As a digital marketer, how do you see client reporting?
Do you look forward to generating reports at the end of every month, or see it as a gruelling yet mandatory task?
If you agree with the second option, you are not alone. When you have to generate dozens of reports every month, it's hard not to think of client reporting as a grind.
Yet, it’s an unavoidable chore. Client reporting is the foundation on which you can firmly build a client-agency relationship. As a digital marketing agency, compelling client reports can help take your game and transparency to the next level.
Well-thought-out client reporting not only keeps your clients informed about their progress but helps you prove your worth.
If you are someone who wants to move away from mundane reports and generate dynamic dashboards to wow your clients, we’ve got some great tips for you.
In this post, we will cover what client reporting is, why it is crucial for you, and how you can churn out impressive reports month after month without driving yourself crazy.
Let’s get rolling.
What is client reporting?
Client reporting in marketing is the process of generating a written record of the campaign performance you’ve achieved for your client. The report is generated based on predetermined KPI's that are agreed upon by the client and the agency.
Why is it important?
Client reports are an easy way for stakeholders to understand the goals achieved and the challenges faced. They also help enable more data-driven decisions while increasing transparency in the relationship. Client reports can be shared as a presentation, PDF, email, or printed copy.
As an agency, you can achieve multiple goals by creating engaging and effective client reports. By delivering reports on a regular basis, you can communicate with your clients, keep them informed about your efforts, and better understand their vision.
Good and timely reporting keeps both clients and marketing agencies accountable.. It serves as a check on unrealistic expectations and disagreements.
You can also use client reporting as a marketing tool to talk about how well, how quickly, and how comprehensively you were able to help your clients succeed.
9 effective tips to improve the quality of your client reporting
Now that you’re convinced that client reporting is essential for your agency’s growth, it's time to learn how to create amazing reports that will impress your clients.
Let's take a look at 9 effective ways you can improve your reporting process in 2022.
1. Determine your goals and define KPI's to measure performance
A report is most effective when it informs your clients about what matters to them. And the preparation for this starts way before you even conceptualize a campaign.
KPI's are Key Performance Indicators. These are the metrics and data points you decide are the most important to measure, track and optimize.
As an agency, you must sit with your clients and discuss their goals at length. Based on these goals, you should define the KPIs to be measured.
Let's say lead generation is your campaign goal, and you are using lead generation software to achieve it. You select the metrics accordingly and highlight the right KPIs in client reporting to showcase how many leads you were able to generate in the given time period.
Instead of overwhelming your clients with dozens of KPIs, select the ones that really matter to them in order to illustrate the progress of the campaign. It’ll also make reporting easier for you.
2. Customize your reports for each client
Believe us, clients love customized weekly or monthly reports. Instead of a standard template, they get excited to see updates and dashboards that have been customized for them. So this is an important part of the client reporting process.
Customization can be as simple as adding a client logo and color scheme to the document to depict branding. You can even make a video to showcase the campaign highlights and impress your clients. If you really want to make a big splash, you can create a white-label report with a customized URL.
3. Keep it as simple as possible
We can’t emphasize enough the value of keeping your reports simple. Amid all of the excitement to showcase all of the performance targets and goals that were met, you may end up including too much information – leading to a complex report or dashboard.
Overcrowded and messy reports may confuse your clients rather than help them understand the progress you have achieved. Thus, the first rule of thumb in client reporting is to present an uncluttered and easy-to-understand report.
There are several client reporting tools that can help you generate impressive yet simple reports like the example below from Semrush.
Image via Semrush
4. Educate your client
Let’s say your report is visually interesting and elaborate. While some clients may be impressed with the report you present, there are those clients who need someone to explain the numbers to them. That’s why effective client reports should always include an explanation.
It is a good practice to include comments and notes on every page to give a brief summary of the technical elements presented in the report. Be it the CEO or the head of sales, whoever reads your reports from the client side should be able to easily grasp the main observations.
When you educate your clients, they will better understand the process and appreciate your efforts.
Also read our digital marketing reporting guide.
5. Always be transparent
Transparency is key to winning the trust of your clients. When you are generating client reports, let them be an honest representation of all the efforts you are making while presenting actual data to back your results.
Yes, you want your reporting to showcase your achievements and how well you are progressing. But if you have missed meeting certain goals in a month or some numbers are not up to the mark, show that data too. Go ahead and include it in your reports. With this data, present your rationale and a roadmap through which you’ll correct course and reach the desired results.
And why should you do that?
It shows that your agency is confident about what it’s doing and projects you as a professional agency that does not shy away from disappointments. It also boosts your agency client relationship, because it helps build trust.
As a go-getter, you can work on these elements and highlight the improvements in next month’s client report.
6. Diligently showcase your success
Great work deserves its time in the spotlight. Your reports are a great way to show clients that you hit or surpassed performance goals, so be sure to take those opportunities to let great results shine.
When you create reports, visually highlight the areas where you were able to achieve exceptional results. Focus on top-performing KPIs and how they have collectively contributed to helping you achieve the set goals.
It is also a great idea to compare your results with that of the client’s competitors and any applicable industry standards. By presenting relevant data, you can emphasize how you are contributing to your client’s growth.
7. Choose an appropriate reporting period
One of the fundamental elements of client reporting is to stay on schedule. In order to send reports on time, you need to be extremely organized in the way you plan to generate personalized reports for several clients.
Right from the beginning, determine your reporting cadence — whether you want to send out reports every week, every month, or once in a quarter. This gives a clear indication to your clients of when and what to expect.
Now that you know when to send out the reports, you can monitor the campaigns and collect data. When you send reports on a schedule, you minimize a client’s anxiety, reducing the need for repeated calls and follow-up meetings. Regular reports also keeps both you and your client accountable, since it is a moment to not only share the data, but ideally, discuss it as well.
8. Create a visually engaging client report
Data can be beautifully interpreted into valuable insights. While as digital marketers, we are used to analyzing raw data, our clients will not be able to make any sense of it. That’s why visualization in analysis reporting is extremely important.
By adding relevant images, figures, and charts that can help your clients effectively understand data, you can improve your client report immensely.
Let's say you have seen a 30% increase in the click-through rate (CTR) for a campaign. Instead of plainly stating the numbers, you can explore data visualization ideas to depict data as in graphs to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the report. For instance, you could build a whole host of different dynamic dashboards in Google Data Studio.
By constantly improving your dashboard skills, you can continue to impress and educate your clients.
9. Choose the right tools
As effective as high-quality reports can be, they can be quite challenging to generate if you are doing manual reporting all by yourself. Fortunately, modern digital marketers have access to several tools to assist in their client reporting process.
Go ahead and choose the right reporting tools with advanced features that can help you pull out valuable data, map it, analyze it, and provide insights that eventually help you stay ahead of the competition.
Automated client reporting
These tools provide hundreds of customizable templates, which can be used to create a personalized report for each client. What’s more, with marketing reporting automation, you can generate attractive and customized reports quickly.
With the right tools at hand, manually copying numbers from Google Analytics into a spreadsheet is not needed anymore.
The importance of client communication
Reporting is an important part of client communication, and essential in developing healthy client relationships. This weekly or monthly moment is your chance to showcase the marketing efforts you are working on, highlight specific KPI's for the marketing channels and make sure you and your client are on the same page.
Are you ready to create amazing client reports?
There is no escaping the fact that client reporting can be stressful and exhausting. But with these 9 tips, I hope that you can make your efforts go the extra mile by generating reports that impress your clients.