Invoices, you send them in order to get paid. But the best invoices are so much more than a dull document with some amounts. A good invoice is a marketing instrument as well. A monthly or even weekly touch point with your customers.
Why a Good Invoice is Crucial
With our invoice tips you wil start treating your invoices as a marketing instrument instead of a necessity. They are the perfect vehicle to retain an existing customer. After all, this costs significantly less effort to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one.
Set your invoices up properly and you will get paid faster. Also you have a structural vehicle to underline the proposition of your company. And you keep in touch with your customers.
Our 8 Invoice Tips:
1. Turn an Amount Due Into a Positive Customer Contact
Looks matter, also for invoices. An attractively styled invoice reduces a customer’s pain of having to pay it, simply because it looks nice.
The vast majority of invoices are boring documents with an unappealing message: you have to pay. Try to improve this by including the most positive user-experience you can think of. The lay-out, the subject and message accompanying the invoice, the e-mail address of the sender, etcetera. Improve all these aspects and your dull invoice transforms into an enjoyable contact moment.
2. Where is the Invoice Used For?
You probably think an invoice is only used by the administration department. But are you sure? Ask your customers! You might be surprised. Especially extensively specified invoices reach way further into your customers’ organization as you might expect, for all kinds of purposes. Be aware of these other stakeholders when designing your invoice.
3. Make Sure Your Customers Know What to Do
This one seems easy, your customers have to pay. But things often go wrong in this regard. Do your customers actually have to pay? Or will the amount be debited automatically? Be very clear about what the call-to-action is. It will save you lots of time on extra work for your administration department.
4. What Amount to Pay?
Also, make sure it’s clear which amount needs to be paid. Most invoices contain several subtotals, totals including tax, excluding tax, etc. So, ensure that the amount due is immediately recognizable, at a glance.
5. Don’t Surprise Your Customers
An invoice should be a logical consequence of the deal you have made with your customer. So, if you realize that a job is going to require more time, effort, materials, or whatever, inform them about this as early as possible. This avoids time consuming discussions afterwards.
6. Get Your Invoices Paid Faster
Avoid questions and ambiguities. Show your customer how the total amount is built up. Give them a clear specification of all important factors that add up to the total amount. This reduces questions about invoices and ensures that invoices are paid faster. It helps you earn your customers’ trust.
7. Less is More
The principle of less is more also applies to invoices. Keep it simple. We know this totally contradicts the previous paragraphs. So balance is important here. One way you can do this: use a summary page. Just show the invoice totals, with minimum specification. Only after that, you provide an extended specification with all details. This can be a good solution for invoices with many different line items. Or if you use a pay-per-use pricing plan and want to show the what-who-when specifics.
8. Constant Quality: Automate Your Billing
To end our invoice tips: automation of the creation process. This is one of the most effective strategies for a high-quality invoice. This will keep your quality constant and reduces the effort to a minimum. Once you have set up a good billing proces, you can focus on your core business.