Freelancers have to collect and organize large amounts of client information, especially for major projects like entire websites or white papers. Managing all this information can become tricky if you have multiple clients requesting several small projects a month.
The data load becomes even larger if you receive a lot of unqualified leads regularly. An organized system of forms for potential and current clients helps reduce the volume of emails you have to sort through. Indy has lead form features that connect to various other tools to make your workflow easier than ever.
Lead forms make it easier for your client to get in contact with you about their basic needs. These forms are usually available to the public, so they keep functionality to a minimum to avoid abuse and spam. They often do not allow file uploads, as files can be collected via email later.
Client onboarding forms are an additional later step in the process. Your proposal establishes what you can do for the client, while the onboarding form collects the client’s point of contact, project director, billing information, and other essentials.
Feedback forms might not get used frequently, especially if you establish a healthy line of communication via email by the end of the project. However, they’re essential for showing clients you care about their experience. If the questions are well-written, they could prompt helpful feedback that your client might not have thought of otherwise.
Other forms, such as change request forms, can help certain freelancers, but some may prefer email. Depending on the freelancer and project workflow, forms can help streamline communications that are usually similar and require the collection of similar information.
Best Form Features.
Forms should allow for both text input and multiple-choice selections. This may help reduce client confusion and misunderstandings by giving them a clear set of options to choose from limited options.
The form creator should be able to decide which fields are optional and which are mandatory. The number of mandatory fields will vary, but almost all of them should be compulsory on client onboarding forms. On the other hand, client lead forms should have as many optional fields as possible to make sure the client submits them.
Form templates work best if you can embed them on your webpage in addition to having a separate form page. Sometimes having the form built into your portfolio page will keep clients’ attention longer.
How to Make a Professional Form.
Customizable templates make it easier to create a professional form that collects exactly what you need. Indy forms has a variety of templates available, but you can also make your own from scratch if needed.
Keep the amount of text to a minimum. You can include a sentence or two reminding the client of who you are, but every minute your client spends reading is a minute they could be spending writing to you instead.
Avoid overwhelming the client by requesting every detail of their project on a lead form. It’s common for clients to not fully know what they want yet, especially if you work in a broad field.
Differences Between Industries.
Different services and finished products will have unique form requirements. For example, a freelance programmer might want to have a multiple-choice question or drop-down menu where the client selects the programming language they want for the project.
Others might be more text-heavy. To keep text input manageable, try breaking up individual questions or prompts into separate text boxes instead of having your client put all their ideas or requests into one box.
Limits of Forms.
Forms are one-way communication, meaning that you have to ask follow-up or clarifying questions separately. You need to make sure your questions are phrased clearly on the forms themselves to minimize time-consuming follow-up.
Also, keep in mind that forms can feel impersonal if they’re overused or written without your personality. Although forms should look professional, keep the tone friendly and inviting so your client knows they can ask you for whatever they need. Use essentials like “please” and “thank you” to make a good impression throughout the proposal and project phases.
Ready for Anything.
Forms help manage client expectations as well as your own, especially if you use multiple-choice boxes or drop-down menus to hone responses. Remember that clients will always come up with ways to ask for more and that forms are just one part of your overall lead generation and data management strategy.
Keeping your proposals, contracts, and timesheets organized in the same platform can make your entire workflow more manageable.