As a freelancer, chances are you’re interested in independently pitching your services to businesses instead of dilly-dallying around, awaiting job listings on highly competitive job boards. If that’s the case, you should be concerned about the medium through which your pitches are conveyed: E-mail.

All too often, freelancers whine about their pitches getting no responses. But many fail to realize the possibility of emails evading their recipients’ attention; therefore, not getting read at all, talk more of warranting a reply.

To draw attention and increase your pitches’ open rate, these are 5 things you should do.

1. Personalize the Subject Line.

The subject line is a determiner of whether or not an email stands a chance of getting opened and read. A great way to make your subject line attract attention is by personalizing it.

How do you go about this?

Well, imagine this scenario. You’re in a noisy building filled with hundreds of unfamiliar people, then you hear someone yell, “Hey there!,” from a distance. Chances are high that you’ll ignore this call, right?. How about when you’re called by your name (For example: “Hey, John!”)? … well, you catch the drift.

While the foregoing analogy may seem a bit out of context, it somewhat reflects what goes on when your email gets into yet another ‘heavy-loaded inbox’, so to say.

Super busy people receive tons of emails each day and ignore those that appear spammy. To avoid coming off as such, your emails should be personalized by including the recipient’s name. This could come in form of a salutation, such as “Hi, [name]”, or other ways you deem attention-grabbing.

2. Don’t Sound Promotional

This also has to do with your subject line, for that is the part of your email that gets read in an instant.

People dislike spams mostly because they are promotional in nature.

So, the greatest disservice you could do to your email is making its subject line look and sound promotional, even after personalizing it.

For example, “Hi Jane, Need This?” sounds like yet another promo. However, “Hi, Jane. Kindly Give this a Moment’s Attention”, seems to cut it.

You want to rid your pitches of a promotional tone if you are dead serious about getting your pitches read.

3.Pay Attention to the Time of the day

Your prospects are business people who traditionally do not work beyond a slated number of hours. To increase your email’s chances of being opened, you should send your pitch while they (prospects) are on the job.

Always do a research about your prospects before sending a pitch. Take note of their city’s time zone and do a quick Google search to find out the time of the day whenever you’re set to hit the send button. Also, pay attention to their businesses’ working hours, and send your pitch at a strategic time.

For productivity’s sake, it is becoming more common for business people to switch off email alerts, only to check their inboxes once in a while during the day. This means that you may not always be spoiled with the opportunity of having a prospect read your email immediately it gets through him or her. Nonetheless, sending emails during working hours leaves you in the neighborhood of success.

4. Avoid Weekends

Should you send your pitches on weekends? The answer is big NO. Why? Because everyone has got to take a break and so should you, too. But not just that…

There’s a possibility that your prospect receives quite a number of emails (especially spams) during weekends. Hence, sending your pitch then would get it shrouded in the midst of a multitude emails, which might later be disregarded by the recipient.

Also, people like their time respected and will easily consider a turnoff any business email received on a weekend.

To be a successful freelancer, you must always act professionally. Sending pitches during weekends is anything but professional.

5. Follow Up

Something – anything – could go wrong. A prospect could miss your email or have it deleted on error. Hence the reason you should be resilient and follow up your emails so as to get it opened eventually.

You however don’t want to be pushy with this. Give it time. A super freelancer, Karen Cordaway, formulated a follow up formula with which you can design your own follow-up strategy.

Wrapping It Up

As a freelancer, pitching is never easy – you’ve got to set out time from your busy schedule to write and send emails to tons of people.  To make the most of spent time, your pitches must be as throat-grabbing as possible.

This article shows that personalizing an email’s subject line, avoiding a promotional tone, shooting emails at strategic periods of the day and the week, and following up, are some good ways to go. The more your emails get opened, the more likely they’d be attended to, and perhaps, the steadier the payments that you would get hit by on a regular basis.

Deji Atoyebi is a freelance content writer and digital marketing consultant who specializes in growing businesses using content, copy and Google AdWords. He writes for The Huffingtonpost, Engadget and TweakYourBiz. When he isn't working, he's either reading or hacking stuff with codes.

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