Client retention should be one of the highest priorities for any digital marketing agency. It is far more expensive to attract new clients than to keep your current ones, and satisfied customers are your best source of referrals. How much time and effort do you spend on retaining customers compared to gaining new ones?

Even as you focus on signing on new campaigns, don’t neglect the clients you already have. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow:

Starting Off Right: Managing Client Expectations

Many new clients have unreasonable expectations of what SEO can accomplish, which are often fueled by absurd marketing claims. How many times have you seen some unknown agency guaranteeing first page rankings for any keyword, or boasting about “secret” techniques that Google doesn’t know about?

Business owners usually don’t have a deep understanding of SEO, which is precisely why they are looking for help. They may not realize that campaigns are long-term projects, and results will take time to materialize. If they expect you to start driving traffic to their website overnight, they will be disappointed with your apparent lack of progress, and decide to leave or switch SEO providers.

Starting Off Right: Managing Client Expectations

Before the client even signs your SEO contract, you need to make sure that they have a realistic grasp of the effort involved, and the campaign’s timeline. It is better to undersell your services and then over deliver, leaving them pleasantly surprised.

Opening Two-Way Communication

Good professional relationships are based on transparency and frequent communication. This is why detailed monthly reports are so important; to justify the value of your services, you need to show real and tangible proof that you are benefiting their business. Talk about what you have accomplished in relation to the client’s main KPIs, and describe your expectations for the future.

Opening Two-Way Communication

However, you need to keep in mind that communication goes both ways. Do you actively solicit feedback from your clients? You need to stay on top of their concerns, and address potential issues early on. Waiting for the client to approach you with a problem is lazy campaign management.

Is Your Job Done? How to Provide Ongoing Value

Even if you have a good client-agency relationship, it is hard for a business owner to justify paying you if they think that your job is over. Much of an SEO campaign’s value is up-front; you fix website problems, optimize their content, build good links and disavow bad ones, and so on. After dealing with the biggest issues, it is important to show that keeping you on still has value.

A good way to do this is by looking beyond simple traffic generation—focus on increasing revenue. Is your client struggling with low conversion or high bounce rates? Do they have a weak social media presence? Can you provide in-depth competitive analysis? Identify the client’s pain points, and give solutions to become their go-to source for all digital marketing concerns.

As you can see, educating clients about SEO is a large part of the job. What have you done recently to build stronger connections with your customers? Take a proactive stance on client retention, and start thinking of more ways to keep them happy over the long-term.