Maintaining Client Relationships when They’ve Gone “Silent”
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, and probably again in the future…again.
For those of you who are developing websites and offering care plans: what do you do when a client says that they don’t want to move forward with website care and that once the development is over, they’d like to take over?
For many, that may signal the end of the line, one paycheck for the development and then the client is released back into the wild. Well, similar to nature shows, that client of yours has been tagged before their release. You have their contact info, business goals, you know their website inside and out (I mean, you BUILT the thing), and most likely have a better understanding of the world of WordPress.
When this happens with clients of mine, I don’t push the subject of a care plan if I know that they’re just not interested. Why they aren’t doesn’t really matter, it could be a multitude of things including “we don’t want to spend the money every month”, “we have people on staff that can handle this”, “another reason that doesn’t matter because they’re just not going to sign up”. So what do I do?
I’ll say okay, hand the site over to them and let them know that I’m here for them if they need assistance in the future. BUT, I’ll keep tabs on their site over the next 2-3 months. How well it’s ranking, the analytics, how often updates are being made, etc. Once I see that their site has begun to rank, I’ll take action.
I’ll send them a happy email that says something to the effect of:
I wanted to drop you a line regarding www .theclientwebsite .com. I’m super happy to let you know that it’s begun to rank in search engines (or it’s begun to perform better than the old version of the site)! Your site has been ranking on the first page for “search terms here” and has shown up in the map pack for “search terms here”
[pause] This is to show them that 1. I’m still around and ready to help if the need is there and 2. The money they invested in the development of their site has been well spent as they’re seeing results. (It’s a bit of a humblebrag really).
Then I’ll move into the “next steps” phase of the email:
“Just a friendly reminder that (list any updates that should be made, inform them of any WP plugins that may pose risk if they’re not updated, if they haven’t been posting blogs I’ll ask them why (most likely they don’t have the time) etc.
I’m so happy to be sending this email to let you know that your site is ranking well! If you ever need any help or have any questions regarding the site, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Now, this is three months down the road, and if you’ve dropped off their radar, that’s fine, you just sent them a reminder that you exist AND it comes with great news!
What I’ve found from personal experience is that these kinds of emails are typically very well received and in many cases, they DO have questions that they’ll respond with. Awesome, you just opened a dialogue! In other cases, these clients have had things that need to be done, but they’re busy so contacting you has been pushed to the bottom of their list. Now they don’t have to, because YOU reopened that communication and they’ll respond with:
“Thanks for reaching out! We actually have been meaning to contact you because we have (insert job here) and would like you to do that for us.”
You have no idea how many “silent” clients have reached back out after I’ve sent this kind of email with more work. A lot, that’s how many!
Some even come back with “oh man, keeping tabs on the website is more of a job than we expected, tell us about your care plan again, please?”
So to sum this up, please keep communication open with your current or “silent” clients, they already know you, they already trust you, and that’s the best way to find new work – from current clients! You typically just need to be sure to keep the lines of communication open.