6 Steps for Onboarding a New Client

Do you know the best way to onboard new clients? Whether you’re starting up your business or reworking your onboarding process, everyone could use a bit of guidance. Client onboarding is crucial for establishing the boundaries of your working relationship and the expectations you have for each other. Today, I wanted to share how I onboard my clients, plus the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. If you’re ready to get insights for onboarding new clients, read the process below! 

1. Send and sign a contract

No matter how small the project is, you need a contract in place. Contracts protect you and your business by outlining the expectations and deliverables of your working relationship. These contracts will contain your employment terms and conditions, like:

  • The dates your contract is valid for or when your contract will end
  • Projects and tasks you’re responsible for
  • Who owns the copyrights of completed projects
  • Whether your compensation is based on hours worked or projects completed
  • Billing and payment schedules
  • How you’ll receive payment
  • Contingency plans for payments if the contract is terminated before the end date
  • If applicable, an arbitration clause if you would rather avoid going to court for contract disputes

Be sure that the language and terms in your contract are as specific as possible. While I can’t offer legal advice, I suggest you have your contracts reviewed by a lawyer to make sure you and your business are covered. When you’re good to send the contract, you can have the client either physically or electronically sign it. Always get a signature before you begin working! 

2. Schedule a welcome call

Once you receive a signature from the client, you can start getting to work! During your welcome call, you’ll get to know your client and their business a bit better. I take this time to discuss expectations with clients, like communication, project deliverables, and estimated timelines. You can also discuss your content ideas with the client. The welcome call should get you both on the same page regarding your working relationship. 

3. Get access to the tools you’ll need

You can take this step while you’re on the welcome call or send a follow-up email requesting this information. Ask your client for access to the tools and platforms you’ll need to complete your work. If they already have an established task management system or project organization scheme, ask to be added to those platforms. Here are some of the things you might need access to: 

  • Client’s website
  • Social media platforms
  • Project management platforms
  • File management and sharing platforms
  • Brand kit

If they don’t have a brand kit, ask for their logo, brand colors (ask for hex codes!), and their preferred fonts. 

4. Decide on communication

Communication is essential for a successful working relationship with your client. During your welcome call or in a follow-up email, establish your expectations for communication. Ask for at least two communication mediums. One should be for routine messaging, like Slack or Voxer. The second should be a backup, like email. 

I also ask my clients to schedule time for recurring calls or meetings regarding bigger project updates. Depending on the client and their schedule, I have these meetings set up for every two weeks or one per month. 

This is also a good time to discuss your communication boundaries. Tell your client when they can expect to hear from you. For example, you’ll do your best to be responsive during work hours, but you will not respond to anything beyond then (unless it’s an emergency). Be sure to ask your client about their communication boundaries and when you can expect to hear from them. It’s always better to set up communication expectations sooner rather than later! 

5. Do your research

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your client’s business, branding, and voice. Take a look at their blog, social platforms, and email newsletters to better understand their business and the content they produce. From here, brainstorm some content ideas that would serve their business or fill in the content gaps. It would be best to do this before the welcome call, but a follow-up email works fine too.

If you do this before a welcome call, pitch your content ideas to the client to get real-time feedback. This way, you learn the content the client wants more of in their business, and then you can adjust the content as necessary for the client. It’s also helpful to bring up any questions about your client’s content or how they produce it.

6. Time to work!

Once you’ve done all this, you’re ready to get to work! Be sure to stick to the guidelines and expectations you set up with your client. If you have any questions, reach out to your client! It’s better to address these questions now instead of dealing with potential issues later on. This is also a time of transition for everyone, so be patient with yourself and your client. 

If it’s a long-term contract, I recommend scheduling a review call a month or two from the contract’s start date. Use this call to follow up with the client, get feedback on the content you’re producing, and address any concerns. If it’s a short-term or one-time project, hold a meeting and prepare a detailed report about what you’ve done, what you’re planning to do, and any questions about completing your work. 

Having a standardized process for onboarding new clients builds your relationship with your clients and helps you adjust to your new workload. When you create expectations and receive the necessary resources, you’re set up for success from the start. If you want to learn more about how I onboard my clients or the platforms I use for client management, I’m happy to chat! Contact me today for a discovery call to discuss the best way to onboard clients for your business. 

About Wildly Creative Studio

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