Are you providing tangible and consistent value to your content marketing clients?
Unfortunately, most agencies aren’t.
They are good at selling the benefits of content and mapping out a strategy, but when it comes to execution their attention waivers. They’re either getting distracted and moving onto the next opportunity, or they simply don’t know how to get results.
Being ready to deliver value and actually delivering value are two very different things.
When it comes to the crunch, if your agency is not providing consistent results to your clients, then they will lose interest.
You need to regularly refine and improve the way you execute. It’s about creating WOW moments for your clients and exceeding their expectations time and time again with exceptional service, unprecedented results, and continuous optimization.
Below are six vital components of execution that will keep your clients humming in excitement just like day one, all year round!
1. Deliver results
“No sh*t sherlock”
You probably just muttered that to yourself. And for good reason, it’s not rocket science to suggest that delivering results is an important part of client retention.
But what is interesting, and something a LOT of agencies get wrong is understanding how to deliver the kind of results that will prevent your clients from ever questioning their investment with you.
This is where the sales conversation and strategy development phase are so crucial. Both you and your client need to have a succinct definition of what success looks like. There can’t be any grey area.
If you have accurately quantified what the client cares about, then delivering results becomes a lot easier. This allows you to document clear expectations that align with your experience and ability to deliver results, because it’s something you have done before with similar companies.
Your goal should be to create an environment where the only possible outcome is a positive one for your agency. If the client has higher expectations of results than what you KNOW you can achieve, then say goodbye. Don’t work together. Wish them luck with someone else, and focus on backing winning horses.
Don’t assume you know what a client wants and why they are paying you because most of the time your assumptions will be off the mark. Ask the right questions and create a shared meaning for success.
By delivering outcomes directly associated with the things your client is drawing a budget for makes retention a no-brainer.
2. Create a cadence for reporting
Whatever you do… don’t go silent.
Without a doubt this is the most common reason agencies lose content marketing clients. You settle into an engagement and after a few months, it all becomes a little easier, because your processes are in place and humming along nicely. You’re publishing regular content, building assets, and the train is in motion. Things are looking good from your perspective.
But the client stops hearing from you. Radio silence.
Even though the engine is on in the background, the lights are off and the client is in the dark. They start to question why they are paying you. “What exactly are they doing for us?”
By the time they bring this concern to your attention, it’s too late. You’ve lost their engagement and they have already found an alternative way to approach their content strategy.
This is exactly why you need a regular cadence, at least monthly, of reporting back to the client. They want to know about the results, yes, but they also want reassurance about exactly what they are getting from their investment.
You need to create a repeatable reporting process that shows the client resource allocation, content output, and relevant outcomes. This report should closely relate to the initial contract and agreed definition of success for the engagement.
If you’re looking for a tech solution for this, Klipfolio offers a custom dashboard that connects data and enables regular client reporting.
3. Make informed decisions
Your clients want insight, not just activity. They want to be confident that the people executing their marketing strategy are in it for the long haul and dedicated to growing their business almost as much as they are. They want thought leaders, not project managers or pencil pushers.
To fulfill this desire you need to be proactive. Don’t wait for them to come to you with ideas or important updates to their strategy, get ahead of the game.
Before you send them that report every month use the data to develop insights of your own. Look for gaps in their strategy, opportunities for improvement, and areas that need your attention.
Come to them armed with industry insight, knowledge of the latest marketing trends, and specific recommendations as it relates to their unique situation.
Let them know that you are doing everything possible to get them to the end of the rainbow. Surprise them with insight, inspire them with success stories, and delight them with action.
Then you will be a strategic partner, not just a service provider.
4. Automate and optimize
According to the Aberdeen Group, nearly 70% of best-in-class companies are currently using (or implementing) marketing automation.
For your agency to grow, automation and optimization of your client delivery is essential.
Automation helps speed up and improve all sorts of tasks that can enable growth. According to one report by Redeye and TFM&A, the benefits of marketing automation include:
- Taking repetitive tasks out of marketers hands, allowing them to focus on new/more exciting projects (36%)
- Better targeting of customers and prospects (30%)
- Improving the customer experience (10%)
- Better email marketing (9%)
- Reduction of human error in campaigns (8%),
- Lead management (4%) and multichannel marketing (3%)
Embracing marketing automation is an easy way for your agency to scale the marketing efforts of your clients, as well as save on time, energy, resources and skills.
You get better results and keep your clients happy with less effort. Perfect!
5. Add additional value
By automating and optimizing a portion of your clients’ marketing activity, you create space to add additional value.
Now you have time to be proactive and brainstorm ways you can strengthen the bond you have with your clients. This is the icing on the cake.
Here are some ideas for adding value to your clients that don’t take too much effort but create a lot of social currency:
- Call them up at least once a month to check in, see how they are, and ask if there is anything else you can do for them.
- Seek out helpful articles about their industry and send them 3 to 4 takeaways that relate to their business.
- Provide out-of-scope advice and guidance about their other marketing activity.
- Introduce them to people in your network that could provide mutual benefit or opportunity.
- Recommend their product or service to relevant friends, families, and colleagues.
- Take them and their team out for lunch or send them a gift certificate to strengthen your relationship.
Each of these things is fairly small but they all contribute to a well-rounded relationship with your clients. It’s no longer a transaction, but a partnership. Partnerships are hard to break.
6. Extend your services
Once you have onboarded a client and are exceeding their expectations, it’s time to start thinking about extending your services.
By extending your services, you not only increase the revenue you receive from a client, but you also become further entrenched in their organization. The more value you create for your clients, the less likely they are to churn.
An extension of your services may be providing additional content marketing solutions. For example, if you are simply managing their social media accounts, there may be an opportunity to start writing blog content, producing videos, or building links. Alternatively, you could diversify your services by offering AdWords management, SEO, or web design.
Of course, how you go about extending your services will depend on the makeup of your agency. For some agencies, you will already have the resources, processes, and infrastructure to provide additional services immediately. For others, you will need a way to satisfy additional demand. This may be through hiring more team members, outsourcing to freelancers or contractors, or finding a white label service solution.
Once you lock down a process for resourcing the extension of your services, it will be much easier to replicate with other clients.
That’s how you retain clients, increase revenue, and grow your agency.