When you’re a freelancer, the line between marketing and sales for your business tends to blur.
Every single interaction you have with your customers is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them and promote repeat business.
One way to strengthen that relationship is to perfect the art of invoicing. A professional-quality invoice helps your customers to pay quickly and invites them back for more.
As an experienced freelancer, I’ll offer my tips for sending stellar email invoices.
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1. Keep your subject line short and consistent
If your customer is expecting an invoice from you, you don’t need to do a lot of explaining. They see the email, they expected the email, and they will open the email.
The most important thing is to keep the format consistent so it’s not overlooked. No one likes surprises.
2. Keep the body short and sweet
The most important thing in your email body is great manners.
When you meet in person with a customer, a smile from you is more likely to elicit a smile from them. Your email communication with your customers should “smile” as well.
Please and thank yous are a must. You are going to get paid faster when you build an empathetic connection.
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Like your subject line, you should also keep your email body as short as possible, while still remaining polite.
3. Put your name at the top
Your teacher always reminded you of the importance of putting your name on your work.
No name, no credit.
The same principle applies here. You’ve got to put your name on it. When you leave your contact information, your customers will always be able to contact you if they have any questions about the invoice.
4. Keep your terms simple
When leaving payment terms, I would recommend using the word “days” instead of “net.”
For example, instead of writing, “Net 30” on the invoice, you write “Please pay within 21 days.” Using days instead of net is a much less confusing of a term and will help you get paid faster.
5. Show your work
The more details you give about the work you did in the invoice, the less questions your customer will ask about what they are actually paying for.
You don’t need to overdo it, but invoicing by task or work performed by day gives your customers assurance that they are getting what they paid for.
6. Accept credit card processing
The best way to insure that your customers pay on time is to make it as easy as possible for them.
A great solution to this is credit card processing. A lot of accounting software uses credit card processing directly from the invoice that gets sent out.
For example, below is an invoice from ZipBooks that lets you pay with a credit card directly from the invoice.
7. Send lots of reminders
Hopefully you never get to this next part, but you should always have a contingency plan if you don’t get paid by the due date. Best recourse? A series of emails with an escalated sense of urgency will help you get paid.
Repeat business is the ultimate goal.
Wrapping It Up
As you follow these tips, never forget that repeat business is your ultimate goal.
Once you show you are honest and competent, the barrier to repeat business is going to be how easy it is to do business with you. Clear, consistent communication inside a slick framework of invoicing is going to make life easier for both your client and for you.
Do you have any tips on how to make the invoicing process easier? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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