Have you just closed a deal with a hot new client, but have no idea what the next step is? Many new social media marketing agency owners might feel overwhelmed and nervous when it comes to starting up with a new client. Too often, owners focus so much on closing the deal that they neglect the importance of having a strong, consistent onboarding process.
It is essential to show your value to your new client right off the bat. Start off on the right foot by making the client feel welcome. You need to reinforce that their decision to choose your agency was correct and that your agency can resolve their problems. To create a great working relationship, the first step is to take your new client through an onboarding process.
This process will include addressing any questions, gathering necessary information, and making preparations so that the project can begin as soon as possible, and as smoothly as possible.
To make the process as simple as possible, it is good to come up with a checklist of all of the steps you must complete with each client. This will save time and resources by automating tasks, increase client satisfaction and, most importantly, will ensure their needs and concerns are addressed. Nailing down a solid onboarding process will reduce turnover and attract more customers through testimonials from satisfied clients.
In this article, I’ll take you through a step-by-step onboarding checklist that you can apply to your agency!
The first steps you should be following in your onboarding checklist should relate to making sure you and your client are on the same page and have the means for open communication. This means gathering their information, finalizing the contract, and reviewing everything will planning next steps.
To properly prepare for the client you should:
Record Basic Details For New Client
This means you need to get the client’s basic information, such as:
- Client’s full name
- Company name
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
Send Contract & Additional Documents
The contract must be sent out to the client as soon as possible. This helps minimize time lost to clients delaying contract signing, which means you can get started right away.
Check if Documents Have Been Signed and Returned
Make sure that the signed contract and any additional documents requiring the client’s signature have been received. You should mark them as received and upload signed files for your records.
If you’re not using an e-signature tool, scan and upload the signed contract and place it in a designated folder for the client/company.
Schedule Onboarding Call with Client
With every client, you should be able to clearly outline a 12-month plan and make it clear how you and your agency fit into the picture. This phone call is the perfect opportunity to go over this plan with your client. You can also take this opportunity to ask any questions, and allow the client to air any questions they might have as well.
Once scheduled, note the date of the meeting and alongside the planned agenda jot down any notes pertaining to the call for future reference. These details will be used to automate some smaller tasks later on in the checklist.
Send Welcome Email
The goal of a welcome email is to continue the momentum you built up during the initial closing process and answer some of the client’s common doubts or questions that might arise before the project starts.
Ideally, you should send the welcome email as soon as the contract has been finalized, and before work on the project has actually begun.
Send New Client Questionnaire
One of the first things you’ll need to do after closing the deal is sent your new client a questionnaire with questions that will help you gain insight into the project align you and your team with the client’s goals and needs as a business. It might be best to send this questionnaire in an email.
Here is an example questionnaire for a marketing agency:
- What tools and platforms are you currently using in your marketing efforts?
- What are your goals? Is this leads, customers, or revenue?
- What is the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer? What is your LTV goal?
- Do you have customer personas? Who is your ideal client?
- How much does it cost you to acquire a customer?
- What ROI have you seen on your current marketing efforts? What are you currently investing in?
- What percentage of your customers is generated through online methods?
- What are the steps in your sales process? What are the common hesitations clients have?
- How do you currently find leads? Do you know what your cost per lead is? Do you know what your lead-to-conversion rate is?
Request Marketing Resources from Client
Contact the client and request any remaining resources that you’ll need in order to get started on the project and to meet and exceed the client’s expectations.
This might include:
- Media style guide
- Company logos
- Promotional media (images, video, text)
- Email list
- Access to social media accounts
- Access to Google Analytics data
- Affiliate information
Determine a deadline that you’ll need to receive the marketing and media resources from your client.
Confirm Marketing & Media Resources Have Been Received
Check this task off as soon as you receive everything you need to start the project.
Setting the Agenda
Once you’ve gotten all the information and documents that you need to proceed with the project, and have spoken with your client about your agency and your plan going forward, it’s time to start building the foundation of the project.
To ensure you’re not missing any vital steps in beginning and performing the project, you must:
Research Campaign Ideas
Utilize information on file about the client to come up with marketing campaign ideas. Check out competitors to see what worked for them and figure out how you can apply them to your client’s needs. Collect findings in a document using Dropbox Paper or Google Docs.
Create Marketing Plan First Draft
The goal is to position your agency as a key component to the client’s success. Using the information from the questionnaire, create an action plan for the first 12 months that will accomplish the client’s goals.
Schedule Future Calls
Devise a long-term schedule for progress calls for the first four months so that you can keep the client apprised of your progress and so you can check in with their satisfaction with the project. To make this easier, use a scheduling tool like Calendly.
Update Client CRM
After your initial call, update your CRM with all of their contact information and relevant notes about the client and the project.
Confirm Questionnaire Complete
Before you progress, the questionnaire must be signed and returned by the client.
Now that you’ve got all of your client’s information and a solid base of ideas for the project, it’s time to start getting the real work done!
When you start the project, be sure to:
Brief the Team & Assign Tasks
Brief the team on the scope of the project and determine whether your team is capable of handling the workload or if you’ll have to hire more members. Define important tasks and milestones within the project and then allocate tasks to your team.
Inform Client of Project Start
Now you’re ready to start! Send the client an email thanking them for their dedication and notifying them the project has begun.
It’s important to keep a strong line of communication open with your client as you begin work on the project. From the very beginning and all throughout the duration of the project contract, you need to check in to ensure all parties are happy.
Follow Up Call
In the first week, you’ll want to schedule a follow-up call to address any concerns the client may have so far in the project. At this point, you can also give project updates. Be sure to make notes on call and to use client feedback to decide whether the marketing strategy needs to be revised.
Make Changes Based on Call
After the call, apply any suggestions made by the client that will improve the project or satisfy the customer. Inform the team of any revisions and update them on the progress of the project.
Second Follow Up Call
Keep the client in good faith and address any concerns by scheduling another follow-up call four weeks into the project. Always consider if the current strategy can be improved and be sure that the client is communicating if any of their needs aren’t being met.
Make Changes Based on Call
If the client has communicated any concerns, then make sure they are addressed immediately! Inform your team of the client’s feedback, concerns, and any changes that will have to be made.
Send Post Onboarding Survey
Send a post-onboarding survey to the customer to get feedback on their experience working with your agency. This could help you understand where improvements could have been made and give insight into how to keep the client happy in future. Remember to always thank them for their time!
Questions you might want to include in your survey could look like this:
- What did you like about the process?
- What didn’t you like?
- Did you feel like there was anything missing from the process?
- How do you think the process could be improved?
Effective client onboarding is incredibly important when it comes to retaining clients, as your agency is showing all of the uses and benefits of working with your company. It is always important to establish needs and expectations at the beginning of the relationship, as this will be useful when handling future conflicts. Without a proper plan in place, execution can be misguided and the campaign with have no direction.
Avoid any confusion or dissatisfaction by creating a checklist to follow with each new client that you bring on. Here is an example of a New Client Onboarding Checklist for Marketing Agencies!
If you want more helpful templates and tips on how to land clients for your social media marketing agency and keep them happy, then enroll in our Digital Marketing School today! You can also follow us on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for great content daily, or visit our blog for more FREE training!