When you’ve completed a freelance writing project for a client, how do you know you’ve done a good job? If your answer is, “I got paid.”, then you are missing out on one of the best marketing opportunities available. Finishing the job is great and getting paid is even better, but do you provide the client with the chance to provide detailed responses about how well you did?
We all know that the actual writing is a relatively small part of being a freelance writer. We spend a lot of time searching for new clients, tracking projects and generally keeping our paperwork in order. In order to achieve the greatest amount of success in our freelance writing business, we need a lot more information about our processes and the way we handle all aspects of our business. This is where a good client survey comes in.
Client surveys need to be sent to all single project clients. As well, surveys need to be sent to ongoing clients on a fairly regular basis. I think twice a year is a good benchmark. Surveys also need to be sent to clients if you make any significant changes to your processes.
In my former life as an educator for emergency services, I lived for the feedback forms that were handed out at the end of every class. I learned a lot about what I could be doing different, and I received a lot of atta-boys for things I was doing well. Your freelance writing business could benefit from the same kind of feedback.
- Send the survey to the client upon project completion. Including it as part of the invoice is not a bad idea. If the project is particularly large, choose significant milestones along the way to send abbreviated surveys.
- Sometimes it hurts. It’s okay. If lots of surveys are returned saying the same thing, you know that a change is needed. Otherwise, invest in a case of salt grains.
- Don’t change or throw out your processes based on every piece of feedback. Take what works and discard what doesn’t.
- Keep track of legitimate ideas and set a date to incorporate a lot of changes at once.
- Offer some kind of incentive for timely returning of the survey. Consider a discount on future service, a free ebook or something that could be of value.
- Remember that the results are not scientific. Typically, if folks are satisfied with the service, they won’t return the survey. If they’re pissed about anything, you can bet they’re going to send it back. Keep this in mind if you start feeling like the only stuff you ever see is negative.
A survey is a tool. It’s not a personal affront (usually) and it’s not to provide fodder for your “yay-me” wall. Use them wisely to shape and craft your business. Also, remember that particularly glowing results can be used for a testimonials page. Of course, it’s always a good idea to seek client permission first.
Do you use surveys? What has been your experience with them? Do you find them useful?
Posted by: George