HoneyBook is absolutely a game-changing CRM for creatives. If you're in the creative industry, you've likely seen many tools for managing clients and are hopefully using one! A few years back I switched over from "pen & paper" method of managing my client bookings and started using a CRM and it changed everything.
I've tried several and ended up using another mainstream CRM for about two years, which is a great platform - especially if you love lots of data. I'm currently in the process of planning my own wedding for this summer (yay!!) and one of the vendors we booked had sent us their proposal through HoneyBook, and from the client side, it was so stinking simple. No barriers or confusing dialogues to go through or extra links to click - it's all just very intuitive and easy to use. I wasn't super eager to change out to another CRM since I had invested a lot of time into my previous system but from what I had seen, I was interested.
It's well designed and keeps everything simple while taking out a lot of the tedious tasks of preparing quotes and contracts. Another neat feature is the community building aspect of the platform, touting "Community Over Competition". With over 50,000 creatives, you'll often see local lead sharing and collaboration offers. When I switched, I moved all my email templates, quotes, and contracts over and made very few changes to them - however, my lead engagement shot up immensely and I'm spending much less time following up with leads.
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Here are some of the best Honeybook features that make it my favorite client management software for small businesses:
1. Professional Client-facing pages
This is one of my favorite features of Honeybook, and as mentioned before, the reason I checked it out. It's well designed, simple and straightforward. The previous tools I had used had similar client pages, but I would often get emails or calls asking for help. It has a streamlined proposal and invoice layout which even the most technically challenged clients have no trouble using. Furthermore, clients are prompted for payment and have the option to do credit card or bank transfer, and even schedule future payments. No messy integrations to deal with.
When you log in, it opens up to the pipeline view which gives an overview of your entire sales cycle. It's easy to see what stages my projects are in and what I can be working on each day. From this view, it's simple to hop into any project and get to work. Each day I log in and check the status of my leads to see where follow-ups are needed. Honeybook also emails me if I've forgotten to send a document I created or a client hasn't viewed something I've sent. After that's done, I'm able to check my planning tabs as well as pending projects in need of editing.
3. Project Workspaces
What makes Honeybook one of the best options as a CRM for creatives is Project workspaces. Workspaces is where you spend most of your time interacting with clients in one place. When you create a lead, your client is added to the workspace where it's simple to collaborate and for everyone to easily access communications, contracts, and invoices. It also can integrate with your Gmail accounts so that all your exchanged email messages appear alongside the rest of your planning. Emails, proposals, questionnaires, and invoices are all in one spot for both you and your clients.
(Check out some of my other favorite tools for running a creative business!)
4. Intuitive Workflows
Workflows save me so much time and energy, especially with leads. Once I've confirmed I'm available for a client's date, I'm able to check off the "send services brochure" task generated by my workflow. The huge time saver is that Honeybook then automatically generates the pricing brochure and emails it to the lead. Workflows create tasks, send documents (with approvals), and can send emails with a click of a button. I don't miss having to program complex triggers and tokens to make things automate.
I have workflows setup for new leads and then booked clients. Both create a set of documents, questionnaires, and/or tasks that simplify and automate a lot of the "back-office" tasks.
My inquiry workflow makes it super simple to keep up with leads as they come in. You can see below that it'll ask for my approval to send the pricing brochure, and then create reminders to followup and later archive the lead if I don't get a response.
The template library is where you'll find your Email, Questionnaire, Contract, and Brochure templates. When you switch from another system, spend the time to really go through these and make sure you have everything just right. I everything in a Google Doc and made adjustments (removed all the tokens from the old system) and then added them as needed. Honeybook is also super awesome and their concierge will do all this for you during your first week! Having all this set up will save you hours of work, especially for the repetitive items. Most of my templates are built with multiple ways to respond, and then I just customize the details as needed to quickly respond.
6. Quickbooks Integrations
There are so many systems out there that are missing Quickbooks integrations! I know several developers who say that the integration is an absolute pain to make work, but they've done it! Whenever a client pays an invoice, it automatically syncs up with your QB account and even links the transactions. No more having to manually mark income or create separate invoices in another system!
7. Client Payments
Honeybook makes client payments easy with their built-in credit card processing and ACH options. You get the same credit card fee structure that's available with pretty much any other system, and very low fees for ACH transfers. Clients can also schedule automatic payments for future due-dates as well. My favorite part is that it automatically sends clients payment reminders when they are coming due. One of my earliest failures in keeping up with my books was sending payment reminders because it felt awkward sometimes. Honeybook takes care of all the time consuming aspects of managing clients, and I haven't had to send a reminder email since signing up with them.
8. Google Calendar Integration
Being able to have all my projects synced to my Google Calendar gives me extra peace of mind. This automatic integration eliminates the possiblility of accidentally forgetting to put an event on your calendar, or even putting it on the wrong date. Inquiries even show up, appropriately marked, so that you have an idea of what's coming up with the rest of your schedule.
9. Contact Form
HoneyBook's contact forms are beautiful and simple to integrate into your website. The whole thing is easily customized with your fonts and brand color. The other software I had used in the past had a contact form straight out of the early 2000's and required you to do CSS coding to make any changes. Look at this thing! Magnificient. They also have a "Tradeshow" view, which is perfect for having open at bridal shows or events!
10. Task Manager
And finally, something that I'd normally consider a fairly basic and boring topic - the Task Manager. When you integrate tasks into your workflows, the task manager view quickly becomes one of the spots I spend a lot of time in. It helps me keep my sanity, especially during the busiest times of the year when the small stuff can easily slip away. If you've built triggers into your workflows, you can quickly edit and send proposals, followup emails, and questionnaires all without leaving this view!
I normally don't get excited about administrative work, invoicing, and scheduling - but Honeybook is a CRM for creatives that makes it simple to run your business. Honeybook gives it's subscribers discount codes for 50% off their subscription for anyone who wants to give it a whirl!
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