Proper cover letters are one of the biggest factors of getting hired for jobs on Upwork and other freelance platforms.
At the same time, they’re one of the most complex topics to discuss and getting them right can be the difference between you getting hired for high-paying, quality jobs; and getting hired for low-quality jobs with demanding clients.
Thankfully, Jason Dumana, one of our resident expert SEO consultants, has shared with us the Upwork cover letter samples he uses.
These allow him to get top-paying SEO jobs, at rates sometimes even higher than his US counterparts.
We’re talking about between $500-$2,000 per month per client. With 3-4 clients…you do the math.
Alright, let’s jump right in and take a look at these cover letters.
FYI: I highly discourage that you copy these cover letters. Each freelancer should speak in their own voice with their cover letters and if you copy Jason’s, you’ll just sound weird. Instead of copying, take note of the manner he writes them. I’ll be writing the important points as well.
Cover Letter Sample 1: Bad Experience with Past SEO
This cover letter is in response to an invite Jason receives wherein the client mentions that the last person they hired to do their SEO didn’t do a good job (happens all the time):
Thanks for the invite to your job. Sorry to hear about your current consultant. People come to me all the time with this problem.
I encourage you to take a look at my portfolio to see the type of results that you can expect when working with me.
3 months is more typical to be on the first page, but you start seeing rankings within 2 months easily.
Once again, see my portfolio and I promise you will be impressed.
We should hop on a Skype call when you get back and discuss how I can help more in depth.
In Jason’s first cover letter, you can see how he immediately empathizes with the client and builds trust.
“People come to me all the time with this problem” – that tells the client that people come to Jason and he is able to do better. It’s not directly stated, but it’s implied.
“I encourage you to take a look at my portfolio to see the type of results that you can expect when working with me.” – this tells the client “I know what I’m doing, and I have the work to show for it”.
“3 months is more typical to be on the first page, but you start seeing rankings within 2 months easily.” – when it comes to SEO, the magic words are “rankings”, and “first page”. The client doesn’t care about anything else. Jason is being confident here, but his portfolio shows it.
“We should hop on a Skype call when you get back and discuss how I can help more in depth.” – Tells the client: “I don’t want to waste time by telling you anything more. Let me impress you over the phone and get started right away.”
Cover Letter Sample 2: SEO with SaaS Companies
SaaS means “Software as a Service”. These are companies that provide services for a monthly fee. The SaaS field is extremely competitive, so finding a good SEO consultant for SaaS services is extremely valuable.
Thanks for the invite to your job.
I actually have experience working with several SaaS companies and doing their SEO. They have all achieved great results in a short period of time.
(Approach to the Job)
I encourage you to take a look at my portfolio to see the type of results I can get you.
We should probably hop on a Skype call to discuss your needs further.
Once again, Jason goes direct to the point and shows confidence that he can do the job (it sounds like there’s absolutely no doubt about it).
There’s a section (Approach to the Job). Here, Jason talks about what he will do for the client. Being a SaaS company, it’s likely they’re knowldgeable about SEO, so Jason has to show that he knows what to do.
At this point, Jason does his own homework and comes up with an action plan on how to help the client rank – even before getting hired.
Better yet, he includes it in his cover letter.
Why does he do this? Because one SEO contract can mean thousands of dollars in earnings for the months to come. By showing the client his action plan upfront, he impresses the client, leaving no room to hire anyone else (unless they put in the effort to come up with action plans beforehand).
Cover Letter Sample 3: Low-Budget Client Invites
Here’s what Jason uses when a client invites him for a low-budget job. Personally, I wouldn’t even reply, but Jason’s response is great:
Thanks for the invite to your job.
You are basically seeking someone in the Philippines who is willing to charge $3/hr which is almost less than minimum in every place in the country…
My biggest metrics that I track are ranking increases. Rankings are the biggest factor in SEO and is what ultimately brings more traffic and business.
You invited me because I am one of the top-rated and most respected names on Upwork when it comes to SEO. This is just a friendly reminder about the $3/hr budget you have. I charge a monthly retainer and it is way more expensive than that.
I’m based in Manila, Philippines. English is my 2nd language, and I can definitely handle the SEO of your sites.
The client has probably read articles saying that Filipinos accept rates of $3/hr for work. Well, Jason counters by saying “You want results? You have to pay for them” in this line:
“You invited me because I am one of the top-rated and most respected names on Upwork when it comes to SEO. This is just a friendly reminder about the $3/hr budget you have. I charge a monthly retainer and it is way more expensive than that.”
He also solidifies his experience and his competencies with his confidence, so the client should have no reason to not want to hire Jason.
With this line: “I’m based in Manila, Philippines. English is my 2nd language, and I can definitely handle the SEO of your sites.”, Jason is telling the client that there is (almost) no difference in hiring a Filipino, he can do the job and do it well – and that’s what matters.
Cover Letter Sample 4: Standard Invite
This is a response to a standard job invite that Jason receives: a client telling Jason that they want higher rankings for their website.
Thanks for the invite to your job. This is exactly the type of results I provide- ranking highly and bringing you more traffic and business.
Before I go on, take a look at my Upwork portfolio and you will see the type of results I can get you as I have my other clients.
(Approach to the Job)
Your budget is pretty low, but we can discuss in a meeting.
Let me know if you’d like to hop on chat or Skype.
As usual, Jason is straight to the point and tells the client: “You need rankings? I can get you rankings!” and “Check out my portfolio and be impressed, I know what I’m talking about”
Same as with SaaS businesses, he lays out an action plan. However, depending on the client, he may or may not go technical. Some clients may just need a very basic overview, while others may require more detail. It’s Jason’s judgement at this point that determines which route to take.
Cover Letter Sample 5: Hummingbird Invite
Google Hummingbird is the title of one of the SEO algorithms that’s extremely important in today’s world. When clients mention that they need SEO that’s compliant with Hummingbird, that’s the first thing that Jason tells them – solidifying that he’s the right guy for the job.
Thanks for the invite to your job.
I can tell you that I am a Hummingbird-lover 🙂
I’ve always gone with the semantic search approach and broad synonyms to rank for multiple keywords from proper research.
I can definitely help out with this. Hope this counts as a cover note, and I highly encourage you to check out my proof in my portfolio here:
You will be impressed.
This cover letter is pretty basic.
The first two lines just tell the client: I know what you’re talking about, I understand what you need, and I can get you the results you want.
And then he closes out by telling the client, “Look at my work, I’m great!”
Cover Letter Sample 6: First Page Local Business
This is a response to a local business who wants to rank ‘on the first page’.
Local businesses rely on physical locations. They’re companies like pizza shops, massage studios, and doctors.
SEO for local businesses is a bit different that non-local businesses. For one thing, Google Maps listings are important.
Take a look at how Jason responds to an invite to a local business (take note, if you aren’t familiar with local SEO, you may get a little lost):
Thanks for the invite to your job!
Based on what you’ve said, I think we can definitely hop on Skype and discuss how I can be of service.
Position 10 is actually on the first page. For Google Maps listings (known as Snack Pack), the best and only way to increase your rank is to increase the amount of citations (general to niche-relevance) your business/website has around the internet.
A citation is known as NAP, name address phone. When they appear perfectly around the web, you rank higher. It can take Google 6+ weeks to update Snack Pack after you finished building citations.
Although I am confident I can increase your local listings on a normal Google search, I like to actually outrank those map listings and rank on the several positions above the map listings.
More visibility, regular SEO, better click-throughs, more trust, less competition = more business.
Take a look at my portfolio to see some of the results I can get you as I have for my clients.
The first few paragraphs are a pretty standard for local businesses. Jason lets the client know that he knows what Local SEO entails by explaining the Snack Pack, Citations, and NAPs.
And then he goes around and says this:
“Although I am confident I can increase your local listings on a normal Google search, I like to actually outrank those map listings and rank on the several positions above the map listings.
More visibility, regular SEO, better click-throughs, more trust, less competition = more business.”
That tells the client: “You wanted a burger, well I’m giving you a burger, fries AND Coke”. At this point, Jason shocks clients by telling them that he can give them more than what they’re asking for.
Like I said at the start of the post, DO NOT COPY what Jason is doing. Instead, take note of how he addresses clients. If I were to summarize what I want you to learn, it’s these:
- Direct to the point – don’t talk about anything the client doesn’t need to hear. They have a problem, talk about solving it.
- Be confident and impress – have a portfolio to show. If you don’t have a portfolio, create one – even if it’s you just practicing.
- Speak in terms your clients understand – if your client knows the technicalities of SEO, talk about them. If they don’t, then be more general. The more you can show you understand how your job affects a client’s business, the more trust you can build.
- Talk about the client’s needs – understand the businesses needs and speak about them. The client has a specific need that they might not be telling you directly, your job is to tell the client that you understand what they need even when they don’t tell you what that need is directly.
PS: I talk about a lot of the above points (and more) in detail in my webinar “Becoming a P100k/mo Freelancer”. If you want to become a top-earning freelancer, whether or not you practice SEO, I highly recommend you watch it HERE.