(Editor’s Note: This article, courtesy of the Freelance Design Marketing Association, includes marketing tips for freelance designers. However, it offers valuable advice regardless of your industry. Enjoy!)
The reason to market to current and past clients is simple - it means more money in your pocket!
When it comes to marketing, most freelance designers spend a lot of time, effort, and expense trying to attract new clients. Reaching out to new prospects, talking with them, developing a relationship, and finally, convincing them to invest in your services is a challenging but essential part of marketing.
But there's also a less complicated, less costly, and less demanding way to generate business that way too many freelance designers completely overlook: Remember where you came from, and make a point to market to current and past clients!
Past clients present a tremendous opportunity to generate more business, and if you aren't marketing to them, you're leaving a lot of money on the table.
Your past clients know you, they trust you, and they're sold on the value of your services. (That is, they should be if you did a great job for them.) Even if you think your freelance business is set up so clients will only need your services once, there's still plenty of reasons to market to past clients.
You can offer past clients higher-priced services, add-on or additional services, or at the very least, take advantage of the referrals they can provide you.
The goal of marketing to past clients is to keep your freelance design business fresh in their minds - always. Sending out a Christmas card once a year isn't going to cut it, folks! Market to past clients as often as you can - once a quarter is bare minimum, monthly is even better.
Bottom line: Never forget about your past clients or they will certainly forget about you.
What about current clients? What's the value in marketing to clients who have just bought your services? Just because you have a client today doesn't mean your competition stops marketing to them. It's imperative to seal the deal by marketing to all of your current clients... that is, if you'd like to keep them long-term.
Direct mail campaigns, newsletters, and emails are appropriate ways to market to past clients. Pick up the phone and ask your past clients if there is anything you can do for them. Send note cards, postcards, brochures, or flyers notifying past and current clients of special offers or new services you have.
Offer a special gift or incentive to repeat clients, or for current clients who give you a referral.
Even if you're brand new in your freelance business, start marketing to your current and past clients right away. If you're an established freelance designer, the easiest place to start is with the most recent clients first, then work your way backwards.
By building long-term relationships with current and past clients, your freelance business will benefit from both repeat business and a steady stream of new business, too. Plus your marketing costs will be significantly less than your competition.
© 2010 by Jeanna Pool. Jeanna is the Founder & President of the Freelance Design Marketing Association. The FIRST and ONLY association of its kind, anywhere in the world dedicated to teaching freelance graphic designers and web designers how to market their services successfully, attract clients consistently and build the business and income of their dreams. Visit the Freelance Design Marketing Association Web site for more information.