Getting influx of new clients is great, but you know what’s even better? Repeat clients that keeps revenue flowing month after month. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article. Because at the end of the day, having repeat clients keeps your sanity in check since you know there’s a higher chance you’ll have a paycheck and your team is paid on time. And if you’re not having repeat clients, there’s a reason why and we’ll discuss that too. We’re going to jump into it and discuss 5 different methods that increases repeat clients and a reason why you’re not getting any repeat clients.
We all know hourly is a bad way to charge clients because it’s not value based pricing. So you SHOULD do value based pricing. Okay that’s set. Now there is another type of pricing strategy you could do. Subscriptions. Also known as retainers. When you’re about to close a contract with a client, it’s probably a good time to mention you have a subscription plan after the project is completed. MOST projects always needs updating down the road after the business learns of new challenges, market, etc. So offering a subscription gives them flexibility to have you ready to do additional work when needed. It’s almost as if they have another employee, but without the major commitment and pricetag. And that’s how you should pitch it to them.
"Hey Brian, once we finish these new Airbnb pages, I want to let you know that I also offer subscriptions. If you like my work, I encourage you to consider subscribing to my service for $1000/month.
This will allow me to make additional changes when you request them, and we can discuss that further as we get closer to the end of the project. Most of my clients want this because they often want updates after releasing the project to users."
Don’t be pushy. Say the value prop, social validation, and give them the opportunity to think it over. And when the project is over, this is where you attempt to close them.
If you don’t have a database of clients on some CRM or at least an excel sheet, you’re doing it wrong. Why? Because most designers will forget about you after you finish the project. It’s up to you to remind them that you exist and are available for additional projects. Here’s how you do it.
First you want to follow up with value. This is why we always recommend writing blogs that will be read by startups, because these are materials that you can share with startups whenever you want to nudge them. “Hey, was thinking of you guys when i wrote this blog about increasing conversions on landing pages using videos. Here’s a link to it.” Not only does this remind them of your existence, this also increase your blog hits, lets them know you’re an expert who writes content, and reminds them you’re available to hire.
The second tactic is to follow up asking for metrics on the project you completed for them. Did the project get released? If not, why not? If so, how did it do? “Hey Brian, did the landing page i made get released? If so, how did it do? I have additional thoughts on how we can improve it, but regardless i’d love to know how well my work did.” This shows thoughtfulness, initiative to detail, and reminds them you still exist.
"Hey Brian, did the landing page i made get released? If so, how did it do? I have additional thoughts on how we can improve it, but regardless i’d love to know how well my work did."
The last tactic is simple. You ask them if they have additional work. Do the previous two first and do this last. A simple “Hey Brian, i loved working with you and your team on our last project. And i’d love to do it again. Is your team planning on releasing anything new soon? If so, i’d love to hop on a call and talk strategy with you.”
"Hey Brian, i loved working with you and your team on our last project. And i’d love to do it again. Is your team planning on releasing anything new soon? If so, i’d love to hop on a call and talk strategy with you.”
These tactics can all be automated, but i don’t recommend that (except the last one). What i recommend you do is create a hubspot sequence for all clients you finish a project for. Send an email every other week with a value prop (blog, video, design, etc. Anything they might like to view), asking for follow up on how your project did, and finally the ask. The point is you want to be remembered.
Chances are your clients have friends. And their friends face the same problems that you can possibly fix. So reaching out to your clients and asking them to refer you is not a bad idea. You create incentives for them and usually this is monetary.
“Hey Brian, I’m looking to fill my teams workload, so please tell me if you have friends that are also looking to hire. We have a standard referral program of 10% back to you on any contracts we close that was sent by you.”
This gives them a monetary incentive to hire you. Now don’t lose your shit going “OMG 10%?!”. You can bake this cost into the price of the referred client. And typically, it’s WAY easier to close a referred client so getting an extra 10% isn’t going to be difficult. Also, losing 10% is sometimes better than losing a week of work.
When you get a new client, ask them to add you to whatever tool they use for communication. Sometimes that’s Slack, Discord, Whatsapp, or worst email. The point here is that you want to be a click away from being asked to do additional work. This also makes it easier to follow up with them whenever you have additional work. You would be very surprised how often we have rehired someone simply because they were easy to reach and very responsive. Especially as a startup. We’re always FAST FAST FASTER. So having someone there that can instantly respond and be ready to work is EXTREMELY beneficial for us.
Oh, so you're getting clients, but they're not hiring you again? There could be a number of reasons for that. One of the most common is the fact that you didn't do any of the above, or you didn't do a good job. You tried your hardest (or maybe you didn't), and now they don't want to hire you again because the results weren't what they expected. This is where talent and money play hand in hand. If you charge an enormous amount to a client, but the value you provide doesn't meet that standard, good luck getting hired again or any referrals. There will be clients that you can't ever make happy, and there isn't a lot you can do about this. But don't be that person who overcharges because you can, because this can be shooting yourself in the foot. Making 2x now isn't better than making 10x over time because of repeat business and referrals.
Most designers have a fear of asking clients for referrals or doing any of the things i’ve suggested. They’d rather design or prospect new leads. If you’re going to grow your agency to be a big business, you’re going to need referrals and repeat customers. So do things that don’t scale. Write that blog. Share it with your previous clients. And try to get another deal in the back. Because after you do it 2-3 times with the same client, they will rely heavily on you in the future.