All relationships require work. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest and the same goes for an agency/client relationship. They also say “you get what you put into it” and this statement can’t be more true for the agency/client relationship. The ‘getting to know you’ period at the beginning of an agency/client relationship can take time, so let’s kick it into 5th gear. Below are 5 areas to focus on in order to get the most out of your agency relationship.
Tip #1 – Communication
Communication is key. There needs to be open communication on both sides of the relationship. Decide how you like to communicate best and tell your agency that you prefer Basecamp to email, for example. Set expectations on response times. At the very least you should hear back from your agency within 12 hours and if they are quick 2 hours. Tell them if they don’t get a response from you what they should do. Should they continue to ping you until you respond? Or just wait until they hear back from you? Tell your agency your expectations, it is so valuable and sets you both up for success from the very start.
Tip #2 – Recurring Check Ins (Weekly or Bi-Weekly)
I’m a huge fan of recurring check ins. Even if it’s just a 15 minute status update it is important to touch base and know you have a dedicated time set aside each week to catch up. Sometimes emails can get lost in the shuffle, so having recurring calls is a great way to stay on top of action items that could go unnoticed. Below is a quick sample agenda for those status calls.
- PPC Performance Update – How are the campaigns performing this week?
- Client Side Updates – What updates do you have for your agency? Maybe there was a change in an upcoming promotion or change on the site that happened last week that would explain a sudden decrease in conversion rate?
- Completed Action Items – Review what your agency completed last week.
- This Week’s Action Items – Review what your agency is working on this week.
- Next Steps – Firm up the plan of attack for the next week and make sure to attach deadlines to everything!
Tip #3 – Knowledge Transfer
This works both ways. One of the benefits of hiring an agency is that they work with multiple clients, across multiple industries. Agencies are constantly testing new products and are up to date with the latest and greatest offerings. Ask your agency what else you should be doing. What cool things are they testing with other clients? What learnings can they apply to your account? Agencies should be proactive with sharing this information, but sometimes media budgets can hold these conversations back. Don’t let that happen.
On the other side, you (the client) are the expert on your business. You know your audience the best and you know what the overall company goals are. Communicate what you are doing outside of PPC with your agency. Share your marketing calendar with your agency, discuss upcoming product launches or service offerings. Get your agency involved sooner than later and allow them enough time to put together a dedicated strategy for the new product launch in Q3.
Tip #4 – Agree Upon Goals & Budgets
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often we hear horror stories from clients working with previous agencies. Agree upon your monthly budgets and goals. Make sure you’re on pace to hit those in your weekly status check ins and have a plan in place if goals aren’t being met.
Tip #5 – Be Respectful of Each Other’s Time
Know how many management hours your agency has for your account every month. While it is your Account Manger’s job to treat you like their only client, your agency team does have other clients. Show your agency respect but push them to do great work and they will! They say “you get what you put into it” so, put work into your agency partnership and you’ll seen the return.
Hopefully these are helpful tips as you move forward with your agency partnership. I’m a little biased since my experience has been agency side, so let us know if you have any other tips that are missing from this list.