4 Keys to Finding Repeat Clients in a Competitive, Crowdsourced Graphics Market

by Alabaweh Baweh -
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Repeat clientele is the lifeblood of any sustainable business. It's no secret that customer retention costs you less time and money than finding new customers. However, there are several important reasons you should focus on finding repeat customers rather than running after new clients continuously.

  • When new graphics works are needed, your existing clients are 60-70% more likely to buy from you again, while only 5-20% of new prospects will complete a purchase.
  • Your existing customers will try new services at least 50% of the time. Overall, they'll also spend about 31% more than your newer clients.
  • By increasing your customer retention rates by 5%, you can realize an increase in profits between 25% and 95%.

 

However, finding repeat clients in the graphics market can be difficult. Competing against a high number of other professional designers who are vying for a limited number of clients often means lowering prices or dumping large amounts of your revenue into advertising efforts with no guarantee of real results. How can you consistently find well-paying and loyal clients that continuously come back to you?

Use Retainers to Keep Clients Near

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Retainers aren't just for legal professionals. Encourage your existing clients to sign up for future services at the very beginning to keep them from wandering away after the first job is done.

In the simplest terms, a retainer is a contract between you and your client. You offer to periodically provide them with specific services. In exchange, your client will pay you a set amount each month. To sell your clients on the idea, focus on these points during negotiations.
  • Information on graphics can change frequently. Having a contract allows your client to always display the most up-to-date information available, which increases their credibility.
  • As businesses grow, website and print graphics often need to change, too. Talk to your clients about their expansion plans. Communicate how updated graphics can support these changes.
  • Being placed on retainer gives your client priority access to you. That means that if they suddenly need new work done, you're more likely to put newer clients aside to fulfill their needs.
  • Building a long-term relationship via contract gives you more time to get to know the needs and preferences of your client. That means the quality of your work will improve over time.

Retainers are highly customizable contracts. You and your client can decide which services to include, the frequency of delivery, and pricing. Consider offering a discount for regular services to your retainer customers. When you add new services, offer the same discount to encourage them to give them a try.

Use Probing Questions to Get to the Heart of Your Client's Concerns

To encourage customers to keep coming back to you, focus on building a strong business relationship from the start. There are 4 major aspects of building a healthy and long-term business relationship. One of the most important pieces of the process is the discovery and collaboration phase. This is the time you take getting to know your client, their business, and their goals and preferences. 

Use the discovery and collaboration process to find out how you fit into your client's vision. Once you understand that, find ways to improve their vision by upselling them on other services you offer. Ask probing questions to solidify your understanding of what they need to ensure you're able to add value to their experience.

The easiest way to begin is by simply asking the client why they want the job done. Try to discover what results the client hopes to get from their graphic work. Then, offer them additional services based on that goal. For example, a client may want to revamp their website to increase conversion rates. That client may benefit from additional graphics work for sales, emails, and other electronic communications as well.

By asking your clients about their motivations, you show that you are actually interested in giving them the best product possible. This encourages feelings of trust, positively impacts customer satisfaction, and increases the chance that they'll come back to you when they need more work done.

Add Generous Perks to All of Your Packages

Customers love free stuff. Give your clients more of what they want by adding extra perks to your packages. According to a recent survey, 49% of interviewed consumers said that feeling unappreciated drove them to find new companies to fulfill their needs. Just like the free dish of chips and salsa at your favorite restaurant, giving your clients that little extra something is a great way to make them feel appreciated.

You don't have to commit hours of time to increase the value of your graphics work. These relatively quick and easy ideas can improve your customer's image of your services without too much effort on your part.

  • Provide graphics in multiple sizes and formats to allow the client to use them for different applications.
  • Help your client understand the data received from analytic web codes.
  • Offer premade HTML e-mail templates for sales campaigns and other communications.
  • Deliver graphics for presentations on a DVD so your client always has access, even when there is no internet.
  • Create surveys that ease usability testing for your clients.

Try to give your clients something that is useful and solves a small yet common problem. Every time they pull up that tool, they'll think of you, which makes it far more likely that they'll return for paid work.

Focus on Customer Experience

Your customers aren't just buying a product. According to Forbes, 87% of consumers are more likely to do business with you again if they have a great experience the first time. The time you put into making your clients feel satisfied with their buying decision is the single most important thing you can do to improve your retention rates. Make sure your client is happy with their experience every time by applying these principals to your daily work.

  • Be honest. Don't promise what you can't deliver. If there is a valid reason why you can't keep your promises, be sure to communicate right away. Be sincere in your apologies and offer updates to ease the customer's anxiety.
  • Make communication easy. Online customer service forms, self-help options, and automated e-mail communications keep clients in the loop without stressing you out too much.
  • Get to know your customer's needs. Develop a survey or questionnaire for new clients. Ask them about their business, goals, objectives, and other important points. Follow up periodically to see if anything has changed.
  • Invest in professional customer service. For solo operations, outsourcing calls and general communications to a professional answering service saves you time, improves your public image, and decreases the likelihood of frustration on the clients' part.

No matter how low your prices are or how good your work is, clients won't come back if they don't feel comfortable.

Learning how to retain existing clients is the best way to grow your business and regulate your income. These extra steps don't require much energy. However, they can yield a big payoff for your retention rates.