Client Reporting: Best Practices to Streamline Your Business
- Client reporting is crucial for building and maintaining strong relationships with clients, as it helps establish transparency, accountability, and trust.
- Effective client reporting requires clear communication, well-defined goals, and relevant data presented in an accessible format.
- A client report should include measurable data, such as benchmarks, goals, return on investment, and key learnings.
If you run a business, you know that client reporting is crucial to manage customer relations.
Detailed reports educate clients and help them better understand your hard work. This short guide will explore client reporting: what it is, why it is essential, and the top benefits of adding client reporting to your company’s process.
Client reporting definition
When you’re running a company, one of your tasks is not only to keep track of your customers and their orders, but also to report back to them. Client reporting is a crucial part of their business and performance that details the services they perform, and how close they’re getting to achieve the client’s goals. For instance, if you’re an SEO agency running campaigns for your clients, they’ll want to know how your activities are performing. To achieve that, you can build a marketing report.
While custom reports are essential for you and your client’s business, it might feel like a time-consuming process to many business owners. Thankfully, modern tools make reporting much easier these days.
Creating those reports is the key to your company’s success. The right automated reporting tools mixed with a solid reporting process will help you use client reporting to your advantage.
Benefits of client reporting
Before we get into client reporting best practices, let’s review a few benefits of reporting to your client in the first place.
Keeps both parties accountable
Your client reporting process is destined to keep your business and your client accountable to one another. Have your clients involved from the beginning, from establishing marketing goals to determining the key metrics you will be tracking.
You can start with these questions:
What are your business/marketing goals?
Who is your business’s target audience?
Who are your ideal clients/customers?
What type of relationship do you have with your audience?
What marketing metrics do you currently track (if any)?
What is your definition of marketing success?
Not only will they feel like they are part of the process, but it also opens a discussion about the client’s expectations. This will help you know your clients better and tailor your work to those expectations.
Raises your value
As with many businesses, your clients are paying you for your work, and they probably want some proof that their investment is worth it, and that’s where client reporting comes into play.
One way to showcase and eventually raise your value is to regularly report back to your clients on how well their digital marketing is going. If you set different milestones and use a streamlined client reporting process by providing the client with quantifiable metrics that summarize your work, you give them solid evidence that they were right to use part of their budget to pay for your services.
Besides that, it’s also an excellent opportunity for upselling. Getting tangible results can provide optimization opportunities that can be used to upsell your clients into creating new marketing campaigns or trying different social media strategies.
Builds a better client relationship
Being transparent about what is or isn’t working also creates trust, which is essential to building solid relationships with your clients. One way you can achieve transparency is to regularly stay in touch with them. By sending them regular reports and gathering feedback, your clients will know they can ask questions and that you are available to talk about their progress.
Client reporting allows you to check in regularly, whether it’s weekly or monthly, to discuss their progress, but it can also be a great selling point for new clients, as they know they will get regular conversations about their investment.
Educates your clients
As you provide your clients with valuable data, make sure they understand what you’re talking about. By educating your clients, they are more likely to want to continue their relationship with you for the long term. This will also facilitate the onboarding process with your clients, and this valuable information will be beneficial for your relationship as they will better understand your value and efforts.
Grow your industry knowledge
Don’t be afraid that your clients won’t need you anymore. Instead, by providing them with that value, they might understand better and appreciate the hard work you’re doing.
What to include in a client report
If you still can’t tell, client reports are an integral part of your relationship with your clients, and therefore, you want to use them to their full potential. But before you get to creating your monthly reports, you might want to identify the essential key performance indicators and other things you want to measure.
Tracking KPIs is essential for any business. But there’s no rule which ones you need to track, they depend on your business. Below are a few examples to inspire you:
Marketing campaigns results metrics
Cost per click (CPC)
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
SEO progress metrics
Number of backlinks
Social media metrics
Average order value
Customer lifetime value
Shopping cart abandonment rate
Returning customer rate
Everything needs to be measured against a baseline. Let’s say your client has worked with an SEO agency before, but now they’ve hired you. That agency managed to increase the organic search traffic from 1,000 views per month to 5,000 in 12 months. That increase in the same time period is your benchmark that you can compare yourself to.
Benchmarks are nothing without goals. What does the client expect from an agency’s SEO work? Were they not happy with the organic search traffic increase in 12 months? Do they want to increase the traffic by more than five times in the next 12 months?
In order to have accurate data points, define goals that are realistic and achievable. Modern client reporting platforms are able to predict results based on current data, so you can already see today if you can achieve your goals in the desired time period.
Every client has a budget they’ll want to invest into a service—and ideally, the return on investment (ROI) will be good. Ideally, you’ll be able to demonstrate that your services bring major cost savings or new business that helps scale the company.
A client report should always include everything you’ve learned—the good and the bad. Let’s stick with the SEO agency example: while those companies often have established processes in place, not all services work for every client. And it’s important to note these learnings down so they can be avoided in the future.
Making things easier with client reporting software
Once you have a list of your metrics in place, it’s time to streamline the reporting as much as possible—and a reporting dashboard software can be of great help.
There are many tools you can choose from, from Google Data Studio’s graphs to Excel spreadsheets to a reporting software like Dashthis.
With Dashthis, you can create automated reports in three easy steps:
Connect your marketing platforms, integrations, and data sources (Social media, Google Analytics, Google Ads, etc.).
Choose between report templates to track KPIs for SEO reporting, marketing campaigns, PPC, or social media, or start a report from scratch.
The tool will gather all your most important KPIs into an automated dashboard so you can see your metrics in real-time.
You can then embed the Dashthis report in a custom page inside your SPP workspace, and link to it via the sidebar menu. The report will load for your clients inside their white label client portal so everything is in one place.
Client reporting FAQ
How to do client reporting?
Client reporting can be done manually via Google Sheets, or by funneling different data points into reporting tools such as Google Data Studio or Dashthis. The latter is more streamlined and requires less work.
What client reporting requirements exist?
Client reporting should include metrics that give businesses and their clients an overview of how close they are to reaching their goals. A client report should be also accurate, delivered on time, and ideally be a login-based dashboard that clients can always access.
What is client reporting?
Client reporting refers to the communication between a service provider and their clients. The goal is to provide information about services being fulfilled as well as reaching milestones in an easy-to-understand manner. Most of the time, these reports are generated via accessible dashboards that pull in new data automatically.
Properly done client reporting ensures that your business can retain clients, it makes you look professional, and both parties are on the same page. At the same time, you spend less time explaining your process and deliverables to clients, as they can track the progress of your work on their own terms.