Freelance designers have a lot of different responsibilities when it comes to running a business and providing client services. Anything that you can do to increase efficiency in administrative areas will help to allow you to spend more of your time actually designing for clients.
Email is an essential communications tool, but for freelancers it often becomes overwhelming. One effective way to increase efficiency with email is to have a set of templates that can be used for common situations. Of course, you’ll want to edit the templates to fit the specific needs of each situation, but if your templates are drafted carefully they should not need extensive editing or customization.
In this article we’ll take a look at 5 specific types of templates that you may want to have on hand in order to save yourself some time. Email templates can also help to improve communications with clients, ensuring that you don’t overlook certain things and allowing you to respond faster.
1. Proposal Follow Up Email
After you submit a proposal to a potential client, if you haven’t received a response in a few days (the amount of time will probably vary from one project/client to the next) you’ll probably want to follow up.
In some cases you may even want to send the follow up right after the proposal just to say thanks for the opportunity. This is more typical in a situation where the proposal is presented in person or over the phone, rather than in an email.
The purpose of the proposal follow up is simply to thank the potential client for considering you, and to prompt them towards choosing you for the project. You’ll probably want to mention your interest in working on the project and your confidence that you can do a great job for the client.
2. Thank You to a New Client
After you have signed a contract with a new client, or at least received a verbal confirmation that the client will be hiring you, it is a good idea to send a thank you email. The purpose of this email is obviously to let them know that you appreciate their business and the fact that they have chosen you for the project, but also to set the tone for a positive working relationship.
Depending on the stage at which you send this thank you email it can be a good time to mention the things that you will need in order to get started. This could include an upfront payment, a signed contract, written content to be used on the project, etc.
An effective thank you email to a new client can help to get the project started quickly, rather than waiting around for days or weeks for the client to make the upfront payment and to get the signed contract to you.
3. Thank You After Project Completion
Another thank you email is appropriate at the completion of the project. The purpose of this email is to help to provide closure to the project, to thank the client for their business, to solicit referrals, and to offer you services on an on-going basis or for future needs (if that is a good fit for you and for the client).
If you’ve had a good working relationship with the client throughout the project and they are happy with the end result, this is a perfect time to ask for referrals. Referrals are key to most freelance designers, so be sure not to miss out on an excellent opportunity here.
Even clients who have been difficult throughout the process can become a lot more pleasant when a project is completed to their satisfaction, and thanking them for the opportunity also helps to improve the situation.
4. Payment Overdue Reminder
No one wants to think about situations where clients don’t pay on time, but the reality is that it will happen from time-to-time. In most cases it’s not a situation where the client is trying to avoid paying you. It’s more likely that the client forgot to take care of the invoice, or that it is in process with a slow-moving client, which can be the case with larger companies.
Sending a simple, polite reminder is a good way to handle the situation. If the invoice was overlooked or misplaced, a polite reminder will usually take care of the issue without irritating the client. If the client is intentionally avoiding payment, at least the polite reminder lets them know that you are on top of the situation and it gives them a chance to take care of the payment before you take the collection efforts to another level.
5. Email Newsletter
The fifth and final email template that we’ll cover in this article is different from the others, but still an important part of communication with your clients. It’s a good practice to have an email newsletter to send to your past and present clients (at least to those who want to receive it) and to anyone else who wants to stay up-to-date with what you are doing.
The email newsletter is perfect for staying in contact with your clients from the past, and hopefully when they are in need of design services in the future you will be on their mind. In the newsletter you can show samples of recent projects that you’ve completed, write brief articles, link to posts on your blog, link to your social networking profiles, or provide any other content that would be of interest to subscribers.