Did you know that a new client welcome packet can mean the difference between a smooth project and a rough one?
Here’s the deal: clients get antsy when they don’t know what’s going on–wouldn’t you? And when clients get antsy, projects go downhill–quickly!
Maybe you’ve experienced this: a client who seemed great at first, but once the project started they were late giving you what you needed and seemed impatient while you were hard at work?
If that sounds familiar, it’s likely because your client didn’t know what to expect during the project.
You can prevent a lot of client stress by creating a new client welcome packet that includes all of the important information your client needs to know for the duration of the project. Whether the project is 3 hours or 3 months!
That means both you AND your client know what to expect, and you’re both on the same page from the beginning. No more guessing and stressing about what happens when, what your role is, or what the client needs to provide you with (and when). It’s all outlined and crystal clear.
Not only does a welcome packet keep your projects running smoothly and on-schedule, but they show your clients just how organized and professional you are. Setting you up as the expert from the start of the project.
Ready to make your own welcome packet?
I’m going to walk you through how to create your own welcome packet, step-by-step, so that you can impress your clients and keep your projects running smoothly!
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A Welcome Packet does the following:
- Welcomes clients to the project
- Gives clients an outline of what to expect during the project
- Informs them of how to contact you during the project
- Tells clients how to use your project management software
- Reminds clients what you need from them and when
- Answers any questions they may have
- Sets expectations of how the project will go
Unlike the intro packet, the welcome packet is sent AFTER the client becomes a paying client. It includes more detailed info than the Intro Packet does about things like the project management system, because now your clients are going to actually have to use it.
I recommend sending the welcome packet right after the client signs a contract and makes their first payment.
My client onboarding process looks like this:
- Welcome Packet
- Project setup
- Client homework
Yours may look different, but no matter how you systematize your onboarding process, I recommend you create a new client welcome packet to make sure they have any information they need for the project to be a success.
What do you need to make a welcome packet?
You can make your welcome packet using anything from Google Docs, to InDesign, to Canva, to a page on your website—it’s up to you!
Most welcome packets can be kept simple by using Gogole Docs and saving the doc as a PDF, but if you want to get creative, feel free. Anything from a PDF to a video to a website to a paper book can be your intro packet!
Consider: What format works best for you to convey the information your clients need to know?
The anatomy of a welcome packet
Like an Intro Packet, a welcome packet is a standardized document that you use to welcome clients to your services. It doesn’t change from like-project to like-project.
You only need ONE welcome packet to send to everyone who buys your signature service. It’s not customized to each individual client (although it could be, if you want! But I’d keep it simple and just add things like the client’s name to personalize it).
If you offer different services, you’ll likely need a separate welcome packet for each service. That doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch each time though, likely, you can re-use some information from one welcome packet to another, like how to use your project management software, or your contact information. Work smarter, not harder!
Here’s what you’ll want to include in your new client Welcome Packet:
- Office Hours/Contact Info
- Project Management Software Info
- What you need/is expected of the client during the project
- Wrap up
And you guessed it, we’re about to dive into each of these!
A cover needs to do more than just look pretty; it should set the tone for working with you.
Match your welcome packet cover to your branding and include a title (and possibly a subtitle) that explains what the client should expect.
Even if you’re not doing a PDF, you still need a title for your web page, video, etc.
Quick tip: If you DO want to personalize your welcome packets, this is a great spot to do so. You can add the client’s name, company name, project name, or whatever else makes sense. Keep the rest of your welcome packet standard so you’re not creating more work for yourself.
Of course you’ll want to welcome your new client. Just like the intro packet, I prefer to write this like a friendly letter, and include a photo for a little extra personal connection.
The main difference in your welcome in your welcome packet (vs your intro packet) is that you are writing to a paying client–not a potential one! This means you can say that you’re excited to work on their project and thank them for becoming a client.
Quick tip: If the project is being managed by someone else, it may make the most sense to have the welcome come from them. Consider who will be the client’s main point of contact.
Office Hours/Contact Info
I know, we talk about how clients should communicate with you a lot. There’s a reason for that, and that’s because clients NEED to know when and how they can contact you.
Especially if you work non-traditional hours or days.
Repeating this information multiple times throughout the screening and onboarding process increases the chances of your clients actually reading it–because it’s often something that is just skimmed over.
So while it seems repetitive, it doesn’t hurt! And yes, if you did this already for your intro packet you can repurpose it in your welcome packet!
Here’s what you need to include:
- Days you work
- Times you work
- How clients should communicate with you (and why if it’s important)
- A rough turn-around time for communication
- Any scheduling info they need to know (like using a call scheduler and how many calls are included)
Quick tip: If you’re switching from email (used with potential clients) to a project management system (used with paying clients), let your clients know! Also, now that they are paying clients, you may want to include links to your call scheduler.
Project Management System
If you’re using a project management system (PMS) you’ll need to tell your clients how to use it if you expect them to get in there with you during the project.
For this, I generally recommend using a video tutorial, because it’s much easier to see where things are and how things work. You can either create your own tutorial (Screencast-O-Matic is great for recording your screen), or find existing tutorials somewhere like your PMS documentation or YouTube.
Whether you create the tutorials yourself or find videos, you’ll want to include:
- Login instructions
- How to check off tasks
- How to upload files
- Dashboard overview
- How to comment on threads
- How to post a question
- Anything else related to the project that must be done!
What You Need From the Client
Chances are, you need at least a few things from your client before you can begin work and throughout the project. What you need will vary based on the service you’re providing, but you’ll want to outline everything here that the client needs to get to you so that they know and can do so ASAP.
Likely, you touched on this in your intro packet or earlier communication with your client, but this is where you can get into the details of how things should be sent.
For example, if you need images from your client should they be emailed or uploaded somewhere? What format should they be in?
What you might need:
- Login information
- A Pinterest inspiration board
- A questionnaire filled out
- Text copy
- Feedback at different points in the project
- Or lots of other things, depending on your service!
When listing out things you need, be sure to give a short explanation why, as well as any details about how your client should get you each item.
Quick tip: Clients may not know how to save files a certain way, or use something like DropBox, so if necessary, create tutorials or videos to show them how.
Welcome Packet FAQs
Get a lot of common questions? The welcome packet is a great place to answer them and save yourself some time. The FAQ should cover questions that frequently pop up during the project. Don’t include anything that they don’t need to know yet–you’ll have a spot for FAQs in your goodbye packet!
If you don’t have a lot of FAQs yet, you can anticipate what your clients MAY ask, or just leave this section out for now. When you do get questions, make note of them and add them to your welcome packet.
Welcome Packet Wrap Up
We’ve reached the end of your welcome packet!
Make sure you thank your client for reading through everything, and let them know they can reach out to you with any questions.
Don’t forget to tell them what the next step is! That might be sending you files, completing a questionnaire, or something else. Whatever it is, give your client clear instructions on what they need to do, and provide a checklist if needed.
Quick tip: Don’t overwhelm your client with too much to do. Give them the next 1-3 steps, break them down if needed, and let them know you’ll be in touch with instructions for anything beyond the next few steps.
Create your welcome packets!
Follow these steps for each service you offer, then put together your branded welcome packets in whatever format works best for you.
Your new welcome packets will help set the right expectations and trust from the beginning of the project, answer questions, and ensure your client gets you what you need, when you need it.