In this episode, Carrie talks with Erin Flynn about Client Onboarding and how this process can be simplified by using templates and communicating regularly with your client.
What you will learn in this episode:
- Make sure your website explains who you are and what type of client or industry you do work for.
- Your website inquiry form should ask what are the goals of the website, what is the budget for the project, and establish if there are any time restraints around the work needed.
- The inquiry form should help the client know if they are a good fit for you.
- Potential clients will take the time to fill out the registration form on your website.
- Your onboarding is prepping the client to work with you. The inquiry form does not cover everything from the start to the end of the project.
- After a call, a second packet will go out for requirements and discovery. This packet will also identify how you work with the client.
- The Proposal is prepared after the second packet is returned that will have all the technical information and pricing.
- Finally, do not forget to get the contract signed and collect your first payment.
- Be available throughout the project as your contract outlines.
Onboarding Ideas for Freelancers:
- Get clear about the type of work that you do.
- Know your process and document flow.
- Outline and put an order to your workflow. Do you have a submitted inquiry form on your site and is it clear when you will schedule the first client call?
- Do not worry about getting all the information up front. Keep your inquiry form short and simple.
- You don’t want to scare off people with a large form requesting that all the questions be answered.
- Break your information down on your website with a loose outline.
- You should at least have an intro packet for the client. (Ex: if you need copy and you do not do copywriting, have a few contacts for that task).
- Your website should be consistent with how you work and what type of clients you want to work with.
- Your inquiry template can be standard and streamlined. You do not want to waste a lot of time with simple inquiries.
- Put yourself in the client’s shoes.
- Ask the question “How would I want to be treated if I were going through this process”?
- Don’t assume the potential client knows what you are talking about (ex: follow up with tasks through a project management system).
- Remember to use whatever method you are familiar with to onboard you client and your follow up communication. This can be pdf files, Word documents, screencast recordings or videos.
“Outboarding” your client:
- Hand off all the information about the website to the client
- The reference document should use whatever method you are comfortable with to provide the client with the project information.
- Provide tutorials on how to manage the site. (ex: creating users, changing passwords, adding posts, etc).
- If a designer worked on the project with you provide the client with the branding pieces of information. (ex: colors used on the site, etc.)
- Review how ongoing support and calls will be handled after project handoff.
About the guest:
Erin has been making websites since 1999 and started her own web design and development company in 2012. After a few years creating websites for clients, Erin shifted her business. Now, her primary business is helping other designers and developers navigate the difficult waters of entrepreneurship by providing courses and guides for teaching everything from how to start a web design business to how to deal with nightmare clients. When she’s not teaching designers or working with her own design/development clients, Erin can be found exploring the mountains near her home in Aspen, Colorado.