The importance of retention marketing should never be underestimated and particularly in our industry, client retention should be an integral part of any agency’s marketing strategy. Regardless of the number of clients on your books, the impact of having someone leave is still somewhat devastating.
We all believe that the relationship between marketing agency and client is something that is based on trust and confidence, much like any other business investment or venture. However, in a study performed in 2013, the average client-agency tenure is thought to be less than three years. This figure has consistently decreased from 7.2 years in 1984.
As a white-label PPC provider, we know that agencies face this kind of problem on a regular basis. We took the liberty of identifying 3 of the most common reasons why customers are leaving their digital marketing agencies. We added some tips as well, to help you guys try and avoid these types of situations.
So here are 3 major reasons your clients are leaving and what you can do to improve your retention marketing:
1. Failed Expectations
When you fail to deliver what you have promised to the client, you are bound to lose them at some point. This all boils down to how you sign them up at the beginning of your relationship. Some agencies can get carried away because of their desire to please a new client. Certain deliverables are promised, oftentimes incremental growth in performance which then fail to materialise once the campaign has started.
Imagine promising a client that a three-month long PPC campaign will increase CPA by 10%, but you fail to deliver. It can also be a simple case of sending an inaccurate report of the first month’s results, or not being able to answer their query that has been in your inbox for a week. Often, the client’s breaking point is reached, not by one incident, but a series of failed expectations. So how do you avoid this mistake?
- Align your onboarding process with the client’s needs. At the very start, be clear about what is being promised.
- Be transparent about your projections and forecast. If you have a program for determining the results of a campaign, show them how you came up with the figures. In most cases, a case study will help them imagine the expected output.
- In your written agreement, explicitly state your agency’s code of conduct. This way, the client is assured that you will stick to your word.
2. Absence of Proof of Results
Clients are always expecting measurable and positive return on investment. Clicks, leads, conversions – these are metrics that are scientific and pretty much straightforward. It is easy to collect this data and send as proof of how effectively you have executed their campaigns. However, when you are compelled to support hard metrics of a PPC campaign, the array of intangible expectations arise.
Take this as an example – your client is a lawyer. You have launched several campaigns for him for the past three months. All metrics are good and he is happy, until one day, he asks about how many of the calls he received in his office are actually your conversions. How do you respond to this when you have not properly setup tracking?
Here are some things you should do to be able to always provide proof of results.
- Make sure that your reports are presented in a way that is meaningful to your clients. Show them what metrics truly matter to their line of business. Determine these metrics and stick to them like bottom-line value. If your client is focused on lead generation and has 1,000 leads this month, let them know what this figure translates to.
- Be consistent on your reporting styles and formats. Anything new to the eyes of your client will trigger some questions – “Why haven’t I seen this before?” “Is this a new process?” “Why wasn’t I informed?” You have to avoid these situations.
- Before you start your ad campaigns, discuss conversions with your client and find out what metrics they want to track. Do they want to track phone calls, form-fills, downloads, subscriptions or purchases? Deem what conversions are valuable to their business and then ensure you are correctly tracking them. This is where using a white label PPC provider can help.
Consistency also helps your client track your progress. By using the same report format, they can easily tell how you have managed their campaigns over time.
3. Tough Competition
Admit it, you are not the only marketing agency out there who has proven strategies and processes. Everyone has some tricks up their sleeves and this is the reality that you have to face.
Some competitors offer the same PPC services for a lower price or a better service offering for the same price as yours. If a client hears about an agency who outperforms or outprices you, that client may churn and choose the competitor.
- Find out what is actually happening. Be proactive in competitive research and learn to analyse the data that you gather. You can either get ahead by coming up with a better strategy than your competitors or see if you can offer a similar set of services at the same price.
- Build a good rapport with your client right from the very start. Chances are, when they catch wind of a competitor who seems to be better, they will likely tell you about it and give you a chance to respond. If this happens, you will need to justify your way of doing things. A good cost-benefit analysis will come in handy in this situation.
- Create a customer-focused cancellation flow process. This means you could stop people from leaving before they hit the cancel button. Get them to tell you their motivation for leaving and then offer them tailored solutions to stay. This could be a reduced budget for three months or a free training package. Exit surveys will also help you build up a picture of why clients are leaving your agency.
Generally, a potential client departure cannot be predicted, but it can be prevented with the right kind of agency-client relationship and strong retention marketing. Understand the psychology of client retention and start mitigating the risks in any problematic area you find in your business. Do you have the right kind of relationship with your clients?