the freelance guide to customer retention
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By 7.7 min readLast Updated: 10. January 2023

Build your freelance business on regular clients

Regular clients are the foundation of your freelance business, and a foolproof client retention strategy will pay off 100-fold. And even if it gives a wild kick to get new customers, and it is therefore tempting to focus your energy on them, it makes sense in every way to focus the majority of your efforts on the existing customers.

It is between 5 and 25 times as expensive to get a new customer as to keep an old one – depending on the branch and industry, of course.

That's because you don't have to use either money, time or energy on selling or marketing you to the old customers.

If you care about your business and your finances, as a freelancer you must therefore prioritize the good, old customers who pay the rent and keep you sharp.

And in this post, we go over 5 concrete tips to do just that.

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Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

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Tip 1: Become your customer's go-to person

If you become an integral part of the customer's business, and not just him/her the "external freelancer", the customer will begin to see you as part of their organization - and thus find it harder to replace you.

To become a bigger part of your customer's business, you can do the following:

  • Helping them with things that are not included in your primary service (remember to charge for it)
  • Use your network to get them other suppliers
  • Familiarize yourself thoroughly with your customer's business so that you can more easily deliver value

Let's say you are freelance graphic designer, and you are creating graphics for some posts for the client's Instagram. The client's regular copywriter is ill, and an important posting must be completed today. You write your own posts and use a skillful pen. You therefore suggest the customer to help, and the customer agrees.

When you help, saves the customer from using energy on either finding a freelance copywriter at short notice or setting out to write the post yourself. It is therefore a great help for the customer, even if text work is not part of your regular service.

It could also be that the customer needs a photographer, but does not have the time to research the market himself. You talk to the customer about it and offer to activate your network and find the right candidate. The customer agrees.

If you want to be your customer's regular sparring partner, don't let yourself be limited by your profession. Instead, do your best to deliver the value the customer needs. Focus on that win your customer over - repeatedly.

Tip 2: Make it a bonus to be loyal

The following are just some of the benefits of having loyal, repeat customers:

  • It is significantly more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an old one (as we saw in the intro)
  • It is up to 14 times easier to make additional sales to regular customers, compared to sales to new customers
  • A regular customer's lifetime value has in principle no limit - it has a one-off task per definition
  • The longer you have a customer, the more time they have to recommend you to others

With such significant advantages, it is important that you prioritize regular collaborations - and that the customer has no doubts about that.

That means you have to provide incentives to stay with you – it must be a bonus to be loyal.

You can e.g. give good prices to the loyal customers who shop throughout the year. It doesn't have to be big discounts - but the signal value in just 10% is greater than the financial loss.

This also means that you must get involved in your customer's business – and not separate your service from the customer's business. The less time the customer has to spend on training you, the more time they have for the core business. It is therefore also in the customer's interest that you become indispensable. Use it to your advantage.

Make sure your customer can feel that you care about their business and not just your neighbor invoice. If the customer's business disappears, so does your income.

Remember that - and then make sure that the customer's business flourishes!

Also, don't be afraid to give your customers a Christmas present. It is a small expense for you, but the signal value is significant.

create free user

Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

Tip 3: Prioritize signal values

And speaking of signal values – yep, they are important for effective customer retention.

It is somewhat in the word – signalvalues. Signals are valuable, and they matter more than you might first think.

In order to maximize the effect of signal values, it can be advantageous to:

  • Avoid invoicing small things that may look, well, small on the invoice
  • Spend extra time and energy on good, energetic and polite communication

It can send a bad signal if you write emails, phone calls and customer meetings on the invoice. The customer may think that it is not value-creating work for them, and therefore not worth the money - even if it is time that you, as freelancer could have spent making money, and thus time you should in principle invoice.

If meetings, emails, phone calls and communication/coordination generally take over, you must have a conversation with the customer about it. As far as possible, however, you should avoid invoicing communication with the customer if you want to prioritize the permanent collaboration.

As we have covered, the customer must be able to feel that you are there for them. This means concretely that you must respond quickly and be sharp and precise when you communicate something.

If you can save the customer an explanatory email because you have everything under control from the start, you have saved the customer a small extra task – and the small tasks add up in the long run!

Tip 4: Service, service, service!

Excellent customer service, the same both in person, on the phone and via email, nothing beats it.

It is therefore a direct recommendation from you, because you invest a few extra minutes in servicing your customer. A recommendation, which can lead to a new regular customer - and a big financial boost for your business. It's a few minutes well spent.

The advice is simple: Listen to your customers – and ask what they are missing!

If the customer complains about something, it's really very simple: Stop doing it.

And if the customer on the other end appreciates something, it's just to stay in that track.

In the same way: If the customer needs something new or your service needs to be adapted, you should do everything to meet their wishes.

And last but not least: Feel free to give your customers a kick in the ass when they need it. Advise with honesty, authority and finesse – that is also what they pay you for!

Tip 5: Under promise, over deliver! Lower your expectations and then give it your all

Is there anything better than being pleasantly surprised? Getting an extra bonus that you neither expected nor paid for?

When entering into a customer relationship, you must:

  • As minimum live up to the customer's expectations - and do everything to surprise positively, never negative!
  • Engage with your customers in a constructive dialogue when they complain - and subsequently learn from their complaints!

Make sure your client understands what your work entails, what it costs and what results they can expect. The last two in particular are important, so that the customer is not suddenly left with an unexpectedly high price on the invoice and unfulfilled ambitions on top of that.

It can be saved if you get off to a bad start, but it's an unnecessary one road bump, which you can just as well avoid with the right adjustment of expectations.

A simple rule, you as a freelancer can strive for: Do what your competitors can't - and develop value propositions so unique that you can't be outdone!

create free user

Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user
the freelance guide to customer retention
By 7.7 min readLast Updated: 10. January 2023

Build your freelance business on regular clients

Regular clients are the foundation of your freelance business, and a foolproof client retention strategy will pay off 100-fold. And even if it gives a wild kick to get new customers, and it is therefore tempting to focus your energy on them, it makes sense in every way to focus the majority of your efforts on the existing customers.

It is between 5 and 25 times as expensive to get a new customer as to keep an old one – depending on the branch and industry, of course.

That's because you don't have to use either money, time or energy on selling or marketing you to the old customers.

If you care about your business and your finances, as a freelancer you must therefore prioritize the good, old customers who pay the rent and keep you sharp.

And in this post, we go over 5 concrete tips to do just that.

create free user

Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

Tip 1: Become your customer's go-to person

If you become an integral part of the customer's business, and not just him/her the "external freelancer", the customer will begin to see you as part of their organization - and thus find it harder to replace you.

To become a bigger part of your customer's business, you can do the following:

  • Helping them with things that are not included in your primary service (remember to charge for it)
  • Use your network to get them other suppliers
  • Familiarize yourself thoroughly with your customer's business so that you can more easily deliver value

Let's say you are freelance graphic designer, and you are creating graphics for some posts for the client's Instagram. The client's regular copywriter is ill, and an important posting must be completed today. You write your own posts and use a skillful pen. You therefore suggest the customer to help, and the customer agrees.

When you help, saves the customer from using energy on either finding a freelance copywriter at short notice or setting out to write the post yourself. It is therefore a great help for the customer, even if text work is not part of your regular service.

It could also be that the customer needs a photographer, but does not have the time to research the market himself. You talk to the customer about it and offer to activate your network and find the right candidate. The customer agrees.

If you want to be your customer's regular sparring partner, don't let yourself be limited by your profession. Instead, do your best to deliver the value the customer needs. Focus on that win your customer over - repeatedly.

Tip 2: Make it a bonus to be loyal

The following are just some of the benefits of having loyal, repeat customers:

  • It is significantly more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an old one (as we saw in the intro)
  • It is up to 14 times easier to make additional sales to regular customers, compared to sales to new customers
  • A regular customer's lifetime value has in principle no limit - it has a one-off task per definition
  • The longer you have a customer, the more time they have to recommend you to others

With such significant advantages, it is important that you prioritize regular collaborations - and that the customer has no doubts about that.

That means you have to provide incentives to stay with you – it must be a bonus to be loyal.

You can e.g. give good prices to the loyal customers who shop throughout the year. It doesn't have to be big discounts - but the signal value in just 10% is greater than the financial loss.

This also means that you must get involved in your customer's business – and not separate your service from the customer's business. The less time the customer has to spend on training you, the more time they have for the core business. It is therefore also in the customer's interest that you become indispensable. Use it to your advantage.

Make sure your customer can feel that you care about their business and not just your neighbor invoice. If the customer's business disappears, so does your income.

Remember that - and then make sure that the customer's business flourishes!

Also, don't be afraid to give your customers a Christmas present. It is a small expense for you, but the signal value is significant.

create free user

Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

Tip 3: Prioritize signal values

And speaking of signal values – yep, they are important for effective customer retention.

It is somewhat in the word – signalvalues. Signals are valuable, and they matter more than you might first think.

In order to maximize the effect of signal values, it can be advantageous to:

  • Avoid invoicing small things that may look, well, small on the invoice
  • Spend extra time and energy on good, energetic and polite communication

It can send a bad signal if you write emails, phone calls and customer meetings on the invoice. The customer may think that it is not value-creating work for them, and therefore not worth the money - even if it is time that you, as freelancer could have spent making money, and thus time you should in principle invoice.

If meetings, emails, phone calls and communication/coordination generally take over, you must have a conversation with the customer about it. As far as possible, however, you should avoid invoicing communication with the customer if you want to prioritize the permanent collaboration.

As we have covered, the customer must be able to feel that you are there for them. This means concretely that you must respond quickly and be sharp and precise when you communicate something.

If you can save the customer an explanatory email because you have everything under control from the start, you have saved the customer a small extra task – and the small tasks add up in the long run!

Tip 4: Service, service, service!

Excellent customer service, the same both in person, on the phone and via email, nothing beats it.

It is therefore a direct recommendation from you, because you invest a few extra minutes in servicing your customer. A recommendation, which can lead to a new regular customer - and a big financial boost for your business. It's a few minutes well spent.

The advice is simple: Listen to your customers – and ask what they are missing!

If the customer complains about something, it's really very simple: Stop doing it.

And if the customer on the other end appreciates something, it's just to stay in that track.

In the same way: If the customer needs something new or your service needs to be adapted, you should do everything to meet their wishes.

And last but not least: Feel free to give your customers a kick in the ass when they need it. Advise with honesty, authority and finesse – that is also what they pay you for!

Tip 5: Under promise, over deliver! Lower your expectations and then give it your all

Is there anything better than being pleasantly surprised? Getting an extra bonus that you neither expected nor paid for?

When entering into a customer relationship, you must:

  • As minimum live up to the customer's expectations - and do everything to surprise positively, never negative!
  • Engage with your customers in a constructive dialogue when they complain - and subsequently learn from their complaints!

Make sure your client understands what your work entails, what it costs and what results they can expect. The last two in particular are important, so that the customer is not suddenly left with an unexpectedly high price on the invoice and unfulfilled ambitions on top of that.

It can be saved if you get off to a bad start, but it's an unnecessary one road bump, which you can just as well avoid with the right adjustment of expectations.

A simple rule, you as a freelancer can strive for: Do what your competitors can't - and develop value propositions so unique that you can't be outdone!

create free user

Freelance with Factofly

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user