Working For Clients vs Collaborating With Clients

A beneficial relationship between marketing agency and client is one that is based on mutual trust and two-way communication. Sure the client may be paying your agency to advertise their brand, engage their audience and grow their business, but it doesn’t have to be just a straightforward working relationship. In fact, the best relationships are collaborative, ones where the agency and client both have input, learn from each other and assist each other to meet objectives.

Here are some ways you can create a successful collaboration with your client.

Choosing a client that’s a great fit

 If you want to work with the right clients, i.e those who can offer you a collaboration, then you’ll need to put a process in place to assess them. This way you can avoid taking on a client that doesn’t match your values, who may roadblock your efforts and who could cause you more stress and angst than they’re worth.

Every agency will have a different method of vetting prospective clients and there’s no hard and fast rule on this. But you will need to ask them a number of questions to be able to make a decision. You might want to have a brief initial online questionnaire or chat session, and then if that seems promising, schedule a face-to-face meeting to better gauge if they will be good fit or not.

Here are some questions to include:

  • What are your goals?
  • Why do you want to work with our agency?
  • Have you had issues with previous agencies?
  • What makes your product/service unique?

The prospective client in turn will be asking their own questions to determine whether your agency has the experience and skills to meet their needs. You may be asked such things as:

  • Have you worked with businesses in my industry?
  • What tools do you use to advertise and optimize campaigns?
  • When will I see results?
  • How often will we communication and how?

Once you’re past the initial vetting stage, it’s a good idea to schedule a meet-and-greet for the client to get to know the marketing team who will be doing the actual work.

Outline clear objectives

A successful collaboration is one where everyone is on the same page, and has realistic expectations around the timeline for the work being done. Nothing will ruin the health of a relationship quicker than a project dragging on past a deadline and an agency keeping mum on the reasons for its longevity.

While it’s up to the agency to set clear objectives for the project, and communicate any setbacks or issues to along the way, the client also has to do their part to keep things running smoothly. A good client will regularly update the agency on their own team’s objectives, deliverables and timeline and treat them like an extension of their own business.

Performance during initial project

An agency’s performance during the initial project, is crucial to set in place a solid foundation of trust. There needs to be consistent results driven feedback at every step, whether by a regularly scheduled video conference, or in-person meeting.

Some ways to ensure the survival of the fledgling relationship include:

  • Scheduling weekly or bi-weekly calls
  • Responding to emails within 24 hours (set realistic expectations on this from the get-go)
  • Inviting the client to your project management system so they can see the workflow
  • Meeting your deadlines by breaking up the project into achievable milestones
  • Monthly measurement reporting.

The key outcome of the initial project is to keep the communication open and transparent and by doing so, set the stage to work together on an ongoing basis. A client who feels neglected, not listened to or completely out of the loop, won’t want to retain your services.

Building trust

 Trust is earned, not given, and it’s only by constantly growing the relationship with your client that you will become a valued part of their marketing endeavors. You want them to trust that you have their best interests in mind and that you are there to help them succeed and gain revenue from your strategies and recommendations.

By working together collaboratively you can help them achieve success, which in turn is your success.

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Author: Matt Ramage

Matt Ramage has been marketing websites for over 20 years. He loves helping businesses improve their user experience and searchability on the Internet. Matt now heads Emarketed which is located in Los Angeles, California. They specialize in SEO, social media marketing and web development.

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