A marketing invoice is a communication tool that ensures that correct payments are made on time for products or services rendered. Given the simplicity of the idea, it seems like a task that requires the least amount of attention, however creating an invoice is part of a fundamental cash flow process. Invoicing doesn't just end with indicating the amounts owed. There is so much more that goes into creating a professional invoice.
Just printing out a sheet of paper and mailing it to your clients says a lot about your organization. However, a well-crafted invoice is bound to lend a much more positive image to your organization. A poorly designed invoice with structural flaws gives the impression that your organization is run the same way – without flow. The invoices you generate will significantly hint at the quality of your services.
The marketing invoice, in its purest form, is merely a professional form of asking your customers for money. Thus, you have to be asking for the correct amount of money for the right service rendered. There is nothing as embarrassing as sending the wrong invoice to the wrong client. Besides being a source of anxiety for the client, it also exposes how tacky the operations management in your organization is. Repeatedly undercharging or overcharging clients won't leave you in business for too long, regardless of how excellent your products are.
To get the numbers right, start off by using time-tracking software and point-of-sale tools. These tools will allow you to charge correct amounts.
Get good accounting software to make sure that you create an invoice that has accurate figures. The figures will be derived directly from your sales data, and this leaves little to no room for quoting inaccurate numbers.
Create a reasonable schedule for sending out marketing invoices. Marketing gigs tend to take long, sometimes months, but this doesn't mean that your clients will only know of pending bills months later. It is possible for your clients to forget about the pending payments or the service rendered; it's worse when you have to remind them of the unpaid bills, yet they believe that you could be charging too much for the service.
Your business cash flow depends on the efficiency of your invoicing process. If you invoice your clients on an erratic schedule, your business is bound to suffer from inconsistent cash flow. The most recommended habit is to invoice as soon as the work is completed, or if it's a long-term marketing gig, a pre-set invoicing schedule billed by the defining hours is encouraged. Good accounting software makes this process super-easy. Prompt invoicing also allows your customers to keep their accounts in good order, as well as opening up communication channels based on the nature of work done.
Your invoices should never be a source of unpleasant surprise for your clients. While differences between the quoted price and the eventual total are sometimes unavoidable, it's better to communicate this issue to your clients in a timely fashion. Sometimes the operational costs may have increased, leading to quotations exceeding the quoted price. When preparing the invoice, let the client know of these costs beforehand and if possible, come up with flexible ways the client can meet these costs. Ambushing your clients with an inflated marketing invoice, regardless of how justified, will only give you bad graces with your current clients.
Preparing a marketing invoice is more than just printing out a list of services and their costs. When the above issues are considered when making the invoice, then the invoice will go a long way in cementing your client's loyalty further.