How much time do you and your staff spend pulling analytics, preparing client reports and then explaining what those metrics actually mean to your clients? Our guess is that it’s probably a substantial amount of your time. How great would it be to get some of that time back and be able to spend it actually working on your client’s marketing initiatives? Sounds pretty good, right?
We’re not talking about getting rid of reporting entirely or even just sending your clients basic reports once per month. We know that analytics are an incredibly important part of your job and that showing your clients the effectiveness of the work you’re doing is one of the things keeping you in business. We’re talking about giving your clients more access to their data and enabling them to read their analytics and draw some insights from those analytics on their own. One of the best ways we’ve found that agencies can do this is by sharing interactive data dashboards with their clients and teaching them how to use them. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of sharing these dashboards with your clients and some tips for how to best go about it.
Benefits of sharing data dashboards with clients
In a recent blog entitled How a Data Dashboard Can Serve as an Employee Motivation Tool, we talked about how giving employees the feeling of ownership helped make them more accountable for their position and also increased their motivation and overall performance. This idea can also be applied to your clients. Oftentimes, the client/agency relationship can be difficult because the client is giving direction but the agency is executing the work, which might make the clients feel a lack of ownership for their own marketing! No one wants that! By giving your client access to their own dashboard and helping them understand how to use the dashboard, you are giving them a piece of the ownership back. The ability to view their data at their leisure without your involvement will help them feel more connected to the work.
But how does that help with productivity? For the marketing agency, this is actually incredibly beneficial because when a client understands their dashboard, how to read their analytics and how those analytics are impacting their bottom line, they’re able to do a lot of these things without your involvement. They will likely decrease (or stop altogether) coming to you to explain the metrics when it’s time to present findings to their CEO or even when they’re just wondering what’s going on with their marketing. By providing them with the ownership over their analytics, you’re giving them control over the data reporting and minimizing your role in that or removing yourself entirely. That allows you to spend more time gathering insights from the data and optimizing based on those insights and less time explaining them to your client that, in turn, will result in more educated marketing and better results for the client.
Collaboration and optimization
In the past, when clients worked with agencies, there wasn’t a lot of collaboration on their marketing efforts. Many times, the client and the agency worked in silos with the client giving the agency direction on what they wanted to promote and how and the agency delivering on that direction without any real strategic discussions, brainstorming or collaboration to determine whether that approach would actually help the client achieve their goals. That’s changed drastically and is primed to change even more. In fact, Andrew Bruce, CEO of Publicis Communications North America recently said that “partnerships between agencies and clients in which both entities are working toward shared objectives are key for the industry’s future.”
Data is just one way that you, as the agency, can make a step towards a more collaborative relationship with your clients. By sharing your client’s dashboards with them, you’re allowing them to review their analytics anytime they see fit. By giving them this access, they might see things that you won’t or make connections that you, as the agency, wouldn’t be able to make based on your limited knowledge of their business. The fact of the matter is, there’s only so much you can be aware of considering you don’t work directly in their offices with them.
Show, don’t tell
You do a TON of work for your clients, right? And you know how effective your marketing campaigns are, but do your clients know all of this? Sure you try to show them how effective your campaigns are during your monthly meeting but there’s SO much to cover in an hour and the sheer amount of information you have to get through can be overwhelming. They might not fully understand the analytics you’re going through until after the meeting and, by that time, they simply can’t go back and look again. By giving them access to their dashboard, they will be able to review their analytics anytime. This will not only serve to show them how hard your agency is working and how effective your marketing is, but also might cut down on the amount of time you spend in those important meetings going through analytics so you can focus more on brainstorming optimization tactics to get even better results.
Accountability is something that a lot of agencies struggle with in their client relationships. Not necessarily the agency’s accountability but the client’s accountability. Often, there is information that you, as an agency, don’t have in order to do your job; information that the client needs to provide you. Sometimes it can be difficult to convince the client to give you this information or even for them to remember that you need it! This is something that a dashboard can help you address. You can set up a to do list on the dashboard to regularly remind them of the information you need and/or you can remind them that you’re waiting on information that may be affecting the results that they’re seeing.
5 tips for sharing your dashboard
Ok, now that we’ve touched on some of the benefits of sharing your dashboards with your clients (and hopefully convinced you it’s a great idea), let’s talk about the best way to share your dashboards. Here are five tips we recommend every marketing agency follow when sharing data dashboards with their clients:
- Make it short and simple
The idea behind sharing your dashboards is to help inform the client, not confuse them. So it’s time to ditch the long reports that only your analytics team can really decipher and set up something simple and straightforward for your client to reference. You have access to tons of data on the campaigns you’re running. Just because you can look at this data doesn’t mean that your client will want to. You want to provide them with something they’ll actually use or sharing your data with them might backfire and cause more work for you instead of less. Think about your client’s goals and the KPIs you established at the beginning of your relationship. What analytics will help the client understand how their marketing is working to achieve those goals? That is the information that will be most valuable to them and what should be included on their dashboards.
- Spend some time explaining the dashboard
You’re used to looking at analytics (or at least someone on your team is), but your client probably isn’t. They will likely not understand what they’re looking at right away and it might take some time for them to figure out how the dashboard works and how to read the data. Helping them to understand this upfront will take a little time but it will help cut down on the amount of questions you’ll get from them and the amount of ongoing time you’ll have to spend explaining the dashboard. Enabling your clients to understand their own data will also help you be better partners. If they understand the data, they are more likely to identify areas of opportunity that you won’t necessarily notice.
- Be available
Just because you spend some time explaining the data to your clients and enabling them to ask and answer their own questions doesn’t mean that they’re experts. They will still look to you to be the analytics expert and help them understand what they’re looking at. Being available to answer their questions and help them understand what their data means will ensure that your client is more likely to use the dashboards you’ve so graciously provided to them.
- Provide 24/7 access to data
Everyone’s schedule is different. Whether you’re working with small, medium or large businesses, you never quite know when your clients might want to access their data. Having it available 24/7 means there will be fewer phone calls to you to send them reports leaving you more time to create amazing work for them.
- Use Cyfe for all your data needs
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our software as a great way to give your clients access to their data. For more information about our sharing capabilities check out our How to Share Dashboards blog post.
Looking for a great software to help you share your client’s data with them? Let us help! Check out our FREE trial today and get ready to collaborate with your clients.