Reporting is a tedious, time-consuming task. Reporting documents tend to be verbose and fluffy. Even the slides that do matter tend to be challenging to comprehend.
It’s important to remember what the objective is. Reports serve two purposes: (1) to inform partners of the performance of their investments and (2) to justify the value and impact your management is having on their business. To prove the latter, many lose sight of the former. Let’s not.
Below are the QA measures taken here at White Shark Media to ensure that our clients receive the most efficient and valuable reports. Some of these may seem intuitive, but as everyone knows, once you start, you can lose your balance quickly.
Never Forget the Client’s Goals
Every business relationship will start with an objective. Reports are recurring check-ups of how well you are doing to reach that goal. More specifically, they inform the client of progress, hangups, recommendations, and opportunities. They also strengthen your relationship with the client. It is through conversation and back-and-forth of insights that you get to know each other. Make sure that everything ties back to their overall goal. If you do this well, you will simultaneously prove your value to their business.
- What does your client care about the most? Specifics or ROI. Start there.
- What are the metrics? Provide additional information alongside metrics in case someone on the client has questions.
Go Under the Surface
Surface level reporting work against your client relationship. No one has time for wordy documents and vague bullets. Keep it simple, but go deep. What we mean by this is:
- Don’t just use numbers. Don’t crowd the screen with graphs. Explain what they mean. How will the featured diagram have an impact on my campaign? What does it say about our current strategy?
- Don’t just tell the client that “Pop-ups ads performed well.” It can come off as lazy, break it down instead. Talk about where, when, and which ads performed better than expected. If you can provide possible, why’s, do it. Cook up a plan to get more out of the ones that didn’t perform well, and so on.
- Don’t give the client bad news without an actionable solution. You won’t always have good news for your client, but what’s important is what you do with that. Any client will appreciate an upfront conversation about an obstacle paired with a ready-to-apply solution. Having a countermeasure ready proves that you have a positive outlook, are a problem solver, and understand their position.
Learn as You Go
Different clients will prioritize different things. Make sure to note which areas are addressed by the client.
- What are their goals?
- What are their pet peeves?
- Are you touching on each of these?
- What were they curious about?
- What did they dismiss?
Learn what information is important. Once you determine this, focus on moving forward and organize the report in a way that reflects that.
Design Templates That Work
Carefully designed reports go along way with a client.
The first details to include is the standard information that will prevent confusion on the relevancy of the report (date range, what kind of performance they will be reviewing, contact information, etc.)
Second, the content must be curated. Your client should feel that it’s been personalized. If you keep your client’s goals in mind while you are creating your template, it’ll happen on its own. As we mentioned before, what is important to them? What are the metrics? Are you explaining things? Are takeaways clear?
Thirdly, evaluate whether the design of the report is disruptive or supportive of the content. Text can be overwhelming. Graphs can be boring. Design a template that has a balance of both worlds. Tell a story, let each of these formats support themselves. Are the colours and graphics helping emphasize numbers and insights?
In conclusion, reporting doesn’t have to be a drag. You can create a format that presents essential information in a fun and actionable way. Walk your client through the current status of their campaigns in a form that will not overwhelm them but rather make them feel delighted at how manageable it is. In short, make it look easy. After all, that’s your job!