How to Foster Great Copywriting Client Relationships

By Beth Scott | May 22, 2017

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Attracting Clients with Systems

Great copywriting client relationships are key to long-term success.

You’ve got the right mindset, some fancy systems, and an editorial calendar stuffed full of awesome content (published automatically, of course), and now your phone is ringing and your inbox is blowing up.

You write their copy, send it off, and they’re happy. Right?

Maybe.

Nothing’s more important than keeping a client happy once you’ve landed them, because loyalty trumps first impressions, every — single — time. My repeat clients are the most valuable working relationships I have for several reasons, mostly because we’ve already had the getting-to-know-each-other dance and working together is as easy as a two-email exchange. I trust them to pay on time and give me the info I need, and they trust me to deliver great copy on time.

It’s a win-win.

Fostering repeat business is an art in itself, and there are only three basic rules: do good work, get results, and be on time. Sadly, that will set you apart from a lot of writers out there, and if your client has had a bad turnover rate, simply doing your job might be enough to keep you on their books for longer.

Communication is key in any respect: whenever a job will take longer than a few days, I email my clients a quick update on how things are going. This reassures them that a) I’m still working and haven’t run off, and b) I value their time and trust. You don’t need to pen an essay — a simple line or two will suffice.

I actually won a client once because of another copywriter’s failure to follow this basic rule. When one of my leads was a bit on edge and panicking because his deadline was approaching, I gently enquired why. It turned out his previous copywriter had completely disappeared after onboarding, never to be heard from again! The simple act of replying to messages in a timely manner and letting your client know you’re working on their project seems laughably basic … but unfortunately, it’s rare nowadays.

Clients are the cogs that keep your business running, but they’re also people. Every now and then, reach out and see how they’re doing. Don’t ask if they need more copy — simply be interested in their progress, like a friend. It’s fine if this doesn’t come naturally to you: just set a reminder on your phone to check in with clients every couple of weeks or so. If you really want, use an autoresponder service to ask a nondescript question (e.g., “How’s things?”) so you can start a conversation without letting clients know you set it up months beforehand.

That said, don’t get too clingy — the client relationship is a tricky line to walk, as they are work contacts, after all. Be friendly, but don’t invite yourself over, and make sure you hide or untag yourself from unflattering photos on Facebook. If you’re friends with them online, create separate lists and adjust your privacy settings so only friends and family can view personal posts.

If your clients live locally — or you don’t mind spending a little extra on international postage — send some snail mail. A handwritten thank-you card after a job well done is just the best thing to receive, and I guarantee your client won’t be expecting it. I know copywriters who send their best clients cookies in the mail at Christmas, and they always get repeat business! Birthdays and holidays are also great occasions to let your clients know you appreciate them. If you use tact, you can also remind them about potential marketing opportunities: let your dentist know Halloween’s on the way, with a perfect opportunity for parents to book their kids in for a post-candy-binge checkup (direct mail flyer, of course!).

Above all, simply treat your clients as people you really love working with, because that’s what they should be. If you’re getting an odd vibe, or things aren’t gelling between you, simply do the very best job you can for them. Afterward, take another look at your lead generation systems: what do you need to tweak to push or pull in the perfect fit?

I hope you enjoyed this series: every piece of advice is something I’ve seen working in person, for me or for copywriters I know. A steady stream of qualified, happy clients is something every writer aspires to, and by putting systems in place to make sure this happens, you free up time to become a better writer — for yourself, and others!