Communicating with a Potential Client via Email
Every email message you send a potential client should convey the right message in the right way. Yet inboxes everywhere are still awash in communiqués featuring CAPS LOCK, "!!!"s, "LOL"s, and ":)"s that smack of laziness and unprofessionalism at the very least. None of these things should appear in your email efforts to land a freelance graphic design job.
Be mindful of these Professional Email Etiquette Faux Pas:
- ALL-CAPS. It comes off as SHOUTING, which is as rude in an email as it is in person. If you need to emphasize something, use bold or italicized lettering instead.
- Fancy nonsense. Freelance graphic design job-seekers are sometimes tempted to play with backgrounds, graphics and typography in email. Instead, use a simple, readable font and a clear background to save your recipient download time and inbox space.
- Excessive punctuation. One exclamation point is quite enough!!!
- Texting abbreviations and slang in a professional email. Spell out what you mean. Not only might the person on the other end not get what “MTFBWU” means, they might find certain abbreviations offensive or inappropriate.
- Going over your agent's head. When you're working with a staffing agency such as Artisan, and you're tempted to reach out to a client directly, talk to your Talent Representative first so that you know when to bring her into the conversation. Leaving your rep out of the loop can be confusing at best and at worst can damage your career.
Charlie Osborne of ZDNet also recommends avoiding emoticons until your contact uses them first. Even then, go light on the smileys—never more than one or two in any email.
Always Use These Professional Email Etiquette Tips:
- Get to the point. The email etiquette experts at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab insist on a brief, meaningful subject line that tells your contact what the email is about. This saves the recipient time, which makes you look thoughtful.
- Address your recipient politely and properly. A “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Dr. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Jones” is appropriate.
- Use good grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Use the spell checker and re-read your email a couple of times to weed out any typos.
- Keep it brief. Inform them why you are writing, ask your questions and make your points in a short, concise way that saves the recipient time and energy and encourages a response.
- Close politely and gratefully. Thank them for their time and end with the classic Sincerely, Best Regards, or a simple Thank You.
- Include your contact information in your signature line so the recipient can easily get a hold of you later.
When you work with Artisan, we will handle client communications for you, presenting you in the best possible light.