Everyone in business knows it’s easier (and cheaper) to keep an existing client than to get a new one.
But copywriters can get lazy. I know, I’ve been on the receiving end of freelance copywriters’ work as a previous marketing director. And it’s super annoying when a copywriter who has done beautiful work the first time around commits one of these client-losing blunders.
If you want to keep your copywriting clients, always do these things:
Submit only first-rate copy
Do not get lazy just because your client raved about the first project you did for them. Be diligent in your research, editing and proofing every time. Even if it means you spend a little more time than you estimated. What’s more important: Saving yourself an hour or keeping the client happy and the revenue stream open?
I don’t care if your sister is going through a divorce and needed you there. Especially when this is the third time you’ve given me an excuse why you didn’t submit the copy when you said you would. I have deadlines to meet, too, so copywriters, keep to the date you told me! (Hint: add a couple days to your deadline to give yourself wiggle room before you submit it to the client. They’ll be happy when you submit the copy earlier than expected, too!)
Do you want the project or not? Because I don’t want to hire a copywriter who is going to complain about there not being enough information, a short deadline, or any other thing you may not like. If the parameters don’t suit you, say so upfront clearly. Like a marketing manager needs any more stress. We’ve hired a copywriter to help shoulder some of that stress, right?
That’s not to say you shouldn’t give your opinion, when it’s warranted. Be sure to point them to a reputable source if you’re challenging something they’ve already specified. Advice from someone who has the background and experience to give it should be welcomed.
Learn to ask the right questions
This point will help any copywriter’s project go more smoothly. Nobody likes surprises when work has to be carefully estimated and scheduled. But a client may not know exactly what you want to know. So you’ve got to learn to ask upfront. Get a clear picture of what to expect. If it’s not clear, build your assumptions into your estimate, notifying the client of the terms of the project your estimate is based on, so it can be modified later when the details become apparent.
Stay in touch
It’s a bit unnerving for some clients to send money off into space and then wait to see what a copywriter produces. So stay in touch with frequent emails. Even if it’s just to ask a question and give an update, an email every couple days will help put the client’s mind at ease.
Follow up on your copywriting work
Let the client know you’ve checked out the website, if that’s what you’re writing, and give some feedback even after all is said and done. I proof websites I write for no extra charge. Sometimes designers unwittingly leave off the final paragraph of a page, for example. And this attention to detail is valuable to your client. It also shows you’re genuinely interested in the project going well.
It’s all about making your client’s life easier, not harder. Unfortunately, too many copywriters (and other freelancers) are a real pain in the butt to work with. Why not take a fresh look at how you’re treating your clients these days?