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November 15, 2022

6 Ideas To Boost Client Retention As A Freelancer

Want to learn how to keep clients coming back for more? In this article, we’ll give you a crash course on client retention.

When Drake said ‘my old flex is my new flex now and we're workin' on it’, he was talking about client retention, we’re sure. And that’s what we’ll be doing today too. 

Want to lower your acquisition costs and build a steady client base? Then we’ve got some tips for you.

Why retain anyway?

Although it’s great to land new clients, it’s a lot of work. Plus, you won't know what to expect from that collaboration. Risky! 

Retaining clients is often easier, cheaper and more predictable. You already put in the effort of landing them once—and that was hard enough—so why let it go to waste? 

Keep ‘em coming back for more

Keep the following scenarios in mind to become that freelancer clients want to have on their team over and over again:

  • As their business develops and grows, so do their needs. You help them scratch that itch.
  • You’ve proven to be a strategic partner, that comes with a lot of knowledge and a useful network.
  • It’s easier to work with you again: you know the drill, the people and the way they work. 

But how do you make them see that? Here are some hacks based on where you are in the client relationship.

While working together: anticipate issues before they happen

See an opportunity for your client to leverage more growth, or already recognize they’ll need a specialist later down the road? 

Show clients you think ahead, see the full picture and have solutions almost readily available. Point out possibilities, and have a recommendation ready.

Right after the project ends: ask what’s next

Ask them: ‘So, what’s your next step?’. 

Inquiring about their upcoming goals is simple yet powerful. Listen carefully to gauge whether there’s an opportunity for you to help, and finish off with: 

‘Sounds exciting! Let me know if you ever need help with that or want to pick my brain’ and boom - you’re top of mind.

2 weeks after the project ended: show off your client 

Make it a habit to create case studies of projects, or show off your work on LinkedIn or other platforms. Make sure to tag the client and say something nice about the collab.

3 months after the project ended: a subtle check-in

Do you ghost clients after the last invoice was paid? Not cool. Take a day every quarter to hit up past clients with a message like:

‘Hey Johnny, it’s been a while since we last worked together. I was wondering how you guys are going with [goal]. Hope the work I did on [project] is still paying off. Let me know what you guys have got planned for the future!’

Don't immediately offer your services: first gauge what challenges they're facing now. Based on that intel, you can later follow up with a tailored idea.

When you learned something new 

Learned a cool new skill that could be helpful to a past client? Tell them! The worst they could say is ‘cool, but we’re not interested’. Show your skills in a context that makes sense to them with a message like this:

‘Hi Amber! How are things going with [project]? I recently learned [skill] and it made me think of you guys. Have you guys ever considered implementing [idea] to reach [goal]? Let me know if you want to chat about it!’

When clients leave and never come back

Find out why! Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you. But when it is, you can learn from and act on the feedback. 

And whatever you do: don't become bitter. Someone who worked with you in one company might switch in a year and while they did like working with you, there just wasn't enough budget or work for you, so stay connected either way.

So there you have it: our top tips on connecting with clients in a way that will allow you to build long-lasting relationships and valuable partnerships. Which client of yours would you like to see more of?

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