Direct mail campaigns for translators

8 Jan

Winter holidays are over here, in Ukraine, which means that the time has come to fulfill every New Year resolution I (and, I hope, you) made last year.

I would like to share with you some info about a certain marketing technique which I have used recently to attract more clients. This is called direct mail.

A lot of authors emphasize the importance of this marketing method, along with tapping your network and going deeper with existing clients. It is not as time-consuming as blogging or cold calling, for example, but the effectiveness is almost the same.

The only thing that is quite difficult is to find companies and (which is much more important) contacts who can be interested in your expertise. Another problem is the letter itself. You can of course send it to every company in your area, or in your country, but that is, first, too expensive , and, second, is an absolute waste of your time. The secret here is to find people who most probably will be hooked by your letter.

When we speak about translation (and related areas like DTP, transcreation, etc.), the most obvious profile is a company which operates in countries of your target language, as well as specializing in your areas of expertise. Then, you will have to exclude companies which are headquartered in countries where translators get peanuts (in other words, why would they pay you your standard rates? They can easily find locals to do the job). Although that is not a kind of universal truth, the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign will be much higher. All in all, later on, If you think that the number of companies on your list is not enough, you can always include these low-paying countries as well.

In my case, these were companies from Russia, former CIS countries, India and China. I am paid 6-8 times more than an average local translator will ever get (BTW, I am a translator living in one of these countries).

In order to make up this list, you can use Google and LinkedIn. Try to use different search phrases. Just be creative! My favorite companies are those with less than 50-40 employees. Not too large to don`t even bother, and still large enough to have money to pay me my rates.

Once you have compiled your list, you have to visit web-sites of these companies and look for contacts who may be interested in the service you offer. In case of translation these can be marketing managers, international operations managers, etc. If nothing can be found, you can send your proposal to a CEO of the company (be cautious though!)

Here comes the most difficult part. NEVER ever use e-mail to reach contacts you have found. Instead, make up a letter, posing a problem they may face, as well as offering a solution you can have to the  problems they can face. This shouldn`t be a simple cover letter.

Print the letter out, sign it, and use ordinary mail to send them individually crafted letters. In this case you will be noticed. You will stand out.

In my further blog posts I will elaborate on the way your direct mail campaign can be successful.

Have a nice start of the year!


One Response to “Direct mail campaigns for translators”


  1. Weekly translation favorites (Feb 5-11) - February 12, 2016

    […] (team GLOC) Upcoming Events in the Localization World How to prepare a game for localization? Direct mail campaigns for translators Around the web – January […]

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