Progress meetings with your clients are incredibly important. They are the lifeblood of agency-client communication. They let you and your client’s team get detailed updates and discuss what’s working and what isn’t. These meetings also help you build momentum and get buy-in from key stakeholders.
4 Reasons Why Marketing Progress Meetings Matter
1) Path to Referrals
Your client should walk away from your progress meetings with at least three sound bites on the impact your work is having on his business. These snippets become the stories he swaps with friends and at cocktail parties and his local watering holes (real or online).
2) Motivate to Collaborate
You might have folks from the client’s team helping create content. If so, their participation needs to be publicly acknowledged. Show the impact of their efforts and how they’ve helped drive strategic initiatives forward in a public setting — it will make them eager to do even more.
3) Path to Upselling
The transparency achieved through frequent reporting builds trust with your client. He feels in the loop and up-to-date. He becomes more and more enrolled in your joint success. And the more knowledgeable he is about your efforts, the more likely he’ll fight internally to get you more resources.
4) Maintain Your Retainer
Assuming your strategies yield favorable and strong results over time, frequent reporting reminds your client why he hired you. This makes the decision to reach for his checkbook at the end of your contract a no-brainer.
How to Run Client Account Progress Meetings
Have a Clear Agenda
Put together the agenda ahead of time. Consider how to split time between showing results, making recommendations and brainstorming next steps. Send this to your client ahead of time to see if there is anything else he wants to add.
Meet Regularly and Frequently
Choose a recurring time that works best for your client, such as the first Tuesday of every month. Make sure you get the meeting on the calendars of all key stakeholders and team members. Also, see if it makes sense to piggyback your meeting with other key internal meetings.
Once you’ve finalized your report deck for the meeting, send it to your client. Giving him time to digest the data ahead of time will create better questions, more productive conversations, and save you time in the long run.
Just because the charts look good, don’t lose focus on in-person essentials. The agenda you set for your progress meetings, and how you work through that agenda, greatly influences the impact of your reports. You’ve got the numbers, and an exciting story, now make the meeting count.
Give thought to the agenda of your meeting, and coach folks at the beginning to adhere to a format you set. Ask them to take notes and save questions until the end. This lets you run through your findings, insights and hypotheses without interruption.
Anticipate a possible “SO WHAT?” conversation and subtly make time for it at the end of your agenda. Use your conclusions and recommendations as the meat of the conversation, and engage the client team around what they think is working, what they think isn’t working, and why. Further clarify goals, create new ones. Take diligent notes and use these inputs in future campaign creation.
Know who your champions are on the client team and be sure to follow up with them one-on-one briefly after the meeting. Find out how they perceived the meeting. Use their perspective to gauge the client team’s temperature and adjust future meetings accordingly.
7 Inbound Marketing Activites to Report on Each Month
Now let’s dig into what strategic questions your monthly deck should contain answers to, so you can provide both high-level and granular detail around your efforts and craft that story that will have your client’s team on the edge of their seats.
1) Search Engine Optimization
How much did traffic increase or decrease as a result of the SEO changes/ improvements?
What were the main drivers? (Show relevant campaigns and efforts)
How did this affect leads and customers?
How much did organic traffic increase?
Which keywords performed the best?
Which keywords are still lagging?
2) Blogging & Content Creation
Has traffic to the blog helped overall site traffic?
What leads have come from links and calls-to-action on the blog?
How many blog articles got posted?
Which were the month’s top posts?
Which topics/campaigns got the most visits? Most comments? Had the highest CTAs?
Which formats performed the best?
3) Social Media
How did social media contribute to traffic?
How did social media contribute to leads? (replies, retweets, new followers?)
How did our social media reach grow/shrink?
How active were we on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.?
4) Landing Page Performance
What premium content offers did we develop this month?
How productive were these offers in terms of leads?
How and where were these offers promoted (on-site & off-site)?
Landing page conversion rate?
Visits to landing pages?
What A/B tests did we run?
5) Email Campaigns
What was promoted using email this month?
How did email contribute to traffic and leads?
How many emails were sent and to which lists were they sent?
What was the performance of each send? Click-through rate? Unsubscribe numbers?
What tests -- if any -- were performed, and what were the results?
6) Lead Nurturing
What lead nurturing campaigns were active this month?
How many lead reconverts did lead nurturing drive?
How did lead nurturing drive the average lead score up?
Clickthroughs for each lead nurturing email?
Unsubscribes per lead nurturing campaign?
Which other offers were used in lead nurturing?
What tests were done?
How were existing lead nurturing campaigns modified to improve performance?
7) Customer Acquisition
How many customers did inbound marketing drive over the defined time interval?
What campaigns or sources were the most impactful in customer conversion?
Which persona segments were the most responsive to our content?
How many customers originated from organic traffic?
How many customers originated from the blog?
How many customers originated from social media?
Online marketing tactics like social media and blogging have a shelf life for agencies. They can become one-dimensional efforts if they aren’t tied back to big picture results in a meaningful way.
You can’t quantify your direct impact unless you can tie it back to the end result. Become a strategic marketing partner to your client, instead of a one-off vendor by reporting back to your client in a way that shows the connectedness of inbound marketing to their goals.
Originally published Oct 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017