When and how should a freelance writer use an e-mail auto-response to potential clients? What are the possible payoffs and potential pitfalls?
Freelance E-Mail Auto-Response: A Real-Life Example
A few months ago I exchanged a couple of e-mails with another freelance writer. Immediately after I sent her the initial e-mail, I got an auto-response back that said essentially this:
I’m busy working on writing projects now, but I will respond to you within the next 12-24 hours.
Susan (not her real name)
I quickly fired off another e-mail and asked if she always had that auto-response on. Of course, I immediately got that same reply.
But she did get back to me within 12-24 hours and told me that she always used that auto-response. She stated that the response delay would make potential clients think that she was very busy and thus in high demand, and that would allow her to charge higher rates.
I See Pros and Cons…
I think her strategy could work with some clients. And from a time management perspective, she doesn’t have to check e-mail very often, so her productivity is likely higher.
On the downside, if clients are in a hurry to find a writer, they’ll quickly start contacting others once they get that auto-response. And they may also think they may not be able to afford this writer because she apparently is so busy, when in fact they actually might be able to.
I would only consider this if I had a large backlog of high-paying projects. What about you? In what instances would you use an auto-response?