referrals, so your existing customers can recommend your services to others, activating good old word-of-mouth marketing.

An email newsletter is also a great way for you to nurture prospects who might want to hire you in the future. 

By sending regular emails that showcase your knowledge of the industry, and the different ways you might improve your clients’ results, plus providing some professional references of companies you’ve worked with, you make it more likely that they will want to use your services when they have need of them.


Build Authority so You Can Command Higher Rates 

An effective freelance email marketing strategy will allow you to expand your business as a writer by helping you appear more professional and authoritative in your prospects’ eyes. 

By presenting yourself as an expert in the subject you specialize in, you’ll be perceived more as a brand, and you will therefore be able to command higher rates.


Allows You to Promote Other Products

Email marketing opens new doors for your business by allowing you to make money in a variety of ways – one of which is to promote other products. 

For instance, you might offer consulting services, or sell your own courses, e-books, or even physical products. Many freelance writers are also affiliate marketers, making money through recommending things like web hosting, email marketing services, and various other products online. 


Frees Up Your Time By Automating Tasks

One of the absolute best things about email marketing is that it provides automation that helps to free up more of your time so you can focus on other important aspects of your freelance writing business. 

In fact, with the right automation tools, email marketing takes a lot less time than most people think.


How To Build an Email List and Get Clients

The secret to success in any type of digital marketing is to be helpful on the subjects in which you are knowledgeable.

You must have a strategy for building not only visibility and trust but also a strong following of engaged prospects.  While you may get those contacts through push or pull marketing, email is crucial for your own success. 

All you need is a proven step-by-step process to follow, and you will be able to build a list of targeted and engaged leads for your freelance writing business.

Listed below are the 7 steps you can take to start an email marketing strategy as a freelancer.

1. Set Your Goals

Your first step is to determine exactly what you want to accomplish.

  • Do you want to increase your online brand presence
  • Do you want to share content as a way to capture new prospects and nurture them? 
  • Do you want to send personal messages to your past and current clients?

Write down whatever it is that you want. Once you know what you want, it will be easier to create a strategy that helps you achieve those goals. 


2. Identify Your Target Client

Your next step is to identify your target client’s persona. Ask yourself “Who is the specific ideal client that you want to serve?” 

For instance, if you are a legal writer, you might be interested in serving legal firms. A landing page copywriter might want to serve eCommerce websites, and so on. 

When crafting your client persona, summarize everything you know about your target clients, including:

  • Demographic information, such as that age, location, industry, occupation, etc.
  • Include their pain points, such as the frustrations they face when it comes to content creation and what is holding them back from achieving their goals.
  • You can also include psychological information, such as their beliefs, goals for their career/company, and even their media habits (the websites, forums, social media networks they like to visit).


3. Choose an Email Service Provider

Rather than sending messages from your regular email app like Gmail, it’s more effective to use an email platform like MailChimp or GetResponse.

These types of services make it easier for you to manage your list, and your new subscribers will be automatically updated

Such a service takes away the need to do many of the manual tasks involved in sending emails, and you will be able to choose from many beautifully designed templates that will make your emails look a lot more professional. 

Best of all, you can use Mailchimp for FREE to send emails to up to 2,000 subscribers six times a month.


4. Start Building Your Email List

Once you have everything in place, your next step is to start building your list. 

The good news is, you don’t have to worry about building your list to phenomenal numbers. With as few as 50 to 100 email subscribers, you can easily generate enough new and recurring freelance writing gigs to fill up your calendar.

One of the best list-building tactics that work particularly well for freelance writers is to create an incentive, or lead magnet, to encourage new subscribers. 

This can be anything, such as a quiz, ebook, report, or writing tips. 

You can offer this on your blog or social media and people will exchange their email addresses for the lead magnet. 

Just remember, it has to be something that is extremely valuable to them, otherwise it won’t be incentive enough to make them part with their personal information.


5. Personalize Your Content

Personalizing your email content can be as simple as calling each of your subscribers by their first name. 

You can also mention the name of their company, or send them targeted content from your blog. 

Luckily, most email service providers have specific features that will contribute to email personalization and allow you to create dynamic text, including names, birthdays, and addresses, as well as content blocks that show certain content to specific customer segments. 

You can even personalize your email sending times to make sure that your message gets to each customer’s inbox at the ideal time when they are most likely to open, read, and engage with it. 

The most successful email campaigns are those that include interesting and informative content that is relevant to subscribers.

For example, the team at classic gaming site Solitaired started sending personalized emails recapping scores of solitaire games played and badges earned. They found that click-through rate and engagement increased by 31%.

On the other hand, if people aren’t interested in your content, you’ll find it hard getting them to open your emails. 

But, by understanding your audience, and sending content that resonates with them, you make it more likely that they will be eager to open the emails you send. 


6. Create an Email Sequence

You need to have a strong email marketing strategy for building visibility as a freelance writer. 

Starting with your welcome email, you can create a series of emails that will help keep your prospects engaged. 

But even more than that, your email sequence can help you attract new clients because people love to share interesting and informational content with their connections. 

So, by creating and sending this type of content to your email list, it will be like having your subscribers pass around your business cards for you!

How often should you send emails? 

You can send emails weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on how much effort you need to put into your emails, as well as the amount of content you want to share. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the number of emails you send each month. However, you can test different frequencies with your audience to see which works best at keeping them engaged.

When creating an email sequence, you can occasionally pitch your services as a freelancer, such as at the end of your welcome email and periodically after that. 

You can also include a new product or service in subsequent emails, but you should never be too “salesy”. 

You want your prospects to think of you as a likable expert. You must be their go-to resource for information and answers on your topic. 

This means your strategy for increasing your business should be a long-term goal.

Always lead with value. Your service should be secondary to content that is helpful for your prospects. 

In other words, every email you send needs to focus mainly on what you can do for your client. 

  • Offer helpful information and advice.
  • Give away nuggets of your expertise.
  • Offer solutions for their problems.

Give away free content that demonstrates your value to prospective clients. 

So, for instance, as a freelance writer, you might offer free productivity tips or a guide on how to work with freelancers. 

If you are a copywriter, you might offer proofreading tips or formulas for effective SEO writing, and so on.

Here Are Some More Tips for Creating an Engaging Email Sequence:

  • Share your clients’ success stories 
  • Share bullet lists with tips for improving your clients’ business using content
  • Curate and share other people’s content that is relevant to your audience
  • Share snippets of some of your best blog posts with “Read More” links back to your blog
  • Share a FAQ post with answers to some of your clients most frequently asked questions
  • Share industry news and information on recent events

Just make sure that your content is relevant to the recipients of your emails.

And, keep in mind that you’re building other people’s perception of you as an authority on your subject. 

This will help develop their trust in you which makes it more likely that over time, they will want to hire you when they have a need for your services.


7. Monitor and Track Your Results

Once you start building your list, it’s time to track and measure your results. This will be easy to do from the dashboard of your email service provider. 

Which freelance email marketing metrics should you focus on?

  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Spam complaints
  • Unsubscribe rate, etc.

These will let you know which aspects of your email marketing you need to improve.

For example, if your open rate is very low, you might look for ways to improve your subject lines. Alternatively, you might segment your email audience according to different fields so you can adapt your subject lines (as well as the email copy) to the different segments. 

This will help improve your open rates.

If your click-through rate is low, a great tactic to try is to bring the links “above the fold” where subscribers will see them without having to scroll down the page. 

This will help get more people to click through to your writer website.

Keep an eye on the different metrics mentioned above, but don’t focus obsessively on them.

Remember, your results will depend on a variety of factors, such as how “niche” your content is, as well as the type of marketing strategies you use. 

For instance, some freelance writers use email marketing in conjunction with social media marketing as a way to supercharge their results. 

It’s also important to remember that success in email marketing isn’t just about building the largest list that you can. It’s often better to have a smaller, yet more engaged list, than a larger list filled with people who will likely never convert into clients.


Ready to Start Your Freelance Email Marketing Strategy?

As a freelance writer, you’re always focused on getting more clients, and email marketing can help you achieve that in the most cost-effective way. 

If you can convert even just a few clients every year into return clients, then your email marketing program will be well worth your time. 

So use the strategy outlined above to help you capture and nurture prospective clients so you can show them the value of what you offer.

Do you believe building an email list can help you get more, better-paying clients? Share your thoughts about email marketing for freelancers in the comments below!


Prof. Ron Stefanski is a successful online entrepreneur and college professor who helps people create and market their own online businesses.  Learn more about Ron by visiting OneHourProfessor.com