I never understood until recently why freelancers and social media professionals vet clients. I thought if someone needs social media or writing help, surely we should come to the rescue!
And then the day came when I met potential clients and I understood why some agencies even have a checklist they use to see if the prospect will be a good fit. Knowing that there can be conflicts in personality, I thought maybe this had more to do with getting to know someone. However, it’s equally important to see if they understand the marketing work you will be doing, its scope, what it can offer their business, and the level of input they have.
Some topics to address with potential clients should include:
The scope of the work you offer and areas of expertise.
Each marketing professional has a particular area of focus they will be applying for a client, whether it be content development or social media management. Make sure that the client understands your scope, not just your focus.
For example, if you are proposing to run their social media, it’s important that a client understands there is more than just posting to a channel. Your work also include engaging, boosting or developing advertisements, adjusting active and future campaigns, responding to comments and inquiries, and analyzing back-end data.
By helping them understand what you do and why you do it, you can help a client understand what to expect.
What your client can expect from your efforts.
No result is immediate. A client cannot expect that one social post is going to double their website traffic. Or that Oprah will start calling them because they posted to Instagram. Addressing when they can expect to see results, sometimes in 6-9 months due to their buying cycle, will help them level set their expectations of when marketing will begin to impact their bottom line.
Working together and how it can be best accomplished.
Discuss how they want to be contacted, by what method, and frequency of interaction. Some people want you to come in person to gather more materials, some will email it over. Some people will want a weekly update, some a monthly one. Work with your client to understand what their timetables are in terms of reporting results and requiring feedback.
This includes working together to create new, fun ideas to help promote their business. Sit together and brainstorm so that you bring together the best of both worlds- the knowledge of marketing with the business acumen to make sure customer insights are put into marketing efforts.
Level of input from the client.
Depending on what type of marketing you are providing, from copywriting to social media management, make sure the client understands what portions you will be handling. Talk in advance about how you intend to use their channels, either their site or more, and how it fits into the larger picture of their marketing efforts. Make sure that they are comfortable with you handling the day to day content generation of their business: the more the trust you, the easier it will be for them to work with you on your creative executions.
Especially with regards to creative control, make sure your expertise is known. They can add finer points about their business and what customers like to see, but as a marketing professional yo know what would be the best channel or light to showcase it in. Address with them how you handle other clients’ marketing and let them know you’re there to help them take this burden off their plate so they can focus on their core business.
Pricing and payment schedules.
This is the not so fun part. It can be very awkward to discuss pricing, especially if you are uncomfortable. Work out your pricing structure in advance so that it seems more fluid with a customer. Help them understand what they get with your packages and everything that goes into the pricing of a channel or content. If you need to do extra research, or manage extra social media channels, help them understand the value of each service and why it’s important.
Scheduling your invoices at a regular time each month, as well as following up with them about any pricing changes will keep payments flowing smoothly.
What else do you cover with new clients?
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