Tips for agencies on ways to prove more value with client reports
Has this ever happened to you? A client calls you and says they’re not satisfied with the results your campaigns deliver. Agency-client relationships often go bad, especially if agencies don’t invest enough in consistent communication and transparency.
To improve client collaboration and increase their satisfaction, you need to inform them about their campaign performance and ask them for feedback. That’s where creating client-oriented reports shines.
Here is how to create amazing reports your clients will really read.
1. Research your Target Audience
Every company includes different teams, with different staff levels. Their knowledge of marketing varies, as well. Logically, mixing these staff levels is not wise. Talk to your client and ask who you will send reports to.
For example, if you’re sending a report to the head of their marketing team, don’t include the trivial data and explanations. They already know the basics, so provide them with actionable insights and statistics that tell them where their campaigns stand.
If you’re informing them about social media campaigns, they will want to see the click-through rate, organic traffic from these channels, the number of page followers, comment mentions, and so forth.
On the other hand, the company’s CEO won’t care about these individual metrics. They are interested in the overall campaign performance and how your tactics impact the campaign ROI.
2. Use the Right Tools
While you can use spreadsheets to collect your data and create reports, this tactic is extremely exhausting and time-consuming. There are many tools that will help you track your data in real-time and create automated reports.
For example, with Reportz, you can create a custom marketing dashboard and combine widgets from multiple digital marketing tools you use. Moreover, you can combine SEO, PPC, and SMM metrics to create highly informative client reports.
The best thing about automated reporting tools lies in the fact that they offer report customization options, letting you change colors, add clients’ logos, choose fonts, and so forth.
3. Set Clear Goals
By setting the right goals, you will be able to pick the right metrics and KPIs and understand your progress. Your goal is to answer whether and how your services have been successful. For example, if you’re creating a social media marketing strategy for your client, one of your goals could be “reaching X Facebook shares” or “reaching X members for their Facebook group.”
Sure, there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to setting the right digital marketing goals. They depend on your clients’ specific needs and campaigns. But, as a rule of thumb, any goal you set should be SMART, or:
4. Choose the Right Metrics
Once you’ve set the right goals that portray the success of your campaign, it’s time to choose the right metrics to measure. Each metric has a specific purpose and function. Only by choosing the right metrics that align with your goals will your clients get a wider picture when making future decisions.
- Pick metrics that matter.
For example, if you’re creating a report for your client’s Facebook Ads campaign, measuring only the number of their page followers. The Fans Count is often a vanity metric, making you feel good about certain results and yet, doesn’t tell you anything about your progress.
To make your reports more informative, you will also include some additional metrics, such as organic page impressions, click-through rates, cost per action, ad frequency, user engagement, and so forth.
- Go easy on the number of metrics.
On the other hand, no matter if you’re building SMM, SEO, or PPC campaigns for your client, the number of metrics you could include in your reports is astonishing. However, using too many metrics would only confuse and overwhelm your client, not helping them focus on the results that matter.
- Help your clients understand the benefits of tracking the right data.
Agency-client collaboration is a two-way street. You need to consult clients and ask for their insights to understand their needs and expectations. On the other hand, you need to educate them and explain the aspects of your reporting strategy they don’t understand.
For example, they will sometimes get fixated on irrelevant metrics. In this case, chances are they won’t accept your reports properly. To keep them satisfied, you need to talk to them openly and show them where they’re wrong.
A client needs to understand why the metrics they seek don’t work and how they negatively impact both your reports and their overall campaign progress.
By helping them separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to choosing metrics, you will make your reports more appealing to them and strengthen your collaboration.
5. Keep your Content and Design Simple
Many agencies try to impress their clients with their writing style, numerous metrics, sophisticated design, and complex explanations. That’s a mistake. Your clients usually don’t have time to read long and complicated reports.
They may stop opening and reading them, which may harm your collaboration on multiple levels. Therefore, be clear in your writing and choose your design wisely.
Here are a few simple rules to follow:
- Focus on critical metrics and KPIs only.
- Use straightforward and unambiguous language.
- Keep your explanations simple.
- Shorten sentences.
- Avoid complex technical jargon.
- Break text into smaller paragraphs, with informative headings, that will help a client skim through the report effortlessly.
- Leave lots of white space to make your posts easier to follow.
- Use bullet points to emphasize the most important data.
- Focus on visual content, such as charts and illustrations, rather than text.
- Organize your metrics so they can be visible on one page/ screen.
- Try to find the ideal ratio of font and graph sizes and styles. The most significant statistics and data should always be the most prominent.
- Explain what each graph stands for and what question it answers.
Over to You
When created strategically, performance reports can significantly improve agency-client relationships. Precisely because of that, make sure your reports are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Above all, get to know your clients.
Ask them about their goals and metrics that matter to them and see whether they work for you. If you disagree with a client, don’t be afraid to talk to them and explain where they are wrong. After all, that’s what they’re paying you for.
I hope you’re now a few steps closer to creating killer reports your clients will love! If you have any additional tips or suggestions, we’re listening!