How to retain your clients (and show your work value)
When someone first hires you, what emotions run through your body? Is it excitement? Or maybe suddenly feeling a new responsibility under your belt.
Getting more clients for my business is important. For me, I always feel awed and honoured at the huge amount of trust that has just taken place.
I have confidence in my ability to impact someone’s business but I also immediately become obsessed with two things: 1) How can I give this business the most value? and 2) How can I expose this value in a way that the client can appreciate the results?
Let's be honest: most clients don't know what's good for them. They don’t listen when we give them advice, and at times you might feel like your work and voice gets pushed to a side.
Clients hire us because we are the experts and we lead them through a series of difficult decisions (sometimes technical, sometimes strategic) so they don’t waste time and energy on unnecessary worries or on areas that aren’t in their zone of genius. We become their oasis against a mountain of never ending tech woes
But when we struggle to place a finger on the value our work with hard facts, not only do clients stop listening to us, there is a big possibility that they won’t repeat business with us.
This turns into a cycle of self-doubt around our abilities, when really this isn’t the issue; it’s about being able to show how we made an impact. And if we doubt ourselves, we could also be sending out negative subconscious messages to new client opportunities (which is not good!).
That is why, right at the beginning of any project, I really strain my brain to try and understand exactly what a client's business needs vs. what the client thinks they need (how they perceive value and progress in their business).
Being able to translate your work into results that your clients are expecting is a whole job on its own that you need to be ready to take on.
Not to mention, this can be a stressful task (especially when you aren’t sure where to start) and I want to share with you three steps to start showing the return of investment on your work so that the client is not only super grateful but keeps hiring you again and again.
I’m going to show you how to start approaching ROI with your existing clients in three simple steps.
Not only will your current clients love you, but as you master your understanding of the language that most clients speak, you’ll inevitably start attracting new clients!
Ready to show that ROI? Let’s go!
Step 1) Document all the changes (including intention) you make to your client’s business
This is important and can seem like a waste of time initially, but in the long run makes a huge difference. The act of documenting (in a Google Doc, or paper notebook, whatever meets your fancy) creates a new awareness around everything you tried with your client.
Documenting even routine changes provides an added bonus because when you do so with ROI in mind, it forces you to really make sure you’re making a smart tweak that will impact the client’s bottom line positively.
Running Facebook campaigns? Document each campaign and the intention behind everything in a Google Doc. Keep it simple but be focused in noting everything you tried.
Changing the contact form on your client’s site? Write out the specific of changes you made and why. Record other contact forms the client mentioned. Maybe in the future you will make another change and you want to make sure they are inline with what they client originally is looking for.
Also, in the future when things work (or don’t) having the documented intention behind what you did will make it easier to analyze why it worked (which we will get to).
Step 2) Always keep an experimentation Mindset
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: there isn't ONE magic formula to be successful online. There are actually many different paths to success and the way to get there is to open yourself (and your client) up to an experimentation mindset.
Being able to shift strategies based on what you've learned from previous launches, campaigns, and ideas is the key to creating forward momentum in your work.
Once you find something that works, you can stick to it, until it stops working and then the experimentation starts again.
Stay open to being adaptable when it comes to solving problems and finding better ways of doing things, and inspire the client to do the same! First work on your mindset and then pass it on the client. Lead by example!
Step 3) Make sure to have Google Analytics fully set up
If your website was a piece of land you owned, Google Analytics would be the map that tells you the topography of your land. Are there large hills or a deep valley? Is it dry and desert like or a lush rainforest? Understanding what type of traffic you are working with today is the baseline to knowing where you should be focusing your attention to.
In Google Analytics you need to make sure you have a couple things. First, you need to have a certain chunk, which means at least 100 - 200 visits per month (in Google Analytics this is under sessions). If you have less than this, it really won't be enough data that is worth your analyzing time.
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Second, you need to set up Goals in Google Analytics to track how many people are doing the things you want them to do when they come to your client's website. Whether that is signing up for a newsletter, filling out the contact form, or getting to the end of a blog post, you need to know if those visits are doing these things or just opening and closing the site.
And thirdly, you should tie to together the actions and intention of each campaign (remember step 1?) with what is getting people to convert.
Maybe you sent an amazing email that leads to 100 sign ups for your next webinar. Go back to your spreadsheet and analyze exactly what you did in that email. Did you include a GIF of a cute cat dancing? Or maybe this was your third email in a day (and the third one is always a charm?). Try and pinpoint what parts of that campaign seem to be successful and make sure to document!
Google Analytics actually allows you to see dollar values beside each traffic source that is coming into the site from. Although on its own this is a powerful report, make sure to take it one step further to look at all the details of each campaign and the journey the user took to get there.
Bonus tip: Don't just focus on the numbers. Although this might seem completely contrary to what I just recommended above, the reality is that you are digging your own hole if you only focus on making your client’s numbers go up or down.
It isn't just plain growth we should be aiming for, but instead quality growth and attracting traffic that is primed for what you are selling or promoting.
If you discover in one of your campaigns that your ideal client isn't so much into buying bad-ass knitting needles but wants some really cool rainbow wool yarn, then that's a win!
Getting information on your qualitative data is just as important as getting more traffic!
From the beginning, set the tone with the client that this experimentation mindset is about learning every step of the way, and although growth is usually what we always want, it really should be meaningful growth. Part of that process is celebrating every type of win.
As you start measuring and communicating ROI in your existing projects, new clients will immediately sense and be attracted to all this positive energy. They will definitely want in on the action! And you’ll be ready!
At the end of the day, showing the results we are producing and framing it in right light that the client can appreciate, is all part of the awesome job we get to do for our clients.