You know you need an Intro Packet to streamline your client screening and onboarding… but you’re hung up on how to create it.
What’s the best intro packet format?
Should it be a PDF?
A web page?
There are so many great options, it can be hard to decide. And not making a decision about how make an intro packet means you putt off the creation of your Intro Packet entirely.
Which means you’re still going back and forth with clients and wasting time answering questions that the Intro Packet could have answered for you.
So let’s talk about a few formats for Intro Packets, so you can decide which is best for you and start streamlining your client experience today.
PDF Intro Packets
When I first invented the Intro Packet, I used a PDF. It was a simple Word document, saved as a PDF, and emailed to my clients. It was nothing fancy, and later I remade it as a PowerPoint (exported as a PDF) to add a little pizzazz.
These days since the idea of an Intro Packet has spread, you can find really gorgeous templates all over the internet. But since they are derivative, most just look pretty with no actual substance, or suggest having information that is not necessary, or leave out spots for important information… so you need to be careful and not just trust a random template to guide you on the content. Be sure to watch my Intro Packet workshop to know exactly what you need to include–and leave out!
But let’s get back to the idea of using a PDF in general.
PDF Intro Packet Pros
A PDF is a great Intro Packet format because PDFs are easy to create, whether you use a pre-made template, or create your own design in whatever software you are comfortable using. While a great design certainly helps give a fantastic first impression, you don’t have to be a designer and can use a pre-made template or even a Keynote or PowerPoint design to input your content and have an Intro Packet ready to go in a very short amount of time.
Having now taught THOUSANDS of students and using my own experience, I can assuredly say at this point that clients are MUCH more likely to thoroughly read a PDF versus a web page. There’s something about being sent a PDF that makes potential clients pause and actually read what you’ve sent. It reduces the skimming immensely. I can’t say exactly why this is, but I think it has something to do with the format feeling like a book. This makes potential clients feel like your Intro Packet is something important (which it is!).
PDF Intro Packet Cons
The biggest con to using a PDF for your Intro Packet format is that if anything changes, you have to edit the PDF, re-export it, and replace any links to it. And if a potential client has an old version, they may challenge any changes (though I’ve never personally had this happen). This is tedious at best, and at worst, a lot of confusion and frustration. Plus, it’s easy to get lazy and not make the updates, making your Intro Packet outdated and pointless.
That said, you really should NOT be making many changes to your Intro Packet as it’s meant for a large-picture overview of how you work, and unless you change your offerings often, or completely change your processes, very few updates should ever be needed.
A few other cons worth noting are that some potential clients may be wary of opening a PDF attachment, or that a long PDF may be intimidating to potential clients (keep it just to the info you NEED them to know!).
Webpage Intro Packets
Another popular option is to format the Intro Packet information into a webpage, which you simply link to. Generally this is a “hidden” page on your website, meaning you only share it with potential clients who have expressed an interest (like filling out your inquiry form).
Webpage Intro Packet Pros
The biggest pro to using a webpage as your Intro Packet format is that, assuming you’re comfortable editing your website, you can easily create this Intro Packet page, and keep it up to date. It’s also really easy to just redirect most inquiry forms to the Intro page after a potential client fills out the form.
Since the page lives on your website, you can link potential clients directly to it, and if something in your business changes, make the appropriate update on the page and not worry that there are different versions floating around out there.
This is definitely a great option if you are still nailing down your exact offers or processes, and feel comfortable making updates to your website.
Webpage Intro Packet Cons
The only real con I see to using a webpage is, unfortunately, a big one. And that’s that people are conditioned to skim webpages.
In my experience, and that of many of my students, using a webpage instead of a PDF results in potential clients just skimming through and not really reading or retaining the information. The RIGHT potential clients likely WILL read the content thoroughly, but the skim-factor still means that more bad-fit clients tend to find their way through to the next step (discovery call) as they just scroll to the bottom of the page and hit the “schedule call” link.
Video Intro Packet
This Intro Packet format is becoming more and more popular as the idea of an Intro Packet spreads. It’s really cool to see the different formats people use, and presenting the information in a video is really an awesome thing to see!
This option definitely doesn’t make sense for everyone, but if you’re a videographer, video editor, YouTuber, or anyone else who uses video a lot in their business, this could be a great option.
Video Intro Packet Pros
Using video has the potential to really WOW your clients. Creating an amazing and more personal feeling first impression than text alone. Video is HUGE in creating connection, and is definitely a way to impress your potential clients right away.
Plus, if you offer video services, it’s a great way to showcase your work!
Video Intro Packet Cons
There are maybe more cons to this Intro Packet format than either a PDF or webpage, so you’ll have to decide if the WOW factor outweighs them.
The first is that video is going to be the hardest to update for most people. If you change your process you don’t just have to change some text, you have to reshoot video and/or re-record voice over and update subtitles. If you do video for a living this may not seem like a big deal, but like updating a PDF, it can be tedious and you may find yourself putting it off.
The second is that not everyone is going to want to watch a video. Though if you’re offering video services, likely your potential clients are okay with this. But if you’re a copywriter using a video, your potential clients may not be as willing to sit down and watch.
And finally, video is going to be harder for your potential clients to reference. While timestamps could help, they may find it annoying to have to skip through a video to be reminded of when your office hours are. You’ll likely need to write out at least the basics somewhere as well.
All those cons aside, I think a video embedded on a webpage with the details outlined could be an incredible Intro Packet option!
PDF, webpage, and video are the most popular options I’ve seen, but there are other options out there too!
When deciding what format works best for you, first consider whether your offerings and processes are really nailed down. If they’re not completely solid, a webpage may be your best option (at least for now) so that you can update it easily.
If your processes are solid but bad-fit clients keep popping up, consider using a PDF. The format lends to better self-screening, and saves you from jumping on as many calls with clients who are not the right fit.
And if you want to impress your potential clients and create connection right away, consider incorporating video. This could be anything from a simple welcome message (featuring you!), to your entire process.
Whatever format you choose, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what gives you the best results!
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