How to Keep Freelance Clients for Years to Come

Launching a website for a client doesn’t mean the end of the road. You may continue to work together for years to come. Things like maintenance, repairs, and maybe even a lucrative redesign could all be in the cards.

To get to that point, you’ll need to build a strong relationship. There are no guarantees. But it’s still the best way to ensure that a client will keep coming back.

However, each client is unique. They have different personalities and approaches. Much of relationship building involves taking these traits into account.

There are also some best practices for web designers to follow. Let’s look at ways to create a strong foundation for a successful partnership.

Be Honest and Direct

Being truthful is one of the easiest and most universal ways to earn trust. Lying, on the other hand, will only cause harm to a relationship. Don’t go there.

Plainly describing a situation can work wonders. Explain what needs to be done and why. Conversely, the more you talk in circles, the more it can rub someone the wrong way.

Honesty is always the best policy. But brevity shouldn’t be ignored, either. This is especially important when discussing highly-technical issues. You’ll run into clients who aren’t interested in technical jargon and don’t care to learn it.

It’s usually best to get to the point. For example, let’s say that your client uses WordPress. You might recite a laundry list of reasons for keeping their installation updated.

But it may be more effective to talk about the consequences of not doing so (broken functionality, security issues, etc.). If they want to know more, you can always elaborate.

Your client will appreciate both your honest approach and ability to communicate effectively.

Honesty and brevity will go a long way toward establishing trust.

Follow Up & Follow Through

We all need to prioritize our schedules. The bigger the project (and client), the higher priority it is. It just makes sense.

But that doesn’t mean ignoring other clients or pushing them aside. If you’ve ever experienced a similar situation, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. So, imagine what a client feels like if they are continually left hanging.

This is where a little bit of communication can help. People will often empathize with your dilemma. But you must let them know in advance.

Therefore, take some time to explain what’s going on. Let your client know if a delay is expected. Then provide an estimate of when they can expect to see progress.

From there, you must follow through. This demonstrates that you can be counted on to get the job done.

Accountability is a rarity in our world. Thus, following through will make you indispensable in a client’s eyes.

Providing project status updates will keep your clients informed.

Be a Resource for Knowledge & Advice

Some client relationships will be a bit sporadic. You won’t hear from them very often. Still, it’s important to stay in touch. And there are a few easy ways to do so.

Direct Contact

Being in direct communication with your clients helps to build a personal rapport. Consider reaching out once or twice a year via phone or email – just to see how things are going. Ask if they are still happy with their website. See if there are any changes they want to make.

Clients often have website-related items on their to-do lists. But they get pushed to the back burner for whatever reason. Just the simple act of reaching out can get the ball rolling.

And don’t be afraid to make suggestions. For instance, clients who have older sites may need mobile or accessibility optimization. Your client may not be aware of the need unless you bring it to their attention.

Publish Blog Posts & Newsletters

While less personal, content that targets existing clients can serve two purposes. First, it keeps your name fresh in their mind. Second, it’s an opportunity to inform them about new services you’re offering, industry trends, or other items they need to know about.

The best part is that you don’t have to publish frequently. It doesn’t have to be particularly in-depth, either. But you may be surprised at how much feedback you get.

Host a Webinar

Hosting a webinar for a group of clients offers the best of both worlds. You’ll make a personal connection while also sharing relevant knowledge. You don’t even have to leave your desk!

Your subject matter should focus on things that will impact clients. Recent examples include the WordPress block editor or changes to Google Analytics.

You can also discuss matters that relate to your client’s business. Subjects like email marketing, increasing conversion rates, or interpreting usage statistics are always popular. Regardless, the interaction can be very beneficial for everyone involved.

There are several convenient ways to stay in touch with clients.

Show That You’re in It for the Long Haul

The steps above aren’t difficult. But they do require consistent effort and accountability. Master them, and you’re sure to build lasting client relationships.

In all, it’s about demonstrating that you’re there for your clients. It shows that you’re not out to make some fast cash, only to disappear afterward. Rather, you’re committed to being there for the long haul.

It’s an effective means of building loyalty and keeping clients on board. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. This will help your business thrive for years to come.

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