How do brands and agencies build trust and grow relationships?
Working with an agency, building trust and reaping the rewards is a tricky combination, but Byron Hagan, our Client Success Manager and relationships expert, tells us the things he considers to be the most important
One of the most important things that any business looks for when they are working with a search marketing agency is trust. They know that if they are investing in a company to look after their SEO, PPC, content marketing or social media, then they are essentially putting the whole ‘digital’ side of the business in the hands of a third party.
To this end, there needs to be a relationship in place, where communication is a key component. Both parties need to feel that there is a level of trust and that they can work together to achieve the best possible results. Here at Click Consult we would never jeopardise this and as such have created a number of roles to ensure performance.
According to Byron Hagan, our Client Success Manager these roles are vital. He said: “It is an integral part of performance that there is structure in place. My role is to facilitate the needs of the client and make sure that all of the teams working on an account do so harmoniously.
“We agree with the clients a list of objectives and KPIs and are constantly monitoring how they are reaching their goals or working towards them. Our clients ask a lot from us and in return we need to ask a lot of them. It’s a two-way process and it is important to embrace a collaborative attitude.
“For me there are six things that you need in order to benefit from working with an agency:
At the start of any project it goes without saying that there are objectives that need to be met. In our market we see brands with all sorts of ideas about what they want to get from their investment. During my time in the role of Client Success Manager the team here at Click Consult has been asked to deliver performance on some of the following objectives:
- Grow organic traffic
- Grow organic revenue
- See category keyword ranking improvements
- Send more traffic to specific landing pages
- Run campaigns that are successful in terms of link acquisition or social metrics
- Reduce the number of technical SEO issues
- Improve site speed
- Create content
- Improve site metrics such as bounce rates, page views, time on site etc.
- Meet specific ROI, ROAS values
These are all achievable but businesses have to be realistic. They can’t choose an agency to do all of these things at once and for a specific budget; good SEO takes time. We will always advise clients, but it is vital that they are receptive and make a list of priorities. If they do this then we can work together and the results are easier to measure.
Transparency is key, we need to know what you want and you need to know what is realistic depending on a number of factors. If clients and agencies are able to be honest and open about their goals, the time they can invest, the results they want then things are a lot smoother. In a business relationship you get what you give, if client and agency become one then great results are possible, but that only happens if each party invests in that goal.
Give the agency as much access to you and your business as you can in the early, discovery phase of the relationship. Go and see them face to face, understand what they have to do to deliver for you, and help them understand what your business expects from them and from you.
Communication is perhaps the single biggest part of my role. I have to communicate with not only the teams working on the account but the clients. When you look for an agency you know that they will have experience in your sector and talking to them is a chance to learn and share knowledge. We see so many different business models is so many industries we rely on our clients to guide us on what works, what doesn’t and what the competition are doing. We want to offer bespoke solutions and so it is business critical that we have an established dialogue with those using our services.
Sometimes both parties have to hold their hands up and say ‘this isn’t working’ but that’s not a bad thing. Time and money are two precious commodities and you can’t afford to waste either. By constantly reviewing performance you can adapt to the environment. Those businesses that are performing to a high level in any industry are those that are flexible in their approach. As a brand you need to be able to give time to some projects and cut your losses in others. If you can identify where things are not quite as expected and work with your agency to amend your strategy you will be in a much stronger position.
Like we’ve said before, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach and you will need bespoke planning around your online needs. Adapt and you will surely grow.
Opportunities are constantly on the horizon. If you are able to communicate new ideas or goals your agency they will be able to help you with a plan of action. Looking at what customers want and what competitors are doings can give you a competitive advantage.
Steve Antoniewicz from the Drum touched on this when he said: “Not much stands still these days in marketing – budgets change, plans change, channels change, ownership changes even the people change. Change in fact is the only one constant. In amongst all that flux it can be hard to stay focused on the job in hand. But surely the constant innovation in marketing, tech and communication is what makes our industry the most dynamic and exciting to work in. Embrace it.”
Trust is important. If you’ve found us and asked us to work on your account then leave us to it. We have a highly skilful team and have worked on many different scenarios, there’s not much we haven’t seen. I read something the other day that said: “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.”
Don’t let problems fester. If you feel the agency is underperforming then say so, and accept honesty in return from them.
“Sticking to these six points goes a long way to building an effective partnership and producing positive results.”
About our expert… Byron is responsible for performance and success of our clients’ strategies leading to sustainable business growth. He provides commercial support to the Account Management and Business Development teams, as well as assisting the delivery and strategy teams to find solutions to any performance issues, determine and communicate strategy. Byron joined Click Consult in January 2014 as a Key Account Manager and now uses his search experience, communication and organisation skills to assist the wider team.