Retainer clients make marketing agencies happy and everyone likes happy marketers.
Not only is a retainer client financially beneficial, they give the marketers enough time to really nail a campaign! Being able to build a full funnel campaign, to drive a visitor through the buyer's journey, is exciting for marketers.
Retainer clients give us the time to pivot, test, adjust and find the right groove for spectacular results. Nothing happens overnight, which is why even the best marketing isn’t instant. Retainer clients have the highest changes in organic growth and see the best results, with multiple campaigns, including pillar pages, ebooks webinars and more.
Is your agency having a hard time keeping retainer clients?
Most of the time, the issues that cause retainer clients to walk away are not due to your marketing efforts. They’re because the marketer is not effectively conveying the intent and status of your strategy. The communication merits of great customer service are indeed the driving factor in keeping your retainer clients happy, and ready to sign on for another year.
Explore 7 ways to keep your retainer clients happy and signed on:
1. Communicate Often
Be organized with your communication. Set aside one day every week for checkups via email, and even shock them with an old fashioned phone call. Do the same when you get close to every benchmark or milestone. Most importantly, have preset face-to-face meetings (or video conferences if location is an issue). (Check out how valuable face to face meetings are.) Always be one step ahead by letting the client know where you are in achieving your deliverables. Recap meetings are also especially beneficial with retainer clients. Have monthly and yearly recap meetings that include all of the supporting data and analytics to show off your hard work.
2. Define the Process
First and foremost, you have to define your agency’s process and set solid expectations. Once defined, your process should be thoroughly explained in a kick off meeting, then sent in a document to the client after the meeting for reference. Again, you never want the client to be guessing what your marketing team is doing. Tell them before you begin, and never be afraid to refer to the “process guide” during ongoing conversations. It shows organization, confidence and continuity.
3. Define Goals
Hopefully before you begin any project, you have to know and agree to the client’s goals. If you didn’t ask, stop reading this blog and ask now! Whether it’s higher conversion rates, or just more money, at the end of the day, you need to know the goal and be able to explain how you plan to get there. Clients sometimes don't understand the correlation between blogging or social media and their bottom line. Break down the campaign and show how everything the agency does is geared towards achieving the client's goal! Data-driven strategies breed confidence!
4. Set Timelines and Due Dates
Before even starting the project, set up the schedule with due dates and the total timeline of each campaign. Present this to the client while discussing your processes during the kick off meeting before you begin any work. This will set the client up for a no surprise approach and manage everyone’s expectations. Don't be afraid that you may not make the deadline you’ve set. That is what your weekly meetings are for. Keep the client aware of every set back and the reason for it, as well as every time your team has exceeded the timeline everyone agreed upon.
5. Set Weekly or Biweekly Touch-points
This helps communication all around, and communication helps marketing agencies save money, find out how. These meetings may seem tedious, however they don't have to be long. 15-30 minute touchpoint meetings let your client know where your team is at and be available to answer any questions they may have. Be prepared, have an agenda, and create impact with every interaction.
6. Pick Up the Phone
I know, it's so much easier to send an email. It's even easier to text. However, it's so much more personable when you pick up the phone and call a client. Leave a voicemail if they don't answer, just to show them you are human and not a computer! Many marketers have found themselves hiding from the phone, because so much of our job is done through the keyboard. However, this two minute task could be what makes you shine against your competitors.
7. Get to Know Your Client
Where do they live? Do they have kids? What's their favorite football team? All of these details add personalization to your communication while helping you form a real relationship as a real person. Small talk makes your client feel like more than just an account and as someone who has made a long-term commitment to you, they should be. (Pro Tip: I add a few minutes of “chat time” to my agenda). Small talk is important, after all we are all people! With retainer based clients, you’re looking to establish a relationship that will last for years. Send birthday cards, send Christmas cards, joke around, be genuine and make them feel special.
Pro Tip: I add almost all of these as tasks on my calendar and task system.
All of these are great ways to keep your clients happy and onboard as long-term retainers. However, it is important to remember that your clients are human. Human communication is what builds relationships and retainer clients build the best relationships when there’s a mutual understanding of constant growth, both personally and in business. Use these best practices to keep your retainers happy as they continue to grow and build their empire with you behind the helm of their marketing.