how to market yourself as an interpreter

How to Maximize Your Email Signature - Updated with More Strategies

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This post is meant to serve as an update to one of my post popular blog posts since I started writing this small, but mighty, blog: How to Maximize Your Email Signature as a Professional Translator or Interpreter.

It's been over a year since I published that post, and it's still one of the most read and shared posts on the blog. Not only do I think the suggestions in that post are still valid and useful today, but since then, I've come up with a few more ideas I'd like to share with you.

So, here are five more ways to update and maximize your email signature to market your services to current and potential clients! 

1. Link to your LinkedIn profile with an invitation for others to connect with you. This not only helps your email recipients to learn more about your expertise, but it helps to grow your network on a platform that is meant for doing business.

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2. If you're an interpreter, link to a video of yourself! You can upload one for free on YouTube, and you can even embed it on your website. Give a brief introduction of who you are, who you best serve, and how you help your clients get the results they seek. Not only is it highly effective to have "face time" with potential clients, but you also allow those who might hire you to hear you speak. A video is a great way for potential customers to see and hear your professionalism, confidence and articulation in your own voice and words.

3. Include a link for clients to sign up for your email list.
Having an email list is important for most businesses these days, and solopreneurs should keep this in mind, too. When you have access to your potential clients' inboxes, you have the ability to continue the conversation more fluidly and frequently. Show up for your clients by providing valuable content once a week, twice a month, or however often you can consistently do so.

For more on why you ought to have an email list for your clients, check out 3 Reasons You Should Have an Email List for Your T&I Business and Some Bonus Tips.


4. If you'll be speaking at an event your clients might like to attend, include a link! This not only lets your customers find out more about your expertise, but if it's a local event, they may want to attend as well. For an added bonus, upload the slides for your presentation in a downloadable format (with permission from event organizers, if necessary) so that clients can access the value you have to share, too!

5. Add an invitation for others to schedule a meeting or consultation with you! I've seen this quite a bit from professionals in other fields, but I had yet to see any translators or interpreters take advantage of this unique way of "continuing the conversation." That is… until I met Susie Jackson. Susie took my T&I Website Blueprint Course, and she amazed me with some of her simple, but highly-effective, marketing tips. Check out Susie's email signature!

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Not only is the request to chat discreet, but I think that's why it seems so effective. It's professional without being flashy. 

Once you click on the button in Susie's email signature, it leads you to this page on her site.

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Susie uses Calendly, a tool you may have seen me recommend before in this blog post: Why Translators and Interpreters Should Virtually Meet Potential Direct Clients.

I asked Susie about her experience with this simple email signature tweak, and here's what she told me.

"I haven’t actually had anyone book a call through the link in my email signature yet, but I have had two since revamping my website and including the link there! I used to include my phone number in my email signature, but I found it stressful when clients just called me out of the blue. Also, my time zone doesn’t usually match most of my clients’ so I didn’t want calls in the middle of the night. I’ve found this to be a really good compromise – clients can still speak to me over the phone but I get time to prepare and can block out times when I’m busy – win win!"

I love how Susie took what could be a stressful situation for her daily business flow and tweaked it to give a professional and effective option to connect better with her clients!

All of these are easy tweaks to your email signature that can make a big impact. Between this post and the previous one, you now have 10 solid ways to bring more attention to your services by taking just a few minutes out of your day.

Keep testing different ways to connect with clients through your professional email signatures to see which one feels the most like you and is most useful for continuing the conversation with your clients. Whatever you do, don't let your email signature remain static. Use this free piece of marketing that literally everyone sees in their inbox!

Let me know if you've tried any of these email signature tweaks and had any success with them, or if you have any of your own ideas that have proven to be effective!

Three Reasons to Keep Your Clients Engaged with You When You're Not Translating Their Content

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Keeping clients engaged is not as hard or as uncomfortable as it may sound. Not even close. If you want to stop working on those "one and done" client projects, then you have to stop being a "one and done" translator or interpreter. Look at every job as an opportunity for an ongoing business relationship. But like all good relationships, you have to cultivate this one.

Here are three reasons you ought to be engaging with your clients between your translation and interpreting jobs.

1. It shows that you care about having a lasting business relationship. After all, these are the people who put food on your table. When you engage with a client around the actual paid portion of work, you show that you're worth more than the line item that shows up on their expense sheet. By providing value in more ways than simply handing over the service you provide as a translator or interpreter, you might even be sealing an impression that keeps you on as a contractor for the long haul. People like to do business with people they like and trust. So... help them like and trust you.

2. It helps you to stay top of mind. Even if your client doesn't have a current project for you, he/she can refer you to others who do. These referrals will help fuel and grow your business, too. Never underestimate the power of referrals. When I took a hard look at how much of my business was based on referrals, I was shocked to see it was well over 50%!

To learn more about using referrals wisely, check out How to Use Referrals and Grow Your Client List.

3. It allows you to stay on top of the new things that are happening with your clients and with which you might be able to help. I can't tell you how many times I've simply sent off an email to a client to ask how things are going for them only to receive a tidbit of news or a mention of something that truly helps me to understand my client better. Perhaps your client has plans to grow in a new market. Do you translate that type of content? If you don't yet, could you? Or maybe they are planning to cut back on their budget. That doesn't mean you should stop engaging with them, but it does mean that you should plan ahead and perhaps start marketing to more clients in a similar industry so that your income doesn't suffer when you start to see the effects of that client's reduced budget. The information that comes from staying engaged with clients is valuable in so many ways. Don't overlook the possibilities!

How to Take the Fear Out of Networking and Own Your Message as a Translator OR Interpreter

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A lot of us have a less than loving relationship with networking. I'll be honest. I've never really enjoyed it. And while I don't think I'd consider myself a true introvert, I do like to think of myself as a "webtrovert", i.e. someone who feels more comfortable interacting for the first time with clients and leads online rather than in person.

It's not that I'm opposed to meeting clients face-to-face. I often do, but ask me to go to a networking event, and I'll probably think of ten other things I'd rather be doing. I don't love to be thrown into situations where I don't know anyone in the room or I think I may not be making the best use of my time. However, if I can take some time to prepare in advance of the conversation, I feel more in control of or like I have more of an influence on the outcome. Of course, there's no guarantee, but I do prefer to feel prepared than caught off guard. My guess is you do, too.

So, how do we take the fear or discomfort out of networking and really own the message we want to share as translators and interpreters?

My suggestion: online networking… especially because of the industry in which we've chosen to work. As translators and interpreters, we don't always have the ability to meet our clients in person. Some of us work with clients in other states and countries. That's why we sure as heck better know how to effectively networking with them online.

Here are my top tips for taking the fear and discomfort out of networking.

● Set up a time to network every day. Yes, every day. Or at the very least, a few times a week. You set the time. Put it on your calendar or in your agenda, and show up for it like you would a meeting with a client. Decide how to best make use of this time by preparing and providing them with value. That value will look different for each of us. That's why it's best to know and understand the needs of your ideal clients.

To read more about how to know and target your ideal clients, check out How to Determine and Attract Your Ideal Client and How to Create and Ideal T&I Client Profile to Market Your Services.

● Use this time to interact with your clients or potential future clients. Send some warm emails or engage with them on social media. Give them a call, or send them a handwritten note. All of these things can be done on your own time and do not require you to attend an event or have an awkward conversation.

● Treat your online networking efforts as market research. The more you get to know your clients, the more information you can "swipe" for future marketing campaigns and messaging.

To learn more about what "swipe files" are and how they can work for you, check out Why You Need to Keep Swipe Files for Your T&I Business.

● Set aside some time or a specific day each week in which you can meet with your clients virtually. You can easily set up appointments these days with online calendar tools, like Google, Calendly, etc. It's just as important to stay in touch with and meet with current clients so that they know you are available and excited to continue working with them. Tell them what you're working on and ask what they're working on as well. Engage. Engage. Engage. This is not the time to sell. Just engage.

● In advance of the networking session or meeting, take some time to get to know the person you are meeting by looking them up online. See if they have a blog, or published articles, if they've won any awards, if they have been mentioned or interviewed recently. See what they're posting on their social media platforms. Do your homework. A feeling of preparedness will allow you to show your interest in working with the client and will also give you some potential topics of conversation.

When you take the time to schedule these things, you will start to see the benefits of networking this way.

● You are in control of the "when" and "where". No longer will you be caught off guard by a direct question from a potential client.

● You can feel comfortable meeting someone from the familiar surroundings of your home office or workspace instead of having to pay $15 to $20 for an event and trying to juggle finger foods, a drink and hold an intelligent conversation.

● You can easily schedule your work around these networking sessions because they are short, focused and you won't be spending valuable time driving to and from an event.

● You are able to make sure that you meet with someone who you actually have a desire to do business with, and not just the person who ends up standing next to you in the buffet line at a large networking event. This type of networking allows you to be strategic.

● You can continue to get to know your clients and hone your message. Practice makes perfect, right? The more you take the time to network online with your clients, the better you will get at it. It will no longer feel like an uncomfortable task to help you market and grow your business. It will simply be a part of doing business.

Don't like the idea of a virtual session? Pick up the phone. Prefer to meet the client in person over a meal? If they're local to you, schedule it! Once you are able to comfortably network with clients on your terms, whether virtually or in person, you can really craft and refine your message so that marketing and networking become second nature. See what works for you and what doesn't. And go from there.

Networking doesn't have to be something that makes your hands sweat just thinking about it. It can be fun to do the research to get to know a client better before you have that first conversation. It also helps your clients get to know you better and trust you. After all, people like to do business with people they like and trust. Own your networking skills. Own your message. Grow your business.

To read even more networking tips, check out my Seven Tips for Effective Networking When You Work from Home.