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  • Writer's pictureAlfonso De Luca

Following up clients via email as a freelance translator

When you have a lot of emails to read, it can be tempting just to let them stay there for a while, until you eventually feel overwhelmed.


One of the priorities within the translation industry, especially when it comes to working with agencies, is reactivity - that is, having reasonable response times to emails and messages sent to us by clients and project managers alike.


One issue I often face is quickly (and efficiently) keeping track of every message that needs a follow-up.


Clock in red and green

Lately, I've been experimenting with different approaches - one of which is storing all the follow-ups and marketing actions towards a potential client in a spreadsheet - Google Sheets to be specific.


But another approach I use, which is far easier and less time-consuming than the previous one, is leveraging the snooze feature of Gmail. Google's flagship emailing service allows unlimited snoozes for several email messages.


What I usually do after sending a message or reading an email, is to detect if said email needs a follow-up on a later date.


Generally speaking, to understand whether a message requires follow-up or not, I see if it falls into one of these three categories:


  • It's a cold mail marketing message I just sent to an agency. In this case, I usually snooze for 2 weeks or so, depending on the urgency, and write back when the message pops back in my inbox.

  • It's an auto-generated email sent to me by an agency acknowledging my application via their website form. This is also useful when you don't have an email address but a website form. So instead of creating an entry in my Google Sheet, I can just use that auto-generated message as a reference for a future follow-up. Here again, around 2 weeks of snooze.

  • It's a message related to a task I did for a client. Said client, however, is not a regular one, and instead of risking forgetting to get in touch with them for more work, I just snooze the last message on the task. From here, I have a reference for future contact with the client, which can follow up within the same thread of the email or in a brand new email message. The snooze, here, can range from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on how much 'pressure' I want to give. For instance, if I do the same for a lot of clients, I don't want to risk being pushy just to find myself with too much work in the same time window. But if I have a stagnant period, it won't hurt to snooze several clients by 1 week, and then nudge them with a short follow-up email.


These were some tips on how to snooze messages and the power of following up with clients. As a rule of thumb, more often than not you'll want to snooze for a follow-up rather than archiving or deleting the email just to clear your inbox.


This way you also have a good amount of email marketing to do every week - which of course is not a substitute to keep looking for new clients.


Stay in touch for more stuff to come.

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