How To Automate Client Onboarding with WordPress Contact Forms

There’s a lot more to onboarding new clients than meets the eye. Sure, there are the major necessary evils, like invoicing, support and contracts, but have you ever thought about all the time you spend organizing emails, files, requests, logins, tasks and notes? The more clients and team members you add, the more confusing the whole thing gets.

Luckily there are so many tools and approaches you can take to make onboarding new clients a breeze, while keeping yourself sane and your clients happy.

Sample web design questionnaire
A sample web design questionnaire

In this post, you’ll learn how to create a web design questionnaire using your favorite WordPress form builder and we’ll explore how using integrations can save you time and keep you organized. Whether you’re using a form builder like Forminator (Note: Forminator is the only Pro form plugin that is also completely free),  or paid plugins like Formidable, WPForms, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms or your own custom built solution for onboarding new clients, this post is for you.

Why a WordPress form for onboarding new clients?

Onboarding new clients begins with a well-thought out web design questionnaire so you can collect the details you need quickly.

Compared to a PDF or Word Document, WordPress forms are easier to modify over time since they don’t have to be formatted to fit on a page, so you can add questions to your web design questionnaire as you think of them down the road. Once you save the form, it’s also updated instantly, so you don’t have to make sure everyone is using the latest version.

Your client’s don’t need any special software to open up a form. You also won’t have to decipher someone’s chicken scratch writing.

Set Up Field Validation in Forminator

Form fields are also strict in the sense that you can make important fields required, like phone number of the person who is responsible for paying you, and they must adhere to the format you set.

Phone numbers, for instance, need to have area codes and important dates must have month, day and year, which will be especially helpful if you want deadlines to appear on your calendar with automation.

Screenshot of a conditional logic example in Forminator
See how the additional date fields only show if Yes is selected on the question above?

Smarter Than Your Average Web Design Questionnaire

Some form plugins, like Forminator, also have conditional logic, which will give you the ability to hide or show questions depending on what someone answers, so you can have a web design questionnaire with a hundred questions, but your clients will only see the 20 questions relevant to them.

For example, let’s say your web design questionnaire has the following list with checkboxes:

Check everything your new site needs:

  • A blog
  • An online store
  • A portfolio

If they select a blog and portfolio, you can hide all the questions on your design questionnaire related to ecommerce. I’d like to see your PDF do that.

Whether you want your client to fill out the questionnaire or use it as an internal form for yourself or your team to use as a guide, a webform is great because it will ensure that you don’t forget to collect anything important. Plus, with email automation it ensures things will get to all the right people instantly.

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

Alright, so what should you put on your form? For sure, you want to clarify who your point person is on the project and collect their contact info, title and maybe what the best way and time to reach them. Then duplicate these fields and change point person to billing person, so you’ll know who to reach out to for payment. Make sure you get their address too so you can stalk them, kidding!

Speaking of payment, a terms of service with a checkbox is a great way to remind your client what they agreed to, so you may want to include that field too.

Can we add you to our email list?

Forms are great because if someone answers yes, and your form has the capability, you can send this to MailChimp, Constant Contact or whatever other email marketing provider you use with automation. Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, WP Forms, Formidable Forms all have integrations, but require an additional paid plugin depending on the integration. Forminator includes these options completely free.

Linked are step-by-step guides for using Forminator’s email marketing integrations to send your forms (super easy… promise):

Questions and Fields to Include

When it comes to what to put on your web design questionnaire, you could go with something simple for onboarding new clients or you can put more open ended questions to get your client thinking.

You could also have different forms depending on say, the package your client chooses. A personal blog will have a very different web design questionnaire from a business rebranding and you can filter these using conditional fields or create multiple forms, up to you.

Here’s a list of other helpful fields and questions you could include:

  1. Social Media Links
  2. Logo upload file
  3. Do you have the Pantone numbers for the colors we should use?
  4. Have you worked with a designer/developer before?
  5. What fonts do you typically use?
  6. Domain Name
  7. Domain Name provider
  8. Who is your current host?
  9. List 3 websites you like and why
  10. How will you be promoting the site?
  11. Would you like a quote on the following additional services we can provide?
  12. Is there a project deadline?
  13. Can you tell me more about your vision for the site?
  14. What are your goals for the site?
  15. How did you hear about us?
  16. How long have you been in business?
  17. How many products will you be listing?
  18. Do you have a list of all the products and images?
  19. What specific challenges are you facing?
  20. What is working on your current site that you’d like to keep?
  21. What is the most annoying part of your site that we need to fix?
  22. Who is your ideal client?
  23. Who are you trying to attract to your site?
  24. Do you already have a site?
  25. What services do you offer?
  26. What keywords are you trying to rank for?
  27. Who will be providing the graphics, code, logo, artwork, photography, fonts, etc.?
  28. Do you have a branding guide?
  29. What features are priorities?
  30. Who are your competitors?
  31. What is your company tagline?
  32. What CMS are you currently using?
  33. Who is the decision maker on the project?
  34. Who else will be involved in the project?
  35. Is there anything else I need to know?

Here’s some ideas for additional questions to ask new clients.

To give you a head start if you’re using Forminator, you can download a sample web design questionnaire with some of these questions and some conditional logic right here.

You’ll be able to delete fields you don’t need and add more once you import. Instructions on how to import using Forminator are right over here.

While You’re Waiting

Most webform plugins allow you to customize what happens once a form is submitted, like redirect to a different page or send an email, so we’ll explore some of those options next.

After submitting the web design questionnaire, you’ll want to let your client know what to expect. Here’s some configuration options.

  1. Redirect to a list of client FAQs and send them an email with the contact information of who they should they have any questions.
  2. Redirect to a scheduling app so they can choose an appointment time for a follow up phone call so you can go over their questionnaire.
  3. Redirect to a page that has a timeline of project milestones so they can adjust their expectations about how long everything will take.
  4. Send a welcome email, like this one below:

We're so glad to have you as a client and we're looking forward to working on your project. You'll expect to hear from me in the next 24 hours so we can go over your questionnaire. This call usually takes about 30 minutes. Could respond to this email with a time that works best for you?If you have any questions about the status of your project, the two best people to reach would be me and my assistant. Email is the best way to follow up with both of us so we can check on the status of your project first. We'll usually respond with a phone call within a few hours, unless it is the weekend, then it might take a little longer.While you're waiting, I invite you check out our client FAQs and blog. We have lot of helpful information that will help you drive more traffic to your new site once it is ready. If this is something you need help with, we can discuss it during our follow up call.

Screencast of how to send a welcome email in Forminator

There’s a lot to be said about how starting off on the right foot can make clients feel so much more at ease. Once you know where progress tends to slow down or when problems tend to occur, you can address it in your initial communications so that it feels like part of the onboarding new clients process rather than a setback.

Something like “just so you know, once our designer (Desi) hands over everything to our developer (Alex), at about week 3, there will be about a week before you hear from Alex; this is completely normal” goes a long way.

Hey Everyone, Meet the New Client

When you configure the welcome email to go out to your client, you should also configure one to go out to your team so no one on your team has a why-didn’t-anyone-tell-me-we-were-starting-this-project-already moment.

Most WordPress form builder plugins allow you to specify who should receive the email and you can use merge tags to customize the email that goes out.

For example, in the subject instead of just writing “New Client” you can write “New Client: {client_name}” that way the email doesn’t get lumped in an email conversation with all the other new client emails.
Send admin email in Forminator
In the body of the email, you can choose to include all the client answers in the web design questionnaire, or just the most important, like deadlines.

Some plugins allow you to send different emails to different people, so you can send all fonts, logos and photos to your graphic designer and the domain and host information to your developer. Just think, you’ll never have to look for and forward this information again.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Forms that integrate with other apps can be especially helpful because they will allow you to distribute the information you gathered to the appropriate places for later reference, saving you so much time. Since these connections deliver a lot of value, they’re usually add-ons that you need to pay an additional fee for.

Lucky for you, Forminator integrates with MailChimp, Trello, Zapier, Google Sheets, Slack, ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor and Aweber, right out of the box and it’s free. You can get it right here at WordPress.org

Zapier and major apps like Trello and Google Docs usually have a built-integration in other forms so that gives you a good head start. In my workflow, I send all client docs to Dropbox, send their info to Airtable, create a client in Freshbooks, and send text updates using Twilio, all using Zapier.

Conclusion

There you have it. WordPress forms are an excellent way to streamline your client onboarding. My best advice is to get started as soon as you can, even if you just start with a simple WordPress contact form in Forminator. Once you have it set up, you’ll find yourself taking a few minutes here and there to add to it and it will become more valuable over time. You’ll have something custom tailored to your client onboarding process. If you already have a document you’re sending out, you’ve already done the hardest part. Why not invest a little bit of time to convert your document into a form and reap the other benefits? You’ll be glad you did :)

Felicia
What tools and tricks do you use to streamline your client onboarding? Leave me a comment and let me know your shortcuts and favorite tools.