5 Tips for Proactive Client Communication
June 17, 2014
Aside from poor performance, being too reactive is my primary concern in client/PPC manager relationships. I want to initiate conversations and present new ideas to my clients. I welcome client ideas and suggestions but they should expect that I will take the lead. Additionally, I always get uneasy when a week or more passes without communication. Below, I identify five ways to be proactive with clients in order to keep the relationship strong.
1. Send Agendas Before Each Meeting
I fully admit that I don’t send agendas for every meeting, but I should. Whenever I send agendas beforehand, the subsequent calls are substantially more productive. Both parties tend to stay on task and the meetings conclude on schedule. Setting an agenda also allows me extra time to brainstorm new ideas for the account.
The agenda doesn’t need to come just from the manager. Encourage clients to send their ideas to you as well. This process allows for managers to familiarize client propositions before the call, and therefore provide better insight during the call. If something is in writing, it is more likely to be addressed.
2. Send Recaps After Each Meeting
Sending a follow up email after every meeting ensures that both client and manager know and have a record of discussion points and action items. The recap doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to address the major points. Generally, I’ll start the email with 3 – 4 bullets recapping the main points of discussion, followed by the action items for both sides. Here’s an example of a recap email:
Hello Client A,
It was great to speak with you today and I believe we had a productive meeting. The major points of discussion included:
- Cost per conversion continues to decrease due to the new campaign builds
- The remarketing code is live and accruing visitors
- Both parties should start thinking about holiday sales and messaging
Immediate action items for both parties include:
- Send over list of keywords in Campaign X (by Friday)
- Create new Product Y campaign (by Monday)
- Create 3 sample image ad mockups – sizes of 728×90 and 300×250 (by Tuesday)
Aside from emailing the client when your items are finished, follow up on the deadline dates if the client has not completed his or her tasks.
3. Email Alerts
An easy way to be proactive with clients is to email them when issues or industry announcements arise. For example, a few weeks ago conversion and revenue data was temporarily missing from the AdWords interface. We immediately emailed our clients, identifying both the issue and the forthcoming solution. Knowing their team is on top of everything puts the client at ease.
It’s also imperative that, at the very least, you receive all disapproved ad and billing alerts. It can be a sticky situation when a client is the one to break the news to you that their account is down. Clients receive these alerts as well (since their email is generally an account admin), but an immediate email from their PPC manager goes a long way towards securing trust.
You can receive these emails by going to “Account settings” and then clicking “Notification settings.” Then choose which alerts you want to receive.
4. Email New Features
It’s not just alerts you should send to clients, but also new PPC features and betas. Show your clients that you are keeping up with industry developments, and then explain how these advances may help. Just this year alone we’ve seen the advent of these new and improved features:
At the very least, these are the types of features that can be brought to clients’ attention. You don’t need to email every client each time a new feature comes out, but done periodically the relationship will continue to prosper.
5. (Snail) Mail a Handwritten Thank You Note
Once every 6 – 12 months take the time to write and mail a thank you note to your clients. The note doesn’t have to be long (3 – 4 sentences will do), but the impression it makes on your client will be strong. It’s human nature that we like to be appreciated. Here’s an example of a thank you note:
Thank you for your continued trust and commitment with us as we manage your PPC account. We know you have many options and we greatly value the partnership. Please let us know at any time if you have questions or feedback to continue making the relationship productive for both parties.
I’ve found that proactive client communication is a key factor in retaining clients. In looking at my most successful accounts over the years, honest and continuous communication has been a constant. Reaching out to clients takes extra work, but pays dividends in the long run.
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