Your initial message to a potential client is vital, providing your first opportunity to make a good impression, stand out from the crowd and hopefully get his attention and arouse his interest. So it’s worthwhile spending some time getting it right.
You need to capture the client’s attention quickly, conveying what makes you right for the project, highlighting relevant skills, experience and your understanding of the brief. Looking for some pointers? Here’s our top tips on making your emails shine:
• Read the brief carefully – first and foremost, make sure you’re right for the role, and that the role is right for you! Just because you’ve been alerted to a job doesn’t necessarily mean you should apply, so check that the required skills and experience, hours, budget and length of contract match up with what you can offer. The most successful email pitches are highly tailored to both the client’s business and the project, so studying the brief carefully will also help you formulate a strong first message.
• Address the challenge – use your email as a chance to show how your skills and experience match up with the project goals, providing examples of past clients and projects where possible. It can also be beneficial to give a few insights into how you would approach the challenges outlined in the brief, inspiring confidence that you know your stuff and can deliver.
• Answer any questions and/or specifics – if the brief includes any specific questions or criteria regarding length of contract, working days or location (e.g. remote vs. in-office), make sure you cover these off in your email, confirming that this suits your way of working and current availability.
• Budget and rate – clients usually provide an idea of the budget they have available so check this matches up with your expectations and confirm what you charge in your email. If the client hasn’t given an idea of budget, ask for guidance on this.
• Ask any relevant questions – some briefs are more detailed than others so if you feel there are gaps, don’t be scared to ask for more detail. Including a couple of key questions will help show your expertise, interest and enthusiasm for the project, and may spark off some thoughts that the client hadn’t previously considered.
• Be natural, adapting your tone to the client – marketing and PR is a people business and clients want to work with people they like and get along with. So don’t be scared of showing your personality and natural style, keeping it professional but not overly formal. Having said that, it’s also advisable to consider the nature of the client and tweak accordingly – a corporate law firm is likely to expect a more formal style than a tech start-up, for example.
• Include relevant samples of your work – nothing brings your experience to life like some real-life samples, whether that’s coverage, marketing materials or copywriting. The key is to make these as relevant as possible, so hand-pick a couple that showcase the skills and expertise that the client is looking for, rather than overwhelming them with loads of documents to sift through. Be aware you can only include one attachment at a time, so combine your examples into one document or include links, if you have a number to share.
• Keep it snappy – clients are likely to be time-pressed and have lots of emails to get through, so be careful not to overload them with too much irrelevant information. Stick to the most important details, referring them to your profile for more background (ensuring it’s up-to-date first!) and suggesting a follow up chat if they would like to discuss anything in further. If you don’t include any attachments, your Work Crowd profile will automatically be included with your first message, or you can choose to attach a CV instead. There is also an area on your profile to upload your CV, examples of your work and anything else that shows off your skills and expertise.
• Don’t include personal contact details – Be careful not to include any personal contact details, either in your message or on your CV. This is to ensure that clients don’t contact you directly and we have a record of your conversation, so can help if there are any disputes.
• Proof-read! – As marketing and PR professionals, this should be standard practice, but just a reminder to check and double-check your email for typos and grammar before you click ‘send’. Even the smallest of errors can detract from what you’re saying, so it’s always worth a final check!