You Ask, I Answer: Monthly Client Retainers for Long Term Projects?

Sarah asks, “How do you get clients to renew on a monthly basis when, at the same time, you need to convince them on the “long game” aspect of your effort with them as an agency?”

You Ask, I Answer: Monthly Client Retainers for Long Term Projects?
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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode, Sarah asks, How do you get clients to renew on a monthly basis when at the same time, you need to convince them on the long game aspect of your efforts with them as an agency? So that’s a good question.

Um, the short answer is you have to be providing value at a level commensurate with the value asking from them.

If you’re asking somebody to pay you monthly, you need to be delivering value monthly.

Alright, if you’re asking someone to pay you annually, you need to be delivering value annually.

If you need to be delivered, you need someone to pay you weekly, you need to deliver value weekly.

So the big question is, can you take what you do? And break it up into milestones where people can see okay, this is the monthly milestone I see what I’m getting for my money.

That’s fundamentally what when a client says, you know, I want to renew on on X basis, what they’re really saying is, I don’t trust you enough to just hand you a big pile of money, have you go away for six months and hope that we get something at the end of it? You have to figure out how to split up your value and deliver that value month over month so that there’s a reason for them to keep saying yes, when you have something that renews monthly, you are essentially pitching to win your business over and over again, every single month, you’re essentially saying, hey, I need to prove value to this customer this month, what have I given my customer this month, that’s helpful.

One of the most straightforward tactics on this front is good reporting.

Right, whatever it is, you do as an agency, your monthly reporting should demonstrate that value, right, it should showcase here’s what we see.

Here’s the data that we’ve collected.

Here are our insights.

Here are our recommendations.

Our next steps are timeframes.

Here are the decisions we need you to make.

Here are some advisory things that we see in your data that are not necessarily in our purview, but you might want to take care of, for example, with Trust Insights, we do a ton of reporting for our clients, I’m gonna why you should wear nadolol X consulting firm.

And very often, they will be something in the data that I look at go Hmm, that’s weird.

Let me bring that to somebody’s attention that this is one technology client, we kept seeing GitHub showing up over and over again, in their data as a referring traffic source.

And I said, Well, clearly, this is a major community that you need to be paying attention to.

When was the last time you took on a popular repo in your space and sponsored it and just say, Hey, we’re sponsoring this machine learning model for $10,000.

So we’re gonna get our logo and our thanks from the creators in the in the checkout in the codes and repo for six months, whatever.

It’s basically influencer marketing, right.

Our remit as a consulting firm is not influencer marketing.

Our remit is to tell clients what’s wrong with their data.

But in seeing this data, we said, here’s an opportunity that we think might be worth investigating, right? So talk to your influencer marketing agency about a project like this.

So we’re providing them

Christopher Penn 3:46

additional value on top of the value that they’re already contracted to get, because we see it in their data.

And so even though it may take months to, to help them get their data squared away, get their infrastructure squared away, we can find relatively easy wins along the way to say, hey, this might be a good thing to do.

Right, the data suggests this is an audience to pay attention to this is a group of people to pay attention to this is an individual to pay attention to, here’s a YouTube channel that’s worth looking at whatever the case may be.

Finding that information out helps to provide value.

Maybe you’re an SEO firm, and you see, hey, there’s some search trends here that are interesting.

Here’s a content calendar, go, go try building content around this.

Maybe you’re an email marketing firm, and you’re and you notice, hey, this set of links in your newsletter gets way more clicks than we thought it would.

Maybe you need to build some blog content around that.

Maybe you’re an ad agency, and you’re running ads and you keep seeing this one competitor.

This is trouncing everybody and you’ll look at their ads and go hmm, there’s some really good ideas in here that maybe you know we could help our client put their own unique spin on to to win some business.

Whatever it is you do There are opportunities if your eyes are open to say, Hmm, there’s something of interest here that’s not within our remit.

And it may not even, it may not be an upsell for you, it may just be like, Hey, pay attention to this.

But in doing so you’re providing value to your client, when they would benefit from it most.

So how do you get clients to renew on a monthly basis provide the monthly value.

If you’re not, they’re not going to renew because when you are dealing with a client, that’s renewing month to month, you are selling month to month, you are re winning the business month to month and that’s a challenging position to be in.

But it’s an important one.

Because you you essentially are showcasing that your value is so good that you’re willing to go month to month with a customer to say like, yeah, we are so confident that what we have to offer is useful that we’re willing let you walk away.

Anytime after 30 days.

That’s a pretty bold statement.

So good question.

We could spend a whole lot of time on client retention and things and maybe that would be a good topic someday.

But it always comes down to value.

What are you doing for the client that makes them say, I’m really glad I’m paying you money? Hey, if I gave you more money, what else could you do for me? Right? That’s, that’s the question you want your clients asking all the time.

So make sure you’re providing enough value that that question is kind of bothering them in the back of their head say what if I gave them more money? What would happen? So good question.

Thanks for asking.

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