Being a Graphic Designer sometimes feels like having a lot of one night stands. I know that probably seems like a weird comparison, but hear me out. I’m sure a lot of us who have had experience in the field for a while know that some clients only want you for one thing, and once they get that then you rarely hear from them again. But who wants that, right? I’m sure we’d all love to have a nice relationship with our clients that keep them coming back, I mean that is more reliable money in your pocket after all. So how do you go about keeping clients coming back for more? Well, there are three things you need to do that will keep them coming back almost every time.
Provide Value For Your Clients
Honestly, this is probably the most important, but overlooked, thing you can do to keep your clients coming back. It’s not enough to just design anymore, I mean if you’re into the more “One Night Stand” clients then that might be the road for you, but if you want clients that keep coming back then you’re going to have to go beyond just Design. Most clients aren’t going to know how exactly Design can offer them value and help drive business to them, so it’s your job to educate them. Like I’ve said so many times before, and will continue saying, Design is about COMMUNICATION. You have to be able to show your clients how exactly you’re communicating their values, goals, services, and how that’s going to help them drive traffic back to their business. Essentially what you’re doing is setting yourself up in a position where your clients are going to feel like they NEED you, and this is a good position to be in, because they do need you right? It’s all about leveraging your position to create value, and showing them that the reason they hired you is because you’re a professional and your Design is giving them a good ROI. Simply put, your clients want to see that you can help them make money so the investment they’re making in you doesn’t feel like a waste. If you can do that then they’ll keep coming back.
Be Genuine With Your Clients
I’m sure you probably saw this coming because I keep saying how important it is to be genuine. I keep saying this because it’s so completely true. As much as some of you might not like to think so, you’re still in the world of customer service, and how you treat your clients is important. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot, right? Be personable, be yourself, and make a point to care about what’s important to them. At the core of every person we all just want to be cared about. We want to feel like someone is actually taking an interest in our lives and our problems, so why not leverage that? I guarantee that if you actually take the time to sit down with a client and get to know them, their business, their problems, and how you can help solve them, they’ll be one hundred times more likely to come back to you. That’s all because they’re going to feel like you actually care. Clients care about their business, so why would they want to put it in the hands of someone else who doesn’t? Think of this, I’m assuming that most of you reading this right now are probably return readers. Why is that? Why do you keep coming back to read my content? Well let me tell you. It’s because I do my absolute best to care about problems that are important to you guys. I listen to what you have to say, I watch for common questions that come up in the design community, and I do my best to put out content that’s important to you guys. Not only that, I’m authentic in the way I talk to you. If you’re reading this, this is exactly how I talk. I don’t sit down and try to write a formal essay, or use technical jargon that no one understands. I sit down and write like if I were in a room talking to you one on one, because that’s important to me. I want you to come away from this post feeling like you just had a conversation with me. Being GENUINE is the key, and the sooner you see that the better.
Follow Up With Your Clients
Again, this is a SEVERELY underestimated step in the process of keeping clients. This also kind of goes hand in hand with being genuine. If you’re not following up with a client then they’re probably assuming a few things: either you’re too busy for them, you don’t care to work with them anymore, or you just simply forgot about them. No one wants to feel that way, I know I surely wouldn’t. Following up with clients shows them that you care about how they’re progressing with their business, and it lets them know that you’re excited to work with them again and for the opportunity to help provide them even more value. Even if you reach out to follow up and they don’t have work for you immediately, I guarantee you’ll be at the forefront of their mind the next time they need any kind of work done for their business. That’s because clients want to work with someone they like, someone they feel comfortable with, and reaching out to follow up makes you human. I’ll give you a personal example. Over a year ago I started doing intern work with someone, who is now someone I would consider a good friend, helping develop a set of E-Learning Modules. We spent months developing this, and at the end of my internship we parted ways due to a brief period I worked at an Advertising Agency. Now, a few months ago when I decided that Freelance Graphic Design was my future and I launched my Personal Brand, the first thing I did was follow up with this client. I hadn’t spoken to him in months, but I reached out, expressed interest in knowing how things were progressing, and if there were any ways I could help. Guess what? That’s how I got my first client. Even if it’s been a month, two months, whatever, FOLLOW UP. It could be the difference between having 2 “One Night Stand” clients, and having 10 consistent clients.
Something that I think will really help you if you’re trying to figure out how to keep clients is to remember this: Treat others how you would want to be treated. They call it the Golden Rule for a reason. It all comes down to being able to provide value and just simply caring about your clients. So, if you do these 3 things then you’re likely to see a boost in your return clients.
Do you have a personal story about how you have maintained a relationship with a client or clients? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear it.