Isn’t it so frustrating to have to dig through your inbox to find that *one* email from your client? Multiply by all the clients you’re working with, and you’ll be spending more time in your inbox than you’d probably like to be. I recently cut down on the amount of emails that I have to exchange with clients by adding them into a project management system, Trello. Not only has this cut down on the amount of emails that I have to juggle, but it’s also made staying on the same page easier! If you’re a fellow service provider, I highly recommend using a project management system with your clients. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, I’m use Trello because there’s a free plan available, and it’s super easy for my clients to learn quickly. Let me walk you through how I use Trello to make working with clients easier. If I can do it, you can too!
This isn’t a “how to get started with Trello” tutorial, (but I have one of those, if you need it!). So I’m going to assume that you already have a basic understanding of how Trello works. Let’s focus on what you need to do to make Trello work well for your client process!
Before you can create your Trello board, you’ll want to outline your client process. Do this for each service that you offer. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just write down all the steps of your process from start to finish. You can do this on a scratch piece of paper, or type it into a Google Doc.
We want to simplify your process for your clients. The goal here is to help them stay organized, not overwhelm them. Go through your list and cross out any steps in the process that are just for you – not something your client needs to see. For example, I want my clients to know when I’m working on their moodboard, but they don’t need to see my long SEO checklist.
Now that you’ve simplified your process, pick out the major milestones. These will become the headings for each of the lists on your board. Within each milestone, you should have the steps needed to accomplish it.
(TIP – If you want, you can have a separate Trello board that’s not shared with your client with nitty gritty details that are just for you. I actually use ClickUp for backend project management in my business. But I still use Trello with clients because there’s not as much of a learning curve.)
You’re now ready to turn your client process into a Trello board. Yay! If you offer multiple services, you’ll want to create a separate Trello board for each one. For now, pick one service and do the following:
Hooray, your board is ready to go! When you book a new client, make a copy of this board and customize it for their project. Then, invite them to join you on the board! In the next section, I’m sharing additional tips to make communicating and sharing files with your client inside Trello easier. Yay for less emails!
Messaging with your clients inside Trello means less Zoom meetings, emails, and phone calls. Your client can comment on the card for a specific task to chat with you about a specific topic, and you’ll be able to reply back! It’s similar to DMs on Insta. There’s a list at the end of my board for general client questions. A client can create a new card in the list, I’ll comment, and we can chat back and forth! Both options work well for me.
When commenting, use the mention feature by typing @client’sname so that they’ll be notified when you reply. Also, you can both watch a specific card, list, or the entire board to be notified via email when messages or updates occur. Since you’re trying to cut down on inbox clutter, you can customize your email preferences as needed.
One last tip – I love using Google Drive and Loom along with Trello.
It’s easy to attach files from Google Drive to a card, or paste the link to an entire folder in the card description. There’s also a Google Drive powerup, but I don’t use it much.
Loom is an online video communication software. It allows you to record a quick video of you talking while showing your computer screen. You can also show your face, if you’d like! It’s great for showing clients how to do something or asking for feedback. The video is saved on Loom, and you can easily add the link in a Trello card description or comment. Trello also added a beta feature where you can record Loom videos and save them directly inside Trello.
(Fellow designers – I learned about using Loom with clients from Elizabeth McCravy’s Booked Out Designer course! She has an entire module on client experience. It’s amazing.)
I know that there’s quite a bit of set up involved here, but it’s worth it. Remember that once you have your board(s) set up, you can use them as templates. Just copy a board and customize it, so that prepping for each new project is easy! If you’re a new Trello user and want to know more, check out the resources below. Happy organizing!
(P.S. – Now that you’ve gotten a sneak peek of my client process, interested in working with me to create a website that moves your business forward? Check out my all-inclusive design experience!)