The Importance of Client Education

by Taylor Pratt June 28th, 2011 

arghhh

How many of you have ever gotten a phone call or an email from a client upset about some inconsequential detail regarding a component of your online marketing campaign?

Of course you have.

The problem with situations like this is that it is the first signs of a much bigger problem: they don't understand what you're doing for them.

Sure they talk big. They've heard a few buzz words on their local news, but do they really understand how online marketing works?

The Real Problem

Think back to your initial sales meeting. When you were discussing their various needs, did you get the sense that they weren't completely clear with everything you were saying to them?

You see, we all suffer from professional blindness. Professional blindness is when you've been in an industry for so long that you throw around industry terms that you think everyone knows. We forget that they aren't exposed to that language on a daily basis like we are. It would be like sitting in on a meeting of a board of Doctor's debating the best way to perform a complicated surgery. It will sound like gibberish to you.

But few clients will admit that. They don't want to appear out of the loop or unintelligent to what you're discussing with them. And this is where the cracks begin to form in their relationship with you.

As those cracks continue to grow (you notice them more and more in meetings and conversations like I mentioned at the beginning), if you don't act quickly – you may find yourself with a client that takes up more time than they're worth or without a client at all.

Fix It

There are a number of ways you can combat this, so use your best judgment to find what works best for you and your client(s). You may find that it is a combination of these things:

  • Start including a mandatory 1-2 hour training overview with each client that explains the process in greater detail
  • At the end of each deliverable include an appendix that explains any processes and terminology
  • Setup a one hour quarterly training meeting with your client
  • In any deliverables for your client, be sure to reference how this fits in with the overall strategy, what the next steps are and what you're keeping an eye on (look for things that will seem like red flags to your client like a dip in rankings)

My number one recommendation for you when you get that email that really gets under your skin: walk away. Just go chat with someone else on your team. Just make sure you vent prior to writing that reply so you don't end up venting to your client.

Question: What do you do to help educate your clients? Leave a comment by clicking here.

Taylor Pratt

Taylor Pratt is an online marketing consultant at Built to Search. Built to Search offers customized SEO, PPC and social media consulting services.

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One Response to “The Importance of Client Education”

  1. One of the most important things we do is make use of media that will keep their attention. Most people learn visually a lot better than through audio stimuli. We use the free tutorials available on the major search engines, like Google, etc. We also have a slide show that details information about our specific company and how the services work.

    I like your idea about the mandatory training for clients separate from anything else. On initial meetings, it seems they're thinking about money and time and the rest doesn't really sink in.

    Thanks for this post.