Welcome Back! This is the third, and final, post in my series about how to find private clients. Part 1 covered where to find private clients, and can be found HERE. Part 2 was all about how to land a client, and can be found HERE. Part three will discuss how to keep a client coming back to you for all their writing needs. While all three parts are essential, this part can be especially rewarding because a great client who orders more content on a regular basis is invaluable to a freelance writer.
Repeat work can help freelance writers with budgeting and planning their time. They can also be a great resource for getting new clients; because they are far more likely to recommend you to other people they interact with for their website or business. With that in mind, lets jump in and learn how to keep a private client coming back for more.
Quality is King (And Quality is in the Eye of the Client)
It will be no surprise to any freelance writer that the most important thing you can do to keep a client coming back is to provide them with quality content. When many freelance writers fail to realize, however, is that ‘high-quality content’ means something different to each client. Delivering the type of content to your client that they want will determine whether or not they think your work is high-quality.
For example, one client might be looking for an informational article on how following the Paleo diet can help you lose weight. Another client might ask for an article on the same subject, but request that it be much less formal and more comedic. If you delivered the same article to both clients, you’re not delivering high-quality content. You need to tailor your writing style to each client to ensure they love what you produce for them.
One last point concerning quality content would be that while proper spelling and grammar are typically critical, this too is up to the client. Sometimes a client would prefer a more casual sounding style, which often requires the use of improper grammar, or ‘slang’ spelling. While this might be awkward as a professional writer, it is important to understand that the client’s needs should come first.
Deliver On Time
When you make a commitment to deliver something to the client by a specific date or time, make sure you meet that commitment. Nothing will drive a client to finding a new writer faster than having to constantly deal with late deliveries. That being said, however, clients understand that we writers are people too. If you absolutely can’t meet a deadline, let the client know as soon as possible. If it is only going to be a day late, they will often understand. If it will be more than that, they may need to find a new writer for that specific job, but will likely come back to you again in the future.
When a client tries to get in contact with you for an update, to give you more work or just to ask a question, make sure they don’t have to wait around for days to hear back. Give your clients several ways to get in contact with you quickly. I give my email address and Skype ID to all my clients. For those who ask, I’ll provide my phone number for calls or texting and even become ‘friends’ on Facebook so they can message me there. Open and easy communication is essential for maintaining private clients.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Work
If you’re ever experiencing a time when you don’t have anything to write, don’t be afraid to reach out to your regular clients and ask if they have anything they need written. Let them know that you have some free time to work on their projects. Even if you have to write now and get paid later, it isn’t a problem because you have (hopefully) built up some trust with the clients. A benefit for the client is that they get the content they will need down the road sooner, so they have it ready. You can also consider giving discounts for clients who have work for you when you ask.
Build a Relationship
When you have a private client, take the extra time to build a relationship with them. It is more difficult to ‘fire’ someone you know well, so sharing some personal information is often a good idea. This could include mentioning something about having a spouse in passing, talking about a favorite sports team, or just about anything else. Of course, you don’t want to over share or waste too much of the client’s time, but attempting to ‘bond’ a little bit with the clients can really help the long term professional relationship.
Be a Business Partner
Even though you’re ‘hired-help’ for the client, take an active interest in their projects. If a client is running a sports-betting website, for example, consider making a recommendation to expand it into water polo (or whatever). Give advice on how to better optimize the content and see if he is interested. While you don’t want to be pushy, if the client feels you have a real interest in their success, they will keep coming back.
If a regular client has a special request, consider meeting their needs without raising the prices. For example, I have a client who orders 40-60 articles from me per month. Once in a while he needs a couple of them delivered right away (less than 24 hours). While I normally charge 20% for faster service, I always do it for him for free. It is more than worth it to keep him happy because he is coming back again month after month with lots of writing for me.
If you take the time to learn and follow the above tips, your private clients will appreciate the effort and remain loyal to you for years. These private clients can really make the difference between having a writing career, and just writing for pocket money. If you have any additional tips you think should be included, let me know! I’ll be happy to update this post with other great ideas!