Data Driven Agency Series Chapter 3: Leveraging the power of agency reporting

Published 2018-10-15, updated 2023-06-16

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Summary - Dashboard reporting offers more value than your competition. It's innovative, it saves time, and it helps your clients make better business decisions.

Dashboard reporting is a distinct way to offer more value than your competition.

What is dashboard reporting?

First things first, there is a big difference between traditional reporting and dashboard reporting.

Typically, a traditional report is defined as an official document that gives an account of a particular subject. This document is created after thorough analysis or consideration by an appointed person or body. On the other hand, dashboard reporting omits the need for your team member’s time and lets your computer do the work instead. It is innovative, it saves you time, and if you master it, you will look like a rockstar in the eyes of your customers.

For example, take our agency friends at RootedElm...

A&W: A Data-Driven 100th Birthday

Our partners prove that success can be driven by data and solid reporting processes. With Klipfolio, RootedElm has been able to support A&W’s marketing efforts, acting as a trusted advisor on projects such as their MugClub email marketing campaign.

Using the data that RootedElm built into dashboards and presented through dashboard reports, A&W made the decision to expand their subscriber reach and enhance engagement as they head towards celebrating their 100th birthday.

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3 ways that dashboard reporting can add value to your digital marketing agency:

  1. Lead Generation - Win new customers by standing out
  2. Organization - Buy back hours in your day and increase performance
  3. Transparency - Use open communication to foster a culture of trust

Win new customers by standing out

How? It’s simple. Reporting in real time gives your clients access to their data every day of the month, so they are involved every step of the way… no surprises at month-end. In other words, it’s continuous understanding and peace of mind - for everyone.

One of the best and most effective ways we’ve found that agencies can do this, but many have yet to try, is to implement innovative reporting practices that put your clients in the driver’s seat. Your customers can react in real time and make smarter business decisions that are backed by real time data…

Let’s look at another one of RootedElm’s clients, Elise from Lexington Podiatry, whose business practices have changed because of this innovative process.

"[Dashboard reporting] help[s] me know when it's time to worry or when things are running smoothly with just a quick glance. Decision making on the fly has never been easier."

This is how you stand out. This is how you help your clients generate more revenue.

But, is my client acquisition process effective in the first place?

Lead Generation Dashboard

Many agencies neglect to implement any formal processes around how they manage their client acquisition efforts, let alone organize what the data is telling them about its success.

By building out a lead generation dashboard, it allows you to keep track of and report on client onboarding - providing insights into which strategies are successful and where there is room for improvement.

As an agency, consider including these metrics to measure how well you are attracting new customers on your lead generation dashboard:

Google Analytics Dashboard Web Traffic Targets

Great, so now that I know dashboards are an awesome way for me to differentiate my agency and keep track of leads… how do I get my team on board?

Buy back hours in your day

With data at your fingertips, you are able to react with smart decision making on the fly, meaning you and your team are not only more organized, but more productive.

With increased internal transparency and understanding, your team is able to spot trends as they are happening and take action on the spot. This means your marketing campaigns and all other creative projects can be optimized in real time; in other words, your approach becomes proactive.

This is where a marketing performance dashboard comes in.

Marketing Performance Dashboard

While it may seem like common sense, many agencies place so much emphasis on keeping their clients front and center, that they lose focus of their own goals and objectives. Here are a few metrics you can use to track your performance, ensuring you are prioritizing your business and your productivity in all marketing activities:

Blog Traffic

Andy Crestodina helped us prototype (this marketing performance dashboard) and agencies love it because it allows them to see which content is attracting and converting visitors, as well as what opportunities exist.

Strong performance doesn’t happen without solid project management.

As an agency working with many clients, you understand the importance of data organization, and hopefully know the difference between reporting and monitoring at this point. Business dashboards allow digital marketing agencies to, in a click or two, access their client's most important data points.

No more sifting through tons of spreadsheets or those screenshots you've been saving and trying to organize in Google Drive.

Dashboards omit the endless spreadsheets you have stored on your computer and allow you to mix and match data sets, organizing them in whatever way feels most valuable. This is important for managing projects within your team and organization-wide; everyone has a clear, complete view of the project and all of its moving parts.

Project Management Dashboard

Growing agencies are often managing dozens of projects across multiple clients and, well, keeping that straight is a Herculean task.

Enter the project management dashboard. It consolidates their process into a single view, and allows them to associate targets with their deliverables.

Consider tracking the following metrics for each of your projects on your dashboard:

If you wanted to, you could even create multiple dashboards. For example, one dashboard for marketing project management and one dashboard for the overall business project management.

Project Management Dashboard 0
Business Project Management Dashboard

Okay, I love that I can monitor my team’s performance, can I do the same for my client’s performance?

Answer: Absolutely.

Use open communication to foster a culture of trust

Clients today want to see and interact with their data in real-time, not just be told about it.

Data transparency fosters a culture of trust, which in turn, strengthens an agency team. A stronger team means better client service, and customers who are not only happy, but loyal.

Financial Management Dashboard

Aside from reporting on marketing performance, agencies must manage the billing side of their client relationships. Juggling multiple clients and different account types requires systems and processes, and a financial management dashboard paves the way for both.

It’s a useful way to inform everyone on the team about opportunities to improve the numbers. Focusing your financial management dashboard around the following metrics will help you get started:

Financial Performance Dashboard

Transparency results from clear, open communication.

Although one of the most important, improved communication is perhaps the most overlooked benefit of dashboards for digital marketing agencies.

With concise data visualizations, agency managers are given a clear view of client performance, making it easier to delegate projects. This also allows for transparency throughout an organization, with each team member aware of what other team members are doing.

For example, an agency leader specializing in SEO campaigns, can now quickly glance at a dashboard and understand what data is coming in through a CRM—without having to ask the in-house CRM specialist to pull data out of the platform.

Client Alerts Dashboard

Client Alerts Dashboard allows you to monitor your clients’ performance in real time. Feel free get creative here. We’ve seen everything from TV dashboards of clients’ social channels to client growth metrics.

Here are a few metrics agencies can consider showcasing on their dashboards:

Social Media Command Centre

Easy to set up (thanks to a pre-built connection) and even easier to use, the Social Command Centre helps digital agencies keep their client’s front and center. Simple as that.

Social Media Command Center

Continue to Chapter 4: The Essentials of an Agency Pitch

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