Keep clients engaged for the long haul using client reports

Client Reports Featured Image

Ever forget about someone? I have. It’s kind of weird when someone comes to mind, and I realize I hadn’t thought about them in years. Frankly, it can be embarrassing.

Keeping in touch with clients is vital to an ongoing business.

Often we use emails, text, social media and many other ways to keep in touch in a much more informal way, but if we aren’t careful, we can fail to keep clients abreast of the work we are doing for them.

There are many benefits of providing client reports. In this article, we are going to discuss various ways that having client reports is a benefit.

First, however, I want to go over some caveats. Because, you know, there are always caveats.

Reporting involves admin time

As necessary as it is to provide reports, it will involve admin time. This means, you likely will not get paid billable hours to provide reports.

I learned this when I worked for an agency a few years ago. I had a few retainer clients for whom I worked on their ongoing projects. I was required to document hours. My supervisor explained to me that this is an admin task.

As such, the admin tasks actually would cause me to go over the hours paid. It was something they knew would happen.

As a WordPress professional, you have to be willing to take the loss on time to ensure you keep your clients on contract year after year.

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It is a worthy expense. There are ways to help.

Streamline the process

Find a way to automate your reports. You may not be able to automate everything but automate as much as you can. This will save you hours. Once you set up your reporting system, it usually runs almost on autopilot.

Using tools such as Google Analytics or MainWP Client reports can help streamline the process.

Be careful with the data and charts

Too much data and too many graphs can leave your client in a daze, not knowing what they are looking for. Sure, you are going to have numbers, and some of the analytics will be delivered in charts, but don’t overload your client with too much data.

As Ilija Studen, Co-founder of A51 says,

While some of the reports that I get really are spreadsheets with charts, formulas and rainbow colors, the ones I like best are the simple documents that mix data points with bullet lists and paragraphs of text that offer conclusions, opinions and suggestions.

Take the time to interpret the data that matters. Focus on the analytics that are relevant to the goals you are trying to meet.

Don't make it a puzzle
Don’t make it a puzzle

What the heck are KPI’s?

Yup, this will probably come up somewhere along the way. KPI’s stand for Key Performance Indicators. That is one of those terms that marketers like to use. What is key here is to know that you are looking for the analytics that matter to your client and their goals.

According to Sam Hendrix from Content Harmony,

At the beginning of each project, your team should sit down with the client and carefully outline key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be reported each month. When it comes down to reporting, your team should examine each one of these KPIs and report how your work directly impacted KPI movement (positively or negatively).

Ask yourself, how do I show my client they are getting their Return on Investment (ROI)? This is important because if they don’t see this, they will let your services go. Therefore, from the beginning, identify the analytics that matter and focus your reports on those.

According to Ben Butler,

If you can’t demonstrate ROI, and demonstrate it clearly, you’re going to have a really hard time keeping retainers.

Four reasons to use client reports

Documents results

Documenting your results is a very valuable asset, both for you and your client. Did you meet your objectives this month? Great, include it in your report. The client can’t come back later and say that you did not meet those objectives.

Documenting your results including wins and losses will help keep you and your client accountable to each other. Notice what Nathalie Couët says,

Client reporting is the best way to build and improve your client-agency relationship. It’s how you communicate your marketing results to your client so that they see how hard you’re working for them. It’s how you turn one-time clients into recurring clients. Client reporting is what makes you grow your business.

Documenting wins and looses also provides transparency to your client. They know you aren’t hiding anything if you tell them the good and bad. It also gives you a chance to provide context.

Maybe their website had a slow month, but overall business was slow. Further, maybe the site was slow in terms of traffic, but your conversion was higher. This way you don’t focus on just one goal, and you can help educate your client in the context of the data.

Reporting can help remind of goals

If you have a client on a retainer, there are certain expectations tied to your service. Including that in the report is a great reminder of the scope of the retainer agreement.

Hendrix notes,

If you’re ahead of projected traffic, revenue, sales, etc., understand what you’ve done to get there and how you can carry the momentum through the end of the project or contract.

Be sure to include analytics that are tied directly to the goals and the KPI’s to keep the client on board.

Are you hitting your targets?
Are you hitting your targets?

Justifies your service

Sending regular reports that tie expectations to the analytics justify your service. This is helpful because it keeps your client on your contract.

Sending reports of the tasks you completed for your website care client lets them know they made the right decision entrusting their site to you.

Will delight your client

If you can justify your service, remind them of their goals, and maintain accountability and transparency, you will delight your client.

A satisfied client becomes a long-term client as you increase their trust in you and your service.

Butler asserts,

The bottom line is this—good reporting equals happier clients. Refine your methods and I promise you you’ll begin delighting your clients.

It is harder to gain a new client than to keep an existing client, and reporting goes a long way in helping you keep your existing clients.

Providing reports that clients can digest is like icing on the cake.

Types of reports to provide

Okay, now you have decided that you need to provide reports to your clients. Fantastic! However, what kind of reports should you provide?

It is going to depend on the type of monthly work you are doing for your client. For example, if you are providing WordPress site care for your client, you will want to create and send regular maintenance reports.

MainWP Client Reports

MainWP has an extension that allows you to generate and email reports regarding the types of tasks you did on behalf of your client through your MainWP dashboard. This should be something you set up and send for your client if you are using MainWP to manage their sites.

Marketing Reports

As an added value for your client or if you manage a deeper level of digital marketing for them, you can create and send marketing reports. With a handful of data points, you can utilize a third party software program to generate these reports. Input the data points that match the main KPI’s for your client, export into an image or PDF, and send it to your client.

Here is where you have a chance to stand out in your service. Drop your numbers into a report that explains a little more about the numbers and how they relate to your client’s business.

Marketing Reports
Marketing Reports

Google Analytics

It is relatively easy to generate and send a Google Analytics report regularly. This is a great addition to the MainWP Client report you send. With a little bit of work, you could combine the two with a bit of explanation about the info from Google Analytics. This would make site care reports much more robust.

Wrapping it up

Creating and sending reports is an integral part of the client communications process. It builds and nurtures trust with our clients. If your business is dependent on recurring revenue, reporting is essential to keeping your clients satisfied with your work an on your contract.

How have you implemented reports for your business?

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