Friday, May 7, 2010

5 ways to keep your clients returning


If you're a business owner or freelancer, you probably know it's easier to keep the clients you have instead of finding new ones. However, this might be easier said than done, so here are five ways to keep your clients coming back:
  1. Provide packages for recurring work. If you only provide one-time services, your clients won't have a reason to hire you again. For instance, if you design websites and that's all you do, a client may only hire you once a year. Instead, think about other design needs your client may have such as matching business cards or an email template design.
  2. Give your top clients special treatment. Treat your best clients better than prospective or new clients. These are people who've provided you with the most business and might have even referred you to new clients. Some 'special treatment' you can give them are discounted rates or unexpected gifts. Additionally, you can offer exclusive services; and always make time for last-minute requests from your current clients.
  3. Remember important dates. Send your current clients a physical birthday card or another gift. You can also include a discount coupon or a complimentary product/service. Of course, it takes work to stay on top of these dates, but this will make you stand out from your competition.
  4. Create promos during the year. Even if you're a freelancer, you can have sales and discounts several times a year. For instance, you can celebrate your own birthday or an anniversary by providing current clients with a discount; you can also do this on special holidays like Thanksgiving. Also, if you don't want to continue having discounts, ask other freelancers or business owners (who provide different services that complement yours) to give discounted rates to your clients.
  5. Ask for referrals. Having a referral system has two benefits: 1) It brings you new clients; 2) Having a current client refer a prospect to you increase her/his loyalty to you. You can provide incentives in exchange for referrals like a discount on a future project or a commission. If you don't want to give an incentive (and a lot of times, some clients won't want one either- they might feel like they're selling to their friends), you can just give them discount coupons they can give their friends and associates. If you don't provide an incentive, always send the referrer a simple, yet thoughtful, gift with a nice handwritten note. It's always a good idea to show gratitude to those who've treated you well.
Feel free to share any of your tips below!

Peace & Blessings,



Photo from: punchstock.com; Source: Freelance Folder

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