7 Ways to get repeat freelance clients

Apr 17, 2014

What’s better than a new client inquiry in your inbox? An old client who wants to work with you again.

Repeat clients are great because there's less of a client “onboarding” process, you both know each others’ expectations, and you spent $0 marketing to them.

Here are 7 ways to get repeat clients:

1. Follow your ex-clients on social media. Retweet or like their posts periodically. You’ll be surprised who watches these numbers! Learn more about how to find clients on social media here.

2. Start an email newsletter. I’m not talking about a super time-intensive daily newsletter. A freelance photographer I worked with in the past sends me one email a month that contains just one image and a caption. It’s probably the guy’s best photograph, I always open them because it’s easily digestible and beautiful, and I will never forget his name now. Automatically put clients’ email addresses in your subscriber list. We broke down exactly how to start an email newsletter here.

3. Send handwritten thank you notes and holiday cards. Emails get buried. Handwritten notes are unique, personal, and memorable. Yes, a handwritten card may cost you a few dollars, but it’s worth it! Find great handmade thank you cards on Etsy.

4. Have great freelance business cards, and give them away liberally. Even if you’ve already landed a client, give them some business cards. Most people catalog all their business cards and reference them. When you finish a project with a client, give them 3-5 business cards and let them know they’re free to give them to others looking for your services. We have tips on creating great freelance business cards here.

5. Keep up-to-date on what your client is doing. This can mean following them on social media (as stated above), but can also mean setting up a Google Alert for them or googling them periodically to see any news or business developments. Seems like too much work? Well, tell that to the freelancer I heard from recently who found a gig with a past client by sending them an email congratulating them on a new product launch and offering her services to write SEO-friendly blog posts associated with the product.

6. Reach out to past bosses and coworkers. While your previous boss wasn’t exactly a “client,” this is someone who knows how you work and how great you are, but may not know you’re freelancing. Go through your old 9-5 email contacts, pick a few acquaintances, check them out on LinkedIn, and send them a quick note to let them know what you’re up to.

7. Make sure your current clients understand everything you do. While you’re working on a project with a client, make sure that they understand that while you specialize in the type of project you’re working on with them, you also provide other services. Keep an eye out for other things the company is doing where your services could be used. I know a freelancer writer who started at a company as a technical writer, but by reaching out to the blog editor and offering to write blog posts, her contract was extended.

What do you do to get repeat clients?