I’ve just signed up to FreeAgent. FreeAgent is one of the many accountancy packages on the market designed with small businesses in mind.
Over the last 10 months I have done some fairly extensive research into this. When it came down to choosing a solution I realised that, as with so many things in life, the choice is entirely personal.
So I went with a brand that was doing it’s best to appeal to me (check out FreeAgent’s bike shop video). It’s also British company based in Edinburgh and friend gave me a 10% discount code.
They do good marketing. Of course I was going to be seduced by the company that did good marketing!
But one thing amazes/dismays me. The lack of information around sending invoice emails.
FreeAgent, as with all other systems, allows you to send automated invoices, reminders and thank yous to clients. It does not tell you how to write a great invoice email.
As a marketer, sure, I can write a pretty nifty marketing email. As a copy writer, I can write an eloquent, informal ‘hello, here’s your invoice’ email. But an automated email that is sent out every month asking for money…eurgh. That doesn’t feel nice.
But the main reason I’m using this software is automation. It takes the pain away! It works it out for me so I don’t have to. I have to find a way to write great automated emails that engage my clients, promote my services and make paying me money a pleasure not a chore.
I searched the web for help.
This was the most useful article I found. It covers everything – itemized lists, accuracy, ways to pay, tracking, timing, sending it to the right person – in a concise 7-point list. Content marketing at its best.
This is what it said about marketing (this is number 5 on the list)
Keep marketing. Your invoice is a marketing tool. Include your logo, tagline, and contact information. The look and language of your invoices should be consistent with the rest of your marketing materials. In addition, you can use the invoice to ask for feedback on your services. You can even include a short testimonial on each invoice.
What I was looking for, hoping for, was a template. A let-me-break-it-down-for-you template. This stuff is obvious. I want my invoice emails to be a-ma-zing. I want them to be clever little pieces of marketing awesomeness.
Are invoice emails the dirty laundry of the marketing world?
As a small business selling to small businesses, I know my invoice will be read by the owner of the business. Perhaps if your email is going to the accounts department the fluffy stuff isn’t necessary. But something tells me we’d be missing a trick!
Surely invoices are a chance to delight and entertain, charm and reassure your clients that you’re the best?
Is this an awkward B2B thing?
If I get a bill from Orange (the mobile phone provider) it’s full of colour and useful information. They up-sell every time and I entirely expect them to.
Why, when I Google ‘Best Practice for Sending Invoices’ do I get this? A list of practical advice and not a creative idea among the lot.
Am I impassioned by this because I’m a marketer? Am I turning something that just has to do its job into an unnecessary branding experience?
My gut tells me invoices need to WOW THE WORLD. What do you think? And moreover, what do you do?
P.S. I’ve created a invoice template that I’ll be trialing over the next few months. I’ll share the results and feedback – and the template! – in a little while.
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