Annual Client Meeting Playbook

Follow this playbook to learn how to run quarterly and, or annual client meetings to help them get more results and help you generate more revenue.

  • Table of Contents
  • Understanding the Benefits

    The big reason we do client review meetings is that they provide a lot of benefits for both our agency and our clients.

    The next section talks about the key benefits these meetings provide.

    • Demonstrates Commitment
      Having meetings like this builds a stronger relationship with our clients by showing our concern for their business and commitment to helping them with their pain points or desired outcomes like generating more leads, sales, or brand awareness online.
    • Adds Value by Being Proactive
      You are the expert, you should not be waiting for your clients to tell you what they want and need. Instead, you need to be proactive by pointing out challenges and opportunities, which when addressed can help them gain a competitive advantage. This is how you can add value by being proactive.
    • Helps You Understand Their Business Better
      It helps you understand their business better. You can understand where they are currently at, what they’re doing, and where they want to be. This helps you develop forward-thinking solutions, and both informs and influences their decisions and budget. This is especially important for nonprofits who may have to spend their grant funding during a specific period or a for-profit business planning on a marketing budget for the following year.

      Last year we had a non-profit pay our care plan retainer of $329/month for 3 years and last month another allocate $103,000 towards a development project for next year.

    • Top of Mind Awareness
      If you don’t stay top of mind with your clients, they tend to get a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s why these meetings are so important, as they build top-of-mind awareness. When your clients have a problem in your domain of expertise, they’re going to think of you first. This helps increase your customer referrals as well.
    • Generates Revenue + Increases Lifetime Value
      When you’re a trusted partner rather than an order-taker, it helps boost client loyalty and trust in your services. In turn, this increases customer lifetime value (the revenue you generate from a customer over the period of time they work with your agency). When you focus on increasing customer lifetime value, you increase your revenue without having to rely primarily on bringing in new clients every month. Some easy ways to increase customer lifetime value are to:

      1. Increase the frequency of work (monthly care plans, development retainers, SEO, and paid marketing services)
      2. Increase the value of the services you offer by upselling and cross-selling services. For example, if they do SEO consider conversion optimization of their most popular pages. If they do PPC offer to build out optimized landing pages.

      Our audits are great ways to do this. New clients are important to every business, but so is focusing on adding more value and generating revenue from existing customers. Remember selling to existing customers is much easier, compared to selling to a new prospect.

  • Prep Work

    The information you provide in these meetings should inform your client that you understand their current challenges as well as goals and that you are the trusted partner who can help solve their challenges and help them achieve their desired goals. Here is what we do in our agency to prep for our client review calls.

    • Select Your Clients
      If you have dozens or hundreds of clients. My recommendation is to select the clients you love working with and that care about growth, that pay you without issue, and that you believe you can deliver the best results for. Start there and work your way down the list. Here’s a template we use to schedule this call.
    • Review Pains, Desires, and Goals
      We review past meeting notes, client questionnaires, emails or details in our CRM for pain points, challenges, or goals mentioned by the clients. This helps us understand what our client’s primary needs and cares are. If there isn’t much we make sure to ask them that on the call. Here are some examples of them:

      1. What is your primary goal for the next quarter/year? Why is that important?
      2. What current challenges are you facing in your business? What is it costing you?
      3. What are the biggest challenges you foresee in accomplishing these goals?
    • Identify Wins
      Identify all the wins you’ve helped your client achieve over the last quarter or year and be specific with your data. Not sure what to focus on? Here are some examples:

      • If you offer website care plans or retainers you can report on the number of lead forms filled on the site, how many click-to-call actions were made on the phone number from mobile devices. If you aren’t tracking these as goals in Google Analytics you should do so ASAP. Make sure to set a lead value for both goals.
      • If you do local SEO or related services, show them the Google My Business / Google Business Listing calls, traffic directed to the site, and quantify a value for it. How? For example, what would the client pay to get paid traffic to their site? Let us say for example it was $5 per click for house painting services and there are 100 clicks from the Google Business Listing to the site that would be worth $500 in traffic. Traffic and keyword reports are common examples of this as well.
      • ROI is not always measured in leads or customers but can also be the peace of mind that the site has not crashed, been hacked or X forms and features have saved the company staff X hours a week for example.
    • Review Google Analytics
      We review their Google Analytics to see what pages are performing well and could do better and what important pages are not performing well and how we can improve it. Our goals here are to Identify specific pages and opportunities and present some solutions. Examples of this could be:

      • Page speed optimization for top-performing pages
      • On-Page SEO for pages with good traffic but aren’t ranking in the top 1-5 positions on Google. Or for important pages that aren’t getting much traffic.
      • Identify opportunities to make pages that are converting well do even better or analyze why certain pages with good traffic have below-average conversion rates and optimize them.
    • Run and Personalize Audits
      It doesn’t matter if we built a site 6 months ago or 2+ years ago I’m usually running a website audit, on-page SEO audit, and GMB audits using My Web Audit. These 3 audits take me 15 minutes to run and give me enough actionable insights to present to our clients. If the client is an e-commerce client we would run the e-commerce audit vs. the website audit and usually include a page speed audit as well since page speed impacts not only SEO but user experience which directly impacts conversions.

      The goal of running these audits is to collect insights on areas around SEO, website conversion optimization, user experience, etc so I can present these as opportunities for our clients to address in order to gain a competitive advantage and grow their business.

      This way during the meeting if our client who runs a local home remodel company mentions they would like to get more traffic I can focus on on-page SEO and GMB profile optimization. If they are getting a lot of traffic but want to convert more of them we might focus on conversion optimization points the report has indicated the need to be addressed.

      The end result is we are able to show them vs. tell them what is possibly hindering them from getting the results they desire and how we can solve them. I’ll show exactly how that is done in the next section when I go over the meeting agenda.

  • Meeting Agenda

    We follow a specific structure for our client review meetings that has proven to be very effective. Here’s an outline of our meeting agenda:

    • Intro
      I say HI and connect on a personal note with all of my clients. I give them an overview of the meeting agenda so they know what to expect, the sequence of things I will be covering, and how long I need their undivided attention.
    • Review Quick Wins
      It is important to remind our clients of their wins over the last quarter or year related to the service they have invested in with our agency. If you aren’t doing this on a monthly basis via some client reports, call in-person meetings, or smoke signals. You should be. We only reinforce this in our client review meetings to clearly show them where they started and where they are now after using our services. It is important for both our team and clients to celebrate the wins we have helped them achieve. Examples of these in our agency are — increase in targeted traffic, improvement in keywords, number of leads generated on the site, revenue generated on an e-commerce site, hours saved by their team because of automation we built, or how the changes to the website have increased their conversion rates. You get the idea.
    • Discuss Growth Goals
      Discussing our client’s goals for the next quarter or year is how we learn what is going on in their business and where they want to go. For example, recently we found out a client was having problems with their legacy database that they used to quote our work. We realized we could rebuild it as a web app vs. them looking to another provider.

      A few years ago we lost a large commercial construction client who began a branding initiative without informing us because they saw branding as different from website design services. The branding company did the rebrand and convinced them it was in their best interests to have my agency implement the brand styles they developed.

      We learned from that experience and now we educate our clients on the importance of branding, what to look for in a branding company and what elements we need to provide us like style guides to ensure their website reflects their new branding. This helped us close a 10K website refresh for a client that just finished a rebrand.

      The point is to learn what your client’s challenges and goals are so you can proactively support them as a trusted partner in whatever capacity you can.

    • Present Opportunities
      Ahead of the call we gather insights from the different audits and present them as challenges that our client needs to address to continue to gain a competitive advantage and achieve the goals they stated earlier on the call.

      Here are a few things you’d have to keep in mind when presenting;

      1. Measure what matters — Only measure what’s important to your specific client. For example, if a local business tells us they want to generate more traffic to their website. I’ll focus on the Google My Business audit, on-page audit of their top 5-10 pages, and some conversion elements we identified that could be implemented to help them rank better and convert more of the traffic into leads or customers.
      2. Prioritize based on impact — I want to continue to deliver the best bang for their buck, so we always start with the issues that are going to present the best opportunities for growth. Our reports help you prioritize those recommendations.
      3. Present in a way that’s easy to understand — My goal is to show my client that I know what I’m talking about, why it matters, and for them to understand that I am the trusted expert who can help take care of it all for them. I avoid going into the details unless they specifically ask. Most of the time their eye glaze over when I start speaking in technical terms vs. results they can achieve by investing in the recommendations I’m proposing.

      Pro Tip: I’ve found that researching and comparing our client’s online presence to industry leaders locally and nationally to ensure that they are doing better in as many areas as possible is a great way to bring additional talking points to the meeting and WOW our clients.

    • Q&A + Next Steps
      Once done with the recommendations I pause and give our clients the opportunity to ask questions about what they’ve learned. I answer questions they have.

      One of the most common ones we get is “How much is this going to cost?” At this point, I’ll usually present them with a range i.e. 4-6K or 8-10K, and then see what they have to say.

      If they agree we move forward and let them know the work will usually be done in a few weeks. If they say we don’t have the budget to do everything I give them two options:

      1. Let us focus on the high-impact items within X budget.
      2. I request they increase their monthly retainer for X months till we complete the work.

      I make sure to emphasize that the sooner the work is done, the sooner they will see better results. I also let them know that we have limited bandwidth because we are speaking to our other clients as well. So if they want the work done sooner than later they should make a commitment ASAP.

      If they agree, I reiterate what they are agreeing to and tell them I’ll be sending them a follow-up email and invoice. I avoid proposals or agreements during this process. We know what work needs to be done, they know the investment and are agreeing to it. Anything not specified explicitly in the follow-up email will not be included as part of the scope of work.

      Here’s a sample meeting follow-up template we use. I intentionally keep it simple. In the email, I include a short video (3-5 mins max) with an overview of everything as a way to recap the scope of work, investment, and next steps we plan to take.

      If the client for whatever reason isn’t ready to sign off. I make sure to schedule the next meeting before I end the presentation.

  • Take Action

    Quarterly and annual meetings are an easy way to generate revenue for your agency while helping your clients. Now in order to see results you need to take action. Pick the first 5 clients you want to schedule the meeting with, customize this email template and click send!

    Remember people are busy and have other priorities, make sure to follow up at least 3 times if needed over 6-8 business days if you don’t hear back. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call if needed. It’s important for you to believe in yourself and that your services are going to help them get better results.

  • Pro Tips to Close More Deals

    Remember, your main goal is to connect the audit insights and talking points during your presentation with the client’s pain points and desired outcomes for the next quarter or year.

    What I like to do is group my talking points based on outcomes our clients care about. For us the top 3 are:

    • Saving Time
      Think about what sort of features, functionality, and automation you can implement to help them save time. This could help them do things more effectively, saving them time and ultimately money.
    • Brand Awareness
      What can be done to help them increase their brand awareness/visibility online? This could include GMB/GPL optimization, implementing a social media strategy, on-page SEO, etc.
    • More leads and sales
      This is usually the most common desired outcome so we spend most of our time here. Common recommendations here come from doing a website audit with a focus on SEO and conversion optimization points from our audit.
  • Avoid These Mistakes

    We talked about the Dos when doing your presentation, now let’s talk about the DON’Ts. You can tank your presentation pretty fast if you make any of the three common mistakes mentioned below.

    • Offering Too Much Detail
      Offering too much detail to the client. When you do this you’re probably going to overwhelm them and lose their attention. Keep your presentation focused on the most important points.
    • Using Technical Jargon
      Speak in terms your clients understand Avoid technical terms and acronyms. Focus more on the results your services offer when the recommendations are followed vs. the specifics of the Service. I.e. writing schema markup or discussing the need for minification of their code and how it helps with page performance.
    • Avoid Discussing Unfamiliar Topics
      Every now and then a client brings up some new tech or strategy they heard about. I try to avoid discussing topics with which our client is unfamiliar with, or that we may not be subject area experts on as this can end up derailing the entire point of your meeting. I request they table that for another call since we’ve taken the time to put together an actionable plan to help them with their goals.

Have a question or suggestion?

Click here to send us a message if you have questions or suggestions on ways we can improve this playbook.

Understanding the Benefits

The big reason we do client review meetings is that they provide a lot of benefits for both our agency and our clients.

The next section talks about the key benefits these meetings provide.

  • Demonstrates Commitment
    Having meetings like this builds a stronger relationship with our clients by showing our concern for their business and commitment to helping them with their pain points or desired outcomes like generating more leads, sales, or brand awareness online.
  • Adds Value by Being Proactive
    You are the expert, you should not be waiting for your clients to tell you what they want and need. Instead, you need to be proactive by pointing out challenges and opportunities, which when addressed can help them gain a competitive advantage. This is how you can add value by being proactive.
  • Helps You Understand Their Business Better
    It helps you understand their business better. You can understand where they are currently at, what they’re doing, and where they want to be. This helps you develop forward-thinking solutions, and both informs and influences their decisions and budget. This is especially important for nonprofits who may have to spend their grant funding during a specific period or a for-profit business planning on a marketing budget for the following year.

    Last year we had a non-profit pay our care plan retainer of $329/month for 3 years and last month another allocate $103,000 towards a development project for next year.

  • Top of Mind Awareness
    If you don’t stay top of mind with your clients, they tend to get a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s why these meetings are so important, as they build top-of-mind awareness. When your clients have a problem in your domain of expertise, they’re going to think of you first. This helps increase your customer referrals as well.
  • Generates Revenue + Increases Lifetime Value
    When you’re a trusted partner rather than an order-taker, it helps boost client loyalty and trust in your services. In turn, this increases customer lifetime value (the revenue you generate from a customer over the period of time they work with your agency). When you focus on increasing customer lifetime value, you increase your revenue without having to rely primarily on bringing in new clients every month. Some easy ways to increase customer lifetime value are to:

    1. Increase the frequency of work (monthly care plans, development retainers, SEO, and paid marketing services)
    2. Increase the value of the services you offer by upselling and cross-selling services. For example, if they do SEO consider conversion optimization of their most popular pages. If they do PPC offer to build out optimized landing pages.

    Our audits are great ways to do this. New clients are important to every business, but so is focusing on adding more value and generating revenue from existing customers. Remember selling to existing customers is much easier, compared to selling to a new prospect.

Prep Work

The information you provide in these meetings should inform your client that you understand their current challenges as well as goals and that you are the trusted partner who can help solve their challenges and help them achieve their desired goals. Here is what we do in our agency to prep for our client review calls.

  • Select Your Clients
    If you have dozens or hundreds of clients. My recommendation is to select the clients you love working with and that care about growth, that pay you without issue, and that you believe you can deliver the best results for. Start there and work your way down the list. Here’s a template we use to schedule this call.
  • Review Pains, Desires, and Goals
    We review past meeting notes, client questionnaires, emails or details in our CRM for pain points, challenges, or goals mentioned by the clients. This helps us understand what our client’s primary needs and cares are. If there isn’t much we make sure to ask them that on the call. Here are some examples of them:

    1. What is your primary goal for the next quarter/year? Why is that important?
    2. What current challenges are you facing in your business? What is it costing you?
    3. What are the biggest challenges you foresee in accomplishing these goals?
  • Identify Wins
    Identify all the wins you’ve helped your client achieve over the last quarter or year and be specific with your data. Not sure what to focus on? Here are some examples:

    • If you offer website care plans or retainers you can report on the number of lead forms filled on the site, how many click-to-call actions were made on the phone number from mobile devices. If you aren’t tracking these as goals in Google Analytics you should do so ASAP. Make sure to set a lead value for both goals.
    • If you do local SEO or related services, show them the Google My Business / Google Business Listing calls, traffic directed to the site, and quantify a value for it. How? For example, what would the client pay to get paid traffic to their site? Let us say for example it was $5 per click for house painting services and there are 100 clicks from the Google Business Listing to the site that would be worth $500 in traffic. Traffic and keyword reports are common examples of this as well.
    • ROI is not always measured in leads or customers but can also be the peace of mind that the site has not crashed, been hacked or X forms and features have saved the company staff X hours a week for example.
  • Review Google Analytics
    We review their Google Analytics to see what pages are performing well and could do better and what important pages are not performing well and how we can improve it. Our goals here are to Identify specific pages and opportunities and present some solutions. Examples of this could be:

    • Page speed optimization for top-performing pages
    • On-Page SEO for pages with good traffic but aren’t ranking in the top 1-5 positions on Google. Or for important pages that aren’t getting much traffic.
    • Identify opportunities to make pages that are converting well do even better or analyze why certain pages with good traffic have below-average conversion rates and optimize them.
  • Run and Personalize Audits
    It doesn’t matter if we built a site 6 months ago or 2+ years ago I’m usually running a website audit, on-page SEO audit, and GMB audits using My Web Audit. These 3 audits take me 15 minutes to run and give me enough actionable insights to present to our clients. If the client is an e-commerce client we would run the e-commerce audit vs. the website audit and usually include a page speed audit as well since page speed impacts not only SEO but user experience which directly impacts conversions.

    The goal of running these audits is to collect insights on areas around SEO, website conversion optimization, user experience, etc so I can present these as opportunities for our clients to address in order to gain a competitive advantage and grow their business.

    This way during the meeting if our client who runs a local home remodel company mentions they would like to get more traffic I can focus on on-page SEO and GMB profile optimization. If they are getting a lot of traffic but want to convert more of them we might focus on conversion optimization points the report has indicated the need to be addressed.

    The end result is we are able to show them vs. tell them what is possibly hindering them from getting the results they desire and how we can solve them. I’ll show exactly how that is done in the next section when I go over the meeting agenda.

Meeting Agenda

We follow a specific structure for our client review meetings that has proven to be very effective. Here’s an outline of our meeting agenda:

  • Intro
    I say HI and connect on a personal note with all of my clients. I give them an overview of the meeting agenda so they know what to expect, the sequence of things I will be covering, and how long I need their undivided attention.
  • Review Quick Wins
    It is important to remind our clients of their wins over the last quarter or year related to the service they have invested in with our agency. If you aren’t doing this on a monthly basis via some client reports, call in-person meetings, or smoke signals. You should be. We only reinforce this in our client review meetings to clearly show them where they started and where they are now after using our services. It is important for both our team and clients to celebrate the wins we have helped them achieve. Examples of these in our agency are — increase in targeted traffic, improvement in keywords, number of leads generated on the site, revenue generated on an e-commerce site, hours saved by their team because of automation we built, or how the changes to the website have increased their conversion rates. You get the idea.
  • Discuss Growth Goals
    Discussing our client’s goals for the next quarter or year is how we learn what is going on in their business and where they want to go. For example, recently we found out a client was having problems with their legacy database that they used to quote our work. We realized we could rebuild it as a web app vs. them looking to another provider.

    A few years ago we lost a large commercial construction client who began a branding initiative without informing us because they saw branding as different from website design services. The branding company did the rebrand and convinced them it was in their best interests to have my agency implement the brand styles they developed.

    We learned from that experience and now we educate our clients on the importance of branding, what to look for in a branding company and what elements we need to provide us like style guides to ensure their website reflects their new branding. This helped us close a 10K website refresh for a client that just finished a rebrand.

    The point is to learn what your client’s challenges and goals are so you can proactively support them as a trusted partner in whatever capacity you can.

  • Present Opportunities
    Ahead of the call we gather insights from the different audits and present them as challenges that our client needs to address to continue to gain a competitive advantage and achieve the goals they stated earlier on the call.

    Here are a few things you’d have to keep in mind when presenting;

    1. Measure what matters — Only measure what’s important to your specific client. For example, if a local business tells us they want to generate more traffic to their website. I’ll focus on the Google My Business audit, on-page audit of their top 5-10 pages, and some conversion elements we identified that could be implemented to help them rank better and convert more of the traffic into leads or customers.
    2. Prioritize based on impact — I want to continue to deliver the best bang for their buck, so we always start with the issues that are going to present the best opportunities for growth. Our reports help you prioritize those recommendations.
    3. Present in a way that’s easy to understand — My goal is to show my client that I know what I’m talking about, why it matters, and for them to understand that I am the trusted expert who can help take care of it all for them. I avoid going into the details unless they specifically ask. Most of the time their eye glaze over when I start speaking in technical terms vs. results they can achieve by investing in the recommendations I’m proposing.

    Pro Tip: I’ve found that researching and comparing our client’s online presence to industry leaders locally and nationally to ensure that they are doing better in as many areas as possible is a great way to bring additional talking points to the meeting and WOW our clients.

  • Q&A + Next Steps
    Once done with the recommendations I pause and give our clients the opportunity to ask questions about what they’ve learned. I answer questions they have.

    One of the most common ones we get is “How much is this going to cost?” At this point, I’ll usually present them with a range i.e. 4-6K or 8-10K, and then see what they have to say.

    If they agree we move forward and let them know the work will usually be done in a few weeks. If they say we don’t have the budget to do everything I give them two options:

    1. Let us focus on the high-impact items within X budget.
    2. I request they increase their monthly retainer for X months till we complete the work.

    I make sure to emphasize that the sooner the work is done, the sooner they will see better results. I also let them know that we have limited bandwidth because we are speaking to our other clients as well. So if they want the work done sooner than later they should make a commitment ASAP.

    If they agree, I reiterate what they are agreeing to and tell them I’ll be sending them a follow-up email and invoice. I avoid proposals or agreements during this process. We know what work needs to be done, they know the investment and are agreeing to it. Anything not specified explicitly in the follow-up email will not be included as part of the scope of work.

    Here’s a sample meeting follow-up template we use. I intentionally keep it simple. In the email, I include a short video (3-5 mins max) with an overview of everything as a way to recap the scope of work, investment, and next steps we plan to take.

    If the client for whatever reason isn’t ready to sign off. I make sure to schedule the next meeting before I end the presentation.

Take Action

Quarterly and annual meetings are an easy way to generate revenue for your agency while helping your clients. Now in order to see results you need to take action. Pick the first 5 clients you want to schedule the meeting with, customize this email template and click send!

Remember people are busy and have other priorities, make sure to follow up at least 3 times if needed over 6-8 business days if you don’t hear back. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call if needed. It’s important for you to believe in yourself and that your services are going to help them get better results.

Pro Tips to Close More Deals

Remember, your main goal is to connect the audit insights and talking points during your presentation with the client’s pain points and desired outcomes for the next quarter or year.

What I like to do is group my talking points based on outcomes our clients care about. For us the top 3 are:

  • Saving Time
    Think about what sort of features, functionality, and automation you can implement to help them save time. This could help them do things more effectively, saving them time and ultimately money.
  • Brand Awareness
    What can be done to help them increase their brand awareness/visibility online? This could include GMB/GPL optimization, implementing a social media strategy, on-page SEO, etc.
  • More leads and sales
    This is usually the most common desired outcome so we spend most of our time here. Common recommendations here come from doing a website audit with a focus on SEO and conversion optimization points from our audit.

Avoid These Mistakes

We talked about the Dos when doing your presentation, now let’s talk about the DON’Ts. You can tank your presentation pretty fast if you make any of the three common mistakes mentioned below.

  • Offering Too Much Detail
    Offering too much detail to the client. When you do this you’re probably going to overwhelm them and lose their attention. Keep your presentation focused on the most important points.
  • Using Technical Jargon
    Speak in terms your clients understand Avoid technical terms and acronyms. Focus more on the results your services offer when the recommendations are followed vs. the specifics of the Service. I.e. writing schema markup or discussing the need for minification of their code and how it helps with page performance.
  • Avoid Discussing Unfamiliar Topics
    Every now and then a client brings up some new tech or strategy they heard about. I try to avoid discussing topics with which our client is unfamiliar with, or that we may not be subject area experts on as this can end up derailing the entire point of your meeting. I request they table that for another call since we’ve taken the time to put together an actionable plan to help them with their goals.