Getting consistent work is one of the most challenging aspects of being a freelancer. Often, hours are spent pitching to new potential clients, creating quotes and polishing your profile in the hope that clients will choose you. This post explores the importance of following up and how to do it to increase your job conversion rates.
The Importance of Following Up
Life can be crazy, but it isn’t only your life that can seem like a rollercoaster. Those who are hiring freelancers like you for a job are often experiencing their own crazy ride. They may be juggling a business, family, life, and everything else that gets thrown in the mix. So, it is easy to understand why your pitch goes unnoticed or gets pushed aside.
Following up reminds that client of who you are, what you have to offer, and how you can make their life easier. It puts you back on their radar and increases your chances of getting a response back.
The Reality of Following Up
You may have heard success stories where a freelancer who followed up ended up landing a major client. That does happen, but the reality of following up is not perfect science. While following up is an excellent strategy, it is not always successful.
As a freelancer, you compete against many others similar to yourself, so you should prepare and expect failure.
Do not obsess over follow-ups. It would be best if you didn't waste extensive amounts of time writing long-winded follow-ups or fret over why you never heard back. A follow-up should just be a tool in your arsenal that you employ and then move forward with or without success.
When to Follow Up
Two different circumstances require a follow-up. The first is when you engage with the client, such as a warm pitch. You still want to follow up whether you had an in-person interview or simply messaged over a chat.
In this case, try this three-step follow-up process.
- Immediately after the engagement follow-up where you thank them for their time and look forward to hearing from them again.
- 7-10 days after the engagement where you reach out for an update and see if they are still interested.
- 14-21 days after the engagement where you send a reminder about who you are, what position you wanted, and what you have to offer.
After those follow-ups, you can continue sending follow-up messages every 2 to 6 months if you so choose.
The second circumstance is without engagement, known as a cold pitch, where you reach out through a job application, job quote or a simple inquiry. In this case, you would skip the first follow-up above (because that wouldn’t make sense) and just do #2 and #3, with additional follow-ups if you choose.
How to Follow Up
When you follow up, you want to set an appropriate friendly and informative tone while emphasizing that you are highly interested in the job. Again, the content of the follow-up depends on whether you made an engagement with a connection or not. Below are two basic templates for you to follow.
Follow Up Example for a Warm Pitch
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me (over Skype, in chat, in-person) on (date). I just wanted to follow up on the availability of the (job position).
I understand that life can get busy, which is why I have attached my (portfolio, resume, examples) below and here is the link to my ProZ.com profile. I am interested in working on (the project), and I believe that my experience as a (position title) would be a great match.
When you have a moment, could you please update me on the status of my application?
Thank you kindly, and I look forward to hearing from you,
Follow Up Example for a Cold Pitch
My name is (name), and I (submitted an application/reached out in an email) earlier this (week/month) for the (position) for the (project).
I am interested in working on (the project), and I believe that my experience as a (position title) would be a great match.
Below I have attached my (portfolio, resume, examples) and this is my ProZ.com profile link for you to review if you are interested. If the opportunity is no longer available, I’d greatly appreciate your consideration for future opportunities.
Thank you kindly for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you,
Of course, you don’t need to follow this verbatim, but use this as your guide. In addition, your subject line is critical if you are writing an email. We highly recommend writing "Position – Your Name / Specialty and language pairs or Business name."
Set Your Follow-Ups Up
Are you ready to start following up? Schedule it into your planner or your online calendar. Write down when you want to do your follow-ups, so you don't forget. Plus, if you are the type to do pitches at a specific time each week, then similarly schedule your follow-ups.