If you’re not recording the names, emails, websites, and addresses of all of your clients (corporate, individual and publication editors) then you are losing money. The best way to make more money as a freelance writer (or in any business) is to keep your existing customers. It’s easier to retain current clients than it is to find brand new ones (not that you shouldn’t be actively marketing for new clients as well). That’s for another blog.
First you’ll need to go back through all of your records to find your past clients’ and editors’ information. You will need the following information:
- Business or Publication
- Email Address
- Mailing Address
- Phone Number
Keep all of this information in a file. Excel or word works great, but you can also use a notebook. When you get a new client or an assignment from an editor write down all of their information in your existing file. Over the years it will grow and you’ll have a nice list to go back to.
So, what do you do with this information? Two things. Start an email newsletter (otherwise known as an e-zine), and start sending out thank you, holiday and other cards.
Business gurus and experts agree that their customer or client list is the most valuable asset to their businesses. Your mailing list can bring more business back to you, help you get referrals from people you’ve already worked with, get more assignments from editors, and more.
Choose a host for your list. This is what will send out your newsletters for you. I use MailChimp, but there are others out there. Do a little research to find the best one for you.
Commit to sending out a newsletter on a regular basis, such as weekly or bi-weekly. You can even do monthly if you don’t have the time to send them out more often. Write an article for your newsletter that would be of interest to your subscribers. You can write about the benefits of hiring freelancers, something related to your niche, benefits of content…brainstorm some ideas. You can also add a quote, an interesting fact, any discounts or freebies you have for your subscribers, and anything else you want.
Create a few newsletters before you start sending them out, and then schedule them to go out on certain dates. This helps when something unexpected comes up (such as a death in the family or other personal issue). You don’t have to worry about missing a newsletter because you will already have some ready to send out automatically.
Cards are a great way to recognize your clients and editors. Once a year send out thank you/holiday cards to everyone on your list. Don’t send e-cards. Send the real thing with a stamp and all. If you’re crafty you can even make your own cards.
Notice times when it would be appropriate to send out cards. For example, maybe your editor got a promotion or moved to a different publication. Send her a card to congratulate her. You could even send a gift card along with it. This isn’t about sucking up. It’s about staying in contact with your clients and editors. I know I care about mine and this is a great way to show it.