Research shows that email marketing is one of the oldest and most reliable online marketing tools that exists, and it continues to grow in popularity and efficacy. Used by everyone from established brand names to legacy and upstart media publications (some exist only in email form) to startup tech companies, email newsletters continue to prove their worth across numerous platforms.
Email marketing may be a brand-friendly tool because it helps target those who want to get news from companies in a non-intrusive way. Like startups and established companies, freelancers may be able to leverage this time-tested marketing tool to help increase their own brand awareness, generate more leads and keep their audience informed about the latest offerings and achievements.
Build Your Personal Brand
Just because freelancers work independently doesn’t mean they don’t have a brand to promote. With the growing pool of freelancers available, the heightened competition may mean carving out a differentiated approach. This means that freelancers may have to think about also becoming leadership motivators, lifestyle gurus and media personalities in addition to their regular occupations as journalists, content creators, photographers and designers. An email newsletter is one way to establish their personality and expertise with potential leads by developing relevant content around the attributes that your audience may be seeking from a brand.
In creating my own personal brand through various channels (including email newsletters), I avoid trying to sell to my audience. From my experience, that's not what my customers want to hear, nor do I think it's a way to build a brand anyone will want. Instead, my focus has been to use the email newsletter as a tool to dialogue with my audience because these conversations may help build trustworthy relationships.
To further the credibility of my personal brand, I focus my content on illustrating my expertise in a particular field. This means sharing relevant updates, practical advice and interesting curated content from sources readers may want to know about. In weaving my personal brand into this content, I select a particular tone that reflects my brand attributes so that the audience can connect with a personality in the written and visual content I share through my email newsletters.
Because email marketing offers a platform for freelancers to become service providers and experts in their field, people may get drawn into their mailing lists for a wide range of reasons beyond just hiring them for a project. In using email newsletters for my business, there have been many times I was told by a contact that they forwarded a particular issue of my email newsletter to a colleague because they were looking for that industry information. The result has been new subscribers, which have become leads and even clients that I might not have otherwise connected with and closed.
In order to improve my lead rate, I like to use email marketing software that lets me specify which subscriber gets a specific newsletter. Some may be looking to receive a promotion about the project they hired me for, or another potential client could get an email newsletter full of calls to action. This ability to segment has taught me a lot about how to view and engage with my audience.
Keep Clients Updated
There are plenty of email marketing tactics you can employ to keep all of your current and former clients updated and reminded without having to reach out to each one of them personally. Here are some of the tactics I've used that have resulted in a positive response, including great feedback, more work and new clients:
- Send a holiday newsletter. I do a holiday email newsletter each year that includes a wrap-up of the year, summaries of the successful projects completed and a preview of the new year, in which I share new services or changes that are geared toward helping my clients.
- Announce any anticipated rate increases in email newsletters. I do this so all of my clients are aware that they're hearing about a standard price increase in prices rather than feeling like they might be charged more than another client. This also provides a way to align any rate change with further value that I will be introducing with that rate increase, such as a new skill, tool or service. I have even offered a way to pre-book a project prior to the price increase to ramp up extra work.
- Provide updates about new content on your website. This includes more information, additional case studies or new articles, videos and tutorials. This is an opportunity to have many current and past clients return to your website and get caught up on what you've been doing for clients that might also work for them.
There you have it. While freelancers already have to put in a lot of extra unpaid effort to launch and grow their businesses, I've found that offering an email newsletter has been helpful in generating new leads, keeping in touch with former clients and establishing a personal brand for my business. And with so many different email marketing tools and platforms now available, it may be a good time to start leveraging the benefits of email newsletters for your business.
For more tips on how to connect with customers through great emails, access this exclusive video course, Rethink Your Emails to Customers.
Read more articles on customer engagement.