Finishing Projects and Helping Clients Succeed
Let’s be honest: There’s no magic genie in a shiny, antique lamp that can guarantee your clients will succeed. There are, however, steps you can take to help a client move toward their goals. Sure, it takes some extra work, but it’s not difficult—and the payoff can be significant.
Outlining What’s Next
When you finish a piece of client work, you need to show the client how to use and apply it. Even though you’re primarily a freelance writer, designer, programmer, etc., you know what should happen once the client receives your final product. You’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t for other clients.
Where should they submit their press releases? How can they use their new copy in a newsletter drip campaign? How can they lay out website pages that convert new visitors to subscribers or paying customers?
Even if it’s just a quick call or a PDF outline that you share when the project is complete, it’s worth your time to provide next steps. For example:
• How will the work be used? How will it be marketed? Offer suggestions, examples, or case studies.
• How will the success of the work be measured? What are they tracking to see how visitors respond (such as open rates, pageviews, product sales, etc.)?
• Now that this project or step is complete, what is the next goal they should pursue?
• What backups, updates, change requests (paid), or feature add-ons do you recommend?
• Do they require a retainer for ongoing work? (This can be a sweet and guaranteed income source).
Keep in mind the following:
• Happy, successful clients send more work your way.
• Happy, successful clients have many eyes watching to see why they’re thriving and who helped them along the way (i.e., you).
• Happy, successful clients reach more people, and if those people need to hire someone with your skills and expertise, you’ll be the first person they consider.
It’s in your best interest to create happy, successful clients.
Like a parent giving the car keys to a teenager, you can’t just say, “Here you go—have fun!” when you hand over your finished work. You need to set the ground rules, do some careful teaching, and explain their responsibilities.
Create a Follow-Up Schedule
You should also create a personal follow-up schedule to check in with each client—not because you’re the nicest freelancer on the planet (which I’m sure you are), but because those check-ins lead to more work.
Yes, you’re making sure everything is on track and functioning properly, but it’s also a reminder that you did some great work and you’re available for more if and when they need it. Checking in can simply mean sending an email that says, “How is [the project] going for you? Is there anything else I can help with?”
If you get into the habit of doing a little extra work at the end of each client project, they’ll keep you in mind for something awesome down the road. And it’s much easier to work with a previous client (who already knows your process, deliverables, expectations, feedback requests, etc.) than to “train” a new one. You’ve already taught these people how to be great clients.
We’re not quite done on this subject—let’s circle back tomorrow to go over gathering feedback and social proof to leverage in future opportunities.
See you then,
Paul and Kaleigh
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