I have put a lot of thought into honing my client process throughout my first year in business. A lot of things are ideas that are waiting to be implemented (such as client gifts, packaging details, or automatic workflows), but of utmost importance is educating my potential clients and fellow vendors that are interested in working with me.
You want your clients to feel comfortable working with you.
Which is why I have written a welcome guide for potential clients that I have gotten a lot of interest in from other calligraphers in the industry, so I wanted to share about the thought process behind mine.
But what is a client magazine (or a media kit, services guide, etc.)?
It is a long form PDF or booklet that showcases what you do, how you do it, and how much it costs. It is a way for you to show your value and set up expectations.
Whether you are a photographer or a realtor, you can benefit from writing one.
What do I plan to use the client magazine/media kit for?
I have a list of my favorite planners/stylists/photographers that I have worked with in the past who have asked me for more details on my services that they can show to their clients. They are amazing, incredible people that I definitely love working with and want to work with more in the future. I am setting up expectations so that there is no question on what services I provide and how much their clients might expect to budget for bespoke paper and/or calligraphy.
I will also be including this guide in an auto responder for wedding inquiries. I am huge on communication and try my very best to be timely with my responses (although I am mostly emailing with a toddler on my hip, keeping little fingers out of light sockets, and my thumb on the iPhone!), so I want to provide this information from the get-go and keep the momentum of their excitement going. It’s like an instant surprise!
And lastly, to save time – for both myself and my potential clients.
Why am I writing this?
Let me give you a little bit of back story – I am currently taking a course by Ashlyn Carter on copywriting (copywriting is the art of writing to sell). For one of our first assignments, we were asked to survey our target audience (dreamy clients that we want to work with us!).
I noticed that a lot of them just had no idea how much to budget for stationery.
Additionally, about 50% of my inquiry emails even have the words “I don’t know how any of this works.” Which is completely understandable. But as the service provider (of stationery and calligraphy…… not cable TV), it is my responsibility to show them “how it all works” in a way that they can understand the value of the service they will be receiving. I get to show them what they will be receiving. This is where the copywriting course I am taking comes in.
In fact, this is where all of the courses I have taken comes into play. This is where all of the late nights, vendor emails, mid-afternoon coffee, test prints, paper swatches, Excel spreadsheets, etc. (you get it by now, right?) from my first year in business comes into play.
Through trial and error and education, I have honed my client process and pricing. I will be showing you an outline of some of the sections that I will be writing in my client welcome magazine and how I developed the content for each section so that you can write your own for your own dreamy clients.
I should note that it is in progress and still being refined.
It is a living document that evolves with my business, so these sections below will be brief and give a little overview. You can also tweak this to fit your specific industry (florists, bakers, etc.).
Without further ado:
I try to break things down into three steps (that I go more into detail in the guide) to make it easy to understand:
I also have a sample timeline that I include, so that the client can see when they can expect to receive their first/second/third round of drafts, when payments are due, when their feedback is due, addresses, etc. It is important to me to set up expectations so that my client is not wondering when they will receive something from me. When a client books, I then send them the timeline with specific dates.
These dates are based on how long I can realistically turnaround a proof or artwork, and it is also highly dependent on where I source my materials, or have items printed. I also leave some cushion time in there, and account for whether or not I am doing any type of assembly or add-ons that might take extra time (such as wax seals, silk ribbons, or calligraphy envelope addressing).
For my specific client process (and I encourage you to develop your own so that it works for you and not against you!), I encourage booking at least 5 months in advance of their wedding date. I make it very easy for them to see which month they need to book in for save-the-dates, destination weddings, or just invitations. For example, January wedding invitations – book in August. And I list it all out for each month.
I know that this is very brief, so I want to encourage you to use the following resources to help you with your own client process so that you are hyper-aware of it and are more than equipped to write your own. These are the courses/books that I have taken/read and have helped me with my client process.
This is my fun section. I have some calligraphy styles that I have been putting together and will be showcasing for selection. I also don’t kid around, so I show off some of the favorite materials that I like to work with (different handmade papers and a photograph for comparison, some of my favorite envelope colors, wax seal colors, ribbons, etc.). Of course, I stress that since it is a bespoke service, that we are only limited by budget, printing limitations, turnaround times, and the law of the land that the USPS has hammered down upon us.
Speaking of printing, I also go into a comparison of these printing methods:
These are the most popular options, and I discuss these and how they affect pricing. I want my potential clients to know how the different materials and print methods affect the cost of their investment, and I want them to feel empowered with this knowledge.
Also something to note that is if you are including your pricing, to make a note that it is subject to change with the changes in your cost of doing business, hourly rate, supplier costs, etc. and to contact you for an accurate quote.
I also discuss other add-ons or a-la-carte options such as:
And to add that “trust factor” I include some testimonials from past clients alongside my “investment” section.
For more information on pricing your work:
This is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a section for frequently asked questions, basically a miscellany of tidbits that you haven’t answered in the prior sections such as:
Since this is a living, breathing document, I would encourage you to add questions/answers as you receive them from your clients!
You can also join some Facebook groups that are specific to your industry. You can gather a lot of info in there on potential problems that may come up and issues that you need to address in your FAQ before they can ever become a problem.
This is just a section on myself. I talk briefly about how I got started, how I serve clients, some more testimonials, and a list of publications in/on which I have been featured.
These aren’t hard rules, and you will find lots more resources on the internet if you are wanting to write your own welcome magazine. This is just my experience!
I have a list of stylists/planners/photographers that have requested this guide from me, so I will be emailing it to them to keep on hand for their clients. For all other inquiries, I plan on including the guide in an auto responder, so that they can see right away most of the information that they need to know.
Above all, your guide needs to be informative and showcase what it is like to work with you. If you don’t have access to design programs (I use Adobe Illustrator), purchase an editable PDF from Creative Market or hire someone to design one for you. Going the extra step to make a beautiful, branded guide makes a difference and adds to your value.
I am prepared to go into more detail about my thought process on some of these for future blog posts, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!
And if you needed a little extra reading – here is a list of some more of my favorite resources.
I hope that was helpful for you!