If you’re the owner of a social media, marketing or PR business, you’ll understand the importance of effective reporting. Communicating your hard work and wins to your clients is just as important as delivering great results, otherwise, how does your client know all the great things you’re doing?
Most marketers, and businesses for that matter, agree that retaining clients is far more time and cost-effective than going out and finding new ones. By extension, therefore, keeping clients happy is majorly important for the bottom line, your sanity, and productivity!
Reporting that works for you and the client
Keeping clients happy is both an art and a science. Having worked with over 500 clients in the fast-paced world of social media I learned one or two things about achieving it and, unsurprisingly, it comes down to two really important things:
- Delivering results
As simple as that is, that’s pretty much all it is. So what’s the secret?
Combining the two important factors, we have what is probably the most important element of managing clients as an agency or service provider. Whether you’re measuring your input by way of time and actions, or output in terms of leads generated or media coverage; reporting on what you’re achieving for your fee is key.
But there’s a catch.
Reporting actions and successes in all the forms they come in is time-sapping
This means people tend to fall into one of two camps:
- They do the bare minimum level of reporting. They focus on delivering results, summing up what they’ve done in an email or Word document for clients each month
- They spend hours and hours putting together PowerPoint reports showcasing their wins, key metrics, and information from various sources.
Having worked with a lot of marketing and PR pros, my experience is that a lot of people try to get away with option 1 until they lose a client they shouldn’t have lost. They lose a client they were doing great work for because the client didn’t realize they were doing such great work.
Once that happens, they go for option 2.
The monthly time vacuum
Because good marketers and good business people appreciate the need to retain clients and display their work well, loads of time goes into reporting. For us, that typically involved 14 processes;
- Scrolling through social media channels to screenshot the best performing content
- Digging out screenshots from various folders/an ever-congested desktop
- Digging out previous reports for comparison data
- Putting them into a PowerPoint document
- Drawing in data from numerous analytics software
- Providing commentary for each piece bit of information added
- Branding the document
- Formatting PowerPoint several times
- Having the document proofed
- Ensuring the document looks vaguely in the same format as previous reports
- Leaving it until the last-minute to get the most recent analytics data
- Exporting it as a PDF
- Emailing it to the client
- Following up the client to ensure they’d received and read the report
I know this happens in thousands of agencies right across the globe. Even the most expensive analytics tools do not provide the qualitative reporting or human interpretation needed for a high-quality client report.
Frankly, we were fed up of spending so much time reporting when we could have been actually doing the things we do best. Setting up template reports on PowerPoint saved us some time on branding and formatting, but everything else was created fresh each month.
After persevering for several years and searching in vain for a solution, we decided to have our own reporting software built. This tool enables us to automatically file screenshots for each client and enter the accompanying commentary when we take the screenshot.
We can also tag each entry so the screenshot is filed in the right part of the report. In our case, as a social media agency, this means putting them into ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, or ‘LinkedIn lead-generation’, for example.
The best part is that the tool allows you to specify certain sizes for the screenshots, set a priority level, and the report makes itself! No faffing, no rearranging, and it’s simple to edit, if needed. It’s also accessible by senior staff members to check and give it a final proof. Of course, it is also branded using the clients’ logo and brand colors.
After getting loads of questions from fellow agency-owners about our reports, we decided to make the tool accessible to everyone. We’re not precious about keeping our resource exclusive, we want the world to understand how powerful digital marketing is so businesses continue to invest in companies like ours.
Flaunt is the tool we helped to develop. It has everything we need to show off our work to clients and keep them coming back for more. It’s also super easy for the team to use so they don’t have the stress at the end of the month trying to put everything together.
We can see when our clients access the documents, and it’s easy for them to compare reports month on month. The reports really do look great and our clients appreciate the investment we’ve made in making everything clear for them. I’m not here hard-selling the tool. I’m here to share it with marketers who I believe deserve something that enables them to get on with what they do best without paying hundreds of dollars for semi-useful analytics tools.
That’s why we’ve insisted on giving everyone free access for 30 days, with no card details required so people can try it. Even after the trial it’s just $5 per month, per client, which we think is great value for keeping those key clients happy.
I really hope you’ll give it a try and would love to know how you get on.
By Jodie Cook
Jodie Cook is a social media entrepreneur with a passion for lifestyle design and inspiring enterprising spirit in others. Jodie founded a social media agency in 2011 and has since co-founded several other businesses, all with the theme of empowering people to take control of their working life. This also includes Clever Tykes, children’s storybooks that develop enterprising behavior in 6-9 year old children. The books are read in every primary school in the UK and led to her inclusion in Forbes Europe’s 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs 2017.
Before you leave…
Graham Allcott has also had the pleasure to sit down with Jodie Cook and her partner Ben Cook for a Beyond Busy episode. They talk about living and working together and “essentialism”. Have a listen here.