In the digital marketing sphere it is so easy to get sucked into the data and feel that as long as the numbers align, then we’re doing everything that we can for our clients. Ultimately, we know that we have to build meaningful relationships with our clients if we want successful partnerships. But that’s hard, especially if you’re someone who feels more comfortable around pivot tables and IF functions than actual living, breathing human beings. Outlined are some easy steps to help you create beneficial relationships with your clients that go beyond your services as a vendor.
1. Insert Yourself As One Of Their Team Members
Approach your client’s account work as if you are a part of their internal team. Instead using “your” language, switch to “us.” For example, instead of saying something like “your accounts are showing month over month growth…” say “Our accounts are showing month over month growth.” It’s a very simple linguistic manipulation, but its meaning can have huge impact. It shows that you’re invested in outcomes, and that you consider yourself an integral part of their success. This goes a long way in building client trust. And by now we’ve all seen Arrival, so we know language can significantly impact how you think.
2. Understand Who Your Client Contact Needs To Impress
When dealing with clients, we’re not often speaking with the Big Kahunas on a regular basis. These decision makers are ultimately the ones we need to continue to prove our value to, especially if they influence the digital marketing budget. Ask your contact about who they need to report to and what that person is like. Find out what you can do with your reporting to make their life easier. This serves two purposes:
- You make the information distillation process faster if your contact doesn’t need to report on your report to their executives.
- It helps you create a better relationship with your contact because you’re making his/her/gender non-conforming individual’s job easier. They will notice this and appreciate it.
3. Adapt Your Style To Their Needs
Some clients want the brass tacks, others want deep data insights, some just need a high-level overview. Have conversations with your clients about this. Find out what their style is and how they need to receive information. If your client doesn’t have familiarity with digital marketing jargon, don’t use it, your impact will be lost if they can’t follow how your efforts are affecting their accounts. “Your Conversion Rates for the new ETAs have improved 37% MoM.” Can be switched to “We know that the new creative we’re testing in our ad copy is having a positive impact because we’re getting more leads for less clicks, which will save us money in the long-run…” Always strive to meet your clients where they are.
4. Offer Insights They Didn’t Ask For
Stay proactive and continually offer additional information about their accounts beyond what they’re asking for in reporting. Research their vertical, their competitors, and their seasonal trends. Clients hire us because they want to know what they should be doing in PPC and what direction they should be headed in. It’s our job to give them this guidance. Outside of our regular data aggregation and reporting there are many tools available to provide additional insight to your clients that can affect their overall business. Thinkwithgoogle.com has a great library of resources that I like to tap into:
5. Communicate In A Regular Format
All of my meetings with my clients follow a very specific outline. Here is the basic template I use:
- Send a meeting agenda an hour before your scheduled meeting mine tend to look like this:
- Performance Overview
- New Initiative Proposal #1
- New Initiative Proposal #2
- Follow-up from any previously tabled conversations
- Client-side updates
- After the meeting, follow up with a summary of the call as well as a very clear list of action items:
- Hanapin Action Items:
- Launch New Campaigns
- Provide Auction Insight Report
- Follow- up with creative specs for responsive display ads
- Client Action Items:
- Send Updated Budgets
- Deliver Responsive Display assets
- Hanapin Action Items:
This format serves several purposes:
- Keeps a running tab of all account initiatives
- Makes it clear who is responsible for what
- It makes losing track of things much harder
- You can review before your next meeting to make sure you’ve followed through on your end.
With clients, the follow-through is extremely important because it shapes how they view your character. If you always deliver what you promise on time, you will build a trusting relationship with your client and this is ultimately what any business relationship breaks down to. The more trust and greater rapport you can build, the longer and stronger your relationship is likely to be.