We’ve updated our marketing reports again. Here’s why that’s important.
A couple years ago we made some initial steps to revamp our marketing reports, and this past spring we were pleased to finish the work and roll out completely redone designs. The new reports have a cleaner aesthetic, and we love how our graphs and metrics pop. But as we worked on these designs, we realized that these reports represent some deeply held beliefs within our company about what makes a good client relationship—especially when it comes to delivering marketing work.
Our company has its roots in the design and development side of the business. We started out by building websites for our clients, and only later launched the marketing department to help them use their websites more effectively. But as we’ve refined our marketing deliverables, it’s come home to us how central our monthly reporting is to the work we do. Some of that starts with design, but it carries all the way through to communication as well. Here’s why.
1. Your reports should be easy to read—and to understand.
Over the years, we’ve worked on different ways to show our clients their marketing metrics. For a long time, our approach was to use screenshots—show the receipts, if you will. We wanted our clients to be able to see the same raw data we were seeing, so they could ask questions accordingly.
Only here’s the problem: looking at a complex graph for the first time wasn’t necessarily the best way for them to understand what we were doing. We still had to explain that graph for them, and even though those explanations weren’t hard to deliver, it still added a layer of obscurity to the reports that wasn’t helpful.
As experts, it’s our job to guide you through our work. That means surfacing the most important findings from amidst all the noise of the various metrics we look at so that you don’t have to do the digging yourself. So, instead of using screenshots (with the exception of Google’s traffic data, which is already clear and easy to follow), we’re using our own sets of graphs and pie charts that we believe visually represent the information you most need to know.
And to maintain transparency, we’re including the raw data as screenshots in an appendix at the end of the report. If you need to know something, it’s still there, but we’re not going to bury you with it.
2. Your reports should cover the metrics you care about.
The purpose of our marketing reports is to give you, our client, insight into what is happening on your website and with your marketing efforts. The statistics we regularly track include:
- Web traffic
- Clicks and impressions
- Keyword rankings
- Email open rate
- PPC, cost and conversions
However, we also want to tailor our reports to match our client’s objectives. If our client is using different marketing software from what we typically use, or if they have a specific metric they want to track, we can customize our reporting to deliver feedback on that metric every month.
3. You should be able to collaborate with us on the marketing work we do for you.
We always come into our monthly meetings prepared not only to discuss your site’s metrics, but to go over how we spent our retainer time in the past month, and how we plan to spend it in the future. This is part of being transparent with the work we do, but it’s also a way for us to work more closely with our clients. We’re experts, but we’re also consultants. That means we’re not here to dictate to you what you should do, but to discuss what you want to achieve and come up with a plan toward reaching that goal.
Now, some of our clients are perfectly happy to keep meetings brief and largely let us do our thing with the retainers they’ve given us. For them, a large part of the value we provide is that they don’t have to devote energy and brain power toward planning their marketing strategy.
But several of our clients go much deeper. They show up to our monthly meetings ready to discuss strategy. We’ll pitch topics for blog articles, they’ll provide feedback, and together we’ll talk through an outline. Maybe they have another project for us to work on that month and they want to talk it over the details. Maybe they have an upcoming event and they want to discuss a possible strategy. We regularly cover all this and more in our meetings.
To be honest, we love it when our clients are prepared to do a deep dive with us like this. Some of our most satisfying work comes from being able to establish a partnership with our clients in this way. We believe our ability to integrate ourselves as part of our client’s team is one of the key values we bring to the table.
Our monthly reports are how we build a relationship with our clients.
In many ways, the time we take to deliver our marketing reports is just good business. It’s our chance to demonstrate our value to our clients, and it keeps us in front of them so that we don’t just become another bill to pay each month—one they may consider cancelling if they forget why they signed up in the first place. When we have a chance to put our work in front of them, it’s a way of reminding them of what they purchased, and showing that we delivered as promised.
More than that, however, our monthly reports allow us to build a relationship with our clients—one that breeds trust and facilitates better communication in the long run. When we take the time to hear and be heard, we don’t have to worry about explaining our work months down the road, and our clients can make more educated requests of us, because they know what they’re asking for.
Our report updates are undoubtedly a way for us to better demonstrate the value we provide. But we also think they’re a gateway toward deeper conversations and closer collaboration. That’s that’s what makes our marketing so effective, and what makes our relationships with our clients so fulfilling.