Project Management February 9, 2022 by Laura Elizabeth
As a digital agency, there are many different ways you can use Client Portal in your business. You can of course use it to keep your client projects organised but there are also a few other use cases that add tremendous value to both yours and your clients businesses. In this article, we are going to go through how you can make the most out of Client Portal as an agency.
Using Client Portal to help manage your client projects
This is how most agencies use Client Portal. When you start a new project (whether it’s with a new or existing client), you can set them up with their own portal they can log into to access their project deliverables and assets.
Typically, these might include:
- Past and current invoices
- Signed contract
- Embedded forms for support requests
- Links to project deliverables
- Link to schedule a meeting
- Embedded Google calendar showing the project timeline
- … and so much more
As an agency it's likely that you work on a lot of the same types of project over and over again. It's also likely that you have more than one service that you provide to your clients. For example you may have the following types of projects:
- Brand identity
- Website redesign
- SEO report
- Monthly web retainer
- Landing page design
Since the structure of these projects tend to stay the same, and many of the deliverables tend to stay the same (intake questionnaires, cheat sheets, getting started guides etc.) you can create templates for each of your different project types in Client Portal. And then add in as many different repeating deliverables as you like so when you get a new client you can quickly set up a portal for them in just one click.
And since repeat work is likely a big part of your business, you can also add your clients to as many templates as you like. So say if you complete a brand identity project and then further down the line your client wants a website redesign, you can just add them to a new portal. When they log in, they will see an extra dashboard with all their past and current portals.
Using Client Portal as a deliverable
Another way agencies can use Client Portal is as part of a deliverable to a client. This one works the best if you are a full service web agency.
There are so many industries that need some kind of portal as an add-on to their website. For example, a school might need a parent portal. A law firm might need a portal for collecting documents from their clients. A photographer might need a portal to showcase their images. And so on.
You can use Client Portal to give your clients a portal as a part of your project with them without having to code it from scratch.
There are two ways you can provide this to your clients with our licenses. Both have pros and cons, so let's go through each.
1. With the multi-site license
Our multisite license allows you to put Client Portal on as many different websites as you like. So if you bought the multisite license, you could give a copy of Client Portal to any of your clients for free.
The good thing about this is that you would just need one license for all of your clients. So you are free to mark up the cost however you choose.
The main downside is that all support for Client Portal must go through you (the license holder). So if your clients have a problem with Client Portal you would need to be the middleman when it comes to getting any problems resolved, however this is great if you offer an ongoing retainer to your clients.
2. As an affiliate of Client Portal
We have a very successful affiliate program with Client Portal. And often this is the agency owners top choice for giving their clients a portal on their website.
As an affiliate you get 30% of any sale you refer. And since Client Portal is predominantly a yearly subscription you get the 30% kickback for as long as your clients have an active license.
The main benefit to this (aside from the extra cash) is that you would not need to handle the support for your client, they would write in themselves.
And the main downside is that you would need to convince your clients to buy Client Portal as a part of their project with you. However an easy way to remedy this is to just include the license cost in your proposal and pay it on behalf of them. That way you still get the kickback without needing to rely on them to sign up.
Using Client Portal for internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's)
As an agency you probably have multiple employees. You may even regularly hire freelancers or consultants for those busy periods.
One fantastic use case for Client Portal is the ability to have a central portal for all of your internal SOP's and assets that you need as an agency.
Here are some ideas of things you could store in Client Portal for your agency:
- SOPs to help your agency run (for example, how to onboard a new client, email templates, frequently asked questions, etc.)
- Store your agencies brand guidelines and design assets like logos, colours, fonts
- Any useful links that your team needs to reference frequently such as calendar scheduling links, or your login to your email service provider
Think about anything that you or your team needs to reference frequently. Then put those in an internal portal which acts as a cross between a bookmarks folder, helped docs, and storage for useful files.
Top tips for agencies to make the most out of Client Portal:
1. Keep it simple
It can be tempting to create complex portals when you first start out. The simplicity of Client Portal makes it extremely flexible. But we actually recommend keeping your portals as simple as possible because they will be easier for your client or team to reference and maintain.
2. Have a plan and a structure to your portals
Spend some time thinking about how your portal templates should be structured. Many agencies say that a big benefit to using Client Portal is that it helps them to really nail down their client process and see the gaps. Use this opportunity to design your process and create any assets that you need.
3. Store files elsewhere
As an agency, you probably deal with a lot of large files. You can upload files to Client Portal but for most agencies we actually recommend storing your files in a different cloud-based service like dropbox or Google Drive and either linking to them, or embedding them into Client Portal.
This is because large files can quickly clog up your website and it also means you need to be proactive about deleting them when they are no longer needed. A fantastic tool that we are always recommending is WP Cloud Plugins (affiliate link). This allows you to embed your Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive directly into Client Portal which will keep your website running efficiently and allow other team members to collaborate without needing to login to WordPress.
4. Make it easy for clients to access their portals
Put a link in your main navigation called Client Login, and simply link that button to yourdomain.com/client. When your clients logs in from that URL, they will automatically be redirected to any portals that have been assigned to them.
It's also a good idea to put a link to this in your email signature to really make it easy for your clients to access their portals without needing to be reminded of the URL.
So those are 3 ways that you could use Client Portal in your digital agency. I hope that's given you some ideas as to how you can maximise the value of Client Portal.