Have you ever read an email that goes on forever that could have been one sentence? If the information you impart isn’t timely and actionable, then it’s just noise.
The Internet has conditioned us to expect things quickly. The more we use Google for instant answers, the more impatient we become when information isn’t readily available. Our online culture has become so impatient that some clever marketer even created a website for those people who find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves.
So when you send marketing reports to clients, ask yourself: Is this report just noise or am I providing insightful, actionable information?
Avinash Kaushik puts it this way: “If you want your Executives / Customers to take action, you have to give them information and not data.”
His challenge is to include the right information and report on less metrics. In other words, include the right information, not just data.
Don’t Hide Behind the Data
You can hide behind data all day. It can give you a sense of accomplishment, especially if you export pages and pages of it. Challenge yourself to distill your client’s current marketing goals into a few charts and numbers.
When you do this, clients will be able to digest your reports more quickly, and your message is more likely to be understood. Minimalist reporting is good reporting.
At the heart of education is distilling a concept into its simplest form and then building knowledge from there. If you can quickly explain to a non-technical client how SEO works (without the jargon), then you understand it well enough to teach it.
Marketing reports are teaching moments as well. If you can give your client a one-page report they understand, it indicates three things:
- It shows that you’ve figured out the few, specific goals that will make the biggest difference.
- It shows that you understand the work enough to explain it.
- It shows that you respect your client’s time.
Scared of the idea? Include resource links in your marketing reports. You can even give clients read-only access to all your marketing work in case they feel inspired to explore the data.
Just don’t take your client on a spelunking expedition into data without a purpose. They may eventually stop taking your advice.