Communication between an SEO agency and its clients is the cornerstone of their successful business relationship.
Just like any other professional or personal relationship, this one requires a lot of effort and energy. Yet, many agencies and their clients fail to realize this, and simply go with the hectic, busy flow, without trying to establish some ground rules, so, no wonder that things don’t go as planned.
Let’s not forget that a great deal of marketing and SEO is about sending a certain message and portraying a client in the best light, and that means that lines of communication between agencies and their clients should be open.
Client involvement is essential throughout the process
When someone hires an SEO agency to manage their search optimization, rankings, and brand visibility, they usually believe that they have passed the torch and that from then on everything is up to the agency.
This is a dangerous misconception because the agency needs help. Namely, the client is the one that has considerable expertise when it comes to the industry and the best channels for marketing their products or services, and that’s something that no research can top regardless of how comprehensive it is.
Sometimes this lack of client involvement can be more extreme to the extent that there’s no communication for days or even weeks, and this can lead to some serious campaign delays and setbacks, because many things need the client’s approval, not to mention that certain tasks require a certain budget in order to be completed.
Introduce regular meetings
This is one of the most important tactics for making sure that digital agencies and their clients stay on the same page. It’s best to discuss this early in the process, and see what day of the week, as well as a channel of communication, a client prefers and book recurring weekly meetings.
Since coming up with reports for clients can be a complex and time-consuming task, it’s a good idea to switch to reporting software with a shareable digital marketing dashboard which allows clients to access metrics and see the progress being made.
This kind of transparency is essential for building trust and credibility between both parties. Of course, over time, these weekly meetings can turn into monthly meetings, but sticking to a predefined schedule is a must.
It’s crucial for agencies to get to know their clients
This can be a make-it-or-break-it factor of a successful client-agency relationship. Understanding where every client comes from and what their motivations and goals are is extremely important.
However, due to the already mentioned hectic schedules, it’s not an easy task to accomplish. But, making time for a working lunch, especially during the early stages of your business relationship can be highly beneficial.
Active listening is one of the skills required to make this work because it’s important to identify and understand client’s biggest pain points and pressures in order to find the best solution.
Brainstorming sessions involving each department which works on a particular client’s account as well as the client themselves can be more effective than traditional presentations in which clients have a somewhat passive role while the agency does all the talking.
Needless to say, such collaborative sessions encourage problem-solving and enable getting to the bottom of things.
Flexibility is the word
Both agencies and their clients need to be flexible and ready to make changes if necessary. As one of the main goals of SEO is to improve rankings of a business, thus boosting its visibility, sometimes it’s necessary to change website elements such as the copy, design, architecture, or layouts.
More often than not, clients are unwilling to make these changes because they incur additional costs, which is why it’s important to properly explain to them what’s at stake.
Even though the results on the first page of the SERPs get 92% of all traffic, it’s to no avail if a website ranks high when its copy doesn’t provide enough information about the product or if the purchasing process is too complex.
Similarly, agencies have to be ready to tweak their initial plan as new information and possibilities emerge.
Using professional jargon can alienate clients, simply because they don’t understand what SEO experts are saying. To be more precise, people who aren’t SEO specialists usually don’t know the first thing about this marketing strategy.
That’s why it’s important to demystify this concept and explain in layman’s terms what it’s all about, how it works, and more importantly what its benefits are.
Sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations and they believe that SEO will catapult their rankings to the stratosphere as if by magic and in no time.
It’s up to agencies to educate their clients and help them understand the basics of SEO and set their expectations accordingly. This can significantly create a satisfactory experience for both parties.
Streamlined agency-client communication is the first and most important step in creating a successful SEO strategy.