17 Essential Client Strategies For Digital Marketing Companies
While the initial impression you make on new clients is extremely important, it is equally as important to focus on building long-term relationships with your customers.
The 17 suggestions below will help you solidify your existing client relationships, increasing the likelihood that your customers will stay with your company for a long time to come.
1. Be Straightforward With Your Clients
From a customer’s standpoint, nothing is quite as disappointing as being promised amazing results and getting something mediocre in return. The last thing that you want to do is make unrealistic promises to your clients. That is the fastest way to ruin your reputation.
Avoid actions like :
- Promising your customers they will get an exuberant number of new leads
- Guaranteeing them that their site will make it to the top of the search results in a week
- Telling clients it will take you a couple of days to build a site that will actually take you weeks
Unrealistic promises will do little more than leave your clients feeling disappointed and discouraged. Being straightforward with them, on the other hand, helps build trust, making them more likely to stick around in the future.
2. Stay In Touch
Don’t leave your clients in the dark. Instead, schedule periodic meetings with them so that you can keep them in the loop. Not only should you meet with them at the beginning and end of the project but also while it is underway.
To keep your clients up to date without wasting time on unproductive meetings, consider scheduling a 10 or 15-minute phone call each time you complete a different phase of the project. This will give you a chance to let them know how much you have completed and how much is left to do.
It will also provide you with a chance to ask questions or get clarification about any areas of the project that are unclear. It is always best to ask questions as they arise rather than saving them for the last minute. If you bombard the client with questions right before the website launches, it can give them the impression that you have procrastinated until the very end.
3. Maintain A Positive Attitude
Researchers have found that forcing a smile can actually put you in a better mood. When dealing with clients, the same basic concept applies.
Even if you are feeling extremely frustrated or overwhelmed, do your best to stay positive – especially when talking to your clients. Your positive attitude should shine through in face-to-face meetings as well as in text messages and emails. If you approach your clients with any negative emotions, it can leave them feeling tense and apprehensive, causing them to question the quality of the finished product.
4. View Your Clients As Partners
Instead of thinking of your clients as customers, try to view them as partners in the development process. Most clients are more than willing to step up to the plate and provide you with guidance or feedback. When you work with them and keep them involved in the process, the finished product will usually be a much better fit for their needs.
5. Avoid Making The Experience Impersonal For Your Clients
If a client feels like they are just one account among many, it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Clients appreciate knowing that you are giving their project the individual attention that it deserves. Ultimately, the website that you create for them will play a key role in how their customers and clients perceive their business. It goes without saying that they want to make the best impression possible.
To help your clients feel more secure, make sure that you give every customer the individual attention that they deserve, creating a site that is uniquely customized for their needs.
6. Focus On Clear Communication
It is easy to fall into the trap of using a lot of technical jargon when talking to clients. The best way to communicate with them about their website is by talking to them in a way that they understand.
Try breaking technical topics down into common-sense language that your clients can easily understand. For instance, instead of discussing UX, talk about how important it is to have a clean, uncluttered design.
7. Be Open To The Idea Of Educating Your Clients
While some clients want to take a completely hands-off approach, others prefer to get a little bit more involved in the process. Try to stay open to the idea of educating your clients – particularly if they show a lot of interest in what you are doing.
For instance, you could introduce them to some of the technical terms that you use. Alternatively, you could explain the importance of certain steps that you are taking during the process. You don’t have to teach them everything there is to know about web design. However, some clients do appreciate a little bit of extra information to help them understand exactly what is happening with their site.
8. Preparation Is Key
Anytime you meet with clients, you need to be as prepared as possible. There is no faster way to make a bad impression than showing up to a meeting completely unprepared, unable to answer basic questions or provide essential information.
As you go about your work, take notes that you can share with your clients detailing the progress that you are making. Always live up to your promises and never waste your clients’ time.
9. Take Professionalism To The Next Level
It goes without saying that you should act in a professional manner anytime you meet with your clients. If you want to take your professionalism to the next level, however, consider using a project management platform to share vital information. Platforms like Basecamp or Trello are great options. This attention to detail can go a long way toward building trust and creating a professional image for your company.
10. Smooth Out Any Kinks In Your Process
During any project, there are always areas where friction is likely to occur. When you are first starting out, you may not have a good sense of where these potential problems lie. The more clients that you work with, however, the easier it will be for you to spot areas in your process that need a little bit of refinement. Over time, try to eliminate as many kinks as you can from your process so that your clients have the smoothest experience possible.
11. Leave Your Customers Satisfied
You should do everything in your power to leave your clients feeling completely satisfied. That doesn’t mean trying to do too much and winding up overwhelmed. However, it does mean finding ways to make the process of creating a stunning website as painless and simple as possible for your clients.
Additionally, you should keep an eye toward the future, ensuring that the website you build today will still work well as it ages. Any problems that occur further down the road could leave a bad impression on your clients, even if you are no longer around to deal with them.
For instance, if you are using WordPress as the back-end of the site, you may want to build in safeguards that keep clients from making changes that could break their site.
12. Don’t Hide From Your Mistakes
Getting through a project without any mistakes or mishaps is practically impossible. When handled correctly, however, mistakes don’t have to reflect poorly on your business. Learning how to effectively deal with mistakes is absolutely essential.
More than 80% of people who have a negative experience with a company will cut off their relationship with that business. Even worse, 85% of customers who are dissatisfied with the service that they receive will share their complaints with other companies or consumers, warning them to stay away. The last thing that you want is for your reputation to get sullied, making it harder to get new clients.
Anytime a mistake happens, be willing to take responsibility for it – even if it was something that was out of your control. Then, do everything that you can to ensure that your clients are satisfied.
13. Try Not To Get Too Friendly With Your Clients
Although it is important to make your clients feel like more than just another account, you should also be careful not to get overly friendly with them.
For instance, if they recently took a vacation, it is perfectly acceptable to ask them whether or not they had a good time. Where it gets a little bit stickier, however, is if they try to call you after hours or if they start getting a little bit too personal. Always try to maintain a level of professionalism with your clients.
14. Don’t Be Afraid To Drop Toxic Or Abusive Clients
Some clients always try to squeeze as much out of you as they can, demanding more work than they originally paid for. Others are extremely difficult to work with, creating a toxic situation that leaves you feeling drained and unmotivated.
Try to keep the problem in check by letting clients know that you appreciate their feedback but that it should be given in a way that is professional.
Setting boundaries with clients is always a challenge. If you find that a particular client is taking up all of your time, being abusive, or leaving you feeling drained, you may want to consider severing your relationship with them so you can focus on other clients instead.
15. Let Your Customers Know You Appreciate Them
If you have good customers that have been with you for a long time and that are always easy to deal with, find a way to reward them. This type of loyalty is hard to come by and is worth trying to maintain.
For instance, you may want to offer a discount to clients who submit early payments for their invoices. You could also offer discounts for loyal customers or bundle together services to save them money. Another option is to grandfather in your most loyal customers at a lower price so that they won’t be affected by any price increases in the future.
16. Make Referrals As Needed
As talented as you are, there are some needs that you may not be able to meet for your clients. Instead of leaving them high and dry, consider referring them to other businesses.
Chances are, you know a lot of other talented marketing and business professionals in your area. Come up with a list of trusted resources that you can refer your clients to. That way, if your client needs help with accounting or if they need a new logo, you can send them to a company that will provide them with excellent results. This helps build trust and lets your clients know that you are really looking out for them.
17. Showcase Their Website On Your Own
Another way to help out your most loyal customers is by featuring their website on your site. This helps spread the word about their business while also giving you a chance to show some of your best work to potential clients.
Clients always appreciate getting a backlink from a trusted site. They also enjoy knowing that you are happy enough with the completed project to share it with others.
A Few Final Words
The key to success as a web developer is to always put your customers first.
Focus on providing amazing service to your clients, going above and beyond to create sites that will help them get excellent results.
As long as you approach each project with the right attitude, you can quickly build your client base and grow your business, providing long-term stability for your company.