Agency Onboarding Tips to Gain Marketing Clients

March 29, 2023
9 minute read

Client onboarding is one of the most critical stages in building a successful business relationship. It will be the first impression that a client will have of your company and can significantly impact their perception of your business. 

A positive onboarding experience can lead to a long-lasting and fruitful partnership, while a negative one can cause frustration and ultimately lead to lost business. 

It's crucial to take the time to properly onboard your marketing clients, ensuring that they feel welcomed and supported from the start. This can involve everything from setting clear expectations to providing educational resources to simply being available for any questions or concerns they may have. By prioritizing onboarding, you provide a solid foundation for a positive relationship with your clients.

In this article, we’ll dive into the marketing agency onboarding process so you can craft one that will suit your agency’s needs.


What Is Agency Onboarding?

Agency client onboarding integrates a new client into an agency's workflow and systems. It involves setting up new accounts, establishing communication channels, and introducing the new client to the agency's team and processes. The primary goal of marketing onboarding is to ensure that the client is comfortable with the agency's services and can effectively collaborate with the team to achieve their goals.

Throughout the onboarding process, the agency should proactively communicate with the client and keep them informed of progress. Regular check-ins and progress reports can build trust and confidence in the agency's services. Additionally, the agency should be flexible and adaptable, adjusting its processes and systems to meet the client's changing needs.


Benefits Of A Strong Onboarding Process

Establish Rapport

Your agency client onboarding is a crucial process that sets the tone for your relationship with your client. It is your first step towards establishing a long-lasting and productive partnership with them.

An effective agency client onboarding process will help you establish rapport and instill confidence in them that they have made a suitable investment with you. You must reassure them that you have the expertise and experience to deliver their desired results. 

Done right, marketing clients will not only be more collaborative, but they will also be more than happy to recommend you to others.

Start With A High Note

An effective marketing onboarding relationship allows you to show your clients that you are committed to delivering exceptional service from day one. An excellent first impression can go a long way in establishing trust and credibility. A smooth, simple, and seamless marketing onboarding process is critical to achieving this goal.

Helping the client immediately see the benefits of working with your agency can be a game-changer. This approach can help build a positive perception of your agency, and the client will be more likely to stick with you in the long run. 

Eliminate Friction

A well-structured marketing agency onboarding process helps eliminate friction and sets the tone for a smooth working relationship. By establishing clear expectations early on, both parties can be aligned on how they will work together, the communication channels to be used, and the workflow to be followed. 

Ensuring the client is comfortable with the entire process and knows who to contact if they need support is essential. This helps build trust and establish a strong foundation for the business relationship. 

By providing clear and concise information, answering any questions they may have, and ensuring they feel supported every step of the way, you can ensure a successful onboarding experience.

Understand Client Needs

An effective client onboarding process is an excellent opportunity for any agency to truly understand your client's needs. During this phase, you can sit down with them and know their goals. 

By asking the right questions, you can find out their aims and goals in more detail. What do they want from working with you? Where do they want to be in the future compared to where they are now? 

By clearly understanding their goals, you can tailor your approach to their specific circumstances. This ensures you deliver the best possible service and solutions to meet their needs.

The Marketing Onboarding Checklist: Step-By-Step Guide

Settle Paperwork

As a marketing agency, the first step in our client onboarding process is to settle all the necessary paperwork. Ensure that contracts are organized and signed to avoid confusion or misunderstanding later on. Thoroughly explain all the terms and conditions to our clients so that they clearly understand what they agree to. 

It's equally essential to check payment schedules and agreements, so everyone is on the same page regarding payment expectations. By taking care of all these details upfront, we can ensure a smooth and successful partnership with our clients right from the beginning.

Align Expectations

Aligning expectations on a project is crucial for its success. It is important to clearly define the goals, limitations, available resources, and deadlines. This ensures everyone involved in the project is on the same page and working towards a common goal. 

Documenting these expectations also helps track progress and identify any issues that may arise during the project. Communicating these expectations clearly and transparently to all stakeholders is important. This helps to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts that may arise due to varying expectations. The project can be completed efficiently and effectively by aligning expectations, ultimately leading to a successful outcome.

Establish Access And Communication Plan

When it comes to client onboarding, it's important to establish a clear communication plan right from the start. This includes granting your clients the necessary access they need to your project trackers, if applicable. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everything is clear along the way.

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Project trackers like Workamajig allow you to grant access to key stakeholders –including your clients –to streamline communications. At their convenience, your clients can catch a glimpse of your progress, and you can organize all communication in one platform.

In addition, it's essential to let your clients know who they should contact if they need something, and how quickly they can expect a response. This will help build trust and confidence in your working relationship. 

Finally, establish a regular meeting schedule so that you can touch base and make sure everything is on track. This will help you stay organized and ensure that your clients are always up-to-date on the progress of their projects.

Collect Feedback

Marketing onboarding is a crucial process that sets the tone for the entire relationship between you and your client. During this process, you must collect feedback from your clients to ensure that you meet their expectations and address any concerns they may have. 

Encourage your clients to ask questions about topics they may have yet to cover during the ad agency client onboarding process. Additionally, ask your clients to provide feedback on how they found the onboarding session. Ask them if there are any areas that they feel you could have covered in more detail, or if there are any areas where they felt the session lacked effectiveness. 

By collecting feedback, you can improve future onboardings and demonstrate to your clients that you are committed to delivering exceptional services.

Set Next Meetings

Scheduling the next meeting before ending your onboarding session ensures that your client knows when they will hear from you next and gives them a sense of structure and reassurance. Additionally, down action points and deadlines from both sides. This helps to establish a shared understanding of what needs to be done, who is responsible for each task, and when it needs to be completed. 

By setting clear expectations and establishing open communication, you can create a strong foundation for a successful client relationship.

Questions To Include In Your Onboarding Marketing Client Onboarding Questionnaire

Creating a questionnaire for your onboarding process is a great way to streamline your meetings and optimize your communications. Here are important details you need to cover and sample questions you may use.

Client’s Goals And Business

As a digital marketer, it is essential to understand your client's business goals and industry to create a successful marketing strategy. It will help you understand their expectations, target audience, and competitors. It will also give you a better understanding of your client’s business objectives, which will help you tailor your marketing plan accordingly.

Sample Questions:

  • What business objective do you want us to improve with our services? (Eg. Brand awareness, lead generation, sales, remarketing, etc.)
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who are your primary competitors?

Project Specifics

Gaining a clear understanding of what your client wants to achieve through your project and how you can help them reach their goals is critical in creating a project roadmap and ensuring that you deliver exactly what the client wants. Asking about project specifics helps you identify any potential roadblocks or challenges that may arise during the project, allowing you to address them and avoid any delays or misunderstandings proactively.

Sample Questions:

  • What is the expected duration of the project?
  • What pieces of information would you like us to keep track of and report?
  • How will success be measured?

Brand Values And Core Competencies

One area that should not be overlooked when crafting your marketing strategy is the client's brand values and unique selling propositions. By including questions about these topics in your client onboarding questionnaire, you can better understand your client's business and what sets them apart from their competitors. 

Knowing their brand values can help you tailor your content and marketing strategy to align with their overall message and highlight what makes them stand out in their industry. This information can also be invaluable when creating effective marketing campaigns that truly resonate with their target audience.

Sample Questions:

  • What does your company do best compared to your competitors?
  • What are your company’s core values?
  • What is your mission statement?

Past Projects And Experiences

Not to be nosy, but by asking questions about their previous work, you can gain valuable insights into your client’s industry and target audience. This can inform your own strategies and tactics. 

Additionally, asking about their key learnings from past projects can help you avoid making the same mistakes and ensure a smoother process. 

Another important aspect to consider is the client's existing materials and assets. By understanding what they already have, you can streamline your work and potentially save time and resources.

Sample Questions

  • What efforts and initiatives have you done in the past to address your current goal? What key takeaways would you like to share from that experience?
  • Do you have existing marketing assets? (eg. Brand guidelines, logos, etc.)

Important Dates, Targets, And Deadlines

Knowing important dates, targets, and deadlines can help you tailor your marketing strategy to capitalize on them. Whether it's a product launch, a holiday promotion, or a seasonal event, timing can be everything. 

By asking these questions upfront, you can create a marketing plan that is not only optimized for SEO and conversions but also takes advantage of these key opportunities.

Sample Questions:

  • What are important deadlines or evaluation periods that you need us to keep in mind?
  • What holidays or seasons do you want to capitalize on?
  • When are you most booked?
  • When are your slowest months?

Communication Points And Turnarounds

One of the essential questions to include in your client onboarding questionnaire is about the approval process and turnaround time for feedback. This helps you set realistic expectations and ensures that both parties are on the same page. 

Establish how often your clients would like to hear updates from you or meet with you. This helps you maintain open communication and keep them informed about the progress of their project. 

Lastly, ask about your communication plan. This ensures that you're using the right channels to communicate with your clients and that they're comfortable with your methods.

Sample Questions:

  • What is your approval process, and how soon can we expect feedback?
  • Who will be the key point persons we need to coordinate with, and what is the best way to reach out to them?
  • Would you prefer to receive updates through meetings or emails?


Tips For Conducting An Effective Agency Onboarding

Study Client Needs And Expectations

When it comes to agency onboarding, preparation is key. Thoroughly study your client's needs and expectations before your first meeting. This means doing your research ahead of time, and really taking the time to understand what your client is looking for in an agency. 

By doing this, you'll be able to tailor your approach to the specific needs of your client and ensure that you're providing them with the best possible service. Additionally, taking the time to understand your client's expectations will help you set realistic goals and timelines, ultimately leading to a more successful partnership. Remember, the more you know about your client, the better you'll be at delivering results exceeding their expectations.

Structure Agenda And Prepare

To ensure a smooth onboarding experience, it's important to structure your agenda and come prepared. This means clearly outlining what will be discussed during the onboarding session and ensuring all necessary materials are readily available. 

Doing so can set the tone for a productive and collaborative relationship with your clients. Additionally, having a well-structured onboarding process can help build trust and establish a strong foundation for future communication and collaboration. So, take the time to plan and prepare for your onboarding sessions carefully, and you'll be well on your way to building successful long-term partnerships with your clients.

Follow Through on Commitments

As a client, it's important to trust that your agency will deliver on its promises, starting from day one of the onboarding process. 

Whether it’s setting up regular check-ins, providing detailed reporting, or delivering on specific projects, your agency should be held accountable for following through on every commitment they make. Not only does this build trust and confidence in your agency, but it also ensures that your goals and objectives are met promptly and effectively. 

By actively engaging with your agency and ensuring that they are following through on their commitments, you can set the tone for a successful and productive partnership. Remember, communication is key, and by working together, you can achieve great results!

Document Communications

Documenting your communications can be an incredibly effective tip to ensure a smooth and successful partnership with your client. 

By keeping a record of all your conversations, emails, and phone calls, you create a paper trail that you and your client can refer to as you start working together. This documentation can help you stay organized, avoid misunderstandings, and ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the onboarding process. It can also serve as a valuable reference point down the line if any questions or issues arise. 

Using a  project management tool like Workamajig to manage your communications can be a game-changer for your agency onboarding process. Everything is tracked in one place for easy referencing and total transparency.


Wrapping Up

Being well-prepared and organized in your client onboarding can make all the difference in establishing a positive relationship with your marketing clients. This is especially critical in marketing, where collaboration is key. 

By staying on top of communication and ensuring that clients feel supported and valued from the outset, you can establish a strong foundation for success. Take the time to understand your client's needs, goals, and preferences to help you tailor your services to their needs and build a long-lasting relationship. Ultimately, this approach can help you achieve your project goals and set you up for success.


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