Successful marketing agencies work hard to deliver on their clients’ goals. They’ll help their clients refine and extend their brand to achieve their positioning goals. They’ll create and manage marketing campaigns that help their clients reach current and potential consumers. They’ll ensure their client’s messaging is on point for its target audience.
How do marketing agencies deliver on these goals? By leveraging the knowledge, experience, and talent of the agencies’ staff – of course. But one factor that’s even more fundamental to an agency’s success is something that many companies treat as an afterthought: client communication.
Clearly and effectively communicating with your client is the only way to ensure that you’re truly meeting their expectations. Consistent communication will allow you to garner feedback from your client on your progress in real-time, and not just on a final deliverable that may miss the mark. And, most importantly, regular communication – and active listening – will enable you to develop a relationship with the client, which will help you attain greater insight into the client’s aspirations and overall mission.
Your returns on valuing clear communication at your agency will be many. You’ll build trust with your clients, you’ll receive positive feedback, and you’ll be able to grow your business based on your outstanding reputation.
Best Practices for Effective Client Communication
To ensure you’re always communicating effectively and proactively with your clients, we’ve created a handy checklist of best practices to keep in mind:
1. Set Expectations Early in the Contract Phase
According to the old adage, “clear accounting makes good friends.” This is especially true when it comes to client relationships. Establish clear expectations regarding communications early on. That way, there are no misconceptions on either side. The best time to do this is during the on-boarding phase or while the terms of the agency contract are being determined.
2. Treat the Client Like an Individual and Stay Positive
Although agency relationships are generally service-oriented, you must remember to treat the client as an individual, and not as an account. When you take a more personable approach with your clients, you will find it easier to communicate with them. In turn, when you project a friendly and positive attitude, they will find you approachable, as well. This will help encourage a more open and honest verbal exchange.
3. Set Weekly Calls
A weekly update assures the client that they are always a priority for you. They will not have to guess what is going on with their business. Instead, they can rely on your regular calls to keep them informed.
4. Add Communications to Your Checklist
Keep your client informed whenever you are working on their project. Send them a link upon uploading a new page to their website. Encourage them to collaborate on their campaigns to help fine-tune the product. Their consistent presence throughout the processes will help you hone the marketing strategy to meet their objectives.
5. Actively Listen
Instead of talking to your client, listen to them. Observe the nonverbal cues, such as the other person’s eye contact, posture, and body language. Oftentimes, that is a better indication of what they are actually trying to say.
In addition, paraphrase or summarize what they have said. This ensures that you do understand what they are saying. At the same time, they will be assured that you are actually listening to them. The result will be a more productive conversation and better rapport.
6. Use the Right Collaboration Tools
With email boxes constantly full, people have developed a tendency to ignore their incoming messages. In order to streamline communication and expedite responses, it might be best to use another platform or collaboration tool, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. These tools can also improve inter-office production since you can share files as you communicate details about them. Fortunately, there are quite a few different tools available that you can choose from. So, do a bit of research to see which tool would be best suited to your needs.
7. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Make every effort to understand your client. Dig a little deeper. Once you know them better, it will be easier to communicate with them. As a result, you will soon get a clearer insight into who they are and what motivates them. Equipped with that knowledge, you can create a campaign that is better tailored to their needs.
8. Memorialize Communications
As often as possible, document your communications. Keeping a log of your client interactions can help you keep track of the details that might inform your approach. If needed, write a memo to further detail what was discussed. In time, this practice can even prove helpful to prevent miscommunication.
9. Remember to Make It a Team Effort
Encourage your team to actively take part in building client rapport. To start, introduce each team member to the client from the very first meeting. This shows the client that there is a whole team working for them. Next, encourage each of them to engage the client whenever possible. This helps make the communication lines easier to navigate through, resulting in a much stronger client-agency relationship.
In the age of high technology and social media platforms, marketing can tend to be rather impersonal. All in all, the best way to create and cultivate client relationships is still the more personal approach. So, reach out and get to know your client better. It will go a long way towards creating a great working client relationship.