Introduction:

As a web design studio, the first steps you take after landing a new client, leading on up to the actual project start are all part of the vital yet daunting onboarding process.

This is where you really get the chance to make a strong first impression - onboarding can set the tone for the whole of your client relationship. It's your chance to set the stage for a successful project, outlining project details, setting expectations, and building the framework from which you'll launch the project.

Onboarding leaves open just as many opportunities as it does pitfalls, like coming across as unprofessional, wasting your clients time with useless or tedious tasks, and failing to provide any real value. That's why it's so important that you nail down a solid process for new client onboarding.

Thankfully, this checklist is designed to guide you through the whole process step-by-step, showing you exactly how to pack your client onboarding process with value, whilst saving more time and money by removing manual processes and replacing them with streamlined automation.

Let's get started! 

First steps:

Record project details

First things first, you need to record some basic information about your new client.

Set this checklist up to automatically fill information from your CRM using Process Street integrations.

Make sure the form fields below are completed, either manually or with an automation that lifts the data from your CRM.

Upload web design contract

Upload a copy of the representation agreement to be sent to the client.

Send contract for signing

Send this representation agreement automatically by integrating Process Street with your electronic signature tool of choice.

The unsigned agreement will be attached to this email template and sent out to your client's email address. Make sure you are happy with the contents of the email and hit "send".

Receive signed contract

Use the file upload form field below to upload the signed representation agreement when you receive it back from the client.

Save time by using our integrations to automatically push uploaded files (like the signed contract below) into your CRM software.

Send invoice

Use the Process Street invoice generator template to send their invoice to the client. 

Use one of our integrations to automatically send an invoice to your client when a task in this checklist is completed.

Confirm first payment

Make sure you receive the first payment from the client before starting work on the project.

Whilst you're awaiting confirmation of the first payment, note whether or not a record of the project already exists in your project management system. If not, you'll be prompted to create one in the next task.

Set up project management system record

If you haven't already, set up a new project management system record for this project.

This task can be set up to trigger an action (like a new record) in your project management software of choice using integrations.

Assign project roles

Assign (or confirm) your team's roles in this project. This information will be used later on to inform your client.

Welcome:

Introduce the team

Let your client know exactly who they will be working with, as well as who will be doing what and how to contact them.

The form below will pull information about project roles assigned in previous tasks, including the name and email of each team member.

Check everything looks okay and hit "send".

Add them to your communications channels

If you haven't already, make sure your client is invited to all of the relevant communications channels, using the list below as a guide to keep track.

  • 1
    Slack
  • 2
    Shared documents (Google Docs, Dropbox, Google Slides, etc.)
  • 3
    Asana
  • 4
    Skype

Send getting started email

Check over the contents of the email template below and hit "send"before moving on with your tasks.

Set up one of our integrations to trigger an email to send when you've received the signed representation agreement.

Send web design survey

Send your client a short survey to get some critical information ahead of project start.

Just insert your own URL into the email widget below and send it off.

Kick-off call:

Understand website purpose and goals

Your initial meeting with the client is an important one. This is your opportunity to learn as much about the company and their vision for the website as possible before work begins.

Use the subchecklist below as a rough agenda to help you direct the meetings

You can record the results of your questioning in the form fields provided beneath. 

  • 1
    Determine the value proposition of the company
  • 2
    What are the company's goals? (short-term / long-term)
  • 1
    Logo
  • 2
    Style guide
  • 3
    Branding pack
  • 4
    Additional media (images, video)
  • 5
    None

Establish expectations for project scope

Discuss deliverables and expectations with the client, recording the information in the form fields below.

Agree on timeline for project

Work out a timeline that makes sense for the duration of the project, including a final deadline and at least one major milestone.

You can use an integration with Process Street to trigger these form fields to send off a bunch of events to the client's calendar when a new date is recorded.

Record the dates and what constitutes each milestone in the form fields of this task.

Immediately after the call:

Prepare and upload creative brief

The creative brief is a hugely important document for both your team and the client.

This will typically be 1 or 2 pages of overview for the web design project, informed by the information you gathered during your last call with the client as well as any additional information such as the survey.

Your team will use this document to guide them towards the goals and milestones of the project.

A creative brief might include the following points:

  • 1
    Brand statement
  • 2
    Campaign's background and objectives
  • 3
    Problems the website or campaign is addressing
  • 4
    Target audience
  • 5
    Competitors
  • 6
    Brand's values
  • 7
    Communications channels

Upload the finished brief to the form field below.

Send creative brief

Use this email widget to send the creative brief you prepared earlier to both your client and the rest of your team. 

Send follow-up email reinforcing client expectations

After the call, it's a good idea to preserve the initial momentum whilst providing some additional reassurance to your client. This can take the form of a brief summary email that consolidates all of the points you addressed in the recent call.

It doesn't have to include anything new; simply make it clear that you understand the client's goals and expectations, and reassure them that work on the project will soon begin.

Update project management software

Call notes

Value proposition: {{form.Value_proposition}}
Company goals: {{form.Company_goals}}
Website goals: {{form.Website_goals_notes}}

Package tier: {{form.Package_tier}}
Desired features: {{form.Desired_features}}
Project scope notes:{{form.Project_scope_notes}}

Final deadline: {{form.Final_deadline}}
Milestone 1: {{form.Milestone_1_2}}
Milestone 1 date: {{form.Milestone_1_date}}
Milestone 2: {{form.Milestone_2}}
Milestone 2 date: {{form.Milestone_2_date}}
Milestone 3: {{form.Milestone_3}}
Milestone 3 date: {{form.Milestone_3_date}}
Milestone 4: {{form.Milestone_4}}
Milestone 4 date: {{form.Milestone_4_date}}
Milestone 5: {{form.Milestone_5}}
Milestone 5 date: {{form.Milestone_5_date}}


The notes above can be copied directly into your CRM, else you might want to consider setting up an integraton between Process Street and your CRM of choice.

With a Process Street integration, pushing notes into your CRM automatically is easier than ever.

Resources:

Perform competitor research

In order to better understand where your client's company can find their niche, you need to have a strong understanding of the industry they are either working in or entering into.

You can read this article from Chron about best practices when conducting industry research - what to look for, and how to look for it. 

Use the subchecklist below to help guide your research. 

  • 1
    Understand their competition and the different branding approaches employed
  • 2
    Assess which approaches have been most successful so far
  • 3
    Determine how the client's value proposition differentiates them from competition

Perform target audience research

Understanding who your key demographic is will help you tremendously in constructing a brand identity which can effectively target the right customers. 

The subchecklist below provides a short series of steps to consider when assessing the demographic in the context of the construction of a branding strategy.

  • 1
    Determine who the key demographic are
  • 2
    Research how the key demographic interact with existing products or services in the field
  • 3
    Gather a small representative sample who you can use as a testing group

Request branding, media, and style guides

Request additional resources from your client, if you need to. 

The form field below contains a template email that pulls in the multiple-choice answers from an earlier task, so it should already have the relevant information to request the resources.

Simply check the wording is to your liking and send the email with the widget button.

Educate your client:

Educate them about your process

Help your client to understand how you typically do things. Inform them where they can see progress, whom to direct questions to, and anything else that you deem relevant for them to fully understand your workflow during the project. 

Transparency of communication is crucial from start to finish, so it pays to be crystal clear about how you intend to work.

Check the email template below and hit "send" before moving on.

Provide research and statistics supporting your design decision

Share example sites, statistics, and research or case studies done on user experience to back up the creative direction outlined in the design brief.

This helps lend credibility to your statement and also serves to preserve momentum following a recent creative decision.

Review the body of the email below and insert your own links.

Schedule:

Book future progress calls

Send a link to your scheduling tool of choice (e.g. Calendly) and advise your client to schedule multiple meetings after recommending a time frame for recurring calls that works for you.

Sources:

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