Okay, you got your first few freelance projects. It took you time and effort to land these projects so it’s a pity that you will have to repeat the entire process once you are done with these projects. Finding new clients is challenging and it is even harder to find someone that will offer you a series of assignments right off the bat. In order to save yourself some time and effort in the future, you should seriously consider building a good working relationship with every client from day one. Like with many things in the writing business, there are right and wrong ways of trying to acquire long term clients.
After You Land the First Assignment, Be Careful
If you suffocate your new clients with new project ideas when you’ve barely started working on the task at hand, chances are they will get annoyed, and will not want to hire you for future tasks. They may even decide to cancel the current project.
Convince the Clients That You Can Be Their Long-Term Writer
The hardest step in getting a new client is convincing them to give you a chance. However, once you finally get a project, you are faced with yet another challenge. How do you turn that project into the first project in a series of projects?
You obviously need to do what the client asked for if you want to get paid. What you need to do to ensure the client will consider hiring you for future tasks is to go well beyond their expectations. Make sure to visit your clients’ websites, if they provided you with links, and adhere to their content style as closely as possible. Pay close attention when reading any examples each client may send you. Your client will need to read the material you write for them, and think: ‘Wow! This is exactly the type of content I am looking for.’ Although you will still need to provide your clients with your best work, should he or she decide to continue hiring you, it will become easier since you’ll already be familiar with their style and expectations.
Proposing Future Projects Indirectly vs Directly
Not all clients like it when freelancers directly ask them to hire them for another project, even if the first assignment was completed flawlessly. For this reason, you need to have more creative approaches when trying to convince your client to allow you to complete more tasks for them.
One way is to show genuine interest in the topics that are covered on the client’s site. The client may have plans to develop other areas of their site and a casual comment could be all it takes to land you another assignment.
A more risky approach is to slightly criticize some areas of the client’s website. It could be that some topics aren’t covered in enough detail or maybe some articles are confusing for the reader. Although this approach may offend some clients, I personally have never had a negative experience. Some clients that speak English as a second language often aren’t aware of grammar and structure issues in their content, and are more than happy to receive an extra hand. Of course, there will be clients who won’t be quick to jump at your offer. That is not a problem either. Some site owners already have writers and editors that work for them full time and others may have other priorities at the moment.
Depending on how your conversation goes with your client, simply offering to complete other tasks for them may work, too. I usually do this at the end of the project if I haven’t received another offer from the client. I tend to end my last email to the client with: “feel free to get in touch if you need help with anything in the future.” Around 25% of my clients respond within the next few days asking me if I would be interested in another writing or editing task. A few clients contact me asking about my other services. It always depends on the client and the type of project, but if I feel that the client may be interested in proofreading services, or even English conversation lessons (a few of my clients were actually more than happy to accept these), I try to offer these to them in my emails.
Offer Other Services
It’s not always new content that clients who hire writers are after. As mentioned above, there are people that have their sites in English, but may not speak English very well. Some of these clients are more than willing to accept proofreading services for the content the firm already has. Also, if you are working on writing articles and you find out that the client also publishes rewritten content on their site, don’t be afraid to offer to rewrite material for them as well.
As a general rule, if the service has something to do with writing, or English if you’re working with foreign clients, and you feel that the client would benefit from it, then feel free to offer it to them. Just remember not to offer too much at once, or it will overwhelm your client.
Individuals that hire writers almost never work alone. They often have friends or colleagues that also work with content creation. If clients like your work enough to keep hiring you for future projects, then it is highly likely that they will recommend your services to others. Most of my clients ask me if I would be willing to complete a project or two for an acquaintance of theirs. Some, however, give my email to colleagues that are in need of writers and these contact me when I least expect it. Either way, building good work relationships with clients results in getting more work, and sometimes even more clients to add to your network. These new clients will in turn recommend you to their friends and colleagues if they’re satisfied so make sure that you are always turning in your best work!
How do you ensure client retention and repeat work. Tell us about it in the COMMENTS section below!
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Sara is a freelance writer, translator and editor. She loves languages and offers online English lessons to foreigners. In the time that she saves, by not having to search for new clients on a daily basis, Sara enjoys writing about topics that interest her on HubPages. Her work can be found at https://hubpages.com/@janisachatte . She also enjoys experimenting with new recipes and planning future travels in her free time.
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