More projects from existing clients makes freelancing a lot easier. Keep clients coming back with a VIP experience that ensures they feel valued.
When you’re freelancing, sometimes marketing and client retention tactics can feel a bit out of reach — as if they’re only for bigger businesses with more money and bigger teams.
And it doesn’t help that case study after case study on how to start a business or grow a business all use examples from big businesses and established brands — without explaining how it’s relevant to you or how a freelancer can model the same tactics covered in the case study in their business or with their clients.
Or that most freelancers wear all the hats in their businesses, which means they’re often so busy that even with the best of intentions, things like going the extra mile to provide top-notch client care falls by the wayside.
Luckily, rolling out the red carpet for clients and providing a VIP experience isn’t one of those tactics that’s out of reach. Every freelancer can create a premium client experience to makes clients feel special, valued, and appreciated.
The question is: What does the VIP treatment look like in your freelance business?
- Does your new client onboarding process show clients how much you appreciate their business and their trust?
- Do you incorporate moments of surprise and delight in your client experiences at every stage of your work together?
- Does your client management system ensure clients know how much they matter and how much you value their relationship?
- Do your daily actions encourage happy clients to spend more money, keep hiring you, and refer you to their friends?
Extraordinary brands provide extraordinary experiences and those experiences are what keep loyal clients coming back again and again. And whether you’re a solo freelancer, a small business, a medium-sized organization, or a big brand, you have the ability to wow your clients and be extraordinary.
A VIP Example From LEGO
In 2014, LEGO demonstrated the VIP experience with a Valentine’s Day promotion that appropriately targeted its VIP Club customers.
But not all VIP Club customers.
It’s no secret that we’re huge LEGO fans. My whole family loves LEGO. We even remodeled our entire bonus room into a LEGO utopia. So, I can only assume they segmented their VIP customer list by the amount of money spent in the weeks leading up to Christmas and the few weeks after Christmas. Because I was included in this promotion and I know how much we spent at the LEGO store that year.
Now, I’ve received special LEGO packages before but this one was different. Along with the typical VIP-only exclusives and discounts, and opportunities to earn double VIP rewards, this Valentine’s Day LEGO promotion included a limited-edition free gift.
LEGO sent me a metallic red Minifigure keychain.
We fought over who got to keep it, and of course, I won. I also promised both kids they could pick out their own next time we went to the LEGO store. The special promotion that centered around a $5.99 keychain was already working its magic.
Not 30 minutes after opening that package:
- We were already looking at the calendar and planning a trip to the LEGO store to buy keychains of all things.
- We were figuring out what other LEGO sets we wanted to pick up while we were there.
- We were planning future purchases to coincide with free-gift-with-purchase opportunities and special double VIP points days.
I think it’s safe to say that this promotion worked like a keychain… I mean charm.
Freelancers Can Steal This Marketing Idea
What I love about this marketing and customer nurture strategy is that anyone can use it to boost client retention and earn more business from existing clients.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money. You don’t need fancy tools. You don’t even need a lot of time. You just need to care.
- This promotion made me feel like LEGO cared about me as a customer.
- It created a moment of surprise and delight, showed acknowledgment and appreciation for my business and loyalty, and claimed that high-value top-of-mind space in my head.
- And because LEGO was once again top of mind, we spent a lot more money with LEGO.
For years, I used this same approach to nurture client relationships and partner relationships. But rather than a keychain, I sent clients and partners boxes of hand-picked, organic, seedless Satsuma mandarin oranges.
Before they retired, my in-laws had a mandarin orchard and shipped fruit across the country, and we bought from them every year. At $30/box, it wasn’t a massive investment but it yielded massive results. Clients looked forward to receiving our mandarins. Some joked they hired us every summer just to make it into the “mandarin list” for that fall. Many reached out after receiving their boxes with new projects that kept us busy well into the following summer.
I’ve also used this approach with something as simple as a simple, heartfelt, handwritten, personal note, in a beautiful card, send via traditional mail. And handwritten notes from the heart have yielded just as much new business over the years as our gifts of mandarins.
A $5.99 keychain, a $30 box of mandarins, and a handwritten thank you note produced the same results: customers and clients spending more money.
So again, the question is: What does the VIP treatment look like in your freelance business?
If you’re not sure, now is the time to give it some thought and make some changes because charging and getting premium rates isn’t just about what you do and how well you do it. It’s also about the level of client service you provide.
- Think about what a VIP experience means to you and how you want clients to feel about their experience working with you.
- Identify specific touchpoints in your client management process where you can introduce surprise and delight.
- Consider ways to work more empathy, education, care, and support into your client communications.
- Brainstorm opportunities to go the extra mile, stand out, and build loyalty.
- And of course, think about your guidelines for handling and overcoming client conflicts to create positive outcomes.
Whether you send a quick welcome note or thank you card, give a gift, or simply tell clients you appreciate them during your next meeting, what matters most is that you make an effort to show your clients that they matter.
Believe it or not, a simple “thank you” goes a long way.