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Kevin Payne · 13 min read · Partner posts · December 2, 2020

How freelancers can use email marketing to get more clients

Getting more clients is an ongoing priority for freelancers. So it’s not surprising to see tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile, designing your portfolio, or even hacks for using Facebook or Instagram to attract new clients.

However, there is another cost-effective way that can get you more clients: email marketing. 

An email marketing strategy can capture and nurture prospects until they’re ready to see the value in your service. It is a great way to flex those marketing muscles while gaining qualified clients. 

In this post, we’re taking a look at why and how freelancers can truly benefit from building an email list. We’ll end with some practical tips and examples to get you on your way.


Why email marketing for freelancers?

Email marketing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking of marketing your freelance services. But let’s see why it might just become one of your most reliable platforms for making more sales.

Builds authority to command higher rates

When you create an email marketing strategy as a freelancer, you’re able to expand your business in a few new ways. For starters, you’re able to appear more professional in the eyes of prospects, since you appear more like a brand yourself. This lets you command higher rates because you can present yourself as the go-to expert.

Lets you promote other products

When you start email marketing as a freelancer, it may open some new doors for your business. For instance, many freelancers have gone the route of freelancer-turned-consultant. Others have decided to offer passive income courses and products that bring out their expertise. 

Leah Kalamakis from Freelance to Freedom is a great example of a freelancer doing just that. When she cracked the code to getting more consistent clients every single month, she launched an ebook designed to show other freelancers the exact strategies she used so they can implement it in their own business.

email marketing for freelancers ebook promotion

Serves as an avenue for nurturing prospects

Having your own newsletter as a freelancer lets you capture prospects who may hire you in the future. They might not even realize they require your services right now, but when you send them high-value emails that show off your industry knowledge and your clients’ results, then you can bet you’ll be on the top of their minds when they have a need.

It’s important to build a relationship with your prospects and collect high-quality leads. Email is the perfect channel for this. Engage with these contacts by getting to know their struggles in their niche, then find the best way to position yourself as the solution to their frustrations.


How to start an email marketing strategy as a freelancer

You might be asking: how do I actually start an email marketing strategy for my small business? Here, we’ve laid out 8 key steps to help you craft a solid plan to reel in more prospects and get you more clients.

Set your goals

When you’re first starting to build your list, get clear on your goals. Set targets for the number of new subscribers you might want each month, then determine what outcome you want from your list. These are some questions you can ask yourself to set your goals:

  • How many conversions are you aiming for?

  • What do you want people to do after they sign up? 

  • What should new subscribers know about you right after signing up for your email list?

  • By how many people do you want your list to grow every month?

  • How many discovery calls do you need to book each month to sign your target number of clients?

Having answers to these questions will help you craft your campaigns moving forward. By setting your goals, you can easily evaluate the steps needed to hit those goals. At the end of your campaign, you can revisit your freelancer email marketing goals and determine whether your email campaigns were successful or not.

Identify your client persona

One of the best ways to get more clients as a freelancer is by identifying a specific ideal client whom you can serve. Perhaps you’re a digital marketer who can best serve legal firms, or you’re a web designer for e-commerce stores.

Create a client persona that summarizes everything you know about your ideal client, from demographic to psychographic information. Here are some things to include in your buyer persona:

  • Demographic information like their age, occupation, location, and industry

  • Psychographic information like their media habits (which sites and social media networks they often visit), their goals for their company or job, and their beliefs

  • Information about the pain points and frustrations that might be holding them back from reaching their goals

Once you have this client persona, it can influence the rest of your marketing strategies as a freelancer. You can then come up with targeted lead magnets to reel in these ideal clients to your email list, or use this information to help implement an effective outreach strategy while always hitting the right leads. 

email marketing for freelancers ui breakfast example
email marketing for freelancers ui breakfast email signup example

In the example above, Jane Portman of UI Breakfast clearly identifies her target audience as SaaS, or software as a service, companies that need help with their UI/UX and product strategy. This way, any user who finds her freelance portfolio knows that she serves a particular market – and if a user happens to be a SaaS founder or employee looking to level up their UI and are part of her email newsletter, then they’ll know they’re the right fit for Jane’s agency.

Get a custom professional email with your domain

If you’re already running a portfolio site or a blog, then you’re primed and ready to create a custom email. By using a custom email, you appear more professional, especially when you start sending out emails to your list.

Opt for an approachable email handle, such as “hello@yourdomain.com” or “yourname@yourdomain.com” for a more personal touch.

Here’s an example. Entrepreneur Danielle Leslie uses a custom email account in her email marketing as a freelancer. Follow her example and use an easy-to-remember email address, and be sure to put your name in the Sender details so your subscribers know exactly who’s sending them mail.

email marketing for freelancers danielle leslie email sender

Choose an email service provider 

Next, you’ll want to choose an email service provider that delivers your email marketing campaigns and helps you to grow your freelancing business. 

Basic features like customizable newsletter templates and sign-up forms are great, and taking it up a notch with advanced features including automation tools and A/B testing can be a big boost in your overall email strategy.

You can do these things and more with MailerLite. If you want more control over your campaigns, you have access to an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, custom HTML editor, and templates for sending valuable newsletters and even promoting products from your online store.

Growing your list is also easier with features like a landing page and sign-up form builder, giving you full control over how your opt-ins and subscribe forms look and feel on your site.

Create your first campaign in minutes

Our free plan includes access to the features you need like automation and landing pages.

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mailerlite drag and drop editor email marketing for freelancers

Build your email list

Now we’ve come to the most important part of your email marketing strategy as a freelancer: actually building your list. 

The best way to get people to sign up to your list is to offer an incredibly valuable lead magnet. When you’re a freelancer that works with other businesses and companies, you can think of a very specific problem that your ideal client might be facing. This way, you get qualified leads right away, putting your overall digital marketing strategies to good use.

In the example below, Lianna Patch of Punchline Copywriting offers prospective clients access to exclusive tips and tricks about writing fun copy for their products and pages. All they need to do is sign up for her newsletter using the embedded opt-in form across her website and blog posts, then they get instant access to her guide right away.

email marketing for freelancers punchline copywriting

In another example, Kayla Hollatz, a web copywriter, uses interactive content to get people on her email list. She uses a quiz that will show prospects their brand voice style, and at the end offers a way to start implementing this style as best as they can.

email marketing for freelancers kayla hollatz signup example

As one last example, Kiara Mijares from branding agency Isabel & Co. offers free 5-day live training for finding a profitable niche and building a strategic brand. 

email marketing for freelancers kiara mijares branding signup example

As you can see from the examples above, there are many different list building strategies you can try today, but the most important thing to note is providing value for your prospects first. When an ideal client sees you’re the expert, then they’ll be more inclined to hire you.

Personalize your content

Next, focus on personalizing your email content. This can be as simple as calling subscribers by their first name in your emails, or even mentioning their company names or sending them highly targeted content from your blog.

personalized email marketing example - mailerlite

Aside from a collection of different templates, MailerLite’s personalization features let you create dynamic text like names or addresses; content blocks to show specific customer segments a particular set of posts; and even personalized sending times so you’re hitting customers’ inboxes at an ideal time.

You can send personalized content as a way to welcome new subscribers to your list using a welcome sequence, where you can pitch your freelance service at the end.

Have the right sequences in place

In the previous point, we mentioned sending welcome emails—that’s an example of a sequence you can use in your freelancer email marketing strategy, among other email marketing automations you can do.

Sequences are a great tool for busy freelancers since they guarantee regular emails and newsletters for your email subscribers, all on autopilot. You can stay connected with potential clients and nurture them enough before sending them through a sales funnel.

So after a user opts in to your email list in exchange for a lead magnet, you can take them through an email sequence with the goal of nurturing your relationship with them. In this sequence, you can provide exclusive tips they can’t find anywhere else, as well as case studies and testimonials from previous clients who loved working with you.

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Dre Beltrami and Andy Hubbert of The Solopreneur Society offer a visual brand identity guide to help fellow freelancers build a unique and personal brand identity.

When a user signs up, they are then taken through a series of emails that give different strategies and tips on strong copywriting, staying visually consistent, and even how to set up online funnels to reel in more customers for their business.

email marketing for freelancers solopreneur society signup example

Other ways you can use sequences in your freelance business can include limited-time offers and promotions during off-peak seasons, or testing out a new client package or program. These sequences can be a series of emails that are designed to help you book more calls or instantly make more sales, whatever your goal may be.

Track and measure your results

Last but not least, pay attention to your email marketing analytics to see how you’re doing. Over time, you’ll see ways you can improve your campaigns, your lead magnet and your overall marketing strategy.

Make the most of A/B tests to determine subject lines and templates that do well. Check which send times get the most open rates. Test different CTAs to see what gets the most clicks and conversions.

Either way, you’ll have a stronger campaign when you base your next steps on measurable data.


Key takeaways

Are you going to start email marketing for your freelancing business? Be sure to read up on the guide above to help you get started. As a freelancer, growing your business can be a challenge, but with the right tools in place, you can automate and skyrocket your growth like never before.


Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.