Communicating with clients can be a challenge, as is making sure that the client has sent you the needed materials. Email seems to be the go-to-method for most people, but I have personally found it a little cumbersome for dealing with client-related documents and files. I like to use Evernote for this purpose, and I’ve found it to be an essential tool thanks to the shared notebook functionality.
You’ve probably been using Evernote for sorting notes, recipes, ideas, outlines, and PDF documents among other things. If so, you’re already aware of all the powerful tools that it has on offer. You could use Dropbox pretty easily, or another cloud syncing service pretty easily but that can get expensive. And on top of that you’re not going to get a lot of the tools like search, and OCR that make Evernote so useful.
Evernote also offers a feature called Work Chat which is a quick and simple chat system, and can be more efficient than email. This makes Evernote a great all-in-one solution for working with clients. While Dropbox does offer file comments it’s not quite as simple or robust as what Evernote offers.
Setting it Up
To set up a shared notebook start by making a new notebook. I also like to have my client notebooks in a stack to keep them all together so I highly recommend doing that. Once that is done you can right-click the notebook and select “Share Notebook”. A dialog window will pop up asking for email addresses and permissions. Put your clients email into the address field and select the level of permissions you’d like them to have (probably “Can Edit”). All they have to do is accept the invite and you can get to sharing files.
Once this is all done your client can upload whatever files you’ll need for your project, like branding requirements, pre-existing design elements like logos, or really anything else you might need. In turn you can upload your contract, proposal, and case study among other files you may need to share.
Probably the biggest disadvantage to this system is clients who aren’t already using Evernote will have to go through the setup process. Further, some clients may not want to go through that trouble. If you’re client is going to have to learn new software just to work with you they’re going to get frustrated, and as a result you won’t have the best working relationship. All that will totally undo the benefits of Evernote.
What I would suggest in this case would be to use email but store the emails and documents in Evernote. If you need to share a note with a client for any reason you can send them a public link which can be viewed in any browser without an Evernote account. Simply right-click on the note, go to “More Sharing”, then “Copy Public Link”. You can then paste the link into an email.