Congratulations! You’ve just landed a new project with a dream client. They’ve signed the paperwork, paid your deposit invoice, and in just a few short weeks, it’s time to start work on their project.
You don’t need to do anything else as they gather the materials you need, right?
Often, there’s a gap between signing the paperwork and starting work on a project. You might have a full schedule, they might not be ready to start, or it could be a weekend and you won’t dive in until Monday.
Whatever the reason, you don’t want to lose the connection with your new clients before you even start work.
A client may experience “buyer’s remorse” if she has to wait too long before receiving a product or service.
You want to keep momentum going. Remind your new client why she chose you for her project. You want to make the relationship “stick.”
A simple message will establish you as a professional, detail how you’ll work together, and remind her about any outstanding needs. You can even increase your chances of future work and earning a happy testimonial.
How can one message do all of this? Let’s dive in.
Keep the Excitement
As soon as the paperwork is signed and the invoice paid, you want to send a “welcome message” to your new client.
The main purpose of this communication is to keep her excitement about the project and finding you at the front of her mind.
In the first line of your message, build the excitement.
A simple phrase like, “Thank you! Everything is set to start [your project] on X date. I’m really excited to get started and help you [list main benefit of project].”
In a few lines, you’ve reminded the client why she’s paying you and the benefit she can expect from the completed project. Even if she has to wait a while to get started, she knows you’re thinking of her project and taking it seriously. The entire message should remain upbeat.
Make sure to match your brand and personality in the message. The client hired you to help her, not an anonymous business or agency where she never knows who’s actually working on the project. Add your style into the message.
One of the top complaints from people who work with freelancers is lack of communication. They may say it’s missed deadlines or people who seem to “disappear,” but it all comes down to lack of communication.
Your next opening for a project may not be for two weeks. But you don’t want to create doubt in your client’s mind in the interim. The same goes for during the project.
If a project will take a month or longer to complete, you don’t want to leave the client wondering if you’re actually doing anything.
After you’ve reminded the client about why you’re working together, it’s time to set some ground rules. This is the section of your message where you would detail:
- How often you’ll communicate (once a week update, once a milestone update, etc.)
- What channel you’ll use to communicate (email, Slack, project management tool, etc.)
- The expected turnaround time for communication (within 24 hours, within 2 business days, etc.)
- Your expectation for their response time
- Who you’ll communicate with
- Any other details related to communication (will you record meetings, will you attend meetings, how to schedule meetings, etc.)
This section serves two purposes. One, it shows you’re running a business and understand the need to keep all parties up-to-date about a project. Two, it details your expectations of the client as well.
The client doesn’t need to guess about when she’ll hear from you. She also can’t be surprised when you need to push a deadline because she didn’t answer a key question within a few days.
People appreciate when there’s a process for working together. They don’t need to worry, because they know exactly when they’ll receive an update. (So, keep to what you promised!)
Reminder About Materials
Often, you’ll need something from the client before you can start writing.
The next section of this “welcome message” should remind the client about what you need before you can start. This could include:
- Scheduling a kick-off call
- Past marketing materials
- Buyer personas
- Answers to a new client questionnaire
- Information about the product you’re writing about
Be specific. This is another opportunity for you to show your professionalism and why someone chose to work with you. Everything you need is listed in one message. If you discussed many different items, she’ll appreciate the consolidated list.
You’re also giving your client plenty of time to gather everything.
This covers your concerns as well. You can’t start until you have the information you need. You can always point to this message if your client doesn’t provide the information and you need to push the start date.
The last part of your “welcome message” should be a brief reminder of your expectations. In this message, you will build the expectation of testimonials or samples.
Ideally, you should mention this in your proposal or the call before creating a proposal. This is a reminder that you’re running a business.
When you tell people up front and at the successful conclusion of a project that you will ask for a testimonial, they’re not surprised when you ask after the project finishes. Your client is more likely to give one as well when she’s not surprised by the request.
This entire message shapes a positive testimonial. You are showing why you’re a good choice before you ever start work with a client.
Use a welcome email to remind clients of the project, deadlines, how you’ll communicate, and the expectation of a testimonial at the end.
This templated message will save you time at all stages of the project, and reassure the client that you take their project very seriously.