Establishing, Managing, and Maintaining Client Communication
As an internet marketing agency with a long list of clients and an even longer list of projects, client communication can feel like a project of itself.
As projects get more complex, CRM’s get more interactive, and internal web-based task management becomes transparent. This continual change in project based communication is happening across the board, no matter what industry.
Types of Client to Agency Communication
There are endless possibilities in the online space which make it difficult to classify the scope of a website and the work required until you speak to the client directly. Finding out what the client wants, and more importantly needs, is the first step to a successful campaign.
We believe that we know what a client needs, and client satisfaction is a priority to us. Because of this, we put forth our best efforts to match your company’s existing communication and management standards. In order to do so we must understand how a company operates internally and what mode of communication is used most. I’ve noticed three common levels of client to agency communication. Each visible at any stage, size, or type of company.
All initiatives need to go through a single representative of the company.
Typically, it’s the head of marketing that looks to our team to enhance their company’s online marketing channels. Whenever we are working on a centralized based product, we like to think of ourselves as an extension of our main contact. In other words, we’re here to do what you wish you had time to do.
Solution: gantt chart, weekly meetings and continual one-on-one updates
Since it’s not always possible to meet the client face-to-face, a phone call will have to do. There are a number of tools that can be used to help you keep track of your clients internet marketing campaigns.
If a client has already established expectations such as time spent on a project, and completion dates then it’s easiest to track projects in a common place. If you’re using Google Drive to access spreadsheets you can install a project management Add-on or use Excel instead to create a custom gantt timeline.
A delicate balance between cc’ing the marketing department and including the entire company.
In more cases than not, the CEO is usually heavily involved. Keeping everyone in the loop by putting the entire team on a distro list ensures everyone is on the same page and if they aren’t, we’re able to back track and pinpoint missed opportunities.
Solution: establishing a single point of contact on each team, learning and using clients web-based project management systems
Each company uses a preferred management system designed with the single purpose of keeping everyone organized internally and storing customer information. Larger organizations are known for developing their own software, while other companies lean towards brand names, like Salesforce and Sugar, that can manage both clients and tasks.
Past experience with some of these systems has made me question whether or not they were slowing teams down or speeding them up. It wasn’t until a new breed of web-based project management apps came out that I realized how our internet marketing strategies could benefit from a project management dashboard that felt more natural - say goodbye to tasks forms!
Apps like Asanaand Basecamphave a much different feel and are great for team organization. One of the main differences is that these apps aren’t designed for client management, while it’s possible to include complete account details with the right project layout you won’t find separate fields for company information.
The owner. The marketer. The blogger. Our new best friend.
More often than not, we run into owners and presidents of companies who try to do it all. Our job is to stick to what we know best (internet marketing), while trying to take some of the responsibilities off of their plates. With our point of contact constantly on the go, approvals can be postponed and available meeting times can become scarce.
Solution: Dropbox, Google Drive, WordPress or other CMS access
A number of our smaller clients don’t use management systems, so direct communication is the best way to track their current initiatives and customer interactions. Because of the need to constantly upload content, sharing and storing files in a common place is a must. This lets our clients upload documents at their convenience and allows our team to schedule blog posts and update their website as needed.
Making Your Internet Marketing Campaign Work
Each company has a preferred mode of communication when it comes to teamwork and communication. Using client management systems and tasks apps to bring projects full circle is helpful when juggling numerous teams, clients, and campaigns. Whether these tools are used internally or not is up to up, but for now we’ll stick to what we know and let the cloud remember our sticky notes.
By Ashley Walter, Director of Operations
Ashley Walter is ProspectMX's Marketing Operations Manager. With a BS in International Business and concentrations in Marketing and Spanish, Ashley uses her knowledge in these industries to manage every aspect of a client's campaign. Before coming to work full-time at ProspectMX, she held an internship with us and demonstrated remarkable skill and knowledge in the internet marketing field. Creative, meticulous, and hardworking, Ashley is the go-to girl for ProspectMX and can handle any task or situation that is thrown at her.