Freelancer Advice: 7 Ways to Add Value for Your Clients
It takes a lot of work to land a great client. First, you put yourself out there to connect with as many businesses in your niche that you can. Then you create some amazing pitches that show off your research skills and creativity. Finally, you deliver a piece that's so closely keyed into their target audience that your client suspects you used witchcraft to turn their buyer persona into a real person and chatted them up over a latte. TEST
But once you cash in that sweet check for your labor, the real work begins: retaining your client.
In most businesses, it costs five times as much to land a new customer than it does to retain a current one. As a freelancer, you might not spend as much on advertising as a Fortune 500 company, but the metrics feel similar. Consider the effort it takes to turn a new client’s head, get up to speed on their style guide, learn their quirks, and wow them on that first project, and you feel in your bones where that expense is coming from.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to sweeten the deal for your best clients and keep them coming back for more. One of the best ways to solidify your relationship? Make yourself indispensible with some value-added services that they’ll come to appreciate too much to ever let go. Try these ideas to build your business and keep those great clients happy.
1. Keyword Research
If you’ve ever been frustrated by a list of nonsensical keywords, this is your chance to make your life and your client’s life easier in one move. Offer to conduct keyword research to come up with a steady stream of keywords for SEO. When you’re in charge of the keywords, it’s a lot easier to generate topics for future posts that are right on target for your client’s needs — and they’ll pay you to take this off their plate!
2. Social Media Posts
We’re well into the 21st century, so your client almost certainly has several social media accounts to drum up buzz for their business. If they’re not already ordering social posts with blogging assignments, offer to add them! You could charge for this, but it also takes about five minutes to dash off a few unique lines about that post you just wrote. That’s a worthwhile trade-off for client goodwill.
3. Social Media Management
If you’re really into social media, you could also offer to manage your client’s full array of social media accounts. With a program like Hootsuite, you can schedule posts, analyze engagement (fodder for future pitches!), and even respond to posts on your client’s behalf. Be sure to charge enough to cover the software as well as your time, and this could become a lucrative sideline if you pick up several clients’ accounts.
4. Image Research
Tired of looking at the same photos all the time? There are (roughly) one zillion great images just waiting to be licensed. Offer to find them for your client for a small fee. This bonus service works best if they already have a Shutterstock account, but you can also find free images on sites like Pixabay and Creative Commons.
5. Personal Conferencing
Some clients really, really just want to talk. That’s not so surprising: they hired you because they need help putting their ideas into writing, so why expect them to be at their best over email or in a project brief? Consider offering a weekly or monthly call to touch base with your client about upcoming work, new goals — and anything else they want to talk about. This type of relationship building is worth its weight in gold.
6. Proofreading and Editing
How many times have you gone to a client’s website only to notice a spelling error or cringe at a clumsy turn of phrase? Gently mention that you saw a problem while you were researching and mention that you also offer proofreading and editing services if they ever want to revise their site. They’re likely to jump at the chance to have your trained eye seek out other errors to bring their customer-facing materials up to snuff. You’re a hero, and you’re making money, too!
7. Content Updating
Does your client have existing content that could use a refresh? Offer your services to bring research up to date, rework the tone, and edit the backlinks to make sure everything is in good working order. While you’re at it, you can run the piece through Copyscape to see if any unsavory characters have plagiarized your client’s work. Duplicate content could be hurting your client’s search engine rankings, so encourage them to file a DMCA Takedown notice.
You don’t have to offer every client every service listed here. Consider the ones that are easiest for you, and start adding them to your list of services ASAP. Your clients will be grateful, you can earn more for your work, and everybody gets to enjoy a mutually satisfying working relationship for a good long while. What could be better?