How long do your client relationships last on average? For most marketing agencies, it would be between three to five years on average. 

Honestly, this doesn’t sound half bad. But when you compare it to larger marketing agencies, you’ll be surprised to find that the average length of client engagements can go much longer, with global top 40 agency-client relationships lasting 22 years on average. 

The reason behind any healthy agency-client relationship all comes down to trust, and that can only be built on a foundation of transparency

So whether you are a branding or marketing agency, you need to be maintaining a transparent relationship with your clients, and here are five ways to get started.

1. Set Clear and Specific Goals

It’s always best, to be honest from the start of the relationship. Instead of giving lip service and making unrealistic promises, the best practice is to understand your client’s objectives and provide them with a realistic strategy.

Greg Paull, the principal of global consulting firm R3, which commissioned the Global 40 report, says that like great marriages, a long-lasting partnership between agencies and clients start with a shared understanding and clear goal. 

Both parties should share the same idea of what success looks like. That means helping clients establish marketing goals and outlining relevant KPIs. 

Besides, marketing agencies need to be open about their scope of work and strategy. Let clients know what it will take to achieve their goals. Make sure everything is clear up front and that your clients are agreeable. 

You can also use case studies from past clients to better demonstrate your strategy and get your message across effectively. Sometimes, clients don’t exactly understand what it takes to successfully run specific campaigns, so involving them in operation is crucial. 

2. Involve Your Client in the Process

The relationship between your agency and clients should be collaborative to make sure that they are happy with the work delivered. 

Ideally, you should set up a client onboarding session at the very beginning to collate all the information you need for a successful personalized strategy. 

Find out what they have tried in the past and if it was successful, discuss expectations regarding budgets, results, and timeframes. Set up a system and schedule for seamless communication and feedback.

This will help your clients feel more involved in the process and ensure that their opinions are more appreciated and that their content aligns with their brand voice and beliefs. 

But more importantly, having your clients involved in the operation will inform and educate them. Especially when you are providing your clients with more value, you want to make sure they are aware of what exactly is being done. 

3. Data Transparency and Easy Access

Providing complete data transparency to your clients is not just the right thing to do; it’s an ethical practice that all marketing agencies should employ. 

Given that your clients are paying you to handle the marketing efforts for the company, it only makes sense that they should have access to their own assets and information. 

Content like artwork, copywriting, and other created assets can be easily made accessible through shared drives. You can also use project management tools, like or AirTable, to encourage transparency in the project. 

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By giving clients easy access to their project and the works in progress, everyone can get a better grasp of the time expectations and interact directly with the team if they have any comments.  

4. Timely Reporting and Communication

Transparency is more than just putting everything out in the open. It is also about taking accountability and building relationships.

Having regular touchpoints and communications is essential to build trust and rapport with your clients beyond transactions. Make sure you have a dedicated account manager to be the primary point of contact responsible for each client.

They should become the trusted source of information for clients, address their concerns, and build close relationships personally and professionally. 

Whether through in-person meetings or remote communication through phone calls, emails, or video conferences, they should schedule a regular touchpoint every week to go over the projects with clients. During this meeting, update the progress and let them know the performance of their ads, newsletter, website, and other performance metrics like organic traffic, click-through rates, engagement, and conversions.

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Take the opportunity to discuss ways to further drive ROI and meet goals.

5. Be Candor About Budget and Progress

Clients want to know if their invested resources are producing actual results, and it’s up to agencies to provide detailed reporting that makes sense. 

Ensure that your reporting is upfront and goes beyond vanity metrics like page views and social media followers, but rather how this translates in dollars and cents. 

You can do this by compiling information from analytics tools and getting customer data from clients to see new qualified leads and check if the digital marketing strategy has been successful. 

As much as we celebrate great wins, we have to admit that sometimes marketing campaigns won’t work the way we want them to. Be honest when the strategy doesn’t produce results, and let your client be aware of issues early to find potential solutions. 

Company revenue aside, the second biggest concern a client has will always be about the budget. So give a clear delineation of their marketing spending and let them know exactly where their money is being spent and the costs associated with managing them. 

Avoid hidden costs and explain to your clients why things cost money and what it takes to effectively perform the desired service. 

Being candor is the key. When clients know where their resources are invested and their ROI, they will have peace of mind that their projects are being handled efficiently. 

This is because you show that you have their best interest in mind and that you are doing everything you can to generate the best possible results, which will build trust.

Key Takeaway

Ultimately, transparency is vital in building a successful and long-lasting client-agency relationship. It is profitable in the long run and strengthens partnerships to help retain clients and create a win-win situation. 

Author Bio

Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope of making a difference in people’s lives and contributing to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn