It’s budgeting time. While that might not send out cheers of joy for your agency (as it sounds mildly better than a root canal) it should. The end of the year is an important time for businesses because they are beginning the process of setting budgets. To set a budget, companies review a department’s performance from the previous year. Companies in this process are also reviewing the performance of their advertising budget, and they will be looking for advice on where they should be putting their advertising dollars for the upcoming year. See where this is headed.
You likely are doing reporting for your clients on some regular basis. (If not you might want to start) But, I don’t want to talk about the recurring report today. I want to talk about a special report, a report that your clients will actually read. And why should you do a year-end report? You do a year-end report because you have the opportunity to influence your clients as they are determining how to spend money. Think about it; that is what you are always trying to do when you help your clients with search engine marketing. You are trying to influence your client’s customers while they are in the purchasing funnel. Reporting is how you can be influential in the purchasing funnel of your own customers or clients.
So what value does this report bring to the purchasing funnel? It brings two critical things to your clients that in the end benefit you. The two things are:
- You make your clients feel good about their past purchases with you.
- You present to your clients areas of improvement in their marketing.
Make your clients feel good: Buyer’s remorse is a real thing, and if customers feel like they took a chance on your services they are going to want to feel special or they are going to want to put you on a short leash. You need to ensure that your client feels like they are getting what they pay for. Of course you are providing results, but sometimes that is hard for the client to see from their perspective, and unless you tell them they won’t know. After all they don’t get the satisfaction of seeing their commercial in the Super Bowl when they advertise online.
By showing them your results (even if they are not as good as you or your client would like them to be) you are building a transparent relationship built upon trust. This trust goes a long way and helps if you ever make a mistake down the road. Finally, by making them feel good about their purchase they will be willing to continue to send more money your way when their contract is up, because you made them feel good. And remember, if the news is really good then their wallet will start to open wider because humans spend more when we feel good.
Point out areas of improvement: This is where your investment in reporting and analysis will turn into more money for your agency. Remember, these marketing managers are looking for ways to improve their marketing campaigns (improvement can mean it makes their lives easier or that it leads to greater sales and profitability). This time of year they are likely more willing to look at new options to improve performance because they likely just set new goals with their boss and are under the gun to perform. This means more opportunities for your agency to gain work. Because of this, the final report has to be more than just a general report. It has to be a true analysis that highlights the ways to gain a greater competitive edge through your marketing efforts.
If you are not doing a year-end report to sum up your awesomeness to your client you are doing a disservice to your business and client. They want to hear how incredible you did for them. There is an old saying that it is easier to keep a customer than gain a new one. Reporting and analysis are one of those easy ways to retain a customer and drive more revenue from existing customers.
Now the question is how do you convince them of your awesomeness in the report? Over the next few weeks, I will talk about how to make your year-end report do just that by providing effective analysis that leads to action by your client. Stay tuned.