February 26, 2014

Let’s take a break from the typical blog post centered around tactics and strategy, and focus on the client side of your marketing campaign.

Imagine it’s the end of the month, and you’re pulling together a monthly report in preparation for a status meeting with your biggest client.

Usually you dread these days, but not today. Today things are looking up.

All of your focus keywords have climbed to the first page, and traffic, well traffic shot up 250% over last month! Yep, things are looking great, you even start thinking this would be the perfect time to introduce an up-sell to a larger scope.

You walk into your meeting with your head held high and your ego is about to write a check that your results can’t cash.

You just failed.

And just like that, somehow your successful campaign tanked. Why? Because you’re too focused on the technical side and failed to consider the business and human side of your campaign.

After all, as a marketer, you’re trying to grow revenue for a business that’s run by a human, aren’t you?

Don’t get caught in that trap again, it’s never a fun place to be. These 5 tips will help you avoid this client success trap and ensure that you and your client are on the same page so you can communicate campaign success more efficiently.

1. Set Clear Business Goals & KPI’s

The main reason marketers get caught in the client success trap is the failure to set clear and concise business goals.

Most likely your client only cares about one thing: making money. Right now, showing him a fancy chart with keyword rankings does nothing for him. In fact, it might even piss him off. He’s paying you thousands of dollars a month, and all you’re giving him is a number on a graph?

Traffic and rankings should never be a primary goal or key performance indicator, sure there is a correlation between rankings > traffic > sales, but as a stand alone goal it means nothing.

Start by creating primary and secondary campaign goals.

Primary goals should be the ones that matter most to your client: signups, checkouts, phone calls, etc. Whereas secondary goals should be internal goals that will help you reach your primary goals: rankings, traffic, controlled inbound traffic, etc.

2. Educate and Set Client Expectations

Sometimes, clients can be strange.

They’ll come to you all hyped up, thinking this SEO thing they heard about is the solution to rapid business growth. This client’s expectations need to be put in check, quickly.

It can be too easy to go along with his blind enthusiasm and promise keyword rankings. But you’ll be falling into the client success trap once again. You see, he doesn’t even know it yet, but he’s not looking for keyword rankings.

Educate your client on who you are, when you work, how your process works and what they should expect on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. You can easily avoid scope creep and other frustrations by setting clear expectations.

3. Don’t Shy Away From The Tough Conversations

Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Especially when it comes to running a digital marketing campaign.

Forrest Gump said it first, “Sh*t Happens”. When you hit those rough spots that are sure to come up in your campaign, don’t shy away from them and don’t try to cover the problems up. Figure out a solution and talk about it.

Being upfront with your client when problems do arise isn’t always a bad thing. This is where you can earn real trust by showing that you have your client’s back, no matter what.

4. Focus on Quick Wins

Gaining traction and growing organic SEO reach takes time.

Surely though, you’ve set solid goals and you’ve educated your client on when and how you’ll reach these goals. Just because you have a long road trip ahead of you doesn’t mean it has to be boring along the way.

Kicking off a campaign with a couple small and obtainable quick wins will set the basis of how your client views you. No matter how small the quick win is, it’s a glimpse of what the future holds.

Prove instant success and your client will have more faith in the future of the campaign.

5. Cultivate Through Communication

Your client is depending on you to keep them informed.

There’s no such thing as over-communicating. Depending on who you’re working with, digital marketing is likely a very foreign subject, even after all of the educating you’ve done. Communicate anything from large status updates, barriers you’re encountering to little things like their latest piece of content went live.

Be consistent, set a point of contact on both sides and create an internal communication calendar. If you can eliminate surprises and treat your clients more like a partner by identifying them as a person rather than a revenue stream, the stronger your relationship will grow.

The stronger the relationship, the easier it is to deliver and showcase success.

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