4 Tips for Attracting (and Keeping!) Great Clients

The most important thing you can do for your business is attract fabulous clients - sounds easy, right?! But we ALL know that none of what we do is easy. And the hardest part can be to get the RIGHT clients, and then to keep them long after the original project is complete. When I say "keep your client," I'm talking about ensuring that they'll want to work with you again, AND that they will refer you to EVERYONE. So here are my 4 best tips for getting the clients you want, and keeping them loyal for years to come.

1. Attract with Visual Branding

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that sells your business better than OUTSTANDING photos of your projects. Whenever anyone asks me where they should invest, I always say professional photography should be at the very top of the list. Those photos help you entice potential clients, grab an editor's attention, show how your design is different, and they sell your services. They are the SIZZLE for your steak (or veggie burger!). Studies show that people read about 5 words of all that copy you've agonized over on your website (YIKES). But they will spend a LOT of time on your portfolio if your photos are aspirational and stunning. Then you also need to have a modern and clean website that showcases those gorgeous photos, spells out your services, and is easy to navigate. That website is your key sales tool! And if you want your target client, then be sure what you're showing them is exactly what will attract them. You won't get luxury clients with photos that aren't stellar or that show low-cost furnishings.

2. Attract with Targeted Marketing

How well do you know your client? WHO are you targeting?? The more you know, the better your marketing will be. For example, if you know most of your favorite clients love to wear Carolina Herrera, then you can use that as a targeting detail on your social ads so they'll pop up for anyone in your area who loves that brand. The same idea applies for other targeting details, like if most of your clients are lawyers or are in the top 5% of household incomes. But you can also think out of the box for where you pitch your projects, too! If you have a lot of clients who are divorced dads, you could always pitch a fabulous media room to a men's magazine! Think about WHO you're trying to talk to and meet them where they are. And make your marketing more personal!! That works better than blindly blasting out a message. If you haven't started to build an email list, get on that NOW. With the right CRM - like MailChimp or Constant Contact - you can send emails that look completely personal and individual. You should also remember to send thank you cards and gifts to your best former and current clients. And use your social media to tell a story that will romance the clients that you really want to work with. Think about what your clients want to hear and see more than you think only about what you want to say!

3. Keep Clients with the BEST Customer Service

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but too many designers THINK they're doing a better job than they are when it comes to client relations. You need to go above and BEYOND with your clients. That means being on time, on budget, and up front. It means giving them total honesty and your full attention. You also need to communicate with them regularly and make them feel confident that you have every single thing under control. So, when things go wrong, you need to be the person who is transparent with them, show them how you're going to fix the situation, and do what you say you will. Yes, gifts and notes are fantastic, but really giving your client the best experience possible is the key. And then you have to ask for referrals - all of that builds critical loyalty!

4. Keep Clients by Keeping Your Promises

You always want to be sure that you overdeliver on everything you say you'll do. You need to strive to stay tight on every budget, meet every deadline, and do exactly what you'll say you will do. Now of course there are a lot of things that are out of your control, but you can handle those, too, with very clear communication about how things are going during the project. And by the way, that starts with really and truly listening to your clients. As designers, we are excited about the project and what we can do. We want to create something spectacular that will help us draw in even more clients. And then we forget that this is much more than just a pretty design for the clients. To really deliver on a promise, you need to be sure you understand what the client REALLY wants. So listen to them!

To help you keep your clients happy, download my FREE Guide to Keep & Retain Clients! It will help you work on that client loyalty that we all want!

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Check out more design business tips and tricks

4 Tips for Attracting (and Keeping!) Great Clients

Why Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever

Wrapping It Up: The Final Touches

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