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Ever wonder what sets the successful web designers apart from their not-so-successful competition?
Hint: it’s not just their pretty portfolio, or some super sparkly, meant-for-marketing personality…
So what is it that has them consistently booked out and ideal clients lined up around the block to work with them?
When asked how it is they are able to land clients and consistently be booked out months and months in advance… guaranteed, they would respond:
Literally all it can take is landing 1 or 2 clients, wowing their socks off with their entire customer experience, and then suddenly it’s raining non-stop referrals.
And if you have yet to land that first client, this is actually good news!
Because it means you can do it right the first time, and turn one happy client into a buttload of referrals, rather than having to hop back on the client-finding hamster wheel every time you wrap up a project.
P.S if that’s you, and you still need help landing that first paying client, then take a moment right now to help yourself to my free guide: How to find your first or next client
Your client could have chosen literally anyone.
Why not send them a little ‘thank-you’ for making that someone you!
Maybe you send it the day after they book, or in celebration of launch-day when the project is all wrapped up.
Either way, think of something your ideal client would be surprised and delighted to receive in the mail (or their inbox) and find a way to get it to them!
It can be as simple as sending a hand-written note using on-brand stationary, or a Starbs’ gift card sent via email. ☕️
If you are careful about how you price your services, doing something nice for your client doesn’t have to break the bank!
And you can even have go-to gifts at the ready based on which package client’s pick, increasing the value of the thank-you gift in proportion to their investment with you.
It doesn’t take much to brightens someone’s day unexpectedly and let them know you don’t take their investment lightly!
Think of your welcome package as the ultimate guide to the next 2-4 weeks of their life while they work with you to build out their site.
It’s basically a self-guided tour through your entire web design process from start > finish!
And the brilliant thing is, you only have to create it once. Then it can be used for every single client for ever and ever thereafter.
A super on-brand welcome package not only ups the ‘prestige’ factor of working with you, but it also knocks out the most important FAQ that are bound to come up throughout your time together.
Now, when your client has a question or concern, they can refer to their welcome package and think “oh, good. She already thought of that” then go back to feeling all the excitement and none of the doubt.
It may take working with a few clients to really nail your welcome package.
But basically anytime a client has to email you and ask “what happens next?” or “when do I get xyz?” then it’s a solid sign it needs to be added to your welcome package.
Clients don’t enjoy annoying you with constant questions anymore than you like BEING annoyed by constant questions.
But they also don’t want to feel in the dark about anything after making such a big investment…
So calm their fears, and make broken-record questions a thing of the past with a well-thought out PDF guide or welcome package.
While your busy answering all your client’s most pressing questions, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to set some clear expectations.
Providing top-notch customer services doesn’t mean gorilla-gluing yourself to your devices so that you never miss an email or DM again.
It means letting your client know how you can be reached, and exactly when to expect a response.
Having set hours and a set means of communication does a handful of things…
A) It lets them know they are your top priority.
And that you’ve already come up with a plan to set aside a specific time each day or week to make yourself available to them sans distraction.
B) It makes you appear way more organized and professional.
Clients get freaked out by chaos.
They just dropped a serious chunk of change on your services, and they want to know they hired someone who has their together, and is ready to confidently take the lead on their project.
So if they are never quite sure if they should be texting you, tweeting you, or sending you a telegram, then that all-access communication pass you’ve been running your business on, may actually be stressing them out.
Do yourself and your client a massive favor and keep all communication, ideas, requests, files and feedback in one consistent, easy-to-access place, and never make them second guess when is a good time to reach you.
C) Valuing your own time makes you look more like the expert you are.
Again, customer service doesn’t mean you are a slave to someone else’s schedule.
You started your business to have more freedom and autonomy, right?
If you find a respectful way to set boundaries up front (ie. in your welcome package & contract) the right clients will always view your boundaries as a sign that you’re a pro!
D) It encourages a healthier work/life balance.
Which means you won’t be left resenting your clients or phoning it in on their projects because you are constantly operating in burn-out mode.
Nothing is more disappointing as a customer than finding out something you assumed was included is not.
But since your clients aren’t web designers, they can’t be expected to know what all ‘web design’ actually entails.
When it comes to things like branding, photos, and copy, they may genuinely be thinking “well, it’s ON my website…so doesn’t that make it your job??”
And who is responsible for maintaining their site once launched? If it’s you, is there a fee for that?
Creating a referral-worthy client experience is just as much about taking preventative measure and avoiding awkward miscommunications as it is about wowing them with your talents!
Your client didn’t just hand you $5k+ to build them a pretty website.
What they were really paying for is transformation for their business.
So think about how to help them get the most out of the design you just finished creating, and provide a little insight as to why you made the decisions you did.
That way a week later they aren’t swapping out your crisp, beautiful banner image for something totally grainy and just plain bad, and then wondering why their site isn’t converting.
If you don’t plan to make yourself available for monthly retainer services, why not use the call to walk them through the basics of DIY’ing their own site maintenance to save some cash?
Or to put them in touch with another trusted designer or service to do it for them?
This is also a perfect time to walk them through upgrading any free trials to a paid subscription using their own payment information.
Having them do it on the call means:
1) You won’t have to sheepishly ask them for their credit card deets
2) You won’t have to chase down and hound that client for reimbursement every month for 5 years (also not great for customer service) because you volunteered to start their subscription using your own payment information.
This is where niching (like reallyyyy niching) is important…
It makes it way easier to educate yourself and stay up to date with the latest solutions available to serve one very specific type of client.
General techy-ness and being known for being able to figure out pretty much anything is nice…
But it can’t beat out proper research, and making super informed recommendations based on your client’s specific needs!
Besides being ready with the best in third party integrations, another way to level up your client experience is to get really good at connecting your clients with other resources or people in your industry who can help them experience wins.
Show your clients you aren’t just here for the paycheck, and that you genuinely care about their ability to succeed, even after you moved on to the next client.
Your clients will rave to other people in their industry (A.K.A your exact niche) about how you were their biggest cheerleader on their way to success, and that you can be trusted to handle their businesses with the same level of care.
Ok. Ready for the hard truth?
You can be allllll the things as a web designer…you can:
✅ Have ridiculously amazing design skills
✅ Be the most like-able, relatable human on earth
✅ Be the best damn communicator your client has ever seen
✅ Know absolutely everything there is to know about your niche
Because you’re human! You are going to forget. And you are going to make mistakes!
And the sooner you accept that and put safeguards in place for those less-than-perfect moments, the more you’ll be at peace that your clients are totally taken care of, even on your ‘off days.’
Don’t put it on yourself to remember every last detail while trying to juggle clients, and manage all the other behind-the-scenes tasks in your business.
Take the time it takes now to design a start > finish client process that supports both you and your clients.
And then implement it in the exact same order with every single client, checking off the boxes as you go.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done a task and think you know it like the back of your hand, or how much you genuinely care about helping your client…
If you are winging it with your client process, or trying to do it all off the top of your head, then I promise you you are leaving referrals (and money) on the table.