When I first started my business, I had no mailing list, no social media presence, hardly any web presence, and very little connections with other designers or agencies. Fortunately, I did have quite a bit of blogging friends, and I was pretty active in the Chicago blogging scene.
My first clients were all Chicago or Midwest bloggers, because of their kind words and referrals, I was able to grow and expand my clientele base. Since I opened, I have never worried about getting or booking up with clients. Around eighty percent of my customers and clients come from referrals. A potential customer was referred directly by a previous client, or the potential customer saw some of my previous work. I’ve been able to generate business based on referrals from past customers. I realize I’m extremely lucky and fortunate for this to occur.
My customers invest in their brands by working with me; they are trusting me to help them establish and grow their digital presence. I don’t take this investment lightly, whether it is a blog post template purchase or a custom blog design.
When working with clients, communication must be easy and clear. Throughout the design process, I’m solving problems and identifying the best way for the customer’s brand to reach their target audience. Not everything on a customer’s wish list can always be achieved – there can be design, technical, and budget limitations.
I pride myself on communicating honestly, frankly, and thoroughly with my customers. If a feature is not right for their brand, I explain why. I want the customer to understand why something won’t work. If I have to hop on a quick phone call, I will (depends on the project).
My relationship with my clients sets the foundation for the project success. It needs to be built on trust, respect, and understanding.
Some online advice will tell you to send clients gifts throughout the process. Personally, I don’t agree with it. The best gift you can give clients is a design process that is exciting, informative, and results in a brand that helps them grow their business. Little gifts here and there don’t help that process.
At the end of the project, I send my customers a thank you gift. This gift varies on the type of project – blog shop package versus custom design. For the custom designs, I send a thank you pack that includes a notebook, notepad, and personal thank you note. These elements reflect my branding, but they are also useful to my customer!
My affiliate program is probably the best way I show my customer appreciation. The program is only for my customers, and they earn 10% on any Blog Shop purchase. Some affiliates use their affiliate revenue towards additional customizations and products in the shop!
Remind Them You Exist
Even though a project might only last a few weeks, I’m always here for my clients. The health and presentation of the website project are as important to the client as it is to my business reputation.
When a project wraps up, I email clients about the affiliate program, Lindsay Humes Themese Facebook group, and email policy. They can email me at any time with questions about their brand or site. Honestly, this extended relationship is something that I wish I automated a little bit better. Right now, I rely on my past customers reaching out to me for advice, updates, etc. I’m hoping to include more automated sequences for this in 2017.
How do you make your clients feel special?
Want more freelancing and entrepreneurial essays? Check out these posts! If you have a question, leave a comment below!
Interested in working together?
I’d love to hear about your project!