While many of the skills I’ve gained as a Digital Marketing Strategist are thanks to experience on the job and keeping up with industry best practices, I have my clients to thank for a takeaway that transcends technical knowledge. It is in this role that I’ve learned what is necessary to establish and maintain a healthy agency-client relationship. Once you fully understand the need for a healthy agency-client relationship and you begin to put these tips into practice — the result is a partnership that is both mutually beneficial and enjoyable.
As a Digital Marketing Strategist, communication is incredibly important, as I’m ever dependent on updates regarding what’s happening in the business on a day to day basis. Without this information, it becomes difficult to highlight what makes my client’s brand different from another in the industry. If I hope to have a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership with each of my clients, we must set aside time to ensure we are on the same page when it comes to our goals.The key is to educate your client on your process and commit to sending scheduled updates. This could include sharing the thought process behind your strategy before kicking off a campaign, or explaining why you’ve decided to pivot your approach following an analytics report. Your client is entrusting their image and hard-earned dollars to you — so it’s understandable why they want to know what’s happening!
At Alter Endeavors, we reach out to our clients at the beginning of each month to send marketing initiative emails — which is basically a formal form of communication used to gather new information such as new products, upcoming events and the like. Each client can expect to receive this email each month, no matter if we had a phone call or email exchange the day prior. Beyond that, we love to schedule face to face meetings, if possible. Meeting for coffee or lunch helps foster a personal connection and makes for a more productive meeting since you’re not waiting for a response via email. The goal is to walk away from these meetings knowing what next steps need to be taken and from there, carrying out the next steps! Every so often, those proposed next step are unrealistic — which prompts me to let the client know what is realistic. A healthy relationship with your client is built on open communication and consistently holding up your end of the agreement. Expectation management is key and at the end of the day, reporting small and consistent wins is much better than always overpromising and underdelivering.
My last tip is possibly what sets Alter Endeavors apart from other digital marketing agencies. Each of our Strategists is emotionally invested in our clients’ businesses to some degree. We recognize that their success is our success and vice versa. To be quite honest, there have been many times when I wake myself from sleep to write down a future caption or ad campaign idea. While there do need to be clear boundaries, bonding with my clients on a personal level helps me better understand their brand — therefore making me a better Digital Marketing Strategist.
By building an agency-client relationship based on communication, consistency, and care — I am able to spend my time brainstorming new approaches, analyzing strategy and producing high-quality content. Whereas, if a client were working with a Strategist that lacks clear communication skills, rarely delivers and shows no personal investment… that’s just a recipe for poor results! If you’re curious as to where your current agency-client relationship falls, take this Adweek Quiz. If you know something is lacking, it’s time to speak up — your business could depend on it!