Email marketing and new translation jobs. Share your tips, experiences.
Thread poster: Vadzim Yaskevich, PhD

Vadzim Yaskevich, PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 7, 2008

Recently I stumbled upon translationjobspro.com and bought their database of email addresses of 4800 translation agencies. That guys gave me some tips on CV writing but I need much more information. When I face something New, I try to delve into every detail. It's my rule. So, before to start my email marketing campaign, I hope to find answers on the next questions (hope for your help):

How many agencies do you contact at one go?

What is the perfect time to start? I mean what days of weeks are the best for such kind of marketing?

Should I send my CV as an attachment?

Should I specify my rates or maybe it’s better to discuss rates later?

What do you do in order to increase your response rate?

There are so many questions…

Please share your tips, experiences.

thanks in advance


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Sanmar
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:18
English to Dutch
+ ...
My approach Mar 7, 2008

Hi Vadzim,

The amount of agencies I contact on any one day depends on how busy/quiet it is. I tend to do most of my marketing when I have a quieter period.
I think I read somewhere once that your emails are more likely to be read if the PM's of agencies are not too busy themselves, i.e. definitely don't bother Monday mornings/Friday afternoons.
It is generally advised not to send a CV or any attachment with your marketing emails. In fact, people often find this annoying and may just delete your email without reading it. The fact is that people tend to be suspicious of emails from unknown senders (e.g .viruses).
I would not know how to increase the response rate. Some people advise you to follow up your email with a phone call to the company concerned but I am personally reluctant to do this since the person at the other end may well be very busy in which case they may find it irritating.
When I send an email to a new agency I usually start with a brief introduction giving my language pair, qualifications/years of experience, my specialisms and services offered. I always state that my CV is available on request. I also state my rates since I don't even want to be contacted by agencies who pay less than this. This sounds like a long email but only takes 7-8 lines. I figure that busy people may not be bothered reading long, long emails from prospective freelancers.
Finally, it can take ages before an agency actually contacts you with a job so don't lose heart. Your marketing will pay off eventually!


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Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:18
French to English
+ ...
Why not apply for jobs here? Mar 7, 2008

Dear Vadzim,

I've never had much luck with directly contacting agencies -- I've found that it is much better to apply for a given job on proz, do a good job, and then continue to work with that agency.

This is, of course, slightly slow going in the beginning, but over the past year I've managed to build enough contacts to have more than enough work. Now, agencies contact me directly, and I have people contact me through my profile. No direct marketing needed.

That being said, when I began, I already had the added benefit of working for a few companies directly, which made everything easier, in that I didn't start from zero.

Best of luck,

Gregory


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Alana Quintyne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:18
French to English
+ ...
What worked Mar 7, 2008

With 4800 companies you should be quite busy over the next few months just sending out emails about your services, your CV and translation samples to companies around the world and in your own country. Focus on the countries where your foreign languages are spoken. Just keep doing it to increase the response rate. The more people you contact the more responses you have. Vet for the unscrupulous though. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays work best. You can contact from 50 to 200 in one go, up to you. The thing that worked for me was being consistent. It is slow at first. Keep sending email, the time you invest in that now will pay off later.

good luck

[Edited at 2008-03-07 18:33]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A few ideas... Mar 7, 2008

1. Don't attach anything

Some people are reasonably paranoid with e-mail attachments. If you have a web site, put your CV there, not necessarily linked to anything clickable, but make it downloadable. The best format should be a PDF. It will be lighter, compatible with any system, and in most cases virus-free. Use the most common fonts possible (Times, Arial) so that you don't have to embed them, and the file will appear everywhere the same. Then, just provide the link to it in your message.


2. Don't expect an immediate response

Sometimes it might take more than a year for a specific agency to need your specific services. You'll get a "Remember me? You sent us your CV..." message. Quite frankly, I don't believe PMs have time to read the tons of CVs theu probably get every single day.

It takes more time and effort, but I prefer using their online recruitment forms, when available. Some of these will just compose an e-mail to them, but others will feed your data to their database. So whenever they look there for a translator with your spects, they'll find you.


3. Try to match your target's specs

Though I might be wrong, I see no point in sending a CV to an agency which explicitly does not work with my language pairs. They'll supposedly never have clients asking for my 'different' services.

However the reverse is true. If you specialize in a certain field (e.g. medicine, finance), you should write specifically to agencies that are specialized in the same field, and say so. Make them feel that you searched for them, visited their web site, and reasoned that they might need someone like you.


4. Try to get famous, or at least known

If you have some special knowledge on an interesting and hopefully useful aspect of translation, write an article and get it published. Most translation portals like Proz, as well as the Translation Journal, simply crave for interesting material.

Then you can write translation agencies that might be interested in that, and give them the link.


HTH.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A good post like this... Mar 8, 2008

A good post like this demands further comment

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
If you have a web site, put your CV there, not necessarily linked to anything clickable, but make it downloadable. The best format should be a PDF.


In fact, it may be a good idea to put up your CV in HTML format as well, with a link to it from your front page. This is not for clients' benefit, but yours. I'm sure some of those agencies you're mailbombing will send an autoreply "please register online"... and having your CV right there on the web makes it easier to fill in these forms by copying/pasting.

Sometimes it might take more than a year for a specific agency to need your specific services. ... Quite frankly, I don't believe PMs have time to read the tons of CVs theu probably get every single day.


Still, it can't hurt to follow up in one month and then in three months with another e-mail saying what you've done in the mean time (eg what new experience you have), any new skills you've learnt, and that you are mostly available for the following months.

The PMs who toss things out, will toss these out as well. The PMs who save e-mails from translators who meet their requirements, may save these as well.

Though I might be wrong, I see no point in sending a CV to an agency which explicitly does not work with my language pairs. They'll supposedly never have clients asking for my 'different' services.


I generally agree, but it may be different for more exotic language (like mine). My attitude is that if the agency offers a lot of languages (say, more than 20), then they're obviously generalists, and they might not mind adding me to their database, just in case they get a request for it. I also target agencies that offer languages similar to mine, or offer languages spoken in my region -- to these I explain how my language differs from those others, and how their clients might possibly want my language instead.

The important thing is that your e-mail should fit the recipient. The more tightly targeted the e-mail, the bigger the chance that you'll get a favourable response. The more general or generic the e-mail, the bigger chance your e-mail will be a perfect fit for the round file.

... you should write specifically to agencies that are specialized in the same field, and say so.


Yes, and this is why I favour the process of sending individual mails, not mails in a bunch (unless you've presorted your recipients into logical groups).

Personally I think a good mail bombing program would be one that allows one to customise the mails according to recipient category and also keep miscellaneous information about each recipient. Do you know of such programs?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:18
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Regarding long e-mails Mar 8, 2008

Sanmar wrote:
This sounds like a long email but only takes 7-8 lines. I figure that busy people may not be bothered reading long, long emails from prospective freelancers.


Many sites or guides on web-based or mail based marketing will tell you that people don't read "below the fold". In other words, you must grab their attention before they scroll down, because more often than not, they won't scroll down at all, but simply close/delete and move on.

Well, that advice is good but I think it applies mostly to non-targeted marketing. The agency PM kinda *expects* to receive mails from freelancers, so you have a bit more leeway. However, if he gets lots of mails, he'll probably tend to skim-read most of them and he might even delete mails that look unappetising. He might also delete mails that don't contain enough information for him to add the freelancer to his database without having to ask for more details.

So they key issues with long e-mails are:

* Make it easy to read and easy to skim-read
* Put lots of relevant information in it

Here's a tip to see if your mail is too long -- e-mail it to yourself, then print it out with a slightly larger font than your usual font, and it should still fit on a single page.

Don't make your paragraphs too long. You can also make use of simple bullet lists (they read easier), eg to list your language combinations, to list your fields of experience (no more than 5), or to state your usual rates.

When writing your web site address, do not forget to add "http://" in front of it, because some e-mail programs still don't convert web addresses to hyperlinks without it.

Always mention where you got the client's address from (it is required by law in some countries) -- it may be best if you had actually visited their web site to say "I got your details from your web site" and not "I saw your address on a spam list".

In some countries it is also required that you mention how they can "unsubscribe" from your list, since your e-mail is of a commercial nature. The most elegant way of doing this may be to write it in a friendly sentence that doesn't sound like spam, eg "I look forward to your response. If you wish to receive no further mails from you, you're welcome to let me know." (but opinions on this will be divided, since laws in other countries generally can't touch you where you are).

[Edited at 2008-03-08 05:26]


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Sanjay Ray  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:48
Member (2002)
English to Bengali
+ ...
It takes time Mar 9, 2008

A translator should market his/her services everyday. The efect will be visible over a period of time.

I am still contacted by people whom I have sent my CV long back.

You may read my article on database in PROZ articles.
I also maintain a blog for translators where many of similar questions are answered. The url is in my profile page website.
=Ostom


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 13:18
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Do not overburden the reader - be very clear and exact Mar 12, 2008

I agree with other posters about the length (you do not need to "list" all your personal life, nor attach attachements). I think that the reader who opens your email asking himself/herself a natural question "Well, seems not to be spam - what it is all about" shall "get the message - he/she proposes us translaiton services" in some 4-5 seconds after taking a glance into your email message. Same like the informal rule about websites - if a website does not open in max 10 seconds, it is closed by 9 users out of 10. And if the reader of your email gets interested, then he/she will read further. All in all, I think that the "structure" of your email proposal is VERY (most) important and shall be made in a very smart way to have the effect intended (as it gives "the first impression" about you too) - not only the content. And, instead of your CV, I think it is much better to have own simple, but decent website where the email reader can simply look for info about you (if there is an interest). I think it is much better than half a kilometer of a message which takes several minutes to read, let alone, to understand what it is all about, let alone all those attachements that need to be saved, opened, and read too. 6-7 sentences on what you "wanted to write about" and please, take a look for further info at www... Also, CV is more or less a personal thing - do you need other unknown people to know your date of birth, etc. ? I think that a www with all relevant information (without going "too personal") works much better.

And, best of all, is to make that the clients come to you, not that you come to them. How? This is a very complex question. But can tell why. If you are the one who approaches them first, you will have to comply to their "requirements" - all those online databases, tests, etc. (you are looking for work, so you, naturally, move your finger). And all those databases taje a lot of time with no result very often (lot of wasted time). And if the clients approach you (vice versa), you can already tell "Sorry, I have no time for tests", "Here is my contact info, have no time/wish to fill in all your databases"...

+ One issue I wanted to discuss long ago - can such "email marketing" be considered as spam with all related "consequences"? From one side, these emails (in reality) are not spam and it is not a crime to write someone an email proposing cooperation or services. BUT, on the other hand, spammers also do "no harm" proposing "replica Rolex watches" or "Viagra"?


[Edited at 2008-03-12 01:18]


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 03:18
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you for valuable tips Mar 24, 2008

I'd like to thank Vadzim for asking this question, and to thank everyone who took his time to answer it, as I find the advice I found here very valuable, and I intend to use it while marketing my own services.

I'm mainly an interpreter, and do written translation only on occasion. I'm currently trying to find more new clients. So I decided to do an old-fashioned, snail-mail campaign. I got a brochure and a magnet-calendar with my picture and contact info in it printed (vistaprint.com), get a list of interpreting agencies, and started to call them, asking them if they would allow me to send them my brochure. Most of them say yes, some of them say they prefer that I e-mail them my resume - in which case I do that, instead of a brochure.

Will this be effective? Well, check with me in a year, and I'll have the answer.


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:18
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Other online marketing? Apr 26, 2008

I'm thinking that I need to get the direct clients rather than underprice my services by bidding for jobs her

But how to get to them? I think I need my own site.

I have done a bit of research with relevant keywords and the results were mixed - mainly online machine translation, agencies and unqualified freelancers with spinning logos and flashing price tags.

I own a "clean" URL (a personal site) that has been in the search engines for years and is perfect to launch my business site on. I think the best way to get good rankings is to fill it with good, relevant content (write a blog on translation), obviously a CV-page and a page about my ervices and how to contact me, link to good sites and link back from my profile on various sites like proz.

Do you mainly contact agencies? I realize that it is more time consuming contacting direct clients, but the best work I have had so far has been from direct clients, not agencies, so I am thinking I need to make myself more visible to them - and I guess the best way would be to have my own site.

Must add that I am the happy wife of a former SEO-expert


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Alex Eames
Local time: 11:18
English to Polish
+ ...
Fishing May 13, 2008

Vadzim Yaskevich, PhD wrote:

Recently I stumbled upon translationjobspro.com and bought their database of email addresses of 4800 translation agencies. That guys gave me some tips on CV writing but I need much more information. When I face something New, I try to delve into every detail. It's my rule. So, before to start my email marketing campaign, I hope to find answers on the next questions (hope for your help):


Must have been very recent since the domain of that site was registered on 2nd March 2008 - just 5 days before your post.

I know a chap who wrote a booklet about email marketing but I'm not going to plug it here.

Alex Eames


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Vadzim Yaskevich, PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
guides Jun 1, 2008

Alex & Malgorzata Eames wrote:


I know a chap who wrote a booklet about email marketing but I'm not going to plug it here.


There are lots of digital books about email marketing, but what of these books, guides are really valuable?


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