It’s hard enough getting new clients today, so you have to learn how to build with them and keep them. Web design services are extremely competitive but there are still literally millions of business who are not online as yet. There are tons of business who just want twitter or facebook pages or a simple business card. You pick the niche.
Producing quality work is one thing, but going the extra mile is everything. This may not always happen in every scenario but each time you go above and beyond to deliver it reinforces and stimulates a solid client foundation and primes it for repeat business. You may not always reap the benefits right away but when it comes it will be worth the wait and arrive 10 fold when you least expect it. And the incredible thing is it may not even come from your client but through a client referral or some other new project you may be working on. When you deliver value and superior product word gets out fast.
2. If You Aren’t Sure…Ask
This may seem 100% obvious but if you are totally unclear about some aspects of the project you are working on then, it all boils down to asking questions. As a designer don’t assume anything, inquire about and request the specific design requirements needed to complete and deliver the assignment. The last thing you want to do is waste a clients time and your time as well which will prevent you from getting $$$$. Visual communication and graphic design is all about problem solving, so be informed, do the research, apply the tools needed to begin the design process and figure out the issues at hand. Your client depends on you as a primary resource to support their efforts and ideas making them a reality.
3. Reach Out Stay In Touch
Be personable, a signed card or note that says ‘thank you’ can go a long way. Pick up the phone, send a email or text and reach out to your clients from time to time. If you have the time ask if they need anything or figure out what problems if any they may be encountering… it may be something simple that you can rectify immediately, and don’t charge them for it. This goes back to overdelivering. Keeping the lines of communication open is easy and pays off in the end. Then when you’re on a mini vacation chillin’ on the beach, thats when you’ll recieve the phone call BAM!.. “Hello I was referred to you through ‘company x’ and I need a new website” or better yet when you get back from vacation, there is some random bonus check in the mail… ”Thanks for helping us out several months back it was greatly appreciated!” This does happen because it’s happened to me! The secret is you have to genuinely want to help people without expecting anything in return.
4. Stick To Your Deadlines
Make it happen! Don’t procrastinate whatever task is at hand, make it a point to deliver on time. This is absolutely crucial, stick to your agreements/deadlines and fulfill them accordingly especially if you are charging a high rate, which again really doesn’t matter because you should deliver when you say you are going to deliver no matter what the rate. Scheduling and managing several projects can make or break a successful designer/client relationship. Plan ahead if you can. As a designer you know what your capabilities are so don’t take on more than you can handle. A pleased and content client is a longterm client.
5. Be The Authority
Know your craft, be confident yet open to learning new processes, systems and software. If you love working in illustrator then master it. Although its good to know a little about everything and utlize various tools and software on a basic level mastering 1 or 2 adds tremendous value. Be totally transparent about your strengths and weaknesses from day one and then slowly build upon the weaknesses. If you don’t know PHP Flash or Python don’t say that you do.. you could be setting yourself up for disaster. I know there are tons of outsourcing resources and youtube tutorial vids where you could literally figure out just about anything under the sun. But there are too may variables involed which I won’t go into right now, but stay true to yourself and you will win.
6. Secure Contracts
Your ultimate goal should be to provide value and somehow increase profits for your clients upfront. In doing this you should be prepared to extend and secure your contracts on the backend. If you have delivered quality product all along you should not have a problem executing the terms, whether it’s 2 months 3 months or 6 each scenario will be different. Always ask questions sometimes we don’t get things because we don’t ask. You just completed that award winning ad campaign that got stellar reviews and your job is complete, ask your client if they need any SEO services (Search Engine Optimization) or logo design services, it could be for just about anything design or marketing related. Just ask all they can say is no or not right now…
7. Design Your Own Product
Your a designer right? Design and develop your own products for your market. Ok so you have a decent amount of clients, now sell to them! You can be relentless in your approach while still providing value. You have gained your clients and customers trust, now you can customize your own products and services specifically for them, with ‘how to videos’, ecourses, t-shirts, tradeshow design or promotional ideas, visual management (customized promo videos), brand messaging, mobile apps for iphones and ipads and the list goes on… It’s all about creativity. There are an abundance of niche markets when you could provide design services. Go to your local Barnes & Noble or Borders and check out the magazine shelves, look at the magazine titles for ideas. Check out amazon, ideas are literally everywhere.