Chances are, as a freelance writer, you’d like to secure “anchor clients.” These are clients that hire you regularly and have possibly signed a contract with you for long-term work.
Whether you have anchor clients, a few clients you’ve worked with for a while that you’d like to secure contracts with, or you’d like to turn one-time assignments into ongoing work, it’s a good goal to keep your clients happy.
And, if your clients are already happy, how can you make your them even happier?
Check out these 5 ways to make clients happy, and make happy clients even happier
Turn in your work on time
There is an expectation in the world of freelancing that we will be on time with our work. While this is probably true in most workplaces, as freelancers, being on time is even more critical. We are one small piece of the puzzle for many companies and if we’re late, we slow lots of other people and tasks down.
This is annoying and costs money.
At a minimum, turn your assignments in on time.
Want happier clients? Turn your work in early.
In my world, if I turn in an assignment in on its due date, it’s late.
I always aim to turn things in early. Though my goal isn’t to keep my clients happy (it’s more about self-preservation in case a kid gets sick or our household just becomes less productive overall and I get behind), turning assignments in early, and making that a habit, is something that my clients love.
In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s helped me get more work and promotions.
Make it easy for your clients: Turn your work in on time at worst, and early at best. But, don’t compromise the quality for an early submission.
Turn in an edited first draft
Yes, you probably work with an editor for many of your assignments. But that doesn’t mean you send in the first draft.
If you’ve been doing that, stop it right now!!
As a writer, you should be editing and proofreading your work. Write a draft, leave it alone, and then improve it. When you have at least a second draft, sure, you can send it in for submission.
Want happier clients? Turn in a polished first draft.
I also think of this as turning in a final draft (with the caveat there may be edits).
For me, I’m turning in my best work. I’m not turning in something that I think will be edited- I turn my work in knowing that I wrote it, edited it, sat with it, and probably edited again before I sent it off.
I’m a decent self-editor, so if you’re not, you may want to think about enlisting a colleague or trading editing with someone in a mastermind group.
Clients appreciate writers who need minimal editing and don’t require much back-and-forth. Happiest clients will be the ones who get first drafts that are very close to publish-ready.
Hiring freelancers is a great option for companies and brands. However, even with a resume, portfolio, and interview, it’s normal for an employer to feel like they’re taking a bit of a risk- what if the freelancer doesn’t deliver? What if they don’t respond? Will the writer be as professional as they thought?
Take away all of these concerns by communicating with your client- respond to emails, send what they ask for, and don’t leave them hanging.
Want happier clients? Communicate well.
Communication is a skill.
Communicating well is a bit of an art form.
Communicating well is knowing when and how to communicate, responding to emails appropriately and professionally, not bombarding your clients with too many emails, calling only when appropriate, and basically, not creating more work, frustration, or confusion with your communication habits.
Respond to emails within 24-48 hours
Honestly, I want to say that you should respond to emails within 24 hours to keep clients happy.
I get that we’re too accessible and that people have expectations that are too high. As a culture, we’ve created a situation where people want responses right away. So, while I think that 24-48 hour response time is perfectly appropriate, to keep a client happy, you should probably aim to return emails within 24 (business) hours.
Want happier clients? Return emails the same day (within reason).
Again, I’m compelled to encourage you to reply to emails within a couple of hours, but clients will be very happy if you’re in the habit of taking no more than a day to reply. When most of us check our email regularly, it’s useful to reply to urgent emails as quickly as possible.
No, you don’t need to be late to your yoga class or skip lunch to respond to an email that can wait a couple of hours, but clients are happiest when they know they’ll hear from you soon.
Send an email thank you
If you’ve been given a contract, hired for a big project, or a current client referred you for a job, sending a thank you is appropriate.
In the world of freelance writing, this step is easy to skip over, since we’re often on the search for work. Though you don’t need to send a thank you to everyone who hires you (though a holiday card at the end of the year goes a long way!!), for larger opportunities, referrals someone made, or something that required extra work or effort, take the time to send a thank you.
Manners go a long way in this business.
Want even happier clients? Send a hand-written thank you note.
Seriously. This personal touch does not go unnoticed.
We all want to feel appreciated.
Sending an email is easy; taking the time to write and send a card takes effort on your part and shows the recipient that you value them and their time.
Go big and make your clients as happy as possible
There are a lot of awesome freelancers out there, and hopefully, you’re using the information from the Contena blog to help you be one of them. You might already be making your clients happy.
But, instead of just making them happy, use these five simple strategies for happier clients.