Managing Your Clients, Not Just Their Projects

Any Internet marketing company, website design company, or SEO firm will understand this post.  Managing the expectations of a client is just as important as managing their project.  We all want to help our clients meet their goals and be happy with the service we provide.  In this economy, I feel strongly that what we offer will provide a long lasting positive effect that will help companies not only sustain during this recession, but grow.

So how do you effectively manage a client and their expectations?

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate:  From day one, you must be communicating with them to understand their business goals, the goals they have in mind for their Internet marketing campaign, the purpose and desired conversion for thier website, etc.  Part of this communication involves educating them on exactly what you plan to do for them and why.  Too many companies in this industry are afraid to be transparent.  You will earn their trust and you might even impress them with your knowledge if you teach them…give it a try!
  2. Help them understand from the beginning what they have done right in the past and what they have done wrong:  Of course, always be tactful in this communication.  This is part of the learning process and important for the client to understand.  Many clients are willing to listen about the impactful nature of Internet marketing and improving ROI from their online platform, but then are not willing to make changes to their websites!  Help them understand that they hired you for a reason and that they need to let you do what you do best!
  3. Don’t hide behind email:  Pick up the phone and call the client regularly even if you are not looking forward to the conversation.  An unhappy client will be easier to turn around through personal communication than through email.
  4. Do not let the client control your time and resources:  Most clients naturally assume they are your only important client, right?!  If you over promise at the beginning they will call you on it every time.  Set realistic boundaries, timelines, and communication guidelines.  You can’t afford to let regular 30 minute conference calls last an hour and a half so it is up to you to set the parers and create an agenda.  Keep the calls efficient and have action items for everyone at the end.
  5. If you missed a goal or made a mistake, own up to it:  It won’t help you to dance around an issue and you know the old saying, “The client is always right”.  Even is you think you didn’t mess up and its really the client who is missing deadlines, be tactful in how you handle it.  However, you do need to make it very clear that if the client slows you down, the timeline needs to be adjusted. It is OK to let them know they are holding up the works!

The best thing any online marketing company can do is communicate openly and regularly with the client…this will prevent more issues than you can image!

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