The key to achieving effective client communication is courtesy – it is as simple as that. Your client pays your professional fees so they naturally come first at every stage in their customer journey with you, their chosen freelance copywriter. Effective client communication starts with the clarity of your offer to market and should permeate every touchpoint of your potential client’s journey to becoming a cherished client of yours.
Your message conveyed on your website and on social media should display a compelling advertisement of your unique qualifications, skills and experience which you can apply to your own professional writing service. If you can clearly communicate the business sectors where you especially excel when crafting your copy, you will start to match your offer to the interests of your ideal client base. You could also share insights into the way you work and the way you write by way of a blog – just like this one. If you can offer a professional and informative glimpse into just how easy it is to work with you, your potential client will find it effortless to imagine that they already are.
When you win a new client, (congratulations!), that is where your client communication should come into its own. You need to communicate clearly and transparently all aspects of your services from the start – including your pricing on every quotation and advance notice (I would say the next four weeks or so) of your current availability so as to manage their expectations when it comes to assigning you work and you meeting their proposed delivery deadlines; as you establish your new working relationship.
Talking about deadlines… if, for any reason you cannot meet the current one set, communicate this early on to your affected client. Ask for more time, if possible, and in the meantime break the assignment down into tasks which you may be able to part deliver – if the client is willing to accept this. It all comes back to courtesy. If you can foster reciprocal respect for each other’s time and commitments it will be easier to ask and often receive the flexibility you may need – in the rare event that you may need it, for a variety of unforeseen personal and business reasons.
When you do deliver, preface your work with a covering email detailing any issues which have arisen plus any suggestions you may have to solve them. Be proactive, add value to the assignment whenever it is feasible (and when it is within your agreed remit) to do so. If mistakes arise, own them. Honesty is a refreshing quality to nurture in business and it is one which garners respect if it is exercised voluntarily and discreetly and coupled with a problem-solving perspective which naturally aligns itself to owning up in the first place.
Communicate what you can do and also what you cannot do, for your clients – in terms of the requirements of the copy assignment, the delivery schedule stipulated and the price or budget range available for you to undertake the work. An effective working relationship between client and freelancer is often characterised by honesty, transparency, trust and a considerable dash of a good sense of humour when things do not always go to plan or indeed to brief. We are all human. Copywriting is still a creative skill and yes, typos and just the wrong word in the wrong place in the sentence (but still error-free!), can happen to the best of us (yes, I am not infallible, either).
Communication is so much more than just how you come across in your written copy to your client. Exude natural enthusiasm and passion about what you do on your client video calls and telephone calls too. If I am perfectly honest, it is not at all easy to sustain a freelance business model but with a little light-hearted commercial and personal resilience to setbacks complemented by an authentic professional approach, it is still possible to achieve – even in 2021 – and beyond.