Client reporting: 5 must-know tips for agencies
- Include only the metrics and quantitative insights that matter most to your clients to keep your client reporting document as concise and valuable as possible
- Balance client reporting automation with personalization to save time while still catering to your clients’ unique needs
- Send client reports on a regular basis to consistently communicate how your marketing efforts are contributing to business goals
Client reports summarize the progress and performance of the marketing campaigns that you run on behalf of your clients. While an effective multichannel marketing campaign is a testament to your agency’s expertise, an effective client report showcases the positive outcomes you’re driving so you can satisfy clients, build trust, and win long-term loyalty.
However, producing a high-quality document isn’t as simple as sharing screenshots from a client reporting tool. As you help your clients make headway toward their goals, you can leverage your results to create a story of mutual success. Here’s what you need to know to turn every report into a valuable tool for growing your digital marketing agency.
5 client reporting best practices
Sending regular reports can be a tedious process. But when done well, your documentation can strengthen your agency-client relationships by boosting transparency and confidence. Use these five strategies to streamline your client reporting process and share information your clients really care about.
1. Identify your client’s KPIs
Every company has different goals. The data points that matter most to your clients will depend on what they’re trying to achieve. When you know the business goals your marketing strategy should align with, you can choose key performance indicators (KPIs)—performance metrics that indicate progress toward objectives—to highlight in your client reports.
For example, if a client’s goal is to increase lead generation, it makes sense to include these two campaign metrics:
- Lead conversion rate. The percentage of people who become leads after engaging with your campaign.
- Cost per lead. The average amount of money spent on marketing for every lead acquired.
2. Balance automation and personalization
Automation can help you save time, but fully automated client reporting isn’t the best way to create an unmatched client experience. While some customer reporting tools allow you to instantly download documents with your KPIs, taking some extra time to personalize your reports can make a world of difference in your client relationships.
Whether you’re building spreadsheets from scratch or customizing report templates, cater your reports to your client. Think about what language would make the most sense for each client: Do they know the difference between traffic and conversions? How about leads and prospects? Ask for feedback on reports—especially from new clients—and be willing to change things up to make them more valuable for your client’s business.
If you’re using report templates, custom-built or white-label templates from tools like Databox and Whatagraph are ideal. This allows you to customize reports to be on-brand for your agency—including your color palette, fonts, and more—so you can stay consistent and stand out from competitors.
3. Include quantitative insights
Your client report template should include an executive summary, which offers a quick overview of key data and insights at the top of your report, and the next steps your agency plans to take.
Beyond compiling stats and graphs from your client data sources, it’s crucial that you provide some quantitative insights about the marketing campaigns. Effective client reports may include details like:
- Steps taken toward milestones. For example, if you’ve launched LinkedIn and Facebook ads to kick off a three-month social media campaign.
- Recaps of a campaign’s impact. This may include details about brand awareness that aren’t easily measured.
- Dollars spent. How you’re using your client’s advertising budget in your marketing efforts.
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4. Tell a story with your metrics
Your marketing reports shouldn’t be dry. Aim to keep your clients engaged in the data you present. When you turn your client reports into interesting narratives, you’ll keep your clients reading, and they’ll get the full picture of the value you bring to their business, including how you’re helping them excel.
To do so, offer engaging summaries or explanations of the data. For instance, when presenting the results of an email campaign, you can say, “The campaign greatly improved click-through rates (CTRs) compared to previous months. This means customers are visiting your website in droves and moving through the sales funnel faster.”
Illustrate the impact your client may experience as a result of your campaign success. Or, if important metrics are slipping behind, you can tell the story of how the changes you make will improve campaign performance in the next month.
5. Provide real-time access to client reporting software
While sending client reports on a regular basis gives your stakeholders a straightforward look at the metrics that matter most, it’s also important to give your clients on-demand access to their data to maintain a partnership that’s as transparent as possible.
Instead of guarding client data, provide access to reporting dashboards, where they can monitor marketing spend and progress toward key benchmarks in real time. Clients will still value your reports, which will help provide context to boost their understanding and save time on deciphering metrics themselves.
Add value to your agency-client relationships
Client reporting is a critical process for every marketing agency. It gives clients a clear understanding of how you’re contributing to their success so you can prove your expertise and win their business for the long term.
When crafting your reports, be sure to cater to each client’s unique needs, goals, and knowledge—rather than fully automating the process—to add as much value as possible with your recap.
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What are the benefits of client reporting?
Above all, client reporting enhances client communication. In addition to keeping both parties in touch on a regular basis, it makes clients aware of the work you’re doing and how you’re adding value to their company. Your reports act as proof that your marketing efforts are significant, while keeping clients looped in on where their marketing budget is going.
Client reporting can also keep both sides accountable. It allows you to regularly communicate when clients owe you collateral—or when they’re holding a campaign back.
What tools can I use to automate the client reporting process?
There are endless tools you can use to automate the data collection aspect of the client reporting process. While robust, all-in-one reporting software can be pricey—TapClicks, for instance, starts at $499 per month—you can compile data from a number of free automated reporting tools.
For example, Google Analytics and other affordable alternatives offer search engine optimization (SEO) insights. Most social media platforms also offer built-in analytics tools that automatically collect data for business accounts.
Yelp Advertising Partners can create custom reports directly in their Partner Hub as well. Both business and ad metrics are available by any specified date range and can be filtered by Yelp campaign and business location. Report types can be saved and scheduled to run regularly so you can tailor reports based on what matters most to each of your clients and have them at your fingertips whenever you need them.
How often should I send client reports?
It’s common for marketing agencies to send monthly reports. You can always send additional reports at the end of every campaign—or increase reporting when warranted. Overall, client reporting should occur on a regular cadence so clients know when to expect it.
How long should my client reports be?
There isn’t a strict rule on the length of client reports. Aim to keep your document as brief and as simple as possible, focusing only on the most important metrics. For many clients, one or two pages will be enough—possibly more if you want to provide more data visualizations.