At Cannes, the creative agency RPA showed in The Naked Truth why the killer variable of trust is missing in many client and agency relationships.
Reporting is often the agency’s chief means of communication with clients, yet it is often ignored in favor of vanity metrics, fancy outreach methods, and shiny new tools that aren’t fully understood.
For most projects, we begin by performing a website audit; for clients, the results can be overwhelming and disheartening, which presents a challenge to building a strong, trusting relationship.
That’s why we compiled a list of seven top tips for using your website audit reports to not only protect but strengthen your client relationships.
The Value of a Thorough Audit
Clients should expect more out of their reporting, and agencies should deliver to exceed expectations. To ensure that your reports add value, are actionable and help build trust, follow these seven essential tips:
Include recommendations specific to the website after each section. Mentioning an issue without offering a solution can cause more harm than good.
Give clear analysis. Presenting Google Analytics data without analysis should be avoided at all costs. If clients wanted to look at Google Analytics, they’d log in and take a look themselves. They want you to explain the key issues, what they mean, and what can be done about them.
Use visuals to enhance understanding. Screenshots can do more in explaining an issue than a verbose technical answer. Include overlays, arrows and other iconography to highlight key areas. Clients largely don’t know what they’re looking at. Do you want them to spend their time trying to understand a graphic, or do you want them to focus on buying into your solution?
Cap examples at three. Repeated examples of the same thing wastes time and does not drive the point home any further.
Deliver reports that prioritize actionable recommendations. Audits cost real money, so reports should maximize the return on this substantial investment and not focus on trivial issues that offer low return.
Provide clear next steps. The client should never get to the end of a document and wonder, what’s next?. Ensure there’s a clear understanding of who is responsible for what, how it will be fixed, what support will be provided, and how long the project should take to complete.
Respect client input and knowledge. Everyone should feel that they have a seat at the table and can offer their expertise. Ask stakeholders about your recommendations and what they feel needs to be improved. By including them in the conversation, it shows that you respect them. Respect builds trust.
Get Ready for a Great Relationship
There is no better SEO deliverable for trust building and driving campaign success than the website audit; however, the agency must demonstrate through its report the value it provides.
Education and transparency are largely the fuel that feeds trust. Clients should hunger to understand what their agency is doing on their behalf, and agencies should go to great lengths to help their clients understand their recommended strategies and tactics — and the reasons those tactics are so important.