You called and we answered. Our integrated comms or PR contract is signed and safely tucked away in the top drawer of your desk and we’ve rolled up our sleeves and are ready to start!
But before we jump in, you should know, there are different levels of agency–client success and we, of course, want you to come out on top. So I thought I’d share some of the things our most successful clients do to get the most out of working with us.
Use it, don’t use it, it’s up to you. (But it would really be best if you do!) Here are the 10 habits of highly successful clients:
1. They trust us
Our thriving clients all know that it is not us against them. We are on this journey together. They know that, for us to do the best possible job, they need to trust us enough to share their confidential information with us, knowing that we will keep it confidential (remember we are contractually obliged to do so!).
We really do have our clients’ best interests at heart, and confidentiality is something we will never compromise on.
2. They help us
It is a fact that your in-house marketing people know your business much better than we do, so we need their help. The best in-house marketers will also recognise that this can be a mutually beneficial relationship – working with an agency can be invaluable in helping them achieve their marketing and career objectives.
They know that if we work well together, both parties will benefit, so they help us out. They remove roadblocks and help us access the right people in their business, or in their clients’ businesses, to make the marketing strategy a winner.
3. They give us honest feedback
When you spend a lot of time with someone there are bound to be differences in opinion. Couples quarrel, and (likely) so will we. The agency–client relationship isn’t always a smooth one, and you should expect bumps in the road.
But don’t worry, we’re thick skinned. If you think my breath smells or if you think I’m missing the point with your campaign, you should tell me. I don’t like to live in blissful ignorance – pick up the phone and tell it like it is. I’ll be grateful and I’ll be able to do something about it. Don’t just avoid me and hope the problem will go away – it really won’t!
4. They respond quickly
I have made it my mission to hire a team of really great people. They are talented and capable and keen to do the really hard work that’s required to deliver the results you seek. Please don’t turn them into needy call centre employees by avoiding them!
Respond to their queries and give them feedback on ideas. Approve the copy they send you, or argue with them about it. It really doesn’t matter how you do it – just engage.
5. They occasionally invite us to their socials
We don’t expect a table at your wedding or to be present at the birth of your first child, but if you give our account team the opportunity to hang out with your team, magic might happen. Socialising is important. It builds trust and rapport and gives us insight into your business that we might not get otherwise. And don’t worry, I trust the consultants and execs not to get drunk and make a speech.
6. They pay us on time
Chasing clients for money is so awkward. Of course, if someone doesn’t pay we will chase them for the money (and we do it quite aggressively) but we’d really rather not.
We have a contract, and by running your comms we are meeting our end of the bargain. Please meet yours and pay on time.
7. They understand the importance of their website
You might have hired us for pure PR or content, but we are not going to deliver these in a vacuum. For most of our clients, their website is the nucleus of their comms activity. Your website is the first encounter many of your customers will have with your brand, and first impressions count!
For this reason your website should not be a one-off project for the developers, but rather a constant work in progress. We’ve worked with clients on over 50 websites – from £1 million development projects to basic WordPress sites built-in house – and we have seen it all.
Your website is critical to the success of any digital comms campaign. It is where we will post your news and blog content and where we will send journalists and social fans looking to learn more about your company. So let us access it (even if we do have to go through one of your team members), advise on it and let us work our magic.
8. They give us access
We tend to work with B2B clients in complex industries. We are very good at understanding tricky tech concepts, picking out the story and conveying it to a target audience of journalists and prospects. BUT, we need access to the subject matter experts in your organisation. You are making a commitment when working with us and if you switch off the knowledge tap we’re not going to get the results you want. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as signing the contract and sitting back to wait for the results to come in. It certainly gets easier over time as we get to know your company, but we will always need expert access.
9. They take our advice
Sometimes we’re going to advise you to do things that you’re not going to like or agree with, but trust us – we don’t do anything without good reason.
For example, you might think your website is fine just as it is and that we should be focussing our efforts on setting up journalist interviews. However, we know that the first place a journalist will look before agreeing to an interview is your website – and we can spot digital deal breakers from a mile off.
While you are the expert on your products and service, you’ve hired us because we are experts in marketing and comms – trust us!
10. They understand that we are running a business too
While we’d love to be able to chase after every single marketing opportunity that comes your way, we simply can’t – your contract with us covers a certain number of hours and we have designed a strategy that will get you the results you need within that time.
Of course we understand that occasionally you will need a little bit more of our time to meet additional requirements, but these will need to be billed separately. The best clients use our time wisely!
Now that you know exactly what we expect of you we are truly ready to get to work. So hold on to your briefcase, because it is going to be one hell of a ride!
And if you are perhaps feeling a little worried about your website after reading this (and want to make it better), have a look at our B2B Guide to SEO, take a deep breath, and ask us for some help. We’ve got this.