Following up after a project
For years, when I finished up a project with a client, I didn't think anything of washing my hands of it and walking away.
However, I learned in the latter parts of my freelance career how important following up is. We often overlook this step—it's easy to. When our service is done, we don't see a need to keep poking at a client. The truth is, there's actually a lot of value that can be extracted when the project is done that can help us down the road.
Gaining testimonials is super easy to do when a project is wrapping up. If you're selling to new potential clients, this is a great way to get social proof that you're good at what you do. The testimonial doesn't have to be anything spectacular. But it's something that you can share across social media or your website.
Asking for feedback is another good way to follow up. How did your client feel about your process? You may gain some insight on what's working well (or not working well) that you can change for future projects. It's a bit intimidating, because you never know what kind of feedback you'll get. But I don't see it being any worse than asking for a testimonial. It's up to you on how you want to react to the answers you get here. But good feedback can help you grow as a small business owner.
If it's been a few weeks, reach out and see how the new design is working. If you designed a website, I'd consider this an absolute must no matter what. It it's a good way to follow up and make sure that it's working the way the client intended it to. It's also good to see how they're working with the design after you've walked out of the picture.
Are they following the "rules" you set? Or is something not working out right? and see if they're following the rules that you set. Depending on your contract, you can be the good person who jumps in to make a quick tweak or adjustment. It can also be a good time to revisit the idea of a retainer. Sometimes clients write one off at the start because it's not top of mind then. But once the fun part of building the site is over and the reality of running it sets in, their mindset may change.
Post-project is also a good time to see if they have anything else that you might be able to help with. This was common during logo design projects. A client would only see me designing a logo and not realize that I could help with social media, business cards or advertisements. If you're able to help with these things, it's a win to the client. This is also why I started including many of these things by default in my logo design proposals. The client sees value and you see more money in your bank account.
No matter what, it should be worth noting that you should be always staying in touch with your clients. The following up process shouldn't be a one-and-done thing. Feel free to reach out periodically. You don't want to be annoying, and you don't need to be annoying with this.
A quick email usually does the trick. Some clients may not always have you top of mind when they're need creative help and this helps them connect the dots.
Additionally, if they have somebody that may be a good fit as a referral, being top of mind makes it easier for them to make the connection and help you win new clients.