By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Jan 20, 2023
Whether you are building your digital marketing agency or you are an old hand, good client onboarding is critical to creatubg client loyalty. Onboarding enables you and your client to get to know each other understand your client’s challenges and goals better, set client expectations and introduce your client to your processes.
You want client onboarding to be a pleasant, streamlined experience for your every client and set a solid foundation for a long business relationship.
Here are some of the key benefits of using our 6-step onboarding checklist:
There is no stronger marketing than a personal referral. Happy clients refer their friends and colleagues.
Clients who understand your processes and timelines are much less likely to complain. Be sure you properly set your clients’ expectations. Keep in mind that it’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver rather than the other way around.
Even more than wanting to keep clients long-term, you want to successfully finish the first project. If you onboard your clients well, if you set their expectations, they are a whole lot less likely to leave in the middle of the project. Good onboarding vastly reduces churn.
When you properly onboard clients so both parties have the information they need and a good understanding of the project process, you can move much more quickly. And avoiding delays means happy clients.
You should be looking at your first project with a client as your foot in the door to cross-selling and up-selling them additional services. If they are happy with the onboarding process, and you gain their trust, you may be able to do this before you even start the first project.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of onboarding, let’s discuss the basics of how to do it.
Onboarding a new client is no place to wing it. You need to have a process in place and onboard your new client in an organized fashion. You need a flow chart of what steps follow each other and a checklist under each of those steps.
If you have a CRM, be sure to enter all the client’s details immediately. If the client has access to a CRM portal or website, send them a welcome message that details how to use it.
If you do not use a CRM, you should consider it. Here are some possibilities, though there are plenty of other good CRMs:
You need more information than you are going to get during the sales process to serve the client. We recommend sending a detailed questionnaire that you can then go over with the client during a meeting.
This questionnaire should start with basic information such as website URLs, contact information and social media information and then move to target audience, USP, goals, revenues, competition, sales funnel, branding, expectations of working with your agency and anything else that can help you market for the client.
You probably have certain tools that you use with clients. This will vary from agency to agency. You no doubt have specific processes for communications, revision requests, project collaboration and providing access to reports. Make sure you send your client information about all these tools upfront including their own account information and also cover the tools during a meeting.
If your agency isn’t a one-person shop, assign a team or account representative to the client. These people must keep up to speed on the clients’ goals and issues, so the client need not explain everything each time they contact your agency. This also helps generate bonding and relationship-building.
Be sure your client has all the documents and information they need from the beginning. You may want to send these in a series of welcome emails. You may also want to set up a shared Drive folder.
Information your client will need immediately includes
Hold an initial meeting after the client has signed on the dotted line. If your client will be working with a team they will need to communicate with, be sure they are on the meeting. You don’t need to have backend people on the meeting.
If you sent a detailed questionnaire (which you should have), take this opportunity to go over the client’s answers to that questionnaire. Discuss their overall goals and the project goals. Discuss processes and timelines. Be sure to set expectations regarding communications. The client should come away with a firm idea of next steps. And, of course, this is a good opportunity for the client to ask any remaining questions and for you to listen to their concerns.
Everyone on the call from your agency needs to prepare for the meeting and be completely up to speed about the client. Don’t schedule the meeting longer than an hour and a half because that’s the point when attention typically lags.
After the meeting, go over what you learned during the meeting with your team and discuss next steps and deadlines.
Client onboarding is all part of savvy marketing strategy. If you need help with marketing strategy of any facet of digital marketing, turn to Umbrella for white label digital marketing services to help you build your agency.
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