This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
As a freelance writer, you are your own business. You have to wear a variety of hats, including marketing yourself to attract new customers. But, that’s only half the battle.
Like any business, one of your biggest goals should be not only to gain new customers but to retain your existing ones. When you’re a freelancer, it can give you a lot of comfort and peace of mind knowing that you’ll have consistent clients each month. It makes your job easier, you’ll be able to rely on a steady income, and you won’t have to constantly go fishing for new people.
The long-term success of your career largely depends on the customers you can keep. So, what can you do to retain clients with your writing services? Yes, it has a little to do with marketing. More importantly, however, it has a lot to do with educating yourself as much as possible.
Retaining clients starts with attracting the right ones – especially when you’re just starting out or becoming a writer in a new field. Not all customers are created equally. Some might only need a single job done. Others might need a large project but nothing more. Unfortunately, some clients might even end up flaking out on you halfway through a project, leaving you with hours put in and nothing to show for it.
Setting yourself up for success means working with the right people. If you want to attract customers to your writing services, consider implementing some of the following strategies:
- Utilizing social media to interact with people
- Having an updated website/portfolio
- Making sure your brand/image is what you want to portray
- Using SEO to boost your digital presence
- Thinking about partnerships
These strategies tend to be more effective for attracting long-term clients than using some kind of freelance marketplace like Upwork or PeoplePerHour. While there’s nothing wrong with those sites, especially if you’re trying to build up a portfolio, they are often used by clients who only need one or two pieces of work done, and don’t want to build a long-term relationship with a writer.
Once you have a few steady clients in your corner, it’s important to make customer service your top priority. They obviously enjoy working with you and appreciate your writing. However, that isn’t always enough.
Consider this – if there was a restaurant in your neighborhood that had some of the best food you’ve ever tasted, but the service was terrible, you probably wouldn’t want to keep going back. So, how can you make sure you’re providing the best service possible? Take a look at data trends and what customers want. Understanding what clients are looking for from a business is important when it comes to making long-term decisions about how you want to run your personal brand.
Need a few customer service tips that never go out of style? Try to make the following your top priorities when working with your current clients:
- Communicate as much as possible
- Be responsive
- Show your value (especially in an overly-saturated writer’s market!)
- Exceed customer expectations with every job
- Provide additional services whenever possible
If there’s one thing data trends have shown us, it’s that customers want a personalized experience. As a writer, you have a unique opportunity to provide that with every client, simply by staying regularly connected with them. Don’t be afraid to keep digging for more trends, and adapt your personal business to fit your clients’ needs.
As of 2017, there were over 57 million freelancers in the U.S. The pandemic caused that number to spike thanks to so many people losing their jobs or having to work at home. While not all of those freelancers are writers, it’s safe to say that you’ve got some heavy competition in the gig economy.
If you want to keep marketing yourself properly, you have to show your existing and potential new clients that you take your work seriously. A strong portfolio is great. But, with so much competition consistently coming for clients, furthering your education and making sure you have the right “training” for your job will go a long way.
After all, how nice would it look to have an MBA degree as part of your certifications and accolades? Not only can having an MBA look more attractive to clients, but it will help you to stay relevant as your own business. You’ll learn how to sustain yourself and grow, so you can remain successful for years to come. Furthering your education as a freelancer is never a bad idea, especially because so many people don’t. It’s a great way to stay one step ahead of your competitors and learn more about how to manage and market yourself, all at once.
One of the best parts about being a freelance writer is being able to work with a variety of clients. However, it’s so important to hold onto those clients so you don’t have to worry about making ends meet each month. Keep these ideas in mind to attract the right customers, and retain them so you can form a working relationship that lasts for years.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.