One cannot underestimate the power of a loyal client base. Not all of the animation clients you get remain loyal to you. As a matter of fact, only 12 to 15 percent of clients remain loyal to one retailer. However, they represent 55 to 70 percent of retail sales.
A lot of businesses focus on new client acquisition and even one-time clients. However, they aren’t going to keep the continued growth of their businesses.
Repeat clients are the lifeblood of your animation business. They are crucial to your long-term business success.
As the economist Theodore Levitt wrote: “The purpose of any business is to create and keep a customer.” Most of the time, you don’t have to look so far. Start with what you have.
Below we list down ten client retention tips for animators.
Tip #1: Improve Your Customer Service
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Be exceptional not only in the big things but also in the simple things. When you consider excellent customer service, always think about making a mind-blowing video for your animation clients. That’s great but not definitely everything.
Other things to focus on are:
1) Your communication speed with your animation client
Snooze those emails, organize them, and always make sure to reply. No matter how good you are at animating, you might lose them if you don’t communicate with them often and on time.
A simple response of “confirming receipt of your request and email” can mean a client retained or gone.
2) Adherence to the agreed-upon timeline
Follow the timeline in sending the final video and the steps agreed upon in between (e.g., submitting the storyboard on time). Also, remember to be punctual at scheduled meetings.
3) Showing patience at all times
Animation can be quite stressful, but always approach and communicate with your animation client in a kind and professional manner.
4) Attention to specific details
Sometimes, knowing and understanding the wants of your animation clients is good enough to make them your long-time clients.
Be very attentive to the little details that are outside the meeting, contract, brand strategy, and even sample video sent to you. (e.g., If the animation client has expressed his love for sound effects, take note of it and make sure you include these in the video you are making).
5) Focus on the entire experience of the client
From the moment of your first meeting, video, or phone call with the client until the final animated video, make sure that you have made a lasting impression.
When you can’t have a grasp of things, simply ask. For example, during the production phase, check on your animation client and ask if he/she is enjoying the service so far or if he/she has any concerns.
Research what your competitors are doing to serve their animation clients. Another simple way to improve your customer service is to simply copy the great practices that your competitors are doing or go beyond them if your resources allow you.
If a competitor’s turn-around time is seven days, try to target 5 or 6. Don’t over-promise, though.
Tip#2: Automate Your Animation Production Processes
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When more animation clients are contacting you and requesting videos, automated processes will help.
Remember, you want to provide the best experience, making sure that whatever process you will automate will bring an excellent experience to the client and increase your productivity.
Some things that you might want to consider in processes to automate include the following:
- Email Newsletters
- Contact Us Email Response
- Website Activities (such as reminding a client about an abandoned purchase of animation service)
- Website chat service
- Payment Collections
- Self-scheduling Process (To set up a meeting between you and the client)
- Instant Quotation for Animation Videos
Always remember to be wise in selecting what to automate and make sure the personal touch aspect of things is not sacrificed.
Tip#3: Communicate With Your Animation Clients
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a) Leverage Personalization
According to Salesforce, “79% of clients are willing to share relevant information about themselves in exchange for contextualized interactions in which they’re immediately known and understood.”
Remember that your role as an animator is to meet your clients’ needs and concerns to help improve their businesses. Listen to them and help solve their problems.
Leveraged personalization does not only add to exceptional customer service but makes your animation client feel special and valued.
b) Use of Subscriptions
Use subscriptions to keep in constant contact with your animation clients or even potential clients.
You can do a lot of things with your animation website, adding email subscriptions will help you determined the scope of your client engagement.
It allows you to gauge how many animation clients are interested in learning more about your services online.
b) Keep Your Animation Clients Up-to-Date
Keep your clients up-to-date on any cool thing you are doing but don’t annoy them with emails that don’t offer any value to them.
d) Organize Your Calendar
One of the best ways to communicate effectively is to simply schedule. When you think you will remember a promised phone call to your animation client, don’t trust yourself. Write it down real quick, or add it to your online calendar.
The more scheduled you can be in your communication commitments, the more productive you will be. Be in control of your email, phone call, text messaging, and even snail mail schedules.
Tip#4: Educate Your Animation Clients With Your Brand
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Sending email newsletters is still the #1 customer retention strategy that works. And what came out to be more effective is sending educational emails rather than sales emails.
Sending an education email is not only helpful for your animation clients, but it educates your clients and serves to remind them what makes your product apart from the rest.
Keep the need strong. Go back to the whys and the cause why your customers loved you in the first place.
Personalize your emails, find new trends and new needs when communicating with your present or retained clients.
Also, use live webinars. Informative webinars do not only provide your clients the best educational experience to sense the need for your product, but they also provide your clients with a sense of community and a chance to network with other businesses as well.
Based on a survey Readytalk conducted, between 20% and 40% of webinar attendees turned into qualified leads.
Not to mention that with webinars, you can actually make them work without spending a single penny.
Tip#5: Reward Your Most Loyal Animation Clients
Offer your past or serviced animation clients gifts and discounts when they aren’t expecting it. They don’t have to be something grand or expensive, but beneficial, personalized, and memorable.
Ensure that you first determine the clients you consider the most profitable for you before investing in discounts.
Considering the 80/20 Principle or the Pareto Principle, try to focus on that “20%” who delivers the “80%” of your profits.
Tip#6: Underpromise and Overdeliver
This is very important in dealing with your animation clients. Your clients would hold you accountable for every promise you make - within or outside the contract. It’s better to underpromise and, in the end, over-deliver.
The proper mindset would be to do everything as agreed upon on the contract. However, exceed expectations by doing more than what was asked for.
Tip#7: Gather Feedback and Learn From It
Remember that you cannot please everybody, but there is a way that you can satisfy your future loyal clients as much as possible.
Here are some ways you can gather feedback from your animation clients:
Considered as the bread and butter for getting feedback, surveys are easy to make, administer, analyze, and scale.
Keep them short. Even for loyal customers, surveys can be quite a task. Ask only the questions that you will use.
Start with open-ended questions. In this way, your client will feel that he/she has a say in giving feedback and was not just forced to answer pre-made answers, which can be biased. This can be sent via email or be alerted on your website automatically.
2) Feedback Boxes on Your Animation Website
Your clients can help you, and sometimes, they are constantly thinking of ways that your business could improve. Having a quick feedbox on your website allows them to give you quick feedback.
Same with surveys. Keep them short and also simple. Also, include at least one easy optional open-ended question.
After gathering the results, find the top recurring problems or the least scored answers that you have received.
Knowing how your animation client felt and experienced your service, website, or felt about the video will help you objectively target your business’ recurring weaknesses. It will also allow you to know what good qualities you can keep on doing or even improve more.
Tip#8: Keep Improving Your Animation
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It is important to keep getting better at where you’re good at, what made you an animator in the first place. It may be easy to just focus on the other tips and forget to improve and grow as an animator.
Using the feedback results gathered, especially when it relates to the quality of your work, be sure to also target the technical aspects of the results.
Think about which feedback directly relates to how the videos (your final products) have been made.
Tip#9: Thank Your Animation Clients
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Every time you complete a project is a fantastic time to ask your animation clients to leave you a review! Reviews are incredibly powerful. It’s an opportunity for you to develop and maintain your online reputation.
You may incorporate this review into your surveys or completely have a different system or method to ask this from your client.
You might want to offer an exchange for a review done, especially from a big-name client. This may be in the form of offered discounts, gifts, extra video rewards, etc.
After all, your client’s review will attract more clients to you. Consider it a worthy investment.
Tip#10: Do Something Different
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This is a tip to let you know that sometimes, there are ways that can never be determined, only felt by the animator himself: you.
Trust your instinct and your passion, your personal signature touch. Do something different that will set you apart from your competitors. (e.g. Starbucks gave excellent customer service when coffee shops were just all about coffee and not customers).
Do something so unique and unforgettable that will make your clients for almost a lifetime.
And there you have it, our ten tips to retain your clients. These tips will not only help you make your clients stay but also be part of your animation business journey.
Remember that by focusing on your clients’ experience from the beginning to the end of their journey with you as an animator, you’re already halfway there.
Though your animated video is your bread and butter, other things can make or break your animation business. By following these ten tips, you will be able to avoid losing your loyal animation clients and grow your business and gain more clients, in turn, earn more.
Always finds to grow and learn from your mistakes. Your work is your brand.
Aside from these tips, the Business of Animation offers several tips and resources that will help you not just survive but thrive in your animation business journey.
If you are looking for ways to gain animation clients and become a successful freelance animator or studio owner, join our free masterclass and download our free marketing handbook.