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How I use Trello as my client portal

How I use Trello as my client portal

We love Trello here at Hedera. We’re big fans. Not only is it free, it’s also easy to use, flexible, and helps us to stay on top of everything we have to do. Plus, it integrates with a bunch of other apps, which makes our lives a lot easier. If you want to read more about our undying love for Trello, check out the Trello tag on our blog.

So now that I’ve reminded you how much we love Trello, you won’t be surprised to hear that we decided to move our client management system to Trello.

@@Thinking of using Trello as your client portal? Here's how@@


First of all, why do we manage our clients online?

  • It’s convenient: We can easily keep our clients updated with how their projects are progressing without having to bombard them with emails. We can access our clients’ projects from anywhere, and we don’t have to carry around massive files full of paper.
  • It helps us to be more transparent: Clients can see exactly where we’re up to with their projects at all times.
  • It’s the way of the future: The days of emailing everything are over—nobody wants to open their inbox and find five hundred unread emails. Email is not an efficient way to keep on top of tasks or communication any more, and we’re determined to find better ways of working with our clients.

With so many client management systems available, why did we choose Trello? Well, originally, we didn’t—we chose Basecamp. But we had all of our other information in Trello (like our business projects, to-do lists, and editorial calendar) and we found that we weren’t using Basecamp enough to justify the fee. Moving over to Trello means that all of our tasks will be managed from one central location.

We mostly use Trello for subscription packages (meaning that we’ll be working with the client indefinitely) or for longer, more complex projects like book editing or website building where we want to keep our client up to date with what’s going on. For shorter jobs that don’t require as many steps, such as editing a letter, or if the client isn’t comfortable using Trello, we still communicate over email.

Anyway, to the good part—here’s how we do it.


Getting started

Our client welcome pack includes an info sheet about how to use Trello. The info sheet contains different information depending on what sort of work we’re doing for the client, but it shows them how we use Trello’s lists and commenting system.

We create a new team in Trello and add whatever boards are needed (usually there’s only one, unless we’re doing separate projects that aren’t part of a subscription package). Then, we add the client to the board and make them an admin so they can add and change whatever they like.

When we create a new board for a client, we link it up with Slack using their Trello integration so we’ll be notified in our Slack notifications channel whenever something happens in that board. This is possibly slight overkill, but it ensures that we never miss anything from our clients.


Subscription packages

Because subscription packages contain many different projects, we usually assign each task or project a card that starts out in the ‘requests’ list and then moves its way over to the ‘completed’ list. This works well because clients can add things they need done in the first column and then watch as we work on those tasks.

Each card contains further details about the task, including who’s working on it, any documents that are needed to complete it, and the due date.


Other projects

With other projects, we have two options, and which one we pick depends on the client’s needs and what’s involved in the project.

The first option is the same as the process I outlined above for the subscription packages: tasks are added to the ‘to do’ list and then moved across.

The second option is simply a different way of classifying the tasks, and we use this for bigger projects with more work involved. Each list is for a particular aspect of the project, and as those tasks are completed, they’re moved to a single list on the right side for completed or archived tasks.



The best thing about Trello for client management is that we don’t have to receive (or send) as many emails. We achieve this by asking questions of our clients using the commenting system in each card. We tag the client (for example, @clientname) and make sure they’re subscribed to (their icon is dragged onto) any card/task that they need to give information for.

So that’s how we use Trello with our clients. Do you use Trello? Was this helpful? Let us know in the comments. 

@@How I use Trello as my client portal@@

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