First impressions are important – but so are second impressions, third, fourth, etc. In onboarding a paid search client, it is important for the account manager to realize that the first 90 days of the working relationship are crucial. Gaining trust within the first three months of working together sets the stage and tone for the rest of the interactions in the months following. In observing and experiencing onboarding, I have found a few helpful hints that will help account managers to gain their client’s trust early and building a strong working relationship.
Communicate Early and Often
Getting a new account is exciting. As a manager, you want to start digging in and learning about what is happening. It is easy to get so distracted by all the tests and tasks you want to do for the new account, that you forget there is a face to the account. There is a client on the other side wondering what you are doing, wondering if you are going to make the right choices to get them to the right goals/ROI/ROAS or whatever their KPIs may be. So, to build up the relationship and the trust, communicate about what you are doing. Send over an analysis that you ran, show them all the irrelevant search terms that will save them however much money by negating them, or show them the performance of their ad copy and how you intend to improve it. Send something for the client to work through and think about. Send an email first thing in the morning to let them know what you’re working on that day and why. Just keep the communication open and going in the first weeks-it is crucial for the client to feel engaged with their new account manager.
Be Thorough and Upfront
In your communication, however often you deem it appropriate, be thorough, clear, and upfront. In whatever you are doing or saying to your client, make sure that you thoroughly explain it. Do not be vague or quick in explaining your work. By being clear and concise you are showing the client that you will not gloss over anything, even mistakes or poor performance. In your communication, make sure that the client’s questions are being answered. Make yourself accessible to answer any and all questions, be sure that the client understands your answers. In being thorough, it will help the client to feel confident in your work. In being thorough, you can control the conversations and stay in command when you feel pushback or peppered with questions.
Follow Through and Ask Questions
It is important to ask questions and be engaged with your new client, after all you are doing their digital marketing, you must know and understand their business. Set up a business download meeting, get them engaged and excited to talk about their business, what they do on a daily basis, and the culture of their company. This will help you as the manager to market their business, to help them reach their goals. If you as a manager understand what goes into their business, you can make better decisions to get what is needed out of their business. Ask questions about many aspects of their business, not just their marketing department
Remember these three tips and you will see the results of your upfront hard work in later months, or in a time when performance is poor, or when you as a manager have made a mistake. The client will trust you to have the best interest for their business and view you as a coworker working alongside them to meet their business goals.