In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it is fitting to consider all the ways to give thanks for family, friends, health, and your freelance clients. Specifically, how to show gratitude to clients in order to guarantee a thriving referral business (because those are the best kind)!
Here are 10 ideas from the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project, Leah Kalamakis, to get your brain into gratitude mode and actively grow your referral business:
1. Send a Thank You Card With Each Project
This is the most obvious of course, but the simplest and easiest to do. Buy a set of cards to have on hand, or better yet, hire a graphic designer to create a personalized, professional design with your branding and have them printed on a site like Moo.com. You can send this at the start of the project talking about how you are excited to work with them, or at the end—it’s up to you!
2. Send a Thank You Card for Any Referral They’ve Sent You
Tell them how much you enjoyed working with the client they sent your way and how much you appreciate them for making it happen. When they feel appreciated, they will likely want to continue sending more your way.
3. Give Them an Extra Surprise
Treat your clients like royalty. Go above & beyond by giving them more than what they are expecting from you. This can be done both during the actual project, but also at the end.
Think of something you do that may not be included in their current project or that is included in a more expensive package. In web design it could be an extra premium plugin, in copywriting it could be extra copy (tagline ideas or opt-in copy ideas), in graphic design—an facebook timeline image….to name just a few.
4. Engage in Their Work
Show you care about them more than just the work they brought you. Read and comment on their blog, back them on kickstarter, join their cause, give them feedback when they launch something new or…
5. Promote Them on Social Media
Post about their project on Facebook, tweet about them, link to their blog posts, etc. Social media is such an important part of promotion, and helping spread the word about their work is a great way to show appreciation for the business they’ve brought to you.
6. Refer People to Them
This goes along with promoting and engaging in their work—but you can take it a step further. When you see people looking for services your past clients provide, be sure to speak up about them. You can do this not only with friends and family but also in Facebook groups or on Twitter.
7. Follow-Up & Keep in Touch
Put a reminder in your calendar 3, 6, or 12 months out and send them an email. Ask how things are going, if they have had any issues with your work, if there is anything you can help them with, and more importantly, just a general ‘hello’! Stay on top of their mind and show that the relationship doesn’t end the moment the project is finished.
8. Be Useful
Keep them on your mind when strolling around the internet and send them any articles or advice that may be of use to them. It could be the latest tactic to help them market their business, a new app you think they’ll love, or just a funny comic you think will give them a giggle.
9. Send Them a Holiday Gift or Card
Even if you have a hard time even sending your own family holiday gifts, its worth the extra effort. Everyone loves a gift, no matter how small. Be on the lookout for something small but meaningful your clients would enjoy.
10. Make Them First Priority on Future Projects
Give them exclusive early access to any discounts or specials you have. Let them be the first to know when you may be raising prices and offer them your old prices before anyone else. Invite them to beta test (for free) any course or ebook you come out with. Make sure they know that as previous clients, they are a bit more special than potential future clients.
The Best Referrals Come Naturally
In slow periods, when you really need to bring in some more business, it’s perfectly fine to straight up ask for referrals: Sending an email to past clients, letting them know that you are currently taking on new projects and asking if they know of anyone that could be in need of your services.
Here’s a quick email template that does the trick:
It’s been a [certain timeframe] and I hope [you’ve been enjoying the service I provided]/[the service provided has provided X value]!
I just have a simple question for you.
Do you know 2 people (business owners, friends, etc.) who could benefit by using [my services]?
Thanks so much!
But if you are constantly giving, and actively using the tips above (or your own special sauce), those slow periods will become few and far between.
Are you ready to start your own business or try out a few side gigs to get the feel of freelancing? No matter what path you choose, kick start your freelance career by joining the amazing community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and gig workers on Moonlighting. Sign up or download the app today – Free!