Blog | Marketing Madness

Creating Reports For Your Clients

06/02/2015

Creating reports is all part of the job when it comes to working with clients, but is there a definitive style of report that works best?

It is not enough just to work hard, put in the time and become an ecommerce success story – you need to be able to show off your blood, sweat and tears. When it comes to creating that daily, weekly, monthly or annual report for your clients, there are several important factors to consider.

First of all, you need to have a good idea of what you want to say before you begin. Your client should make this process a bit easier for you by telling you what they want to see.

However, if you’re at a loss, think about what your goal was when you first started working for your client. If you made an agreement to increase organic traffic then you should definitely include those statistics within your report.

Typically revenue is at the top of the list but some clients will want to focus on growth through organic traffic while others will want to look at revenue from affiliates instead. Remember that each client is different and if you are producing several reports, you will probably have to tailor each one individually.

All reports should at least include the following;

  • The Bottom Line – the most important bit of data which is usually revenue
  • Growth – visitors, sessions, referrals, backlinks, etc…
  • The Highlights – a few key points but don’t try to cram everything in
  • Bonuses – anything good that came up unexpectedly
  • Any Issues? – technical problems, a drop in visits, etc…

Once you have these sections in place, you can expand on them, depending on what your client has requested. If they want a deeper look at their ecommerce marketing each month then make sure you put that in after you have given them the highlights.

Tools

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to creating the perfect report for your client. There are a number of great tools out there that can gather and correlate information for you. Here are just a few of the ones that we have come across;

  • Google Analytics – To be honest, if you are running any websites for your client, you should really set up Google Analytics from the start. Not only can you track your organic and paid traffic on a daily basis, but the tool also comes with conversion, behaviour and acquisition stats as well
  • Majestic SEO – Want to know how your website is viewed in the eyes of the internet? Majestic SEO gathers information based on your backlinks and referring domains giving you an overview of your Trust Flow and Citation links
  • Moz Pro – Technical issues can be a pain to locate and solve if you don’t know what the problem is. Amongst other things, Moz Pro can crawl your website for technical issues and give you an idea of what is causing any major problems
  • Social Media – Every social channel has its own form of metrics so you can monitor stats such as number of followers, number of clicks and which posts performed best in terms of engagement
  • Visuals – Using imagery is a great way of showing a large chunk of data in a simple way. Screenshots and graphs are two of the most popular ways of displaying information visually.

Graph

Layout

Reports should be detailed without becoming overloaded with statistics. You want to give your client a good idea of every area you are working on without becoming bogged down with too much information. For example;

  • Organic traffic to your website went up from 850 visitors from 800 visitors from January 1st to January 31st. This means that organic traffic to your website has grown 6.25% in the last month – too long!
  • In January, organic traffic increased 6.25% – from 800 to 850 visits – trimmed!

Think of your results in terms of bite size chunks – make the content easy to digest. Numbers make results more visible, as do bullet points, and you can easily change the formatting to highlight important areas, such as;

  • In January, organic traffic increased 6.25% – from 800 to 850 visits
  • In January, organic traffic increased 6.25% – from 800 to 850 visits
  • In January, organic traffic increased 6.25% – from 800 to 850 visits

Find a way that works for your results and keep it consistent. If you highlight certain numbers in one section, do the same for the rest of the report. It will make it much easier for your client to read through.

The Fine Print

You should always include the following in any report you create;

  • Date the report was created
  • Who created it?
  • Contact details

You should also include a disclaimer that states that any information within the report is to be shared between you and your client only.

Additionally, being upfront with your client regarding reporting is the best way to go. If they ask questions about where or how you got your information, be reasonable in your response.If there has been an issue that needed resolving, be honest about it and always ‘show your working’ – which is how you dealt with and resolved the issue.

You should also let them know in advance if you want to change the format or frequency of the reporting and why. Clients don’t like to feel like they’re being kept in the dark.

3 Golden Rules

  • Be concise – Clients don’t have the time to crawl through reams of text to find the bottom line. Be brief and only include what needs to be included
  • Be clear – Once you have laid out your report style, stick with it. Clients will get used to finding their organic search results on page 2 and their social media stats on page 4 so keep the format the same each time
  • Be honest – Don’t try to fudge or hide statistics even if they are not the results you were hoping for. Sometimes you don’t win but you have to be honest with your client. If you can show them precisely what went wrong and explain how you are going to fix it, they will be a lot more forgiving