Clients who stick around and need content on a consistent basis are the best ones to have. For one thing, they provide you with regular writing assignments, so you’re not always worrying about where you’ll get your next paycheck. Additionally, working with clients for a long time enables you to be more familiar with their business as well as their style and preferences. This, in turn, makes it easier (and faster) to produce content.
But how exactly can you find–and keep–long term clients? To answer this, I asked other freelancers, entrepreneurs, and online professionals to share #1 top tip for securing and maintaining long-term client relationships.
Check out what they have to say and see if you can apply them to your business:
1. Alicia Rades
Keeping a long-term client is as simple as meeting–and oftentimes exceeding–their expectations. It’s silly that long-term clients have praised me before just for meeting the deadline. They shouldn’t have to praise me for something like that, but when other writers they’ve worked with haven’t met their expectations, it helps you stand out. If they want long-term work, they’re going to stick with you because of that.
Another thing that helps is keeping in touch with your clients, even if it’s not writing related. Not all clients want a certain amount of work every month, but they may want to work with you long-term. You’ll have some clients whose work comes and goes in flows. If you “like” their Facebook post or email them a link to an article you think they’ll like, it may just remind them that they’ve been meaning to contact you about a new project (without you having to ask for work). This has happened to me with several clients. For example, I share their Facebook post, and they email me saying, “Thanks for sharing. By the way, do you have the time this week to write up a blog post for me?”
2. Elna Cain
My tip for maintaining long-term client relationships is to be prompt and flexible.
I found that paying special attention to these two aspects yields more work and strengthens my relationship with my clients. I know many of my clients work with more than one writer, so I make sure that when they email me, I’m prompt to respond that day.
Just by being prompt with one of my clients generated an extra $1,000 of business that month. Another writer flaked on my client and he asked me if I wanted the project – and I responded quickly with a yes.
Being flexible is also important. It shows I’m easy to work with and that I’m more than happy to accommodate my clients. This is two-fold also; I recently asked a client of mine if I could swap out a blog post for this month to do the following month. He agreed, then he asked me to swap another post and of course I said yes!
Both of these clients have become valuable long-term clients. They both have sent me tons of business as a result of our excellent working relationship.
3. Shawndra Russell
One of the ways I think I’ve been able to keep my long-term digital marketing clients–2 of which I’ve had for over 3 years–is viewing myself as a partner. Although it’s their business, I treat it as if it’s mine, which means I want to see growth month over month, continuously brainstorm new ideas even if they are outside my responsibilities, and provide excellent customer service via social media.
This approach means I’m genuinely excited and proud about milestones their businesses reach and all their successes, and it pushes me to strive for the next win constantly.
4. Anca Dumitru
Focus on providing value. Delivering quality work is the number one thing to make your client fall in love with you. If you’re hired for a one-off gig, and you exceeded the client’s expectations, don’t just let the relationship end there. Upsell! It’s never too late to do that. Offer a package to save your client money.
You’ll still be top of mind for those who may not have ongoing needs or the budget to continue working with you. And you’ll be a blessing for clients that have neither the time nor the skills to do the ongoing work.
And communicate; always make sure you keep the client in the loop on the status of the project.
So, in a nutshell, focus on bringing value to your client. This must be your top priority.
5. Valerie Bordeau
Just like any other type of relationship you have, a healthy relationship with your client involves a win-win situation for both sides. Workflow dynamics and circumstances inevitably change over a long period of time, so mastering the tricky art of successful negotiation is crucial.
Many writers are hesitant to confront clients when things are not going as well as they think it should. Writers can overcome these difficult situations by presenting compromising workable solutions that take into account the factors involved for both sides.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for what your business needs in order to be profitable. But do it in such a way that you can deliver what your client needs as well.
6. Sharon Hurley Hall
Finding long-term clients is a case of making your own luck. You can’t guarantee they will come, but you can create an online presence that makes you a good prospect when they do. I’ve done this by creating work of the kind I want to attract and publishing it on high profile sites, and by sharing it widely on sites like LinkedIn where the professionals I most want to work with hang out.
Keeping those clients is partly a question of your own work ethic and their needs. Over 10 years, I have had multiple clients that I’ve worked with for more than 4 years, or who have returned to me after a gap because they needed a writing service they felt I could provide. I think great work, good communication and the occasional follow-up (such as a year-end thank you message) helps keep me in mind.
For example, one such message I sent at the end of 2015 resulted in three lucrative gigs from a client who had gone quiet. Since freelancing has ups and downs it’s useful to have those clients to keep some income stability and peace of mind.
7. Sarah Beauchemin
To find long-term clients, work only in the niches you’re most passionate and knowledgeable about, whenever possible.
First, this establishes you as an authority in your field, which will attract the type of clients you want. And second, you’ll be more excited about and dedicated to your work — something that ensures your deliverables are consistently of the highest quality. Clients will want to keep you forever!
8. Lauren Tharp
Any client has the potential to become a long-term client. But it goes beyond being nice to the person — though that is a must! — you also need to consistently find ways to make yourself needed.
The easiest way to do this is to chat up your client and find out what they really hate doing… And if that’s something you like doing, then you’re in business! If you can find a way to make their lives easier by doing the tasks they love to hate on a regular basis, then you just landed yourself a long-term client.
9. Corinne Kerston
My #1 tip for maintaining long-term client relationships is delivering great work.
Not just great content, but taking the time to really understand your client’s business or blog, answering emails in a timely manner, turning work in on time, handling criticism well. Basically over delivering in all aspects. It all adds up to a great experience for your clients, which makes them want to keep working with you, and eventually recommend you to others.
10. Liz Morrell
Don’t get complacent – treat existing clients as you would new ones – with the same professionalism, enthusiasm and effort. Always put the client first and if they need you to be flexible then remember that the client always comes first.
11. Razwana Wahid
Most people wait to be approached. Don’t do that. Be the one to keep in touch.
When you’ve worked with a client on one project, write to them every few months and ask them about their business. When you read something you think they’d find useful, email it to them. By keeping in touch, you remain at the forefront of their mind, and they’re more likely to reach out to you when they’re ready to employ a writer (for a short or long term project)
12. Pinar Tarhan
To pay for my selectiveness in writing jobs (and finance my fiction), I teach English as a second language as a freelancer.
I try to get along well with my students. And if we have a lot in common, it’s easy to make and stay friends. This keeps the network going, eliminates the loneliness, gives me different topics to write about and often leads to other gigs, both teaching and writing. So I’d say my tip is to find mutual interests and similar personality traits, and carry the relationship naturally from there.