Nurturing the Client-Agency Relationship
The client-agency relationship can be a difficult one to manage. When real profits are on the line, both the client and the agency need to make sure that they are doing everything possible to maintain a healthy, forthcoming business relationship.
Communication is key
Prior to starting on any project, most agencies will have to act as an educational resource for their clients. The client generally has a hole in their marketing strategy and they hire an agency to provide a solution to that problem.
If a client wants to start a paid search engine marketing campaign, the agency should ask questions to determine which methods, goals, and expectations the client has for the campaign. With this information, the agency can then determine the best strategy to take based on the client goals, as well as provide feedback to the client as to whether their expected results can reasonably be achieved.
As an agency, you'll want to provide clear reports to the client that can easily be interpreted. A client may not be interested in sorting through a spreadsheet to determine their ROI. Providing them with a clear report that outlines the work that you have done and the results that have taken place will build trust and ensure that they understand the work you are doing. Poor performing campaigns can be tough to present to a client, but failing to provide the data looks a lot worse than giving a detailed analysis as to why the campaign may be underperforming.
Clients, if your agency is not providing you with enough data or is using confusing terminology, you have every right to ask for clarification. You deserve to know how your campaign is performing, what steps the agency is currently taking to improve results, and how the agency's work is affecting your campaign results.
For agencies, you'll want to provide enough useful data to your clients so that they have a full understanding of the services that you are providing, but you don't want to provide too much data. Things that are unnecessary or irrelevant should not be included because that data can end up confusing the client.
Clients, on the other hand, should make it easy for their agency to gain access to all of the tools and information that they need in order to succeed. Treat your agency as if they were a regular employee, set standards and deadlines, but also work closely with them when needed because they are partners in your success.
Agencies should also present clear, easy to understand invoices. Include milestones and specific tasks that were accomplished so that the client has a better understanding of what they are paying for.
Both clients and agencies have a responsibility to each other in maintaining a positive work relationship. By analyzing and improving how we interact, we can improve how we work together to achieve our mutual goals and share in eachother's success.