In the modern marketing landscape, building a remote team with freelancers who are non-native English speakers is commonplace.
For the most part, the language barrier is negligible at best — thanks to the fact that the vast majority of professionals are capable of communicating in English. Some aspects of online marketing, however, require freelancers to have a more impeccable command of the language.
Content writers, for example, are expected to have near-perfect grammar and spelling. The same can be said for virtual assistants, customer service representatives, and outreach specialists who write truckloads of emails on a daily basis. However, for these freelancers, the English language isn’t always their strongest suit.
Remember, every email you send — whether to a potential client or influencer — must reflect your brand’s standards for excellence. Just imagine how high-profile bloggers and influencers would react to your outreach email if it’s full of grammar inconsistencies, especially if you’re pitching a guest post.
That’s why, in this guide, we’ll help you and your international marketing create top-notch, impactful emails that would definitely get the receiver’s attention.
1. Create Templates
Using email templates in your outreach campaign not only saves time but also minimizes human error while helping you maintain consistent quality in each email you send. Furthermore, it helps freelancers remember essential email elements that lead to a positive response.
Take note, templates that are meant to assist writers aren’t the same as the ones offered in most email marketing platforms. MailChimp, for example, has an entire gallery of free email templates you can use for free, but these are made to help with the design process rather than for the actual task of writing the email.
What you need are “fill-in-the-blanks” templates that have the core sections of the email pre-written.
Below is an example template if your team is tasked to send emails to influencers for link building purposes:
While you’re at it, you should also use email signature templates that will help your team send more authoritative emails. Doing so will definitely help them get more positive responses as well as scoop up a couple of potential leads straight into your landing pages.
2. Create a Swipe File
Although templates are usually reliable in catching the attention of potential leads, they aren’t an “end-all, be-all” solution.
For outreach campaigns that target high-value prospects, such as thought leaders and big-name businesses, it’s important to make every email as personalized as possible. These folks can smell a template-based email from a mile away.
A swipe file could be the perfect tool to help your team pull this off. Put simply, it’s a collection of examples of paragraphs, sentences, phrases, headlines, or even entire web pages that writers can borrow inspiration from.
To make your swipe file accessible to your team, it’s ideally built with a cloud-based spreadsheet, word editing, or note-taking tool.
Evernote is one of the best applications you can use for your swipe file — thanks to the Web Clipper browser extension that allows you to copy the text you see on screen and send it directly to your notebook.
Since your swipe file is meant to help freelancers write compelling emails, it should contain clippings of emails that reflect the kind of tone you want them to adopt. Just be sure to highlight specific email elements that are important for generating good responses, like the:
- Subject Line
- Main Body
- The Offer
- Closing Paragraph
3. Provide Writing Guidelines
Speaking of email elements, it’s crucial to have a team of marketers who fully understand what each component does.
The less they rely on templates and your swipe file, the better their results can potentially be. As such, it should be your job to offer clear writing guidelines on how to write these elements.
An email’s subject line has a simple role: get recipients to open your email. One trick is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about the types of subject lines normally earn your click. Chances are, you remember most of them to be punchy, short and to the point.
Take a look at the following examples from Brian Dean of Backlinko:
Aside from making subject lines succinct, here are a few more tips your team ought to remember:
- Ditch long, sophisticated words
- Instill the sense of urgency or scarcity
- Include the recipient’s first name
- Send using a real person’s email address
Native English marketers should have no trouble grasping every trick in the book when it comes to writing catchy email subject lines. Foreign freelancers, on the other hand, may require some of your assistance.
Use an Appropriate Greeting
The greeting is perhaps the easiest one to write in an email, but it costs nothing to remind your team how it’s done.
A rule of thumb is to be friendly and avoid being too formal. Start with words like “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Hey there” and follow up with a compliment.
If applicable, immediately establish a connection with your prospect by stating what you have in common. Here’s an example:
You should also consider addressing the recipient by their first name. It may come off as somewhat disrespectful to some non-native English speakers, but it’s actually a very normal way for friends to greet each other.
Next up, the main body of your email should concisely encapsulate everything your audience needs to know.
The only thing you need to remember is to be straightforward about your plan, what the reader must do, and what they’ll get. Aim for only 1-2 sentences per paragraph to make your email substantially more readable.
In relation to the example above, here’s how your email may pan out:
Use an Appropriate Closing
The closing of an email properly is just as important as its opening. There are three important elements to closing an email: The “next steps,” sign off, and email signature. Towards the end of the email, make sure to move the conversation forward by asking a question that demands a reply—this implies the “next steps.” An example would be, “Are you available for a phone conference on Wednesday?” Asking a question towards the end puts more emphasis on it. Do not bury this question earlier in the body of the email—always save the “next steps” for the end.
Make sure to also to use the right sign off when you end your email. Here is a guide on the best email sign offs! And last but not least, make sure to use a professional email signature like in the example below. You can create one for free using an email signature maker.
4. Encourage them to Communicate in English
Being proficient in the English language should be a full-time commitment. To hone your team’s written skills, you must also cultivate a culture where everyone is encouraged to communicate openly in English.
No — your email exchanges are nowhere near enough to help them get the hang of conveying their thoughts and structuring their sentences in English. What you need is a full-on internal communication platform that can equip your international team with tools that take online collaboration to a whole new level.
Brosix, for example, is a secure, messenger platform that will help you get ahold of your team on-demand.
Aside from the instant chat feature, Brosix also allows its users to do 1 to 1 video and audio call — both of which are useful to truly help non-native English speakers get used to the language.
What should you and your team of freelancers talk about?
With a secure instant messaging platform like Brosix, it’ll be easier for you to discuss strategies, projects, and goals with your team (in English), making your project collaboration more seamless.
You can also track the conversations between members through the Chat History Archive. This will allow you to gauge the learning progress of your freelancers, give them some pointers, and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
An outreach email isn’t something you want to botch up with flawed grammar and typos. If you want influencers, prospective leads, and other brands to take you seriously, your team must be able to hit that “send” button with confidence every single time. And with the strategies above, you can bet your bottom dollar that they can and they will. Cheers!
Jimmy Rodela is the owner and Founder of the Guild of Bloggers. He is a Freelance writer and a content marketer