How To Keep Your Freelance Clients Happy
If you’ve been a freelancer for a while, you know how tough it is to thrive in this competitive business. You may be swamped with work one month, and the next month finding that projects are few and far between. Often, the number of freelance writers vying for the same assignment is high. To make matters more complicated, some writers are willing to do the job for a lesser amount of money — making it difficult for you to earn your ideal living wage.
That’s why every time you earn a new freelance client it’s important to treat that working relationship with care. By nurturing your client relationships you can turn one-off assignments into regular work, and create lasting partnerships that will continue to bring you work for years to come. Granted, it’s easier said than done, but in a competitive market, it pays to go the extra mile to keep your freelance clients happy.
8 Tips to Keep Your Freelance Clients Happy:
1. Understand the Brief
Did you spend enough time understanding the assignment? If not, it’s probably a good idea to read the brief again. Ideally, before you accept any new project you should make sure you have a firm grasp on what will be required of you. This sounds obvious, I know. But when offered new work as a freelancer, it’s completely normal to want to accept anything and everything that comes your way. However, experienced freelance writers know to only accept work that they are confident they can produce at a high quality.
Your ability to understand the brief will determine the quality of your work. The quality of your work will, in turn, likely decide whether or not you hear from the same client again.
2. Do Your Homework
This, too, may sound obvious, but have you looked at your client’s website? What’s the tone of voice in most articles or posts? What about their competition? How does your client’s site measure up against those of his competitors’? A smart freelancer knows the importance of doing their homework before diving into the work at hand.
When you do your homework, remember to take notes and discuss your ideas and questions with the client. Several new ideas may emerge during your discussions and your client will be impressed to see that you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with their brand, product or services, as well as their competitors.
3. Communicate More
Communication is key to meeting client expectations. While you may not want to bother your freelance clients with questions, it can help you set goals and avoid problems later. If you’re expecting more detailed answers, write to your client in an email and explain your confusions.
For quick clear-ups, be professional, pick up the phone and check in with your client to confirm any uncertainties.
Your freelance clients probably won’t judge you for asking too many questions if they know you will deliver as per their expectations.
Also in the spirit of communication, remember to check in with your clients. If you’re working on a project that’s ongoing or has a deadline in the distant future, get in touch with your client to update them on your progress. A short email that outlines what you’ve completed or created, or how far along you are along in your work reassures your client that you have everything under control. It creates a sense of comfort for them, knowing that their project is in capable hands.
4. Say “No” When You Need To
So, your client wants you to work on creating new home page content and expects you to write lengthy, over-detailed descriptions. As an experienced web writer, you know that that’s probably not the right way to go about things—and that’s exactly what you should tell them. When you push back with your own expertise, you create value for your client and use your industry knowledge to guide them in the right direction. That gives them more reason to come back to you.
5. Align Expectations
When you communicate with your client, make sure both of you are on the same page and have a clear understanding of the goal.
For example, if your client asks you to create a social media strategy for their business, understand what exactly they have in mind. Do they want you to work on search engine optimization (SEO) as well? What platforms does your client use? What kind of frequency did they have in mind?
Aligning expectations makes your life easier and gives your client a clear idea of what you’re going to do.
6. Exceed Expectations
If this is your first-time with a new client and you really want to win more projects with them in future, you have to go that extra mile. In other words, you have to exceed their expectations by over-delivering.
For example, if your client wants you to write five articles on the importance of employee training at the workplace, not only should you deliver the five articles on time, but do some extra research and propose a few topics that rank high on SEO. Whether your client decides to accept your ideas or not is a different matter, but your proactive approach is likely to leave a positive impression.
7. Meet Deadlines
No matter what you do, do not miss deadlines. This is the cardinal rule of freelancing, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Your client is typically not in the room with you to monitor your work. In most instances, he/she is sitting miles away relying on you to complete the work on time. When you miss your deadline, you break your client’s trust and lower your chances of getting more work in future.
If you can’t help but miss your deadline, alert your client well in advance. Transparency creates trust.
8. Seek Feedback
What was your client’s overall experience of working with you? Did you meet their expectations? Will they approach you for more work in future?
When you finish a project, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Likely, your client will be happy to give it to you and appreciate your care and attention.
If you get great feedback from the client, consider using their feedback (with permission, of course) as a testimonial on your online portfolio to bag more work from other clients.
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