By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering SEO, PPC, and Amazon marketing services.
Following up on a pitch isn’t easy. You really want to get a response, but you don’t want to come across as annoying.
I’m sure we have all been there: writing a few sentences, deleting them, hovering over the “send” button and wondering whether or not this is the right move. If people wanted to hire you, surely they would get back in touch?
Well, people these days are busy, and they may have simply forgotten, which is why following up is so important.
With that being said, continue reading to discover my advice on how to follow up on your freelance pitch effectively.
Use A Brief Email To Follow Up
A concise, polite email can act as a gentle reminder that you haven’t received a response yet. Kindly ask that the recipient confirms they’ve received your pitch and mention that you look forward to hearing their thoughts.
One thing you don’t want to do is make the recipient work. So attach the original pitch or query, rather than making the individual search for it themselves.
Don’t say that you have been waiting “x” number of days. This can sound accusatory. People are busy, and they don’t often have enough hours in the day, so it’s likely that they’ve simply forgotten.
To capture the attention of the recipient, try adding a bit of extra information to your follow-up email. Of course, you still need to be concise. No one is going to read an essay. However, let’s say you’re a content writer; you may want to add a link to a blog post that the recipient may find interesting.
Timing Is Everything When Following Up
How long should you wait before following up? That’s the magic question. Unfortunately, there’s no set number of days that are ideal when it comes to following up on a pitch.
If you have dealt with this individual before, you can use your past experience to understand how long the person typically takes to respond to you.
Unless you have been told to follow up sooner or the project is time-sensitive, give the recipient at least a week before you get in touch to find out about the state of your freelance pitch.
Avoid sending your follow-up email just before a public holiday or at the end of the day on a Friday. If you do this, you run the risk of your email being lost in the bulk of incoming emails over the weekend or holiday period.
Earlier, I mentioned how it can be a good idea to include something extra in your follow-up email so that you’re giving more value. This is true, but that doesn’t give you a license to start waffling.
Instead, you need to keep everything clear and concise. Get straight to the point, and don’t use unnecessary words or sentences.
Keep Your Tone Professional
One of the biggest challenges freelancers have when following up is getting the tone right. You really want to secure the work, but you don’t want to come across as desperate or unprofessional.
Approach your email in the same manner you did when you first contacted the potential client. Make sure there are no grammar mistakes or typos.
You can be a little bit more informal if you have a good relationship with the recipient. Your experience will tell you this. However, always err on the side of caution.
Also, don’t forget that there is a high chance that the recipient will need to forward the email to someone else, such as their superior, so you want to create a good impression.
Don’t Be Afraid To Recognize Your Eagerness
One thing that I like to do when following up is to recognize my eagerness. I’ll make a little comment that I recognize that the recipient is probably very busy, and I’m being overly eager. It just gives you the opportunity to show a little bit of your personality, and it shows that you sympathize with the person receiving your email as well.
You may think that it’s a little bit self-deprecating, but it can take away some of the stiffness or irritation that these types of emails tend to have.
You can simply say that you’re very excited about the project and you thought you’d just check in to see if there is any progression and if they have had time to look at your email yet.
Now, this isn’t going to work every time. So don’t take the fact that you’ve shown a little bit of personality and vulnerability and gotten no response to heart.
Understand That It Will Get Easier
I don’t know anyone who enjoyed following up on pitches the first time they did it. It’s awkward, and you feel like you’re being a pest. However, it does get easier.
As time goes on, it will likely become second nature to you, and you won’t feel so nervous or anxious about following up.
You’ll also be able to better handle any responses that come your way, whether they’re positive or negative.
Know When To Let It Go
If you have sent a follow-up email, and you’ve tried again to contact the individual, recognize that it’s best to let it go. It can be very disappointing when someone has promised you work, but they don’t stick to that promise. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to move on and look for other people who may be interested in your work instead.
Follow Up—But Do It The Right Way
As you can see, there is an art when it comes to following up on a freelance pitch. You want to encourage a response, but you don’t want to come across as spammy. The tips I provided above will help ensure this is the case.
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