The first time I had heard this quote, it felt like I had just experienced an awakening:
“Good clients aren’t found, they must be created by setting proper expectations.”
As a marketer who works on the agency side of the fence, my team and I deal with a wide range of clients. They want to harness the power of digital marketing but many have no idea how to use it to transform their business.
Before my team started living by the idea of creating ideal clients instead of finding them, we were wasting a ridiculous amount of hours and time on unnecessary phone calls. Our clients were having trouble understanding the basics of digital advertising, and it was our fault for not managing client expectations.
If you’ve worked in the B2B side of digital advertising then you’ve likely experienced the struggles that arise when expectations aren’t properly set for your campaigns. To empower your clients and your teams, you should properly set expectations for all parties involved. Here’s 3 easy tips for managing advertising agency and client expectations:
1. Establish Realistic Timelines & Goals for Your Ad Campaigns
Clients want to know that their investment is being put to good use. So if the ad charges and agency management fees hit the invoice before you’ve established a timeline for your client to start seeing a ROI, guess what’s going to happen…
They’re going to be calling your phone, asking extra questions, second-guessing creative and scheduling more strategy meetings. A client may feel like they’re helping, but in reality, their lack of certainty in your campaign begins to eat away at the productivity of both parties.
And clients are not at fault in this scenario. You and your team are.
Before any kind of campaign proposal is signed by a client, they need to be properly educated on what to expect results wise and know what is required on their end to achieve these results. Managing expectations for your advertising agency becomes much easier when realistic timelines and goals are set in stone.
2. Remind Clients That Nurturing Leads Takes Time
One of the easiest tips for managing client expectations is to teach them about lead nurturing. Even though an ad can be delivered to a detailed targeted audience, it doesn’t mean the audience is instantly ready to make a purchase.
If your client has signed up for a lead generation campaign on Facebook, then you’ll need to establish expectations on how long it takes for your ads to move a prospective buyer through the buyer’s journey.
Just because someone opts-into their campaign and provides their contact information, a lead will often require more follow up, such as additional drip campaign emails or retargeting ads to actually get them to convert.
Make sure to remind them that it takes time for a business to build trust and establish themselves as an authority in a specific niche. Most people don’t shell out their personal information for a random business popping into their Facebook timeline.
In this scenario, it’s the agency’s responsibility to make sure their client is aware of the work involved in regards to converting new leads.
If your campaign for a client doesn’t include some type of automated follow-up funnel to close leads (and trust me, there are a ton of agencies who are selling lead generation without follow up sequences), then there will be a large amount of work left on a client’s shoulders.
Before long, client’s will get sick of making calls and trying to close these leads and blame Facebook for producing “cold leads” — ultimately becoming unhappy with your campaign and your agency.
3. Inform Clients that Campaigns Perform Better Over Time
When you run a PPC campaign on Google, the client must be aware that it will take time for the campaign to learn and become optimized. Negative keyword lists may need to be built out, so the initial cost per acquisition will ideally shrink as the campaign gets redefined.
If your client doesn’t understand this, they’ll think the cost per acquisition is way too high for the campaign to be profitable for their business. You’ll likely receive an incredibly angry phone call from them after the first week of turning your campaign on…but this can all be avoided when you educate your clients.
If the client is an understanding type, you may be able to get them on the phone and explain how a PPC campaign works and convince the client to not immediately cancel your service. However, because this wasn’t explained to the client before signing a contract, there’s a good chance it will hurt your working relationship and the trust that they have for your team.
From then on, the client will have their eyes on your work and may begin nitpicking strategy and ad copy.
Everyone Loses When Client Expectations Aren’t Met
The worst case scenario? The client sucks up a majority of your team’s time and efforts for months on end, only to cut ties with your agency once they’ve grown tired of a service they didn’t fully understand to begin with.
The best case scenario? Believe it or not, you’re better off losing the client early on in the relationship if you fail to set expectations, so you’re left with time to keep working on bringing in new business for your agency. And if you care that a client is unhappy and dissatisfied with your agency, then this best case scenario is a pretty terrible one.
Be Transparent and Communicate with Clients Often
If you’re looking to grow your client roster and retain happy clients who only call to thank you for all of the new business you’re campaigns have brought in, then it’s time to make a change.
Stop thinking about finding ideal clients, and instead start building strategies on how to create clients with honest communication and clear instruction. When you establish expectations, such as what’s required from both parties and when they should expect to start seeing a return on their investment, campaigns perform much smoother and everyone ends up better off.