If you’ve jumped straight into freelancing, at one point, you realized you’ll constantly have to look out for clients.
You might have wondered what are the best ways to find clients? Using freelancing platforms such as UpWork isn’t a bad choice – but there are better ways of introducing yourself to potential clients.
I’m talking about the letter of introduction here. And if you don’t know what a letter of introduction is – not only you’ll find out what it is, but you’ll find out how to write a letter of introduction that gets you, clients.
Therefore, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and read on to find out a potential game-changer for your online business.
What is LOI and What is it Used For?
LOI stands for a letter of introduction and as the name says it all – LOI is used to introduce yourself to someone, potentially a business or a potential client.
Sending out LOI’s is fairly simple and in the modern age we live in, you have the opportunity to send LOI and introduce yourself to almost anyone via the email.
However, there are two key things. It’s who you introduce yourself to, and the most important – how you introduce yourself.
See, when you’re looking for freelancing work, the last thing you should do is gather a list of potential emails and use mail merge to send bulk emails.
It’s true, this won’t take you a lot of time, but it won’t get you decent results.
Instead, try creating a list of potential businesses or clients you’re interested to work with, take a couple of minutes to craft a personalized LOI, and manually send it to the recipient.
This process might take two or even three times longer than just sending merged emails, but it will provide better results.
How many times did you receive a “spam” email that is clearly all about promotion and doesn’t even slightly engage you in it?
The chances are high.
Therefore, you can see where this post is going – but have no fear. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to write a letter of introduction that won’t only get read but will get you responses and even clients & freelance work.
The Difference Between LOI and a Pitch
Before I dive right into the writing of an efficient LOI, let’s just clarify the difference between an LOI and pitch.
Most people mix these two together (even I did, not that long ago). However, the difference is clear as a night and a day, so there is no reason to mix these two ever again.
As you know by now, LOI is simply a short letter that introduces you and your services to almost anyone of your choice, whether it’s a business or an individual. The point of the LOI is that it can lead nowhere, but it can also open many doors and eventually get you more clients & work.
It all depends on who do you introduce yourself to and whether you introduce yourself at the right time.
On the other hand, the pitch is exactly what it stands for. When you write a pitch, you do your best to highlight what you can do for someone – just the way you do when you’re applying for a job.
When you write a pitch, it’s all about trying to provide as much information about you, but also your skills that would be valuable for a role you’re applying for.
Therefore, a pitch is often considered to be a bit serious version of an LOI that always has a reason it’s being sent, and possibly, the other side is open to receiving pitches.
Simple Explanation of an LOI and a Pitch
It might be hard to still understand the difference between an LOI and a pitch, but here – let me try and explain it in the simplest example possible.
If you were trying to find a new basketball team to join and you were doing online research for your local teams – you’d want to reach out to at least a couple of teams or trainers that caught your eye.
Here’s what the LOI and pitch would be like in this case.
LOI would be very short (a simple introduction of yourself), and it would sound friendly, positive, and easy-going. You would introduce yourself to a team or a coach in the hope they had any roles available to offer. You could slightly mention your expertise and skills, but you wouldn’t be too pushy on trying to acquire a position at a certain club. After all, you’re just wondering whether there’s an open position at all.
On the other hand, if you were sending a pitch to a local club or a coach, you’d still keep it short but you’d be a bit more demanding on showing value and what you could do for a team in comparison to dozen or even hundreds of other people who have applied for the same role as well.
Therefore, you can think of a CV to be a great example of a pitch. You’d be applying for an open position and trying to do your best to show value and experience where you’d require a clear answer, yes or no at the end of the pitch.
LOI is a great way to introduce yourself and say hi to someone who might not have an open position to offer but might require some help. If not, they might even add you on a list and possibly ring you back when they are looking for someone.
How to Write an Efficient LOI
LOI’s are fairly simple to send, but it’s all about sending it to the right people, at the right time, and crafting the LOI that will get read & responded to.
Therefore, it’s wise to invest some time to craft your perfect LOI. Don’t worry, you won’t have to write a new LOI for every person you’re introducing yourself, but you will want to make it personal and relevant to the person you’re contacting.
You still should never merge email your LOI as this is not a great idea at all since you want to keep things personal and relevant for every one of your potential clients.
Therefore, here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind when writing an efficient LOI:
- Keep it short and sweet
- Include the most important information
- Be personal and friendly
- Leave the door open for them to engage and continue the conversation
You should also:
- Keep your LOI relevant to your audience
- Showcase your samples (if possible)
- Always be yourself
- Aim to get some engagement
- Always write a catchy subject line
It might simple to say, but every one of us will find it hard when it actually comes down to writing a successful LOI.
Therefore, let me help you and show you an example of one of my LOI’s. I used this LOI to introduce myself to potential local content agencies. The goal was to introduce myself since I’m a freelance writer who’s looking for more work in London, showcase my writing, and possibly engage with the agency (learn something new, get a tip or advice, or even get referred to someone else).
Here’s my example – and later on, I’ll show you the results of using this exact LOI.
I recently moved to London and I wanted to connect with agencies in the UK. I’ve written SEO-optimized blog posts for brands in plenty of different niches, but primarily in the tech and affiliate marketing niche, including clients such as BQool, NetbookNews, and Guardian Bikes.
I saw on your site that you do work with freelancers, so here I am! I’m happy to work on a per-project basis, and if you think I’d be a good fit for some of your clients, I’d love to chat.
You can find my portfolio here – https://dariowriter.com/
If you aren’t looking for writers at this point, that’s totally fine – just let me know and I won’t be wasting any more of your time.
Thanks a lot!
As you can see, I kept it short, kept it personal, didn’t try selling hard by pitching them anything, yet I showed my samples and mentioned some of the relevant clients I worked with.
Most importantly, I wasn’t being too pushy but I also did well at leaving the door open for them to engage.
That’s exactly what an LOI should be. I’ve been emailing very busy people, and possibly you will too. They get dozens or hundreds of emails on a daily basis. If your LOI doesn’t stand out, takes a lot of time to read, and isn’t straight to the point – chances are you won’t hear back from anyone you email.
What Results Can You Expect?
You probably didn’t even start sending out your personalized LOI’s out yet, but everyone’s interested in results, right?
I don’t blame you!
Sending out LOI’s can frighten many freelancers. It still frightens me sometimes, even though I consider myself to be an established freelance writer and digital marketer. However, it’s essential to put yourself out there, let people know about you, and try to find as many suitable clients as you can for your business.
Statistics might really put you off, I won’t lie. You might end up sending 100 LOI’s and only get about 10-15 responses.
But the good news is, out of 10-15 responses, I guarantee you that you will close at least 2 or 3 clients.
And depending on what you do, 2 or 3 good clients can keep your business busy and floating.
Sometimes you might even get lucky. At least I consider I got lucky.
Here are my results.
One day, I sent about 11 personalized LOI’s. The same day, I heard back from one local content agency. I directly sent the email to a managing director, and even though it was Sunday, he took the time to personally reach back to me.
It didn’t lead only to the discussion of my writing samples and my rates, but the managing director also recommended a local business register I could use and take advantage of. This wouldn’t happen if I didn’t personalize my LOI and send it out to someone local.
He also offered me a featured business story by one of the local business coaches he worked with in the past.
That’s pretty great, isn’t it?
And all it took was one quality LOI and a bit of time. And in return, I marketed myself in the best way possible, possibly acquired a new client, and my LOI even opened me a couple of more doors down the road.
I’ve also heard back from one other company that I reached out to. I’ve already received the work from the client.
Other 9 potential clients? I haven’t heard back from them and I am about to follow-up on my LOI.
Therefore, 2 out of 11 might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but it’s not about the quantity yet quality of a client.
As long as you put yourself out there, in front of the right person at the right time – you’ll do a great deal for your business.
What happens if you don’t?
You might rely on your regular clients, but as we all know, freelance clients come and go. You don’t want to end up having a “dry month” because some of your biggest and most regular clients took a break or don’t require your service anymore.
Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the game – you should constantly keep looking for clients & work. Sending LOI’s is just one of the ways.
Even though you should learn how to write a letter of introduction that could potentially land you new clients and open new doors for you, it’s also about staying consistent in sending your LOI’s.
Don’t be afraid to create a couple of different versions and test them out to see which one works the best. I highly recommend it. You’ll never be able to use the same LOI template for different industries anyway.
The same thing applies to the subject line. It can be anything from a simple question to something a bit more catchy & even click-baiting.
One thing I can recommend is to not to make the process overwhelming. Instead, give it a try, make changes, accept failure, and keep moving forward.
LOI can never be perfect. Instead, you can always improve it as you progress. Later on, you’ll be able to include better samples or find something new you have in common with the person you’re contacting. Small things like this definitely pay off.
Did you ever send a letter of introduction? What are your thoughts on finding clients this way?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, but also don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have – no matter how silly they are!