Today’s digital marketing clients are just as savvy as their buyers; they carefully research their options and typically don’t convert until they have examined alternatives.
That said, they also stand out as a unique consumer group in that most contact the best inbound marketing agencies completely unaware that what they really want is inbound marketing, and not stand-alone SEO.
Once you understand their real needs, present a contract designed to help brand’s reach their growth goals, and get the deal signed and sealed, your next step is a crucial one: the onboarding process.
Marketing agencies who fail to streamline their onboarding waste time, money, and a lot of energy.
In some cases, they even lose clients who sense internal chaos or poor communication. By following an effective process, you can save time and money while showing the client an abundance of value right out the gate.
Here are five effective steps your agency can button up the onboarding process and offer something of sterling value.
1. The Kickoff Call and Familiarisation
The kickoff call happens after the deal has been signed and is the first call in the client-agency relationship. It is also the most important step in the onboarding process.
This is where trust is built right out the gate by familiarizing the client with your agency’s services, methods, and connecting them with the people who will be marketing their products and services.
When done well, an important relationship will evolve built on the client’s understanding of what you do, and your familiarization of his industry, products, services, and how each plays into driving revenue and spreading brand awareness.
The kickoff call is also the time when your internal team is aligned and a clear set of objectives are created. Your director of operations, SEO director, PPC director and other management team members go over objectives, seek clarity on various points, and collect the information they need to develop a cohesive strategy.
This all happens from following these kickoff call steps:
• Campaign objectives
• Client overview
• Campaign overview
• Next Steps
2. Assessing the Client’s Existing Campaigns
One critical part of the onboarding process is assessing the client’s existing campaigns. You will want to determine what they do, and what they don’t do to develop a scope of work designed to hit goals.
Every client is different in terms of maturity continuum, and you will see that their range of assets will vary.
Make a list of your findings that reflect both the positive and negative. Just make sure to position the negatives as opportunities for improvement and be the expert they are paying for.
3. Create Your Campaign Goals and Marketing Plan
Clearly defined goals and a solid plan are the starting points to any good campaign. Look back to the sales cycle and decipher the client’s goals; this assessment will allow you to quantify campaign goals allowing you and your team to to execute without flaw.
Make sure the data you have is accurate enough to determine a goals baseline. Clarify the campaign’s purpose while your team and the client is present in order to ensure full alignment. Campaign goals must be created by you and the client; without buy-in on both sides the effort has no value.
4. Assign Roles to Your Team
You will need to make sure the right people are assigned with the skill sets required to complete the scope of work, otherwise you will fail at delivery.
WEBITMD assigns a team of five to every client. These include the director of operations, a content strategist, a paid media expert, a designer, and a coordinator.
Tasks are also assigned based on how people are able to relate to the client and his team. The operations director is the most important assignee because she/he is the lead strategist, point of contact for the client, and maintains a solid cultural fit between the client and the agency.
5. Check-Up Call
Your director of operations should set up a call with the primary decision maker — the person who decides if checks get cut. These calls are designed to ensure the client sees value in the services that have been performed, and has a clear view of upcoming tasks and their goals.
This call is also a good way for agencies to get temperature checks in order to determine if any changes need to be made.
These calls normally take place every 30 days, though some agencies set them up quarterly. They’re really the relationship strengthener showcasing an agency’s dedication to delivering results. It is crucial that the person communicating isn’t well versed in the campaign, but also has the communication skills to bridge any cultural diversity while demonstrating genuine passion.