Proactive strategies for success
As a marketer, some of the top struggles working with clients is their understanding of marketing, of their audience and what they want from marketing efforts – oh ya, and their expectations of what they can get with their budget.
Whether I am just getting started with a new client, proposing a new campaign idea or responding to a client’s campaign idea, I’m proactive.
I like to get ahead of the problems when I can.
And since I know what the common struggles are for most clients, that means I have ideas brewing and ready to recommend. I don’t wait for them to tell me the details. I start to set the expectations before they can dream up Barbie sized campaigns and ideas.
Your role as a marketer is not only about creating strategies but also about educating and guiding clients to make informed decisions that align with their business goals.
Most times your client doesn’t know where to start or what to do.
Sometimes they don’t even know what they want from a campaign and have a very broad idea of their ideal audience.
That is why they hired you.
Understanding the Client’s Audience
One of the common issues faced by marketers is clients who have great ideas but a hazy understanding of their audience. I’ve encountered this scenario with a long-term client who had fantastic concepts for reaching their audience but was overly focused on everyone in their city. Their approach was too broad, and we needed to refine it.
To tackle this challenge, we dove into a deep discussion about their ideal client. We explored what this audience wanted from our content, the kind of messages that resonated with them, and where they spent their online time. By narrowing our focus and aligning our efforts with the preferences of our ideal audience, we managed to increase our client’s following by an impressive 25% year over year.
Dealing with Unclear Goals
Another hurdle marketers often face is working with clients who have unclear goals. I’ve had a client who frequently had great ideas but struggled with executing them in the realm of digital marketing. They understood the importance of setting clear goals but often wanted results in an unrealistic time frame.
In such situations, effective communication becomes paramount. I had to patiently explain the complexities of the digital marketing process and the time it takes to achieve meaningful results. By setting clear and realistic expectations, we managed to guide the client toward a more balanced approach. Slowing down, clarifying goals, and extending timelines or executing campaigns in phases turned out to be the key to achieving better results.
Proactive Recommendations: The Game-Changer
As marketers, it’s crucial to be proactive in guiding our clients.
Waiting for them to provide all the details often leads to misunderstandings and unmet expectations. Instead, we can take the initiative and make recommendations that address their challenges head-on.
In my former life as a paralegal, I was trained well by an attorney when I was 19, not to come to him with a problem, instead with what I thought a solution could be, so we were prepared to talk through options and solutions. (Thanks Frank!)
That advice has molded me into the problem solver I am today.
1. Start with Audience Research:
Most clients have a vague idea of their audience. I take this idea and check out their Google Analytics and social analytics to make some assumptions. I don’t do a full deep dive, it’s usually not part of the scope of work, but I need some of this information to get results. Use your expertise to conduct a little research and help your clients define their ideal customer.
When I come to the table with “this is who I understand your audience to be” clients begin to understand what this should look like and can help me adjust pain points, interests and online behavior.
2. Set Clear Objectives:
Important for all facets of life. Clients may not always know what they want from a campaign.
Be the guiding force by helping them set clear and measurable goals. Propose what you think will be a clear objective you can measure for them. I try to avoid getting in the weeds with them here, but guide them with the SMART objectives in mind (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives).
Take the initiative and have a plan outlined here that you can take to the client. That is how they can visualize and understand what we are talking about and then they are in a better position to help you adjust goals.
3. Educate on Realistic Timelines:
Clients often come up with ideas that they want to execute on, like now. Or, a new idea pops up right before we go to launch or a last minute interview arises.
There are times we have to pivot quickly. That’s when I have my playbook templates in my back pocket help a lot.
There are other times when slowing the client down is necessary. Communicate the complexities involved and advocate for setting realistic timelines that align with the chosen strategies. Especially when it comes to a lack of promotional period.
Say a client is in the middle of a launch and wants to run a webinar this week because of some questions coming up from the audience. This week doesn’t give any time for promotion or time to create emails and assets or even a registration process.
This is a situation I’d recommend we do a down and dirty Facebook or Instagram LIVE rather than the webinar and make some simple posts and a short email notifying their audience, and then promote the replay to reach more viewers later through a strategic campaign.
But if they are simply wanting to boost sales and are simply rushing the process, I’d recommend planning out a strategized launch with a pre-launch promotion period of at least 2 weeks prior to the webinar to create buzz and have a chance to reach more people.
Goals will all guide what you recommend to your clients.
If you are on a large team, sometimes this is dictated to you, so my recommendation is to create a list of all the things that need to be set up and created and how long those things usually take and share it with your boss. The client is going to have to choose what is important and what is nice to have for the campaign.
4. Prioritize and Allocate Budget Wisely:
Clients may come with flashy campaign ideas, but it’s not at all in the scope.
First, your team will have to let them know what is and what is not in scope and if they are willing to pay extra.
Next you’ll want to help them understand a strategic approach by prioritizing tactics that offer the highest return on investment within their budget (or the scope of work). Show them that it’s not just about spending more but spending smartly.
5. Maintain Open Communication:
Keep the lines of communication open throughout the campaign. Regularly update clients on progress, insights, and performance metrics. This transparency builds trust and alignment.
We have the opportunity to be proactive problem solvers for our clients.
By understanding their challenges and offering solutions before they even ask, we can not only navigate their expectations but also create campaigns that drive real results.
It’s not just about marketing; it’s about building strong client relationships based on trust and expertise.
Whenever you’re ready, here are two ways I can help you:
- Download the Asana Starter Kit. This is the system I use for my clients and my own business.
- 1:1 Strategy Session to work with you and your team to implement a holistic marketing strategy from start to finish for your clients. Including content creation, ads management and setup, social media strategy, email marketing and list-building strategies.