Ways to Stand Out & Get Attention:

Remember that only the first few lines of your proposal will appear until the client clicks to read more. So make sure your first line grabs attention!

Use their name (and any other details about them). If you don’t know this, hunt for clues!

  • Go through their job post
  • Read through all their reviews
  • Look at their Upwork username and location
  • Go through their past job postings and read them all
  • Look at the profiles of freelancers they’ve hired to see if they show portfolio pieces with details about the company

Start your proposal with a ‘grabber’ word.

  • “Whoa!”
  • “Wow!”
  • “Yikes!”

Open with the sweetest phrase in business

  • “Well, I can see the problem here …”

Show you looked at their stuff

  • “Okay, I took a quick look at ’site and it’s clear that …”

Stop using templated tips and be a human reacting how a human would react

  • “WUUUT, YOU ARE AN ANIME FAN TOO!!! Haha, I love SNK. Anyway, about this copy …”
  • “Lol yeah, I always thought that technique was dumb. Soooo, I took a look at your site and …”
  • “Dude, whoever wrote this copy for you ripped you off! That part about … ”

Ways to Show You Did Research & Get The Problem

  • Make casual references to their name, company, products, etc. (nobody else will)
  • Sympathize with any pains they said they have.
  • “Yeah, that’s pretty frustrating, I had this issue with another client and they’d wasted so much money.”
  • Mention their request back to them
  • Try not to use the overused response which I call the “Apple Help Forum” response: “I understand you are looking for X and I’d love to help you with that”
  • Ask a clarifying question about the project:
  • “When you say ‘flyer’, how much copy are we talking? One A4 page? Double-sided? Or something smaller?”

Ways to Show You Have The Skills & Experience To Solve It Easily

  • Make a casual remark about having solved this problem before (preferably, many times):
  • “I came up against this problem a lot when I wrote for Agora …”
  • Offer a relevant tip
  • Diagnose the problem ‘on the spot’ (tell them WHAT is wrong and WHAT needs doing but not HOW to do it — e.g. “you really need to bring out a clearer value prop in your headline”)
  • Attach a (single) relevant portfolio piece
  • Attach a custom portfolio piece (see video on this)

Ways to Show You Are Genuinely Interested

  • Express any (legitimate) enthusiasm you have about the company/brand/project
  • Say why you like this kind of project in particular

Ways to Show You Are Friendly And Will Make Life Easy

  • Be polite
  • Be friendly
  • Offer helpful suggestions (but not significant free consulting)
  • Reply quickly
  • Don’t make them have to drill you for answers; pre-empt them

Ways to Make It Harder To NOT Reply Than To Reply

  • If you did the other steps right, the client will WANT to reply to you
  • Do NOT try and close the deal
  • Simply ask a question that gets the conversation going and helps you “Mind telling me your website so I can have a look at the problem?”
  • “What’s your deadline on this?”
  • “Is your primary goal here to get signups, or make sales?”
  • “Can you tell me how many emails we’re talking about so I can quote you properly?