Client and management reporting is the centerpiece of every intelligent digital marketing puzzle. It’s what ties everything together, paints a clear picture, and puts all that has been done so far into the right perspective.
These data-driven documents help businesses successfully evaluate and analyze past and current marketing activities, regardless of how simple or complex they may be. It is what gives us a clear understanding of what we have achieved so far, so we can correctly adjust our strategies to reach our goals in the near future.
That’s why agencies and marketing freelancers need to take extra care with their reporting.
If you want your reports to actually mean something, drive better results, and build lasting relationships with your clients – you cannot really work on them for just a couple of minutes.
Quality Client Reporting is Usually a Process that Lasts for Hours
For example, when it comes to SEO – client reporting is something that truly demands a lot of focus and nurturing.
As a seasoned SEO expert and one of the founders of a big digital marketing agency that is Four Dots, I can tell you firsthand how things work in this department:
Regardless of the fact that a vast majority of clients only takes a cursory glance at their reports, they still insist on receiving regular and precise feedback from the agencies and independent contractors that handle their SEO-related activities.
And why shouldn’t they? – The fate of their business is in your hands. That’s no small thing. Clients demand plans, numbers, ideas, and projections. They want to know what the problem is, what has been done so far, what you are doing now and why in order to fix it.
Nobody in their right mind is going to give you the keys to their business and just let you play around. Even though they don’t really understand most of the things you’re doing, clients will demand that you explain it all to them. Everything needs to be transparent.
If something isn’t instantly crystal clear to them, practice has shown that more than 90% of clients will almost automatically ask for an additional meeting. They will immediately send you an email, or even call you up on your cellphone to go through the report together and have some of the issues explained further.
Imagine doing that all the time? Imagine yourself running an SEO agency that has more than 200 clients and all of them keep bombarding you with messages about “things that aren’t really clear to them in your report?” – Well, that has happened to us. That’s why now, we take reporting extremely seriously.
Client Reporting Hell – The Problems that Come with Briefing and Handling More than a Couple of Clients at the Same Time
As a company that serves a great number of clients each month, we constantly found ourselves in a position where we had to waste enormous amounts of our valuable time on client reporting.
Even though we have figured out a way to feed our clients top-notch marketing reports, so they don’t have to call us up every week or month and ask what certain things in our report mean, we were spending a lot of time on putting together spreadsheets and PPTs for everyone who was doing business with us.
It was like this giant black hole that kept sucking up our time and productivity in this endless sea of mundane labor.
When we started digging through all the numbers, we noticed that our average agency account manager spent 4 or more hours per month on reporting, for a single client. And the worst thing of all? – Our independent research has shown that this is the industry standard.
Four plus hours. On a single client. Per month.
To us, these were some pretty alarming numbers. When you do the math, you will instantly see that this activity is costing everyone significant amounts of money. That time would be better spent on actual work for the client, or something else.
Something needed to be done.
Hello Automated Reporting!
The first thing that we needed to do is eliminate all the unnecessary manual steps from the equation. Even though Excel has been good to us, we needed to figure out a way to replace it and bring that important data to us, without being forced to manually chase it through dozens of tabs.
This was the very moment when we started to really think about automated reporting as a solution.
There are a couple of reasons why this could work:
- Automated reporting eliminates clutter from the equation: The number one reason that agencies automate reports is to free up their time and resources. Clients get access to their report right away, without having to wait for someone to generate it for them.
- Accuracy: Automated reports significantly reduce the risk of basic human error. With this type of reporting, there are no “ups, I accidentally copy-pasted the wrong numbers into the wrongs column” and the like. The machine doesn’t lose focus like employees tend to, because it doesn’t get tired. If you have a lot of people working for you, you know that most of them don’t really like boring tasks. This solution will free them from such work. With automated reporting, the talent can now actually focus on analyzing data instead of extracting it.
- Easily merge, filter and display data: The thing that really sells this automated reporting concept is the fact that you can get almost everything that you need in just a few clicks. These tools offer their users the chance to bring their favorite marketing data to a single dashboard, and then work on it. The days of opening 20 tabs at once and copy-pasting numbers are now over. With a single click, the software will fetch everything you need from your favorite marketing utility.
- No more wasting time on technicalities: One of the biggest time-killers in this reporting game is design. If you want your reports to actually look professional and speak volumes to those who receive them, you need to invest more than a couple of minutes in the design. That is if you don’t have an automated reporting solution. Most reporting tools out there come with preset and custom reporting templates. Apart from that, they also allow their users to easily change the format of their reports and upload their client’s logo, data and brand colors. They basically make it possible for you, the user, to present everything in the way you want it presented, with just a couple of clicks.
But Wait, Are There Any Drawbacks to Automated Reporting?
Actually – there are. More than a few.
Most of them revolve around software limitations and technical know-how.
Even though we have truly bought the whole automated reporting concept, we still had difficulties making it work for us.
We have tried every possible reporting tool out there, but none of them have proven helpful. They were all great, but every single one of them was missing some key features, like:
- Custom date range settings
- Free customization and branding
- Flexible digital marketing KPI dashboards
- An unlimited number of widgets
- Specific tool integrations
It was clear as daylight that the wheel needed to be broken and reinvented again. That’s why we created Reportz.
We took all the good features from existing automated reporting tools and enriched them with most of the key things they were all missing.
Built out of pure necessity, Reportz is basically a tool developed by marketers for marketers. It’s a white label reporting marketing software, build to cut down on the stress, significantly speed the reporting process up, and improve the overall quality of it.
Our idea is to present everyone with the chance to put together compelling marketing reports in record time.
So, What Sets Reportz Apart from other Reporting Utilities?
The above-mentioned features that other tools were missing, plus so much more.
Bringing specific tools together, like Google Analytics, Ahrefs and Search Console to a single dashboard is no small thing for anyone who works in the SEO industry.
Having the ability to select predefined and custom dates and compare them with other custom dates, all in one dashboards, has truly saved a bundle of time for us. Every rise and fall in our client’s campaign can now be easily located, broken down, and compared with others with only a couple of clicks.
Apart from that, the Reportz customization and branding options have truly turned the game around for us. They have eliminated the whole file size and accessibility issue. If you, like us, are reporting too many metrics with a large volume of data, you no longer have to concern yourself with things like: “Is my report way bigger than it should have been? Will I be able to email that file? Will it take too long for my client to download?”, etc.
With Reportz, you can now transfer your client’s reporting to a separate subdomain or select a custom dashboard URL, where the client can easily access your reports.
Reportz has been extremely good to us. It has literally helped us save 4+ hours per month on client reporting. If you remember that we serve more than 200 clients, you’ll know just how significant that is to us. Give Reportz a spin, we promise you that our utility makes quality reporting as easy as pie!