I've been helping a lot of people recently on the FB groups about how to secure clients on Upwork, so I've copied (below) 17 tips I apply to my proposals. Some will be self-explanatory but if you can take one thing away from it, my job is done.
Or if you have any additional tips which may help the members of this forum, feel free to comment
Top tips for freelances using Upwork.
1) Complete as many tests as you can relevant to your skills as this is an opportunity to showcase your skills.
2) Don’t settle for the client’s budget, unless it is reasonable. A lot of clients do not always know what to enter as their budget, and they guess as a precaution not to overprice; so they often set it lower. 9 times out of 10 they are prepared to pay higher. I’ve experienced this myself more so than not.
3) Don’t always focus on your years’ of experience in the field – this doesn’t tell clients much about the quality of your work, which is what they most care about. Your years of experience can take up unnecessary space. Clients want to hire freelancers who are enthusiastic, dedicated, and intelligent — even if you don’t have years of experience doesn’t mean you are not the right fit.
4) Don’t make your proposal a sales pitch, don’t be arrogant or over confident because this can make clients switch off and move on to the next.
5) Be personable; make a connection; be friendly and outgoing.
6) Check their feedback to see if a previous freelancer has named them, if so, use that name in the proposal.
7) Proposal layout:
a. Hey Becca, how’s it going / how are you?
b. Layout how you will do the job with the skill set they list, timelines, and turn around, and demonstrate your passion in your words. Ask your questions here.
c. List any qualifications, Upwork test results and suggest they check out your feedback, if you have any.
d. Detail other stuff like, “easy to work with, follow instruction easily, attention to detail” and welcome them to discuss your application over Skype
e. To end, say something like, "I look forward to hearing from you, best/warm regards." Don't be too formal.
8) If they mention their business name, make a personal connection with their brand. For instance, I applied for a job with a client who focused on “customer experience,” I gave her an example of a bad customer experience I once had. Showing you care and have an interest, or can relate in some way to the brand, will go a long way and make you stand out.
9) Make each and every proposal different, do not use a template. Clients can spot this a mile off. If you use a template it shows your potential client that you don’t really care, you’re not a good communicator and you will not give 110% to the work they want you to do.
10) If there are additional questions, answer them first because this is what the client will see first on their screen, your actual proposal will come second. Focus on the questions they are asking because after all they have selected/asked these questions for a reason. It is like a backwards approach. By all means, cover the questions in your proposal too but make you’re the additional answers to questions are bullet proof. If you follow this approach you have a competitive advantage over other freelancers. I have recently hired on Upwork so I know this to be true.
11) Your profile picture can paint a thousand words, make sure it is decent. Make sure your smiling in it. Make sure it looks more business type rather than social, and make sure there aren’t many distractions in the background.
12) Don’t sell yourself too short. Know your worth. In your head, set an hourly rate or fixed price per 100 words. If you sell yourself too short it can turn a client off because they know a freelancer, who does this, does not value themselves and will not give 110%; and they are keen to move onto the next client to make their next dollar.
13) Most of all, proof read your proposal before pressing send. It’s easy to have typos - everyone does, even us writers; but it's paramount your proposals are error free.
14) Make your proposal is short and sweet, no need to go into massive detail or to use all the characters available – focus on the advert, make sure you cover all the skills, answer and also ask questions to be discussed if selected for interview. This shows initiative.
15) In your proposal include stuff like “I am easy to work with, I follow instruction easily and have great attention to detail” – these are all skills client’s like to read.
16) Once you secure a client, if they discuss moving away from Upwork, respond no. Upwork can track this type of comment and you might find yourself with a ban. However, I am not saying don’t move away from Upwork if you get the chance, go for it. But play it safe. Become their friend on FB or get their email address and have the conversation away from Upwork. Protect yourself and your account.
17) Once you get a client (or you’ve already had a client) and you get feedback, reply to that comment on how much you enjoyed the work, enjoyed working with the client, and what elements you enjoyed – this shows new potential clients you are friendly and professional, and easy to work with.