PPC has become a crucial component of online advertising strategies for Amazon sellers. This has created a significant market for PPC management agencies, spawning a fiercely competitive, take-no-prisoners environment.
In the highly competitive PPC management agency market, simply acquiring new clients is not enough. The real key to building a successful and thriving agency lies in retaining them.
Client retention is the lifeblood of any PPC management agency, and its importance cannot be overstated.
Acquiring new clients is a time-consuming and expensive process. Most agencies focus on acquisition, with client retention a secondary priority. However, it pays to nurture relationships, because retaining a current client is up to seven times cheaper than finding a new one.
Agencies need to have a strong retention strategy in place that’s focused on adding value to existing clients and building long-lasting relationships.
Investing in client retention helps build a more sustainable client base and it can also lead to more predictable cash flow and increased profits in the long run.
Reasons Why Clients May Churn From Your Amazon PPC Agency
The process of client retention involves creating strategies to keep clients loyal and encourage them to continue doing business with an agency over a long period of time.
The opposite of client retention is client churn, which is the number of clients lost over a period of time.
There are several reasons an agency might be losing clients, and many will be unique to the way the agency conducts business. Nevertheless, there are several recognized circumstances that can cause clients to leave a PPC management agency that include:
- Seeing better results with other marketing strategies that require less monetary investment
- Communication is not effective (unclear goals, expectations are not defined)
- Agency is hyper-focused on new clients
- Lack of understanding the client’s journey
- Not seeing desired return on investment from PPC campaigns
- Deciding to bring PPC campaigns in-house to have full control over campaigns
- Changes in Amazon policies
- Seller’s needs, preferences, and priorities change
How To Determine Your Amazon Agency’s Client Retention Rate
Before an agency focuses on improving their current client retention strategies, they should empirically establish their existing client retention rate.
The client retention rate formula is:
Client Retention Rate = ((E-N)/S)) x 100
E = Number of clients at the end of a period
N = Number of new clients acquired during that period
S = Number of clients at the start of that period
For example, an agency had 500 clients at the beginning of the year and acquired 100 new clients during the year. At the end of the year, the agency had 550 clients. Using the formula, the client retention rate can be calculated as follows:
((550-100)/500) x 100 = 90%
Therefore, the client retention rate for this agency is 90%, which means that it was able to retain 90% of its clients from the beginning of the year.
Is 90% a good retention rate? It depends. The agency should consider the percentage in the context of their overall objectives for the year.
How to Identify Ideal Clients
Client retention starts with investing in the right clients. Agencies should create an Ideal Client Avatar to determine whether or not a potential client is a good fit for the agency.
Creating an ideal client avatar involves a thorough understanding of the agency’s strengths, goals, and target market, as well as the needs and characteristics of potential clients.
An ideal client avatar should be based upon interviews and research from the agency’s prospects, current and past clients, and the agency’s in-house staff. While the avatar is a fictional construct, the information used to create it should be reality-based.
Agencies should consider these steps when identifying ideal management clients:
Define your agency’s target market. Consideration should be given to the types of businesses that the agency is best equipped to serve and where their expertise lies. Does the agency offer the services, expertise, tools or functions the client needs to achieve their goals? For example, an agency may specialize in working with medium-sized to large Amazon sellers or brands in a specific niche.
Analyze competitors. Agencies should analyze their competitors’ target markets and strategies to identify any gaps that their agency can fill. Agencies should identify areas where they can offer unique value and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Define the agency’s culture. Does the potential client share the agency’s core values? PPC management agencies often disregard the importance of having a cultural alignment with clients. The cultural fit dictates whether or not the management agency and potential client can communicate effectively.
Qualify potential clients. Once an agency has identified potential clients, it’s essential to qualify them to ensure that they are a good fit. Consider factors like their budget, available workforce, goals, and timeline to determine if they align with the agency’s capabilities and objectives.
Have an Ad Spend budget qualifier. Agencies should determine the minimum Ad Spend budget that they can work with effectively. This will help identify clients that have a budget that aligns with the agency’s services.
How PPC Management Agencies Can Retain Clients Longer
As the fierce back-and-forth “we can do it better” war amongst PPC management agencies has raged on, the ‘loyalty spans’ of clients has dramatically shrunk. Clients have inadvertently been conditioned to continuously seek out greener pastures (a different agency that appears to deliver better results, faster and cheaper).
However, agencies can vanquish this client mindset to retain their clients longer by implementing the following strategies.
Account managers must be authoritative and technically competent. The prosperity of the PPC management agency is reliant on the interpersonal skills and authoritative perception of the management team. They should instill in their clients confidence about their expertise, able to educate clients when necessary, and to dive into the subject matter of PPC campaigns utilizing the appropriate language and technical knowledge.
Establishing clear, concise and empathetic communication between the client and the agency is one of the most important factors for client retention. Even though a client gives up a certain measure of control when coming onboard a management agency, they should never feel that they are ‘out of the loop’. Clients want to be kept in the loop about their campaigns. Account managers should maintain detailed records of all activities, results, and objectives.
Communication should be proactive, looping in clients before they reach out to account managers with questions or concerns. Managers should anticipate client needs and be proactive in providing solutions. Doing so will show that the agency is invested in the success of the client’s business and willing to go above and beyond to achieve it.
Many clients aren’t sure or don’t know what they need in order to accomplish the objectives that they’ve envisioned. Defining desirable outcomes with quantifiable performance benchmarks that the client and account manager can agree to is essential for creating a positive client experience that helps to solidify client retention.
Agency clients often find the marketing process frustrating because they are eager to see ‘big’ wins like a dramatic spike in sales and revenue, as soon as reasonably (or not) possible.
However, successful advertising (earning the click from potential customers), is essentially a long-term undertaking composed of stringing together a series of small wins for the client.
Account managers should convey what’s important, what’s not, small and big wins, as well as any potential issues. Reviewing these points with their clients builds and reinforces the client’s perception of the value they are receiving by working with the agency. They’ll be less likely to feel like they aren’t seeing any results and become discouraged.
Clarity is critical because when clients don’t truly understand the actions undertaken on their behalf, they may find it difficult to rationalize the expense of having the services of the agency.
Managers should provide every client with transparent updates on new strategies implemented, types of changes made to align with those strategies, and campaign performance. Managers should create easy-to-understand reports that contain cold, hard numbers that indicate that they are working systematically towards or achieving client objectives.
When this type of information is delivered through regular client meetings, check-ins and feedback sessions, agencies and their managers are able to develop and cultivate on-going relationships that foster agency loyalty/client retention.
Whether it’s good news or bad, the account manager should communicate consistently. Consistency strengthens trust because clients feel the account manager isn’t hiding anything from them, or that the speed with which they receive information is predicated by its content. Client trust results in higher retention rates over the long haul.
Agencies should seek out client feedback and act upon it to improve their agency’s core client experience. By analyzing client feedback received over time, agencies can identify trends to gain better insights into what’s working and which procedures require improvements.
Also, account managers should be trained to thank the client for their feedback and to then respond in a way that solves any immediate issues, or that offers a potential solution in a timely manner.
By responding promptly to client feedback (calls and emails), agencies demonstrate that they care about their client’s success which helps to bring them another step closer in retaining them.
At the end of the day, the best way to retain clients is to deliver results. When clients see that the agency is capable of delivering the results they expect, they are more likely to continue to work with the agency. This can lead to a long-term relationship that benefits both parties.
Satisfied clients are also more likely to refer the agency to others who may need similar services. Word of mouth referrals can be a powerful tool in growing an agency’s business and building a loyal client base.
Reliable long-term relationships are the backbone of successful PPC management agencies. Agencies can’t afford to undervalue the importance of developing, measuring and improving their client retention strategies and processes.
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