As a web writer, you have a great opportunity to write interesting content for a variety of companies.
That’s not the only thing you’ll write when running your business, though!
There are plenty of messages you’ll need to send out to clients and prospects alike.
This could be anything from schedule confirmations to prospecting emails to updates on a project.
How should you write these messages? What do you say?
Many writers struggle with the “business” writing you need to do as a web writer. It could take just as long to write an email as it does to write an article!
Avoid the “What should I write?” blank page and use these dos and don’ts every time you sit down to write to clients and prospects.
Tip #1: The Subject Line Is Everything
As business owners, many of us are incredibly busy. On any given day, your reader might have 100 to 1,000+ unread messages in their inbox. You need to stand out.
When creating a subject line, your client or prospect needs to have a reason to open the message.
When prospecting, you can mention a newsworthy item.
For example, if the company you’re reaching out to has recently opened a building or achieved an award, send a subject line like, “Congratulations on your new location!” or “The Dream Big Award?! Way to Go!”
People like being congratulated. They like hearing about their accomplishments. Your subject line stands out and gives your reader a reason to open your message.
When communicating with clients, remember they’re busy. The meaning of the message needs to be clear from the subject line.
For example, you’re in the middle of a project. There’s some very important information you need from the client to move forward.
If you send a subject line that doesn’t show how important your message is or that the content of the email has a deadline, there’s a chance they may not see it.
It’s better to be boring but clear. Subject lines like, “Your weekly project update” and “Urgent: materials needed to complete your project” let the reader know what to expect inside the message.
Tip #2: Ask, “What’s in It for Them?” When Prospecting
Sending out prospecting emails can be a frustrating experience if you don’t get responses to your messages.
To get a better result, keep the content of the message focused on the benefit to your prospect.
It’s tempting to showcase all of the things you’ve achieved as a web writer, such as how many articles you’ve written, how many companies you’ve worked for, or even how long you’ve been doing this.
But, that doesn’t have any benefit for your reader.
Your email should be benefit-oriented for the prospect.
For example, you reach out to a prospect who creates courses for a living. You want to help them write blog posts about their courses.
Write about yourself in terms of the benefits to your reader. Keep this section to a few sentences.
Begin with a brief introduction as to why you’re reaching out, and include a benefit. Try something simple like, “I’m Bob, and I’m a web writer who would love to work with you to reach more of your ideal people.”
Follow this with a sentence to back up your credentials, such as, “I’m an AWAI-verified web writer, and I use my five years of experience to help companies like yours expand their reach.”
Each statement you make about yourself is really describing a benefit to the reader.
Tip #3: Be Short When Possible
When communicating with clients and prospects, you want to get to the point quickly. Short messages are easier to read. They’re more likely to make it to the top of a person’s queue.
If you have a long email, it can look like work.
Even when you’re actively working on a project for a client, they may put off reading your long message until later, because they think they’ll need to craft a long response.
For initial messages to prospects, try to keep them under 300 words. For messages to clients, no matter the subject, aim for 600 words or fewer.
You want to follow the rules of writing for the web when creating emails, as well. Many people check their inbox on a phone. If you have long paragraphs or sentences, it looks like too much effort, and people won’t finish reading the message.
If you use an email system that connects to your phone, save your email as a draft and view it on your phone before sending. Is it easy to read, or does it look like a wall of text?
Tip #4: Use Links and Attachments Sparingly
Many people are using a variety of spam blockers nowadays, and they’re reluctant to click on a link or download a file sent from a complete stranger.
For prospecting, many people want to cut down on the back-and-forth with a calendar link to book a call. However, a lot of people are worried about viruses. They may not want to book a time or click on the link you provide.
You can invite them to continue the conversation by replying to your email or giving you a call, or let them know they can check out your website.
While they may not click the link you provide to your website, this does prompt them to do an independent Google search, so they’ll see you’re legitimate.
When communicating with your client, you don’t want to confuse them or give them too many things to do. If you need them to click a link, such as filling out a questionnaire, include a single link for the message.
If you have several things you need from them – such as when gathering all of the information for a project – create an online folder where everything lives, so you can send one link to click.
If there are too many links or too many instructions, people don’t know where to start, so they end up not taking action.
Tip #5: Decide Your Level of “Business Speak”
Depending on the industry you’re in, some people are more informal, and others are more formal. Look at communications you’ve received from companies you might want to work with. Look at their language to decide if you need to be more formal in your communication.
Some people are incredibly informal in their email communication, such as in the online course creators market. These are often personality-driven brands, and their messages are more fun.
However, if somebody asks for the resume-style message, and you send a fun, quirky one, it’s not going to be a great fit.
Be aware of the industry you’re writing in, and the type of communication they might be interested in.
Remember your message is the first and only touch point prospects may have to decide if you’re a good choice to work together. If your message doesn’t match what they expect to find in their inbox, they won’t reach out to you.
When communicating with your client, each message is an opportunity for you to showcase you’re a business owner, not simply an order taker. Be yourself, but also match their expectations.
For example, some people include a greeting, such as “Hey, NAME” and a closing, such as “Best, Bob” in each message. Others simply respond in short sentences. Observe what your client expects and match it as much as possible.
When you can create a message that stands out, gives value, and is relevant, prospects and clients alike will enjoy working with you.
Remember, everybody has their own communication style. When you follow these dos and don’ts for creating powerful email messages to prospects and clients, you can start to build a database of people who want to work with you not only once, but many times over into the future.