Client retention is key to your success if you’re running a digital agency. Not only is it cheaper to retain existing clients than to acquire new ones, but happy clients also lead to happier staff, leading to even more satisfied clients. Furthermore, potential buyers will be very interested in your agency retention rate when you’re looking to sell your agency.
Positive reasons to work on client retention:
- Keeping a client is cheaper than acquiring new clients
- You can use more of your marketing budget to acquire new clients
- More retained clients = more chances of referrals from them to you
- High client churn does not keep staff happy, it worries them, and they leave
- Shows potential agency buyers that you have a solid business
What is most important in our view is to be very aware that you are selling an invisible service. You are essentially selling something that a client may not understand or understand less well or differently from you. You’re selling a promise that you’ll deliver a result in the future for a fee in the present. This means that you need to be very clear on what that promise is, and what the results in the future mean. You need to be super clear on what the leading measures are that show those future results are on-track!
So, what are the best ways to retain your digital agency clients? Here are a few key strategies:
1. Keep your promises.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Clients appreciate reliability and will be more likely to stick around if they know they can count on you. With this in mind, it’s also just as important to be upfront when you aren’t going to be able to keep a promise. Honesty and a solution is always better than disappointment and an apology.
2. Set their expectations.
Be clear about what you can and cannot do from the beginning. This way, there are no surprises down the road, and clients won’t be disappointed when things don’t go exactly as they had hoped. Clearly defined Scopes of Work, consistently worded documentation all the way from lead to sale to onboarding and beyond. If a client knows what they are buying, and you know that same concept is what you are selling, you’re less likely to cause any friction that’ll lose a client by handling mismatched expectations.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Whether it’s through weekly check-in calls or monthly progress reports, keeping your clients in the loop will help them feel involved and invested in your work together. It’s also a good opportunity to address their concerns before they become bigger issues. Consistent communication is key, especially communication that is expected. If a weekly or monthly call is rescheduled often (by your agency team), then the knock-on logistical friction for the client is frustrating, and a loss of perceived value in the agency occurs.
4. Be responsive to feedback.
If clients have suggestions or concerns, take them seriously and address them promptly. Showing that you’re open to feedback will build trust and respect. This also brings us back to points 1 and 2, where you need to balance their feedback with what they are buying and what you know to be reasonable. If you nod and promise changes that you cannot deliver or aren’t confident will add value, you’ll eventually lose the client. It’s sometimes worse to act on feedback that uses a client’s time but doesn’t add value because when they ask what value has been added or where the results are, you cannot show them.
5. Be flexible, but not Yoga flexible!
Clients’ needs can change over time, so being adaptable is important. If they want to switch up the scope of your work or adjust the budget, try to accommodate them where you can. This, of course, needs to be in balance with promises and expectations, but a client will often need to add/edit their services, and you need to show you can be flexible in the first instance so that they don’t begin to look elsewhere.
By following these retention strategies, you can keep your digital agency thriving for years. Not only will you save money on marketing and acquisition costs, but you’ll also have happy staff and clients. And when the time potentially comes to sell your agency, client retention will be a key factor that buyers are interested in seeing positive results in.