This time of year is one of the best occasions to follow up with potential clients who expressed an interest in working with you, but never sent you any work. Summer is winding down, and the busy fall season is coming up, so it’s a great time to nudge those clients who might have some work in the pipeline for you. Here’s a simple system that can help:
-When a potential client expresses an interest but doesn’t offer an assignment, save their e-mail in a folder called something like, “Follow up on these marketing contacts.”
-At an appropriate time (such as now!), send a quick followup e-mail. Here’s an example of one that I just sent: “Hello (name), I hope that you’re doing well and that you had/are having a great summer! I’m writing to follow up on the e-mails we exchanged in June, about some potential French/English conference interpreting assignments for the fall. I wondered if you’re looking to confirm any of those; if not, I hope that we can work together on another assignment in the future!” This isn’t perfect, but it’s simple, and to the point, and doesn’t create weird tension if the client doesn’t want to work with you.
-Move that e-mail to a new folder, called something like, “Followed up once.”
-The chances are at least 50/50 that the client will respond; I just sent out a few of these e-mails, and more than half responded within an hour or so. However, bonus points if you then go through your “Followed up once” folder, following up again with anyone who didn’t respond, and moving those e-mails to a “Followed up twice” folder.
Having a simple, relatively painless system really helps me follow through with following up. I don’t love following up and nudging dormant clients, but it’s the easiest, most effective marketing strategy that most people completely ignore! Hopefully this system helps you as well.
Corinne McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder of Training for Translators, and has been a full-time freelancer since 2002. She holds a Master of Conference Interpreting from Glendon College, is an ATA-certified French to English translator, and is Colorado court-certified for French interpreting. If you enjoy her posts, consider joining the Training for Translators mailing list!