When your freelance career starts to gain traction, you’ll want to focus on quality clients. Here’s how you can do that.
If you’re starting in freelance work, you probably can’t afford to be selective. You’re still building up your portfolio, learning the ropes, and trying to rein in a steady income. Any client is welcome; no project is beneath or more than your consideration.
However, everyone who operates by exchanging time for money has to find ways to maximize their limited hours. Even doctors have to use appointment reminder software to focus on giving the best care to their patients. Likewise, it won’t be long before you learn dozens of time management and efficiency tricks as part of your freelance career.
When you can no longer accommodate sheer quantity, you have to make up for it with quality. And though freelancing is different from entrepreneurship, you can learn a lot from the latest trends in business. In particular, the new age of personalization in marketing offers tips for you to land better clients and improve those relationships for a two-way benefit.
Consumer experience at the forefront
For decades, businesses have marketed themselves and developed products and services along two lines. You could focus on ‘business to business’ (B2B) or ‘business to consumer’ (B2C). It was easy to formulate different strategies accordingly.
However, the rapid advances in technology across multiple fronts over the last couple of decades have given rise to increasing capabilities for data collection and analysis. At the same time, platforms such as social media and device-specific app stores have given consumers unprecedented access to personalization.
These two factors have combined to bring consumer experience ever closer to the forefront of considerations in business marketing and development. Through the internet, companies have greater access to any individual’s data. It allows them to build an accurate picture of who you are and informs their efforts to capture your attention and loyalty better.
In turn, we have come to expect a higher degree of attention to detail. Over half of consumers would be willing to exchange their data for some benefit. This has given rise to the new trend of ‘business to me’ (B2Me) marketing.
Adding value begins with data
Freelance clients are both businesses and individuals. And on the business end of things, there are no emotions involved. There will always be certain aspects of a project that a client might deem non-negotiable. However, you’ll often find plenty of room to operate flexibly and make adjustments to deliver value. If you can anticipate a client’s unstated needs and expectations, you can go above and beyond the project brief.
Under-promise and over-deliver is a great way to impress as a freelancer. It allows you to justify increasing your rates. It helps you land work through referrals. In the process, you filter out potentially unpleasant clients. And you can reap the rewards of focusing on quality over quantity.
To achieve this, you have to follow the example of modern businesses. Collect your data. Clients will be doing a background investigation of sorts before hiring you; why not do some research of your own?
Take a look at what their values are, previous campaigns or work they’ve done, the people they’ve collaborated with. Figure out why they chose you for a project, and what it would take for them to deem the output a success. You might not be able to answer all these questions through research, but you’ll have a path to understanding how you can deliver value. Any gaps can be filled in when you sit down to discuss the work.
Personalizing your services
In application, there are several ways to offer a personalized experience through your freelance services. First, you can provide freebies; everyone appreciates an unexpected bonus.
For example, if you’re a designer working for a fledgling small business, they might not have a style guide. Making one alongside whatever you’re doing is a little extra effort that can make a great impression. The client can now provide this guide to future collaborators and ensure a cohesive look throughout their collateral.
Another way to offer personalization is through flexibility in pricing your services. You never want to undersell your worth; this is your livelihood, after all. And going cheap makes you look cheap.
What you can do is offer ala carte rates or small-scale packages. Instead of providing a service quote for multiple articles and topics as a content writer, give the client a sample of what you can do. Quote them your rate for a quick 500-word post that could go to their ‘About Us’ page. If they like working with you, they are more likely to take the relationship further.
Ultimately, you have to feel free to experiment in your freelance work. Some clients will be more tolerant of this than others. As long as you persist, do your research, and make adjustments to deliver value, you’ll be able to fill your schedule with quality clients.