When it comes to the marketing work that you do for your clients, you have no doubt that you and your team put in plenty of elbow grease. You work hard to get your clients the exact results that they hired you to achieve.
But, take a moment to ask yourself this question: Are you doing everything you can to prove your value to your clients? Be honest. Are you really demonstrating the worth of the work that you’re doing?
If you had even a moment of hesitation or the faintest sound of crickets in response to that question, that’s a problem. After all, if you aren’t sure you’re providing value, you can’t very well expect your clients to have confidence.
Fortunately, having clients scratch their heads and wonder what you actually accomplish for them isn’t an unsolvable problem.
The solution all comes down to clear communication and transparency. Your clients should have full visibility into what you’ve done, what you’re currently doing, what you’re planning to do, and—perhaps most importantly—how it pushes them toward their goals.
A big piece of this transparency puzzle deals with your reporting methods. You should have a standardized process for regularly producing reports that are easily digestible while also showcasing the value that you offer.
What else do you need to know about using reports to prove your value? We’re doing a deep dive in this blog post.
This is part 5 in our playbook for agencies. Download the entire eBook here. Or dive into specific sections:
- Why Your Client Onboarding Process Matters
- Defining The Roles on Your Marketing Team
- A Repeatable Content Production Process
- A Scalable Content Promotion Process
- Prove Your Value to Clients With Better Marketing Reports
The Value of Your Services
Before you can begin the process of demonstrating your value to your clients, it’s important to first understand why they came to you in the first place. Why do they pay that marketing retainer?
They want to drive new traffic and leads and ideally convert those leads to customers. That’s the main reason they’re working with you and your team.
However, even though that major goal often steals the spotlight, there are numerous other areas where clients could be extracting value from your marketing service. These include:
- Educating their existing customers and leads
- Fostering a sense of community around their brand
- Replacing the need for in-house employees
- Freeing up the client’s employees’ time to focus on the things that they’re best at
- Ensuring that important marketing tasks get handled consistently, even when their team is busy
These are all important things. But, they aren’t likely to be at the forefront of your client’s mind at all times. It’s up to you to reinforce how you’re delivering those values over and over again.
The “Invisible” Work of Marketing Services
Here’s the thing: For every piece of content you create or every marketing campaign you successfully launch, there’s a ton of work that happens behind-the-scenes. It’s the groundwork that’s totally unseen by your client—unless you make them explicitly aware of those efforts.
While you don’t need to give your client a detailed breakdown of every single “invisible” task that occurs, keeping them in the loop on that behind-the-scenes work is a smart strategy. It serves as a reminder to your client that you are indeed getting things accomplished for them—even if there’s no deliverable for them at that specific time.
Within our own content marketing agency, Audience Ops, we realized that enlightening clients about this unseen work is particularly important during the onboarding stage. This is a phase when your relationship is still fragile, and clients might be unconvinced of your value.
We addressed this by sending weekly onboarding updates during the first four weeks of a client’s engagement with us. Within that update, we include:
- What was done the past week
- What we have on the schedule for next week
- Timelines for when they can expect their next deliverables
- Reminders about anything we need from the client
That added transparency has gone a long way in reassuring our clients. And, our tool, Ops Calendar, makes this level of visibility even easier.
With Ops Calendar, you can invite your clients to view your production schedules. This will keep them in the loop on what’s happening from week to week.
Don’t want them to see the internal chatter and back-and-forth comments that happen between you and your team members? Don’t worry—while the client has access to the production schedule, those internal comments are visible only to you and your team.
Content Analytics Reports
Let’s move on to talking about your reports specifically. If reporting isn’t already a part of your marketing process for clients, it should be. Most clients don’t care about efforts—they care about results. And, if you aren’t sharing those in a straightforward way, they’re bound to be frustrated (and, ultimately, cancel their retainer).
Everybody loves Google Analytics. But, when it comes to content marketing in particular, it can be somewhat of a pain to extract the data points you need in order to demonstrate value to your clients.
Getting statistics on specific articles week after week is time-consuming and tedious. You can take our word for it—at Audience Ops, we used to spend three weeks of every month manually producing reports for our clients. When that was done? We had to start all over again.
This is another area where Ops Calendar has really lifted some of that burden. Within Ops Calendar, you can see Google Analytics traffic numbers on a post-by-post basis directly in your publishing calendar. It’s completely streamlined the way that we extract data and highlight our value to our clients (without requiring three weeks of work each and every month).
Making the Most of Your Reports
Knowing how to generate your reports is one thing. But, you also need to understand what clients expect to see in them—as well as how often they expect to see them.
We definitely recommend sending reports on a regular basis. Typically, that boils down to once a week or once a month—depending on what works best for your team, your agency, and the specific type of work that you’re doing.
Let’s dive into some other nitty gritty details.
What to Include in Your Reports
Again, what exact statistics and figures you include in your client reports will vary depending on what you’re reporting on and the level of detail you want to get into.
However, there are some major things that you should make sure your report lists for your clients:
- Traffic: Break those traffic numbers down into who visited from search, social, email, or referral. That’s valuable information for both you and the client.
- Social Impressions and Engagement: If you’re handling social media posting for your clients, how many impressions have you made on those various social accounts? What sort of engagement are you seeing there?
- Conversions: This all ties back to your client’s goals. How many people have signed up for their email list? How many have signed up for a free trial? Requested a consultation? Downloaded a content upgrade? Made a purchase? This is the piece where you can really emphasize your value.
- Highlights: Even though you have the power to automate much of the reporting process, you still can’t replace a human touch entirely. Make sure that your team reviews those numbers and then does some manual analysis in order to pull out some highlights and next steps that you can share with the client.
Emphasize the Future
Here’s another smart strategy when putting together your reports: Keep an emphasis on the future. Client’s don’t necessarily care as much about where you’ve been—they’re more interested in where you’re going.
So, at the end of your report, make sure to include some initiatives, efforts, and projects in the hopper that you and your team are excited to get rolling for that client.
By highlighting the fact that good things are in store, you improve transparency, increase that client’s excitement, and encourage them to stay onboard with your retainer.
Staying in Touch
Your client reports are a big deal. But, they can’t be the only regular update you provide to clients. They shouldn’t be waiting for their report to arrive in order to get a briefing of everything that you’ve been working on.
Improved visibility and, as a result, a better perception of value involves keeping your clients informed—even when it isn’t report time. This is why regular check-in calls with clients can be so helpful for you and your team.
What sort of things can you discuss during that conversation? Here are a few key points to touch on:
Don’t think that this means that your team needs to get bogged down in frequent conversations. Even scheduling a recurring call on a quarterly basis with your client can help to keep that relationship strong and your value apparent.The value you provide is obvious to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s obvious to your clients. Click To Tweet
Over to You
The value you and your agency provide is obvious to you (hey, you know you do great work!). But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s obvious to your clients. It takes work and a conscious effort to show your clients that you’re worth that retainer fee.
The secret to doing that is plenty of transparency in the form of easily digestible reports and regular check-in conversations.
Put the tips and strategies we outlined here into play, and you’re much more likely to have a roster of clients who are acutely aware of all of the awesome things you achieve for them.
Don’t forget to grab our free resource that will help you make your value obvious: