What are some questions freelancers should ask clients?
From target audience queries to clearing up expectations, here are eight answers to the question, “What are the best questions all freelancers should ask their clients?”
- Who Is the Target Audience?
- How Do You Prefer to Communicate?
- Do You Have a Brand Guide?
- What Are Your Goals?
- Do You Have a Hard Timeline?
- How Will Project Progress Be Measured and Evaluated?
- How Many People Are Working on This Project?
- What Are Your Expectations?
Who Is the Target Audience?
Asking the client who the target audience for the project is can help the freelancer better understand the context in which the project will be used and tailor their work to meet the needs and expectations of the intended audience.
For example, if the target audience is a specific age group or demographic, the freelancer may need to use language or design elements that are appropriate for that audience. It will help them tailor their tone and style to better match the needs of the client.
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How Do You Prefer to Communicate?
One of the key questions all freelancers should ask their clients is about communication. How do they prefer to communicate? Do they expect regular updates from you, either in person or via email? This will help ensure you satisfy your client with the project while avoiding any confusion or miscommunication that could lead to delays in completing the work.
Do You Have a Brand Guide?
No freelancer worth their fee would do a job without asking for brand guidance. Every company has a brand voice and standards that internal and external messaging should reflect.
That’s a brand guide. A brand guide includes both verbal and written messaging guidelines (voice/tone, titles, names) and visual identity parameters (logo, colors, fonts). A brand guide may also include examples of approved advertising, social media posts, press releases, email templates, and printed materials. These items help me immerse myself in the brand so that I can accurately reflect it when I write content for the client.
What Are Your Goals?
The answer is simple: “What are your goals, and how can I help you achieve them?” Most freelancers forget to ask this question, but it’s the most important one you can ask.
By asking such a simple question, you’re not only being more professional in the eyes of your client but also helping them to list their needs which will help you to prepare an offer. In addition, this question will help you figure out what they need from you and how much they’re willing to pay for it. You can use this information later on when negotiating with them or even setting up a contract with them.
Do You Have a Hard Timeline?
While you’ll find plenty of clients who won’t give you a specific date by which a project must be finished, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have a time frame in mind.
One of the most confusing things a freelancer will deal with is the client who is vague about their timeline. This can disrupt your work overall. If a client says they want something done before the end of the month, for example, but becomes impatient because it’s the 25th and you’re still not done, they’re likely to kick up a fuss while trying to gauge if they think your progress is far along enough to be done in those last five days.
Nip this behavior in the bud by getting a hard timeline for the work you’re doing. If you feel you can’t complete the job during that time, just turn it down. Games and vagaries are not the friends of the freelancer. Your time is valuable; don’t let it be played with by others, even clients.
How Will Project Progress Be Measured and Evaluated?
Every business that hires a freelancer will often want to get the most out of every buck they spend. Because of this, projects will be measured and evaluated more regularly to see if the freelancer is delivering value for money or not.
It is, therefore, essential to know, as a freelancer, what the measurement and evaluation criteria will be before you jump into any project. How often will the business evaluate your work? What metrics will they use to do so? And what deliverables does the employer expect?
This will help you optimize your work to meet these expectations in the short term. It also helps you to focus your skills on meeting specific client needs instead of just working blindly on general objectives.
How Many People Are Working on This Project?
If there’s one question that sets things straight, it’s asking about other people working on the project. The aim of this question is to gauge the client’s expectations regarding all the roles they’d like you to take.
Some clients like to have the content writer handle both editing and social media scheduling, while others would have them do keyword research on their own. It’s not necessarily a bad sign if there’s just one person on the team doing their own work, but it’s definitely a sign you should ask more questions.
In my example, a content writing gig could easily turn into an almost full-time arrangement if the expectation is that you should be the one carrying the entire project yourself.
What Are Your Expectations?
” Are there any specific deliverables or milestones you would like to see, and when would you like to receive them?”
This is an important question to ask early, as it can help you set realistic expectations for what the client expects from you and how long the project will take. By understanding the client’s expectations and timelines, you can work more effectively and efficiently to meet their needs.
For instance, if the client is looking for regular updates or reports on your progress, you can plan out how much time you will need to dedicate to this aspect of the project. Additionally, asking about milestones and deliverables can help you stay focused and ensure you are on track with your work. This is especially important if the client has specific deadlines by which they need to receive certain materials or results.
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