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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

How much thought do you give client loyalty?

When it comes to your business, everything you do and everything you don’t do tells your clients how they should feel about you and your business. Being a great designer isn’t enough to garner client loyalty. There are plenty of great designers out there. So why should someone choose you over any of them?

It’s even more difficult in today’s market with all the inexpensive crowdsourced or contest oriented design options available to clients these days. Not only do you need to prove you’re a good designer, but you also need to show you are worth the money you’re charging for your services. You need to do everything you can to prove to your clients that their money is better spent with you.

When you achieve that, you’ll be rewarded with a client that is loyal to you and your design business. So how do you accomplish this?

Here are seven tips to help you build client loyalty.

1) Do What You Say You’ll Do

The ability to follow through on your commitments is extremely valuable when it comes to client loyalty. When you tell a client you’re going to do something, follow through and do it. Clients hear your comments as promises. So if you don’t do what you said you would do, it’s like you broke a promise with them and they will lose trust in you.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working with a client, or how much trust you’ve built up. Failing to follow through on something you said you would, will ruin all the goodwill and client loyalty you’ve been building up. It’s very hard to recover once someone loses trust in you.

If for some reason you are not able to follow through on something you told your client you would do, give your clients ample notice. Most clients will understand if you let them know in advance that you can’t hold to your word. Apologizing after the fact is too late.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. Follow through on what you say you’ll do.

2) Share your discoveries.

In your line of work, you get to talk to a lot of different people in various fields. Some of the conversations you have or the news you hear may not be of interest to you, but it may be of interest to your clients.

Whenever you hear something you think one of your clients might be interested in, pass it along. Merely passing on information is a great way to stay in touch with your clients and it shows them that you care about them. This will go a long way towards building client loyalty.

3) Get to know your clients

Building client loyalty is all about building relationships, the cornerstone of any great partnership. Designer and client included. It’s so important that I’ve talked about client relationships on over 25 episodes of the podcast.

To build a client relationship you need to learn things about your client. Find out when their birthday is. Learn who their family members are and what they do. Discover what hobbies and interests your client has.

Later, when talking to your client, bring up some of this information in the conversation. Ask about their daughter’s recital. Inquire how a family member is doing since they had surgery. Find out how their son’s team is doing.

Just by discussing things that are related to your client’s personal life, you too, become part of their personal life.

This shows your client that you care about them more than just on a working basis and it will make them think twice before every hiring a different designer.

4) Provide added Value

Go above and beyond if you can. Tip #1 I was about keeping promises. What if you promise to deliver something by Friday and you give it to your client two days early on Wednesday? To your clients, this is an added value they will appreciate, and it didn’t cost you anything.

Another thing you can do is provide little extras that other designers don’t.

Create short instruction videos using software like Screenflow to show your clients how to use their newly launched website. Teach them how to log in, how to create or edit posts, how to upload media files, etc. Not only does this go above and beyond to provide added value to your clients. It also lessens your workload because your client won’t be contacting you asking “how do I do that again?”

If you design a logo for a client, include a PDF explaining all the different file formats you are providing them. List each one and explain when and why each format should be used. This could be the same PDF you share with all your clients. To them, it’s an added value.

Anything you do to create added value goes a long way to strengthen client loyalty.

5) Engage your clients and give them a reason to come back

Once a project is over, it doesn’t mean your communications with your client should be over as well. Keep in touch with them. Let them know of new or improved services you offer. Are you getting into the Facebook advertising game? Let your clients know about it. Have you discovered a new supplier that provides some new and innovative marketing dohickey? Mention to your clients how they might benefit from using it in their promotional campaign. Did a client ask you to design something you’ve never done before? Show it off to your other clients and offer to do the same for them.

By letting your clients know about the new and exciting happenings with your company you build momentum with them, and it makes them somehow feel involved and builds loyalty towards you.

6) Get Feedback from your clients

A great way to build client loyalty is to ask them for their opinion on your business and services. Were they happy with their most recent dealings with you? Did the service you provide meet their expectations? Ask them if there is anything you could have done to make the experience better.

Asking your clients for their opinion is a great way to show you care about what they think and that you are listening to their concerns.

7) Show your appreciation.

As a child, your parents taught you to say Thank You whenever someone gives you something. Your clients are giving you work they could have taken elsewhere. Once a project is over show your client you’re grateful for it by saying thank you for the business.

This simple gesture is something rarely seen in the service industry, and your clients will take note and remember you for it, increasing their loyalty towards you.

If you follow these seven tips to increase client loyalty towards you and your business, not only will you be ensuring a long-lasting relationship with your clients, but you will be growing your business as well. Because loyal clients are more apt to talk about you and spread the word about the great work and excellent service you provide.

What do you do to build client loyalty?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Miranda

Hi Mark, I was wondering if you ever worked in a small design agency, and if you had any tips for a Graphic Designer with about a year of professional experience. I’ve worked in a big agency and small design businesses. I’d love your feedback on how to get a small design agency better quality work.

My boss is kind of old school so some of the work is not branding our clients it’s more production work. We have branded clients and have some great clients we’ve branded. But I wanted your take on how to get better clients and how to navigate them to understanding how important their brand is.

Thanks so much! Would love to hear from you!

To find out what I told Miranda you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week Running SEO

This week’s resource is Running SEO, a website that offers free instant website reviews and SEO audits. With their in-depth website analysis, you can learn how to improve your website rankings & online visibility through SEO, social media, usability and much more. Running SEO doesn’t just tell you what’s wrong with your site, it says you how to fix it. Their competitive analysis function gives you a side-by-side comparison between your site and your competitor. Find out what they are doing better on their site and implement it on your site. Running SEO is also great for landing new clients. Run an analysis before meeting a new client to show them what needs improving on their website.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn’t easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I’ll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com