Client Onboarding HUD

One Week Later:

  • Follow up Survey

Step 1: Set Expectations

  • With whom will we review your current marketing plan?
  • Who has final say on decisions related to procedures, collateral, and implementation?
  • What are your goals?
  • What are the metrics by which we’ll measure success?
  • Who will be our point(s) of contact for progress reports as the process unfolds?
  • What will be the process — from contact to billing — to address any changes introduced to the project later?
  • With whom will we meet to discuss the project?
  • Where will these meetings be held (on-site, off-site, online)?
  • How often will these meetings take place?

Set up accountability mechanisms in the event that your team — or theirs — isn’t getting key information.

Before any “real” work begins, it’s best to define expectations. Discuss what you both require in terms of deadlines, processes, and communication. For example, can the client expect a response to their questions immediately, or should they wait until your weekly meetings, if you have them? Assumptions made on each end can lead to conflict and may result in scope creep.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Information From Your New Clients

One of the most important steps to an effective client onboarding process is gathering all of the necessary information to fully assess what the client needs. Each client is different, so you’ll have to adjust as necessary, but the checklist below is a great starting point.

You don’t want to realize you forgot to ask for their email lists two months into the project! To make sure you come off as professional and prepared, request the following information up front:

Any Pertinent Log-In Information

-Facebook Admin

-LinkedIn Admin

-Twitter

-Instagram

-Pinterest

-Google my Business

-Gmail/YouTube

-Wordpress/CMS Service

-Server

-CRM

-Payment Processing Software

-Email Tool

-Marketing Tools

-Style Guide and Brand Guidelines

-Logos & Images

-Names & Contact Info of the People You'll work with

-Marketing Budgets, including ad spend

-Any Existing Lead Magnets

-Info About their current Clients & Buyer Personas

-Ad Budget

-Website URL

-Target audience

-Competitors

-Goals

-Existing marketing initiatives

-Current marketing tools

-Point of contact within the organization

-Current challenges

-Metrics they use to measure success

-Sales processes

-Buyer personas

-Approval processes

Interfacing with the Sales Team and Front Desk

Executing a good campaign means understanding your client’s business nearly as well as they do. One of the best ways to do that is to learn the challenges faced by front-line employees, and how those challenges are met. Those contacts can also give you a fuller understanding of customer personas, key competitors, and important product knowledge.

-Explain the business to me as you understand it.

-What are your goals?

-What are the processes by which those goals are met?

-What can we do — in terms of UX, content, and our other efforts — to improve those processes and make your job easier?

-How can we help you generate better-qualified leads?

-How can we help you close more of those leads once you have them?

-Are there metrics in addition to sales numbers that would help us better evaluate what’s working?

-What product updates do you have in the pipeline?

Explain the next steps. End the call by giving the client clear expectations for what the next steps will be. If you follow this client onboarding checklist, the next steps will be to create a marketing strategy plan and send it to the client for review. Let them know when they can expect this first deliverable from you.

Step 3: Brief the Team

After you have all the information you need, it’s time to assign them to the best member(s) of your team to the project. Your social media manager, for example, can assist with or manage the strategic plan for their social accounts. A digital analytics freelancer on your team can do necessary keyword research.

Give relevant team members information on the client so they can learn more about them, then have an internal client orientation meeting to make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected of them.

By bringing them in at this point, your team members will have a solid idea of exactly what needs to get done once you begin implementing the plan.

As a final note during this stage: Stress the importance of keeping everything documented from the beginning. That way if you need to pass the work from one freelancer to another, or if the client asks to see an old report, you have everything easily accessible.

Explain the next steps. End the call by giving the client clear expectations for what the next steps will be. If you follow this client onboarding checklist, the next steps will be to create a marketing strategy plan and send it to the client for review. Let them know when they can expect this first deliverable from you.

Step 4: Complete Research (HAND THIS OFF TO A MANAGER)

During the proposal stage, you should outline the work you’re going to do, but the beginning of the project is when you do the actual research. Add concrete details to the plan; for example, if you decided to create a Twitter account for your new client, develop a strategy for that account through keyword research and competitor research.

Once you’ve finished your research and have added specific details to your plan, report back to your new clients during an initial check-in meeting. Though you may not go over every detail, such as showing them the specific keywordsyou plan to use, it’s important to present them with documents that show you’ve done your research and that the strategy is backed by data.

Analytic Overview

#1: Situational Analysis:

  • Discovery Session (document current web “assets” such as social media properties, etc.)
  • Trends Analysis (over a minimum of 36-months)
  • Online Competitor Analysis (how you rate next to other businesses in your area)
  • Persona Research and Profiling, (What makes your ideal customer tick)

#2: Detailed Website Analysis:

  • Technical Deep-Dive of your website (with dedicated detailed report)
  • Eye-Tracking Analysis (predictively tracks eye movements of visitors on specific web pages)
  • Critique of website messaging
  • Documented observations, insights and suggestions

#3: Integrated Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Strategy Overview (Including suggestions and examples, as appropriate)
  • Tactical Roll-up (List of all potential tactics at a glance)
  • Tactical Details (Descriptions, Advantages, Strategy, Associated costs – if any)
  • Budget Analysis for any associated paid advertising

We don’t just dump a document on you, we include a one-on-one debrief and consultation where we will answer all your questions and make additional suggestions.

Create a Strategic Marketing Plan

The initial marketing plan you send to the client sets the tone for your working relationship. It outlines what you plan to accomplish and how you can help your client. It should start by sharing a competitive analysis that highlights their strengths and weaknesses. It should also include a section on opportunities and strategies that will help them reach their goals and overcome their challenges.

Complete a Competitive Analysis and Identify Weaknesses

The client may have given you a list of who they think their competitors are. This is useful and a good starting point for you to do your own research. But at this point in the client onboarding checklist, go deeper into competitor research.

Create a more detailed list of competitors. Further research the client and their competitors by entering the client site or a list of their known competitors in Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool. The tool will produce a report that includes dozens of sites that have a similar audience to the target site. From here, you can see and select the sites that are the closest competitors to the client site.

Research competitor keywords. Run the Competitor Keyword Matrix to get insight into top keywords for the list of sites. The Share of Voicereport shows which websites get the most traffic (both paid and organic) from keywords related to the sites. This information helps you see which competitors have the most control over industry keywords.

Step 5: Check-In with Your New Clients

After research is completed, schedule a call with your assigned point person at the company to show them your research, get feedback on the updated plan, and discuss next steps. This is a great time to introduce them to key team members from your company who will be working with them.

From there, schedule regular check-in meetings going forward depending on need and budget. Check-in with how everything is going on their end and if they’re satisfied (or not!) with the relationship, whether it’s through monthly phone calls, weekly emails, or some other method you decide works best for you.

Explain the next steps. End the call by giving the client clear expectations for what the next steps will be. If you follow this client onboarding checklist, the next steps will be to create a marketing strategy plan and send it to the client for review. Let them know when they can expect this first deliverable from you.

Steps you may have to take on some occachions, but not others

Set up Content Creation

The conventional wisdom is that content is king. There’s some truth to that, but there’s a caveat: it needs to be high-quality content that people want to read because it solves a problem, answers a question, or is entertaining. Quality content won’t write itself. You’ll want your client’s input so you can deliver your best work.

  • Who has final approval on content or copy?
  • Is there anyone contributing from your end, whether it’s a photographer, designer, or one of your employees?
  • Do you plan on outsourcing any of your content? If so, what’s your budget?
  • If you’re keeping your content creation in-house, are we training your staff to write articles?
  • Be honest, now. Do they really have time to generate quality content consistently?
  • Do you have an editorial calendar?
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