Provide Value When Following Up

“How many times can you follow-up with a client?”

Until they say stop!

That’s what I told you on Monday. And since then, we’ve been talking about how to follow-up effectively, to get them to move forward with projects.

And as promised, today I’m going to give you six ways to follow-up that will actually increase your value in the eyes of the client.

Remember, the key is to provide value in your follow-ups. You want the client to WANT to hear from you.

So let’s start with the simplest idea of all …

Idea #1: Send over a relevant article.

Easy, right?

All you do is look for interesting content that your client will find useful. And when you find it, simply email it with a note quickly explaining the piece and why you think it’s relevant, and provide a link so she can easily access it too.

Or, you can also take it one step further and print out the article, attach a Post-it note with that background information, and drop it in the mail.

What I love about this simple idea is that it gives you the opportunity to put yourself in front of the client again, and provide value. It also shows that you’re not only interested in one single project, but rather see yourself as part of her “success team.”

Idea #2: Follow-up after a project is submitted and recommend adding in another piece.

Talk about a great way to get your foot back in the door with a client you want to work for again …

It’s the perfect way to get more work, and provide value at the same time. It also gives you a chance to upsell your client … either with things he didn’t agree to from your first proposal, or with new ideas that came to you as you worked on the original project.

Did you write some Pay-Per-Click ads? Offer to write some new landing pages to test with them.

Maybe you wrote a landing page. Now follow-up and offer to write a set of autoresponders to help convert people signing up.

Or if you wrote a sales letter, follow-up and offer to also write the web copy needed for the same campaign.

AWAI member Michele Peterson used this technique on me earlier this week …

I had hired her at the Web Intensive to write a landing page for Wealthy Web Writer. After she submitted it and got my final edits, her follow-up thanked me for the assignment, and then recommended using an email series to drive traffic to it. She, of course, wanted to write the series also, and included her copy concepts right there in the email. All I had to do was say “Yes.”

And I did! Along with making my life easy, she showed me that she’s not only focused on the project at hand, but really sees the big picture and wants to be part of my team of go-to writers.

Spoiler alert: She’s moving up my list.

And the next idea on my list is how she landed the original project in the first place. It’s one of my favorite ideas for a value-add follow-up …

Idea #3: Present a brand-new idea.

At the Web Intensive, I offered everyone a guaranteed assignment. But rather than wait and see what assignment I would give her, Michele approached me at the event to present an idea for a 30-Day Challenge on Wealthy Web Writer to encourage members to get referrals — and ultimately land more work within the month.

Just like with her “add-on” follow-up above, she made it hard for me to turn her down. She had clearly thought through the idea and what was needed, understood the benefit she was creating for our members, and was ready to get to work immediately.

But even if I hadn’t accepted her idea, I still would have remembered her — simply because she presented a brand-new idea. And the next time she followed up with another idea, I would have opened her email immediately, to see what she had come up with next.

A client will always be happy to hear from you if you’re an “idea man.” And whether or not they accept every idea you send them isn’t the point — it’s showing the client you have good ideas and again, that you’re looking to help them succeed.

Now, this next idea reopens the dialogue about the project and shows the client you want to help them achieve their goals …

Idea #4: Change up the initial proposal a bit.

It happens — the client shows interest in the services you have to offer, so you put together a proposal and send it over, and then wait on pins and needles for him to respond with “Let’s do it!”

And then nothing. Days, weeks, sometimes months go by, and they don’t respond. What gives?

I gave you lots of reasons on Monday. And while it may seem at times like the ball is in her court, YOU are the one who is really in control of this process. You simply need to follow-up and try to move her towards action.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to tweak the proposal a bit, and create a new reason to follow-up. You can do this by simply adding something new to the proposal — or even taking something away.

Then, follow-up with your client with something like, “I was reviewing the proposal I sent over, and thought we’d have even more success if we <fill in the blank with what you changed>.”

You can also combine this with Idea #1 — and make a change based on something you read that’s relevant to the campaign or your client. For example …

“The attached article says that videos are helping increase landing page conversions by 70%! I’ve revised the proposal I sent last week to include one — I thought you may want to consider adding one to the campaign.”

See how that works? Right away, you’ve proved that you care about the client’s success, and you’re back in the client’s mind, providing even more value.

Idea #5: Respond to something they’ve recently sent out.

If you’re trying to land a client, or get more work from a past client, you should be getting all of their promotions and editorial content. Make sure you’re on their email and postal lists, so you’re receiving everything they send out.

Not only is this a great way to keep up on the company’s focus, as well as its “voice,” it gives you one more reason to follow-up with your client. And once again, it shows that you’re not only focused on single projects, but on the company’s overall success.

Read their editorial and promotions, and when you feel like you have something to contribute, drop your client a quick note. Even if it’s just to say that you really found their latest piece interesting, or to find out how a new offer is doing — you’ll be able to keep the conversation going, and stay in your client’s mind.

I do have one caveat with this one though: be genuine. You don’t want to come across like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver, complimenting the client on everything they do. But as long as you have something specific to say, you should be fine.

Idea #6: Come up with something — anything — that relates to your client or the project.

Sounds generic, I know. But this is the ultimate idea, because it’s the most genuine and authentic.

The best way of explaining it is with an example …

Recently, an AWAI member named Deb was told she was one of the top three copywriters chosen for a spec she did at Bootcamp. It was a huge opportunity with a dream client, so she was thrilled.

A project meeting was scheduled, and then she was told it was postponed. A week later, she hadn’t heard anything about rescheduling the meeting, and began to doubt herself.

I reminded her that they called HER about working for THEM! So talent had nothing to do with it. I went over my reasons for why they had not responded yet (the same ones I gave you on Monday), and told her she needed to follow-up.

During our exchange, she mentioned a book she was reading on telling a great story. She had ordered the book because one of the things the client mentioned about why they had picked her was her ability to tell a great story. And even though she was pleased that they liked what she could do, she wanted to get even better.

“THAT is what your follow-up should be about,” I told her.

“Recommend the book to your client, let her know your thoughts on the book, and reference the reason you read it was to prepare for the project.”

The next day, she wrote to tell me the client had gotten back to her within just a few hours of her following up, and scheduled the planning meeting for the project she’d be working on.

The day after, the project was underway.

See how that works?

Deb was able to follow-up with her client, demonstrate her professionalism and commitment to the project, and ultimately moved the client to take action.

So there you have it …

Six ways you can follow-up with your client and provide value at the same time.

And combined with my best practices for writing good follow-ups from yesterday, you should now be able to follow-up with all past and potential clients with ease.

But before I let you go for the week, I want to cover one more thing that’s important to understand about follow-ups, as well as client relationships in general …

It has to do with your client’s perception of you, and what you can do to ensure it’s good (as well as what you should never do).

So stay tuned — we’ll tackle that tomorrow!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: March 29, 2012

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