How to manage new client’s expectations
Whether a creative firm is designing and developing a new website, rebranding or handling all marketing campaigns, it is imperative to understand how to manage a new client’s expectations. With this in mind, each and every client will be different. There is no “one-way” method for managing client’s expectations.
So, what should a digital marketing agency or any agency out there do to handle these expectations properly?
There will always be something that throws a wrench into the plan, and no matter what it is, it is imperative to keep the plan moving without affecting the work for the client’s. It doesn’t matter if there is an awesome post planned for that day, depending on the client, all posts might have to be scrapped and changed due to a trending topic, breaking news, company news or for a list of other reasons.
Social Media is Ever Changing
Another thing to let client’s know is that; social media is ever changing. If a Digital Marketer has THE best blog post going out on Tuesday morning, but come Tuesday morning there is breaking news, that post will slowly be pushed down in the feed.
SEO Is A Marathon
SEO is a marathon, not a race. At Omaha Media Group, we tell all client’s it can take over six months to start ranking organically in search engines. A brand new website will not rank over night. There are strategies that a digital marketing agency has to put in place over time to get that ranking. Often times, frustration occurs about three to four months into the process cause clients don’t understand why the website is not ranking.
Phone Support is for Emergencies Only
It should be known that the hours of operation are from X to Y with an emergency phone number which is to be used ONLY in emergencies. An emergency would be a website being down not a social media post not posting at 10 p.m. at night. Clear boundaries should always be set and employees should not give out their personal phone numbers. Without clear boundaries set in the beginning of the relationship, it can become a stress later on in the contract and a frustration on both ends.
2. KPIs, Goals and Tracking
In the initial kick-off meeting this is the time for both parties to drill down client’s expectations and understand their goals. A client should have their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set in place, but if not, ask 90 questions if one needs to, so expectations are clear from the beginning on both ends.
Once KPIs are set in place and each party understands and confirms that those KPIs determined, the next step is to ask, “What do they hope to achieve by working with your agency.” This will further elaborate those KPIs and even give a better understanding and context.
Another key understanding is what has and hasn't worked for them in the past. They hired another digital marketing agency to provide X services but these were the downfalls. If the KPIs and goals set in place are similar as the last agency’s, it is time to dig into how to change that. This can offer information to your team which will help to better understand why the client wants this specific goal or service.
3. Be honest
Honesty is the best policy. When a new relationship is starting to develop, trust is the most important aspect of this relationship. Each person out there has probably been in a couple of relationships in their personal lives and what broke the trust? (We do not need details.) A client who has expectations that can’t be reached, tell them. Explain that the expectation is awesome, but might not be realistic because of X, Y and Z.
What happens next? Explain how your company can take said expectations and turn it into a more achievable expectation for the time being. Just because the expectation is unrealistic right now, it does not mean in six months to a year it is not achievable. It all depends on the goals and your digital marketing agency’s ability to provide those services.
A client will (we hope not) NEVER be upset with honesty.
4. Understanding their place in the market and industry
A brand new business that has never had any type of online presence will take longer than one with an established presence. This is just a fact of business and life. After a plan has been set in place for each new client, explain this. While this client wants to be like Y and Z, these two have been established on the online and physical industry for much longer. Can an agency work to outrank them? Yes! Have more followers? Yes. However, the agency will need time and a plan of action. If the team decides to follow a plan for 90 days to see if it is effective, then let them.
The biggest mistake is planning the world and only being able to provide the lakes.
5. We are all human
At the end of the day, both parties need to remember that we are all humans. We will each make mistakes, correct them and move on. We are all working for the same goal, racing to the same finish line. A client is going to second guess just about everything for at least the first six months. Always understand to not hold grudges and that each person involved is human. If there is a small mistake, communicate and once it is fixed just explain why that was frustrating. If it was something that either party over reacted about at the time, just explain it.
We all have baggage and sometimes that seeps into business, but building a relationship with client’s is all about this.
It is imperative to set solid expectations with new client’s when it comes to any of these notions listed above. Be honest, be human and do the best work possible!
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Posted In: Client Resources