You’ve just brought a new client on board. Congratulations! The new client-agency relationship can be an exciting time for both parties. However, it’s essential to make sure you build a solid partnership from the start.

Research from R3 revealed that the industry average for the length of a client-agency relationship is 3.2 years. It also showed that the average length of the 40 best client-agency relationships is 22 years. A good relationship tends to result in the loyalty of business.

Every agency dreams of having a successful, long-lasting relationship with their client. And every client wants a solid agency partnership. So, how do you make sure you’re set up for success from the start?

Here are five elements needed for a successful client-agency relationship.

1. Transparency and honesty

It’s important to remember that both parties – the client and the agency – play a crucial role in a successful relationship. And the best partnerships have complete transparency on both sides. 

Be upfront about things like your agency’s approach and compensation arrangement. Meanwhile, clients should be candid about their objectives and budgets. Although it may be challenging to approach some topics, discussing them ahead of time ensures both parties are on the same page and prevents misunderstandings from happening later down the road.

When it comes to client-agency communication, honesty is the best policy. For instance, don’t be afraid to tell a client if you think an element or concept doesn’t align with their overall vision, or if it’s challenging to execute. It’s better to let them know upfront during initial planning versus telling them further into the process.

The same goes for clients. They should feel comfortable expressing disappointment or even happiness with a project result. Keep the lines of communication open.

2. Regular communication

Communication is a significant part of the client-agency relationship. It’s crucial to communicate with clients regularly. Nothing makes a client uneasy more than not hearing from their agency.

For instance, keep clients in the loop with the status of their projects or campaigns. Involve them in the process so they have the opportunity to ask questions and request changes early on, rather than when you’ve completed most of the work.

Be sure to set expectations at the start regarding how clients can contact you and how frequently you’ll touch base. This might include scheduling weekly calls to discuss projects, answering emails within a set time, or sending monthly campaign reports.

When you enter into a new relationship with a client, they must understand what level of contact to expect and what you’ll need from them to keep things moving.

3. Understanding of each other’s business

Both the client and the agency must have a good understanding of each other’s operations. Knowing how one another does business will affect the outcome of a project.

If you don’t have a good understanding of your client’s business, they’ll likely end up disappointed with the work you’ve done. It’s your responsibility to ask the right questions to get to know your client and their business.

Before you can help clients solve their problems, you have to know how their industry works. The more you learn about them, the more you increase your odds at building a long-lasting client-agency relationship.

Likewise, encourage clients to participate fully in the client onboarding process, so you have the information you need to learn about their business.

4. Feedback from both sides

All trusted relationships require honest and regular feedback, and the client-agency relationship is no different. Without feedback, neither party has the opportunity to gain insights and make improvements.

Agencies can facilitate the conversation by sending an annual assessment  that allows both the client and agency to give one another feedback. This way, no one is in the dark.

5. A solid content approval process

Content approvals are a massive part of the client-agency partnership. Before starting any work with a client, it’s vital to set up an approval process. Otherwise, things can get out of hand fast.

Relying on email and spreadsheets for client approval and feedback can be time-consuming and overwhelming, ultimately impacting the client-agency relationship in a negative way. No one wants to spend most of their day sending emails back and forth. Plus, it’s challenging to keep up with who has looked at what and see which content is 100% approved for posting.

A tool like Gain, however, can help save you time and streamline your team’s workflow. You can create “Approval Workflows” so that your content automatically moves from draft to published. Your team and clients can also see previews, so everyone knows how the content will look once it goes live.  

A reliable content approval process prevents clients from forgetting about approvals, ensures deadlines are met, and things run smoothly – all of which contribute to a successful client-agency relationship. 

Building successful client-agency relationships 

Partnering with a new client is exciting. However, it’s best to avoid diving headfirst into the relationship. Take the time to focus on these vital elements from the start to increase your chances of a successful client-agency relationship.