Module 17 – Reporting


In this module, we’re going to take a quick look at reporting, the way in which I present reporting to clients. The type of reports that I do, I think you’ll be quite surprised. I keep it very simple. But do I think there’s one key difference between what I do as opposed to what most SEO agencies do, and, again, this is probably what’s contributed to the fact that I’ve done so well within my business. But having said that, let’s just jump straight into it.

End-of-month strategy calls: I’ve been speaking about these throughout the past few slides. And these are calls that I schedule with the client at the end of their campaign billing cycle, so it’s not typically, it’s not the actual end of month as such. But when their end of month falls, whatever date that might be, I organise these what I call end-of-month strategy calls. Now, the whole point of the end-of-month strategy call is to jump on a call with a client, cover the work that’s been done, also talk about work that’s coming up or upcoming work, and also answer any questions that the client might have.

Now, typically an end-of-month strategy call might go for 45 minutes to an hour. But these are something that very few people are doing. I’ve never actually seen anyone do these, especially not within the SEO space. And I think it’s the end-of-month strategy call that helps with my retention rates. If there’s any issues with the client, any issues that the client might have, it’s their opportunity to mention those on this call. And it’s also an opportunity to touch base, go over the work that’s been done, answer their questions, and establish more of a relationship.

I treat all of my clients like close friends; the ones that are great clients, the ones that annoy me, not so much. But I try and look after clients as best I can. And the end-of-month strategy call is a really powerful way of forming that bond and taking the relationship more outside of just the SEO and the business aspect. I like to have a chat with my clients, see what’s going on with them, also talk about how the site’s performing, what we can do. They might also throw a few suggestions at me. So these end-of-month strategy calls are really powerful for doing that.

One thing that I definitely always do is within Asana, you can see here in the screenshot I have a section that’s dedicated for reporting our end-of-month strategy calls. And this is where I take notes. So on the actual call itself, I have my end-of-month strategy call. You can see that I’ve got one there, April, May, July, and August for 2018. You can see I create these dedicated tasks. And then once I’m on the call, I’ll just take notes.

I’ll take notes that I can reference back to later. And it’s always worth taking notes because any number of things can come up during the end-of-month strategy call. And it’s always good, I find, when I’m working towards completing the following month’s work, I can look back at topics or notes, key notes, rather, that come up during the previous set of month’s strategy call. I can look at it and go, “Okay. All right. Shit. I need to take care of that and make sure that’s done this time around.”

It’s a great way of making sure that you don’t miss anything and also, if there’s additional work that needs to be included for the month, it could be an additional two hours’ worth of work, you got to make sure that you take that into consideration. So I always, within Asana have a dedicated section for my end-of-month strategy calls. And I like to take as many notes as possible during our conversation.

One thing I do find during at the end of an end-of-month strategy call, I usually have a set number of tasks for both myself and the client, and that task of the client might include uploading PDFs to Dropbox, getting more photos to Dropbox, sending me topics for Q&A sessions and so forth. Then of course I’ll have a number of tasks that I need to do at my end. So having those notes or taking those notes, rather, during the end-of-month strategy call is always beneficial.

Now, in terms of what I do for reporting, I simply use custom dashboards within Google Analytics. And this is a very quick and simple way of providing ongoing reporting for clients so they can see things like the statistics that matter, total site traffic, visits through SEO, total number of inquiries. That takes into account both email and phone calls that you can see here on screen, estimated monthly revenue. And this comes back to lead value. If you remember back in a previous video, I spoke about determining lead value. And I will speak more about that in an upcoming video.

But lead value, conversions, that stuff really matters, and that’s how you can demonstrate a positive return on investment. You can see here, I think this is for a three-month period, this client’s made $81,000. It’s probably more than that because I always work at a conservative figure when it comes to lead value. Again, we’ll talk about that in an upcoming video.

The conversion rate, overall conversion rate for SEO is 3.2%, and some other stuff on screen, we can see the best competing pages under the graph there, which pages are actually bringing conversions. That’s really important, especially once you start factoring in your content marketing efforts with a client. I’ve had so many clients say, “John, we’re not interested in doing blog posts. Writing content is a waste of time. Nobody reads it.” You can soon snap them out of that sort of mindset once you can demonstrate that a lot of their inquires are coming through blog posts.

I find it fascinating that, especially for clients that have said that to me in the past, “John, I’m not interested in doing blog posts. There’s no value in it. We’ve done it. We’ve tried it before.” Or they’ve worked with some shitty SEO agency, and they’ve just posted up nonsense. I track at page level, so I know exactly where the inquires are coming from, both phone calls and email inquiries. So I can break it down in the report like this. And I can say, “Well, we started doing these blog posts, and this blog post has made you $5,000 this month,” or, “These blog posts collectively have made you $20,000 for the month.”

When you break it down like that, clients will soon say, “Shit, this is actually working. We can see that it’s bringing a return on investment.” And they’re quick to say, “John, when can we do some more content?” And that’s where the Q&A sessions and everything come into play. But it’s certainly nothing fancy about any of this that I do. You can see best-performing keywords. You can see where the conversions are happening through device-type mobile, desktop, and tablet and so forth.

I think what’s most important of all when it comes to reporting, I’m not sending them just a keyword rankings report. That is absolutely meaningless. I’m bringing the focus to conversions, and that’s what really matters. And when you track conversions with a monetary value, and that needs to be agreed upon, this is where your lead value, again, comes at play. If I see, as example, lead value might be for a client $1,000, I’ll track every conversion at $250 because I know they’re not going to close every single call or email inquire that comes through.

eCommerce is a bit different because it is what it is: You can see how much money you’ve made. But with lead gen, they might have a 25% close rate. So I like to be conservative there and go well under. And that’s what I do. This screenshot here is actually a snapshot for one of my clients, where I think we’re tracking at $180 for lead value, but some of his jobs might be worth $3,000 or $4,000. So if anything, I want to be under with my estimated monthly revenue. I don’t want to get on an end-of-month strategy call with a client and say, “This month you’ve made $80,000,” and they say, “Well, actually, no. We only made $15,000.” I’d rather be under, if anything, than over. That’s why I work at a conservative value.

But this is just a customer dashboard within Google Analytics, nothing fancy. It comes time for scheduled reporting, it gets scheduled within Google Analytics. It gets fired out. I send it over to the client in a PDF, as a PDF. So certainly nothing fancy. At one point or another, I’ll probably have a look at Data Studio, which is a bit more powerful. Again, and it’s web-based.

Keyword performance report: Of course this stuff matters, especially for clients that want to know where they’re performing for certain terms. And let’s face it: Most of them do. I send this just as a supplementary report to say, “Okay, this is where we’re at with some of the terms that you want to track.” But, again, it’s about educating the client, “Look, let’s not waste our time worrying about where this keyword is.”

And clients soon snap out of that sort of way of thinking once they see that, “I’m in position eight for this keyword, but this month we’ve made $80,000.” So it sort of puts that whole mindset of, “Oh, we’ve got to be number one, we’ve got to be number one,” it puts that shit to bed. So and that’s why I focus the conversation on revenue and not just rankings because it’s just a never-ending race to the bottom once you start going down that path.

And that brings me to my last slide. You’ve got to focus on revenue. This comes back to being able to demonstrate a return on investment. You’ve got a client. Their lead value is $1,000. You’ve prequalified, you’ve got them onboard. You know their lead value is $1,000 on average. You start tracking inquiries at, say, $250 because you want to be conservative. You want to position yourself so that during an end-of-month strategy call, you can jump on with a client and say, “Okay, Bob, this month I saw you had 25 inquiries. And given all things are equal, you’re closing, say, 25%. That should equate to x number of dollars.”

Now, to begin with, you might find that your tracking that number might be a little bit high or it could be a little bit low. But over time, as you go month to month, having these end-of-month strategy calls with your clients, you can say, “Okay. Bob, this month you should’ve done $20,000. What did you do?” “I actually dominated $16,000.” “All right. Well, let’s drop that lead value that we’re tracking, or the conversion value. Let’s drop it from $250. Let’s drop it to $200, and we’ll see how we go,” so long as you can demonstrate a positive return on investment. And that’s the whole point.

And this is why my clients stick around with me for years on end, because they know if they’re paying $25,000 a month and they’re making $50,000 a month back through SEO, they’re not going to go anywhere. And, look, if you’re sending a keyword rankings report, it doesn’t mean anything. They won’t be … And it’s really fascinating. Most business owners have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

So once you start tracking and measuring everything, phone calls, email inquiries to a monetary value, once they see that that’s possible, it’s a game-changer; it changes everything. And, again, this is why I’ve done so well, and this is why my clients stick around with me for years on end.