Managing Agency and Client Responsibilities

Posted by Mark Thompson - January 18, 2010 - SEM, SEO, Social Media - 4 Comments

Recently I wrote a post on how much knowledge a client should have, but along with knowledge also comes responsibility.  For any internet marketing agency to work well with their clients, there must be a mutual understanding of the overall strategy, and most importantly the execution.  Regardless of how effective the strategy may seem, if everyone is not working together to execute the strategy, it will fail.  Some clients may be under the impression that once they hire an agency, that all of their problems are solved and that the responsibilities solely lie on them.    This is far from the truth!  Like anything you do in life, the more you put into something, the more you will get out of it….internet marketing is no different.  For clients who focus on their web success and allocate time towards improving their website, will see improvements faster.

For each marketing tactic that is used to fulfill the goals of the client, there is going to be some sort of delegation and responsibility.   Depending on the strategy, certain tactics will be agency dependent and others will be client dependent.  It is important before the execution, that both parties understand their roles and have a way to communicate progress as the strategy is rolled out.

Let’s take a look at each type of internet marketing tactic, to see where responsibilities lie between the agency and client.

Search Engine Optimization

The agency is going to be the driving force behind the entire SEO strategy.  However there are a lot of moving parts to a optimization strategy that is in a competitive industry.  Undoubtedly there are going to be recommendations to the website that could change the site structure, url naming, backend modifications (CMS, Database, Ecommerce), lead generation mechanisms (forms, incentives, freebies, etc…), and usability improvements.  This could potentially give your site a complete overhaul or even a redesign.  With that in mind, clients are going to have to provide information needed to make the changes a success.

Here is a breakdown of where the responsibilities lie.

Agency Involvement
  • Identify Keywords to Target
  • Identify/Analyze Competitors
  • On-Site Optimization
  • Link Building
  • Site Analytics and Tracking
  • Usability Recommendations
  • Ability to Explain Results, Site Data, Conversions
Client Involvement
  • Clearly Defined Goals and Objectives
  • Content Development (Blogging, Article Development, Guest Blogging, Whitepaper Development, Company News)
  • Link Bait Creation
  • Input on Main Products/Services, Target Market, Geographic Areas
  • Explanations of other Marketing Initiatives (off-line/online)
  • Offline Initiatives (Seminars, Events, Networking) to Benefit Online Optimization
Pay Per Click

Much more dependent on the agency than the client, there are not as many moving pieces, compared to a SEO campaign.  PPC advertising is pretty straightforward and should not need as many client resources. Once the agency has received its initial feedback from the client, monthly progress meetings should be sufficient.  However this can be depedent on monthly ad spend.

Here is a breakdown of where the responsibilities lie.

Agency Involvement
  • Account Setup
  • Organized Campaigns and Site Structure
  • Management of Ad Spend
  • Tweak/Adjust Bids, Keywords, Ad Copy
  • Conversion Tracking Setup
  • Ideas for Landing Page Creation
Client Involvement
  • Feedback on Ad Copy/Promotions
  • Feedback on Keyword List
  • Feedback on Budget Increases/Decreases (Seasonality, Product Demand)
Social Media Marketing

Many clients wonder why they can not just outsource their social media strategy. Social Media is extremely time intensive, because the foundation of social media is building relationships and communication.  This type of marketing takes time, company resources, and the willingness to provide free and valuable information to your target audience.  Heavily dependent on the client, it is going to be extremely important that not only the person writing the checks buys into the strategy, but the entire company.  

Here is a breakdown of where the responsibilities lie.

Agency Involvement
  • Identify Social Outlet to Engage
  • Teach Client about Social Tools Used to Manage Communication
  • Show Examples of How Other Companies Use Social Media Effectively
  • Lay Out Rules/Guidelines/Best Practices for each Media Outlet
  • Monitor Mentionings of Brand/Company
Client Involvement
  • Understanding each Media Outlet (How People Communicate)
  • Create a Daily Schedule and Devote Time Towards each Outlet
  • Follow Up with People who Communicate with You
E-Mail Marketing

There are a few different options for e-mail marketing that could change the roles and responsibilities.  Some email marketing systems allow the client to go in and craft the email template themselves, then send out when they are ready.  Another option is the agency will create the email for the client and send out when the client asks.

Here is a breakdown of where the responsibilities lie.

Agency Involvement
  • Create a E-mail Template
  • Decide on E-Mail Marketing System
  • Manage Contact Lists and Segmentation
  • Incorporate Form Integration on Website
  • Assist in Email Content and Recommendation to Increase CTR
  • Educate Clients on Best Practices (Also What Not to Do)
  • Monitor Campaign Results and Data
Client Involvement
  • Implement Email Marketing Schedule
  • Develop Content

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter