How freelancers get clients using email marketing

How freelancers get clients, using email marketing.

It all starts with the end.

Like most things in business, clarity tends to present itself whenever you reverse-engineer a desired outcome (or at least, it does for me – I love starting with the ‘end’).

So, securing clients using email marketing is no different.

Let’s look at an example of how I work through the process – maybe you’ll find it useful; (remember, I’m working backwards….)

I start by asking myself relevant questions…

Q: What am I trying to achieve?

A: I want people to buy my products and services, directly from my marketing emails.

Q: I need them on my subscriber list, so how do I get them on there?

A: Offer them something so valuable that they’re willing to give their email address for it.

Q: What can I create and offer to people to get them on my subscriber list?

A: A solution to one of my ideal client’s biggest or most common challenges (this is known as a ‘lead magnet’).

Q: Which problem can I solve for my ideal client?

A: [Example] “I’ll create a downloadable PDF document that explains to beginners, step-by-step, how to get started with email marketing.”

So, in doing this little exercise, I’ve gone from just knowing the desired outcome to understanding exactly what I need to do next to achieve it (offer them my lead magnet);

“Create an effective solution, and the desired result will inevitably happen.”

Get the attention of your ideal client

Now that we’ve figured out what we’re going to offer our ideal clients (i.e. the downloadable PDF), we need to get their attention.

As obvious as it may sound, we need to put our ‘attention-grabbing content’ in front of them, wherever they hang out.

Let’s imagine you’re clients are B2B businesses that need your services, and mostly they frequent LinkedIn, sharing their content and prospecting for their leads (just as you’re doing).

The most effective way to get on their radar is to get active in and around THEIR conversations. Make useful suggestions to problems posed; add helpful comments to ongoing conversations; showcase your depth of knowledge and expertise in your area whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Once you get involved at this conversational level, your name will become familiar to them and they’ll begin to recognise (and expect) your input.

Showcase your value

Now that you’re on their radar, it’s time to up your value-sharing game with your content.

Create useful posts that showcase solutions to their problems. Demonstrate how you’ve helped people just like them to overcome whatever problem/challenge they had, and how you did it.

The more you talk about how you fixed a problem they have, the more likely they are to engage with what you share and ultimately, buy from you.

Doing this for a sustained period, you’ll inevitably begin to get people engaging with you and asking you to either connect, or they’ll simply ‘follow’ you.

Lead them to the ‘bridge’

Once they’re ready, your new followers/connections will want your solutions, i.e. your ‘lead magnet’ – this will take them from where they are to where they want to be.

Staying with the LinkedIn example, you can either offer this publicly via your regular feed, or more effectively, on a personal level via the DMs.

Just bear in mind that if you want to DM someone on LinkedIn, you need to be a 1st degree connection, or have a premium account that you pay a premium for.

Whichever way you share your lead magnet, you’ll direct them to your ‘landing page’ where the value exchange can take place – i.e. you give them your lead magnet in exchange for their email address. I always collect first names too as I like to address people this way in my emails.

Once they share their details, they become subscribers to your email list. This takes your relationship from LinkedIn (or whichever social platform you’re on) to your email list – where the magic happens.

Communicating on a one-to-one basis, with the subscriber’s permission is a game-changer. Instead of just being another social platform member, you’ve been invited into their inboxes, a privilege to be cherished.

When you’ve achieved this, congratulations, you just led a social platform acquaintance across your ‘bridge’ and now you need to welcome them into your world.

Welcome your new subscribers

They’ve taken the leap of faith and given you their email address (and first name), so now you need to welcome them into your world with open arms and thank them for their trust.

I always begin my email marketing relationship with every new subscriber by focusing on the initial reason they joined my list. In other words, depending on which ‘lead magnet’ they accessed when joining my list, I’ll drip-feed them a series of complementary emails that further help them overcome that particular challenge or problem.

When they exit that email sequence, they then automatically drop into my ‘welcome sequence’ where I share more details about me, my business, and why I’m well placed to help them.

You should also set expectations with them, so they know what they can expect from you in the coming weeks/months/ years together.

For example, if you send out weekly emails, tell them that. If you send 3 emails per week, tell them that too – don’t leave them in the dark – that’s a surefire way to have people reaching for the unsubscribe link.

Nurture your relationships

Once on your list, it’s YOUR job to build and nurture the relationship you have with each subscriber. Remember, it’s very likely that as soon as subscribers begin to lose sight of the value you provide, they’ll be offski!

Create automated email sequences that can be drip-fed to each subscriber in the order they arrive on your list; the sequence can last for as long as you like (I have lists that have more than a year’s worth of emails).

The beauty of these automated ‘evergreen’ email sequences is that they continue to showcase your knowledge and allow you to claim your authority over your subject matter.

These ‘evergreen’ emails can then be supplemented by any dynamic or active content that you decide to share each week or month with your subscribers – for example, this could include more topics that are ‘of the moment’ rather than of an ‘evergreen’ nature (i.e. never date, no matter when they’re sent).

This continual and regular feed of emails will only build trust with your list and make it much more likely that they’ll buy from you when pitched.

Sell when the time’s right – freelancers get clients!

I see a lot of people make the mistake of getting subscribers on their email list, and before you can say “Jack Robinson”, they drop the first sales pitch! Arrghhhhh!!!

No, no, and just no.

Stop it, that’s not what people want – they want help with an immediate problem that your lead magnet is solving for them, and then they want to get to know you a bit before escalating the relationship (just like when dating, right?).

So when the time is right (for me, it’s normally a few weeks), and you’re sure they would benefit from what you want to sell, then it’s time to make the pitch.

Create and drip-feed your sales email sequence, which addresses all aspects of the sale.

Tell them exactly what you’re selling, how it will benefit them, what the alternative looks like (i.e not buying it), sign-post what the post-sales landscape looks like, and de-risk it for them as much as you can (I like to offer everyone a 100% money-back guarantee, but I appreciate not all businesses can do this, depending on what you’re selling).

Done properly, and over an appropriate period, the outcome will likely be good, for both parties.

Don’t forget to support every sale

Whenever you make a sale via email marketing, you must support the post-sales experience with a bespoke email sequence for that particular product or service – doing this one thing will practically eliminate any chances of buyer’s remorse.

If it’s a simple purchase, then be thankful and proceed to explain how to get the most from their product or service.

For more complex purchases (e.g. maybe you’ll be delivering a 12-month coaching program that includes many facets) you’ll want a more complex email sequence, one that is timed to match the delivery of the service.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. People like to be sign-posted and kept informed of what’s going on – being in the dark is a recipe for disaster!

Always be asking “What’s next?”

The most important question every freelancer must ask themselves, for every subscriber they have, is “What’s next?”.

YOU need to figure this out consistently, every time someone buys from you, ask “What’s next?” – what will they need after buying this, and when will they need it?

It’s your responsibility to do this, NOT your subscribers – they’ll simply move on if there’s nothing else to buy from you.

Once you’ve figured out what’s next and when they’ll need it, get it logged in your email marketing system so that it can be offered to them at exactly the right time.


So, there you have it! The process for how freelancers get clients from email marketing.

Follow these simple steps consistently and you’ll soon discover you’ve created a system that is not only effective at delivering you sales but also one that evolves with you and your business’s (and your subscribers’) needs.

When done properly, a great content and email marketing system is like your best-ever employee who never calls in sick or asks for a promotion or pay rise!


John Bellingham Email marketing strategist for freelancers

John Bellingham
Email marketing strategist for freelancers.

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