6 Tips For Showing Client Appreciation as a Freelancer


Client loyalty is hard to quantify, but rest assured: it has a great value.

When you’ve worked with a client for several projects, months, or years, you’ve learned a lot about their needs, the people on their team, and how they prefer to work and communicate. All of this increases your value because they feel at ease working with you.

Because they’ve established confidence in your ability to execute, clients are less likely to fight overpricing and timeframes if you’ve built a great client relationship over time. You can become more than just a one-time “job” or vendor with excellent client relationships; you can become a trusted partner and an extension of your client’s team.

Thanking your top clients is an important strategy to strengthen those vital ties. You may not have a formal client appreciation or loyalty program in place right now, but as a freelancer, there are several small things you can do to demonstrate appreciation and reward clients.

Here are some tips on how to do it efficiently.

1. Make a plan and segment your clients

Make a plan before you start rewarding and thanking your customers. To begin, you don’t need to go into great depth, but you should have an idea of your budget (if you have one) and which clients you want to reward. It’s fine if you don’t have a budget for rewards (such as gifts or discounts), but you should still prioritize your most valuable clients.

The 80/20 rule, often known as the Pareto Principle, is a valuable concept to remember. According to this rule, around 20% of your clients will likely generate 80% of the value for your business. Of course, this isn’t applicable to every business, but it’s something to think about. Consider whether it applies to you, and if so, which clients provide you with the most value. It’s worth noting that your most valuable clients aren’t necessarily the ones you spend the most time with. Instead, they may be the clients who require the least amount of upkeep in exchange for the highest benefit. Those are the ones you should focus on first in order to get more of them.

2. Start small and personal

One benefit you have over larger businesses is that you’re personally involved with every part of every customer account or project. While this can be exhausting at times, it makes it easier to express personal gratitude for those clients.

Start with a personal letter at a significant time of year, such as Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day, if you have a limited or nonexistent budget. You may even do this after you’ve completed an important project for that client, such as launching their new website or completing their new logo design. Let them know you share their excitement and are glad to have contributed to their accomplishment. Allow your genuine feelings to shine through if you truly appreciate this relationship—especially if you can match them to your client’s favorable feedback.

3. Create a new tradition

You might go a step further and develop your own yearly client appreciation day to engage all of your greatest clients in a pleasant new tradition. You can’t exactly invite your clients all over for a party if you don’t have a physical workplace (like many freelancers) if your clients are all over the world. You can, however, send them a gift or a note every year to express your gratitude for the work you accomplish together.

Creating your own Client Appreciation Day can be a terrific way to show your appreciation for your clients while also standing out from the crowd during popular holidays. You might even pick a day that has special significance for your business or sector. Creating a tradition like this ensures that your business provides excellent customer service all year round.

4. Start a referral program

Positive referrals and word of mouth are two of the most effective strategies to gain new clients. By creating a referral program, you can reward your most loyal customers while also benefiting from their recommendations.

Offer a credit or a minor discount in exchange for word-of-mouth recommendations. This may inspire your clients to recommend your services to their friends and colleagues, resulting in new business and relationships. Your business may dictate how you arrange this, but here are some suggestions:

  • Offer a 15% discount on the first task you complete with a newly referred client
  • Offer a free extended consultation
  • Provide a free planning session
  • Allow your top customers to earn free services or hours of service by referring a certain number of people

5. Start a rewards and incentives program

You can create a system for rewarding your loyal repeat clients, similar to a referral program. You may offer your clients free services in exchange for successful referrals, and you could also offer them freebies in exchange for recurring business.

For long-term clients, you may tweak this notion by adopting a retainer system. Consider offering a discount to clients who sign a 6-month or 12-month retainer agreement with you rather than continuing month-to-month. This type of agreement might make your clients happy because they’ll save money in the long run while also helping your business with a more stable and predictable cash flow.

6. Teach them something new

This final suggestion provides value to your customers while also advancing your marketing goals. Consider providing a detailed written guide, a video, or a webinar to teach your clients anything from your own area of expertise. Yes, this is a type of content marketing, and it should help you get more clients. You may share a valuable piece of content with your top clients and prospects over and over again once you’ve created it.

Not sure what to teach? Start by considering the most common inquiries you receive from clients. If you’re a personal website designer, for example, you could write a guide on getting the most out of the design process or suggestions for boosting website accessibility. If you’re a freelance photographer, you may make a video tutorial on how to get comfortable in front of the camera and find your best look.

Share a well-made piece of relevant, original material that highlights your abilities and knowledge with your clients and prospects. When you do this, don’t try to sell them anything; simply offer it as a convenience and thank them for their business. In the best-case scenario, they’ll be grateful for the guidance and reminded of why they enjoy working with you.

Show your loyal customers that you value them.

A loyal client helps you save time looking for new business, learning about a new company, and getting acclimated to working with a new contact. Plus, through word-of-mouth referrals, a devoted client might become your best source of marketing. Small gestures like these can go a long way toward demonstrating to your clients that you value their business—and that they value yours as well.

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I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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