The Importance of Maintaining Email Relationships for Freelancers

Maintaining good relationships is extremely important in business as well as in personal life. People who work from home, especially freelancers, need to maintain healthy relationships with people who can be beneficial for them in the future.

The Internet has provided a lot of new platforms to people to interact on–but still, emails are of great benefit. Some freelancers (especially the new ones) think that maintaining relationships by email is an old method of staying connected to the clients. They think that using live chats and social networking websites is a much better way to stay in touch, but that is not true.

Even today, people who are more professional and who outsource their work to freelancers prefer to contact freelancers through email. Freelancers who maintain effective relationships on email have a greater chance of finding freelance work. In this post, I’ll discuss the importance of continuing to use email in your online relationships.


Email Allows for Better Communication

Maintaining an email relationship with a client helps the freelancers to better understand what a client requires and what his demands are.

Freelancers are generally hired for jobs like web design, copywriting, content writing, computer programming, proofreading etc. We all would agree that when working with a new client it takes us some time to understand the exact outcome that client requires. But, when you are working with a client that you have built a healthy relationship with and have worked on different projects with before, you know what quality and type of work that client wants from you.

Using email saves a great deal of time and the freelancer can use that saved time somewhere else. Moreover, the outcome of freelance work in this situation is also better.

Use Email to Keep Your Client Updated

Maintaining an email relationship allows a freelancer to regularly send useful updates about their freelance work to clients who they have had good relationships with in the past. Remember that sending a client regular updates does not mean that one should start sending so many mails that the client gets exhausted and considers the emails to be spam.

Email relationships help the freelancers to stay connected with the clients even after completing a project. Some freelancers think that maintaining an email relationship with a client after a project has already been completed and after you have been paid is nothing more than a waste of time. But, that is not true.

Just like in a wholesale, drop shipping or any other business–freelancing is also something that requires you to nurture your clients. Maintaining an email relationship with the clients after your freelance contract has come to an end is a form of lead nurturing and lead generation for the freelancer. The relationship keeps the clients regularly updated and educated about the benefits they can get from the freelancer.

In the future, when the client needs help from a freelancer, he or she will contact that freelancer first because he or she knows them well. Apart from this, the client can also help bring in more contracts for the freelancer if he or she is satisfied with the freelancer’s work.

But, I Don’t Have Time

Email relationships are time consuming, but they are much more rewarding than other sources of communication. A freelancer might have a little trouble answering questions for a client on phone or on chat, but he or she can easily give an effective reply to the client through email.

Furthermore, email relationships can be considered a part of your networking efforts. A freelancer who has extraordinarily strong relationships with the clients who outsource their work online does not need to search for projects online very frequently. In fact, he or she gets projects, one after the other, from the clients with whom he or she has maintained excellent business and personal relationships with through emails.

What About the Social Networks?

Just because a freelancer maintains effective email relationships does not mean that the freelancer should only work on maintaining email relationships and should not interact with people through social networks.

The freelancer should continue to interact with people online through social networking and then shift that interaction towards emails and continue the relationship through emails. Communicating through emails better reflects the professionalism of a freelancer and uplifts the image of the freelancer in front of the client. This enhances the client’s confidence on the freelancer.

The Ethics of Dealing with Clients Through Email

There are certain ethical guidelines for effective email relationships. These guidelines should be followed by the freelancer in order to maintain good relationship with the clients. Some ethical guidelines include:

  • Do not send irrelevant emails
  • Do not send bulk emails to the clients
  • Do not be offensive
  • Do not use unclear statements

Email Relationships Are Not Just for Clients

A freelancer should not only maintain email relationships with the clients, but he or she should maintain business and personal relationships with other freelancers as well. These relationships help the freelancer to talk about different problems the freelancers are facing and what the possible solutions are for each problem.

Moreover, having email relationship with other freelancers could help them understand each other better, make their own teams and get projects assigned and completed working together as a team.

What About You?

Using email services and maintaining email relationships are two different things. So, freelancers, whether new or old, who are not into keeping email relationships with the clients and other freelancers should start practicing these relationships now because they could turn into something really beneficial for them.

What is your primary method for keeping in touch with your clients and prospects? Do you use email, or something else?

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Comments

  1. says

    Email is still a very relevant tool for communication. I’ve read a lot of sites and blog posts saying that it will go by the wayside because of social media, I don’t think that is the case though. It is very important for me to keep in touch with current and past clients. I try to make sure that current clients are always updated on progress. I feel like if they have to ask me what is going on, then I haven’t done my job and they are worried about how the project is going. Of course there are the people who want daily updates just because, but I’m not including those in my statement.

    I usually try to make followup notes or to-do’s in Outlook, I haven’t found a better way than that yet unfortunately. I’m sure there is a tool or plugin out there but I just haven’t had the time to research it.

    Great post!

  2. says

    In addition to all the wonderful tips above I also send regular thank you cards. It is surprising how many of them call (or email) me back just to say thank you and chat !

  3. says

    E-mail is very much my preferred medium for communicating with clients, but I think the rule “keep it relevant” is important.

    I don’t send “how are you?” mails (maybe I should?), but like to keep it for progress updates, and when I need some clarification from the client. I feel to use chat for that is intrusive on their day, and mails are easier to organize for archiving than chat logs.

    The nice thing about email is that it is “in your own time”, and it works a lot better across timezones than chat does :p

    That said, chat is invaluable when testing somethign with the client, where instant feedback usually is better for both them and you.

    @Sandro – the thank you cards are a great idea. I’ll keep that in mind!

  4. says

    Thanks for the fantastic read. I use email not only for updates about an order but also for a newsletter. I use Aweber and have been very happy with their service although a little on the expensive side :D

    Jack

  5. says

    Email has and will always be my number one mode of communication as a freelancer. I prefer it over social networks and voice calls over Skype because 1) I can read and reread the client’s message to fully understand what he’s saying, and 2) I can write, re-read what I wrote, and edit the message to make sure that I send in the best response to his email.

    I work with international clients and voice calls can sometimes go beyond 30 minutes to an hour. And with unexpected intermittent connection, the effort to try to get back online and resume the discussion makes it even longer. Yes, it’s usually best to talk “personally” about the project but I would still prefer email over voice when dealing with clients.

    And because I prefer email, I always make sure to respond to emails not more than 48 hours since receiving it in my inbox. ;)

  6. says

    That is true, email provides the cheapest and best form of communication as calling sometimes hurts. Also, the best thing that free lancers need to do is to respond to clients emails instantly.

  7. says

    nice tips, email helps to keep in touch with clients and friends and helps you to grow business and its become more special if you are in affiliate marketing. More the clients you have in email list more the amount of money you make as an affiliate

  8. says

    In general; calling and talking face-to-face works better before doing a project for a client, especially if it’s a client you’ve never worked for before. Email works better after the project is finished. This is because there are always a whole bunch of questions that needs to be answered before the project, and it can sometimes take too much time (& frustration) to sit and wait for a reply to drop into the inbox.

    Curious question: Do you consider sending out newsletters as maintaining email relationships or is it too generic & impersonal?

  9. says

    I’m glad you wrote this; I think we all tend to forget that emails and personal calls are an important part of the whole marketing program. I send “check-in” emails to clients (I keep track in an old-fashioned 3-ring binder with a page for each client!) when I haven’t heard from them in awhile. I usually include an example of some recent work I’ve done.

    I’m also curious about whether others send e-newsletters. I have colleagues who send them quarterly, and I think they work well.

    One note to Susan Smith: never put a comma after “but” (or “and,” “for,” “or,” “yet” or “nor”)! It’s an otherwise great post, but as an editor I had to point that out!

  10. says

    Recently, I’ve been making quick Jing videos for follow ups that need more details. Email in some form or other is critical. Don’t forget the telephone. There’s an immediacy to people hearing your voice.

  11. says

    Emails are definitely the best way of communication (after face to face interactions). Its just like letters, when sending it to friends; and in the professional field too, its very helpful while interacting with clients. Specially liked the line-”The freelancer should continue to interact with people online through social networking and then shift that interaction towards emails and continue the relationship through emails”.

  12. says

    Nice post Susan,
    In the last few years I have noticed that clients prefer to communicate via Skype, but the inherent problem with voice communication is that you cant refer back. E-mails are dependable and easy to check back in case of a doubt. However I always send back and forth a few confirmation mails with what the client is requesting so that if he makes an error it gets corrected or later they don’t ask for major changes saying that it was a mistake.

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