Ever finish a website project but it never quite ends? You hand over the login info to the client and you think your work is done, but they keep emailing you. You get questions about tweaking this or changing that. The project just keeps dragging out. You need a goodbye packet to offboard clients and mark a clear end to the project.
A goodbye packet can collect all the final details into one place and help limit the back and forth follow up a client may have, while still keeping them happy.
That’s a big win.
What Is a Goodbye Packet?An effective goodbye packet signals the end of a project. It can either transition to a site maintenance plan, or give a client a clear message that your work is done and if they need more help, they’ll have to pay for it.
It should do the following:
- Tell clients how and where to log in to any accounts you’ve created.
- Offer a quick cheat sheet of relevant details.
- Tell clients how to use their finished website.
- Encourage clients to come back to you for additional paid work (and clearly delineates what’s paid and what’s not).
- Minimize support questions.
Freelance Process: Onboard and Offboard Clients
A goodbye packet should mark the end of a detailed project process in your freelance system. You have a clear process, right? Every freelance developer needs a system to help keep things on track.
It should be obvious, but the goodbye packet should be sent at the very end when you offboard a client. You’ve finished all your work. The site is done. You don’t have any last touches to do.
This is important because you’re giving the client access to their website. You’re drawing a clear line that your work is done, so don’t undermine that message by continuing to work on the site.
Since the goodbye packet includes the keys to the site—all the login details—make sure to send it at the proper point in your process. If your policy is that final payment is received before a site goes live, don’t send a goodbye packet until you’ve received that final payment.
Goodbye Packet vs. Intro Packet
We recently talked about the value of intro packets to help onboard clients. Obviously, intro packets and goodbye packets are two different things—one comes at the beginning and one comes at the end—but it helps to compare them to understand what makes a goodbye packet unique.
There are two major elements that differentiate intro and goodbye packets:
- Client-focused: While an intro packet is all about you, a goodbye packet is all about the client. It’s about helping them use their site, not convincing them to choose you, so the document will focus more on them.
- Custom: While an intro packet is a generic document you create once and use over and over again, a goodbye packet is a highly customized document. Certainly you want to have a template and there are pieces you’ll reuse, but a lot of it is unique to each client.
Why Use a Goodbye Packet
There are a number of things a goodbye packet helps with:
- The project is done: Perhaps the most important job the packet does is indicate that the project is finished. Drawing a clear line is helpful, especially for clients who continually ask for changes.
- Promotes maintenance: The clear line in the sand can help you sell maintenance plans. If a client keeps asking to change things, maybe they need to be on an update plan where you’ll take care of those requests—for a fee.
- Saves time: While much of the packet will be custom, there are definitely parts you can reuse. Having those reusable parts ready to go, and even pre-written language for the custom parts, will make your process more efficient.
- Help clients: Every client has questions. By collecting tutorials and basic questions in one handy document, you’re helping your clients make the most of their new website.
- Happy clients: Anticipating and answering your client’s questions will make them happy. They’ll see how thorough and professional you are, and that will make them more likely to come back and more likely to refer you to others.
This is really about finishing a project well. You’ve done good work (right?), so finish strong by setting your client up to succeed, answering questions, and marking a clear end.
How to Create a Goodbye Packet
That’s a huge resource you need to check out, but we’ll give a quick overview here.
The Mechanics of Goodbye Packets
This is a custom document you’ll create for clients, but you don’t want to recreate the wheel every time. So you should set up a template you can use for every packet, with pieces you personalize as necessary and other pieces you just reuse.
The format of your packet really doesn’t matter. Use whatever is more convenient for you. That might mean a Word or Google Doc that you save as a PDF. If you’re doing tutorials, you might use video.
Figure out a way that works for you. But do something you can actually get done. If you dream of doing video but it’s not a practical reality right now, do something else.
Goodbye Packet Contents
Here’s what your goodbye packet should contain:
- Cover: This is a document for your client, so it should match their branding and not yours. Make sure your template allows for that with easily swappable colors and logos.
- Introduction: Explain what clients can find in the goodbye packet. This should be a helpful overview written in your brand voice.
- Login info: Here’s where you give clients access to their site. You can either directly give them the password or use a service such as LastPass or NoteShred. If you give clients a password directly, be sure to tell them to immediately change it (and how to do that).
- Cheat sheet: A quick reference sheet with basic info such as image sizes, color codes, shortcodes, brand tips, etc.
- Instructions/tutorial: This is where you tell your clients how to use your site. You might write out instructions or link to video tutorials. This is a good place to pitch your ongoing services. You’re telling clients how to do it themselves, but you can also offer to do it for them (for a fee).
- Additional services: You want to make sure clients are aware of other services you offer. You should have already pitched ongoing maintenance or retainer services, but this is a good reminder. This is a way to keep clients coming back to you, but it’s also a clear reminder that updates, changes, and ongoing maintenance require an additional fee.
- FAQ: Answer all the standard questions every client has: what support is included, how to change something, hacked website, etc.
- Goodbye: Close the packet by thanking your client and letting them know they can ask questions. Give them a next step, like giving you feedback or a testimony.
Start Creating Your Goodbye Packet Today
A goodbye packet is a good way to finish a project, set clients up for success, and minimize those unending questions. Now you need to create one. Use the goodbye packet workshop examples Erin Flynn shared so you don’t have to start from scratch. Literally copy and paste the example text and then customize it to fit your brand and process.