Marketing / Strategy

What Makes a Successful Digital Marketing Client?

successful digital marketing clients
Matthew Clarkson
Matthew Clarkson
Reading Time4 minute read

I thought I’d share this excerpt of a report I’ve been co-writing with one of our top clients.

Their results are astonishing. Website traffic has increased 3-fold, B2B leads by 450% (761) and the value of opportunities opened by 428% this year to date (>$2.5M) compared to the same period last year.

Here is the chart with some commentary that indicates their growth is across all digital marketing channels.

Successful digital marketing client results
Excerpt from a client’s board report

This is a great success in anyone’s language and it’s made me reflect on the characteristics of our most successful digital marketing clients.

What Successful Digital Marketing Clients Do

There are some very common trends, they all:

  • Think – By this I mean that they think outside of the box and don’t just wait for someone to give them answers. They are inquisitive, show genuine interest, and suggest ideas.
  • Listen – They listen to the advice of experts (i.e. us) and aren’t set on a particular outcome and debate if they don’t agree. But at the end of the day, they listen to the advice from the experts they hire. (Un)fortunately, we’ve never found much success with clients who don’t heed our advice when it conflicts with their own perception of ‘how it should be’.
  • Ask Questions – Similarly, they routinely question the advice they receive. They play devil’s advocate and force us to think deeply about the strategies we suggest. We take onboard their questions and change our recommendations if required based on their insight but they also listen.
  • Trust – One of the most important elements of any relationships is trust. Just like a marriage, a supplier-client relationship doesn’t work in the absence of trust. Our successful clients trust us with their businesses and they trust us to give them constructive feedback. We also trust them to do the same to us.
  • Experiment – Our ideal and most successful clients experiment with new ideas, strategies and tactics. They don’t rest on their laurels and do the same thing day in day out. Everything we do is effectively an experiment with a hypothesis along the lines of “This website change will improve conversion rates“. They expect some experiments to work and others to fail.
  • Measure Outcomes – Continuing from the previous point, successful digital marketing clients measure outcomes. Data doesn’t lie.
  • Focus on Strategy (not tactics) – All of our successful clients are strategic and they never (ever) focus on short term tactics. Everything we do is planned and is part of a strategy. They don’t expect short term tactical success.
  • Play a Long Term Game – In many respects this relates to focusing on strategy and having the patience to make it a success. Miracles don’t happen overnight. Great results take time, effort and analysis. They are thinking 1, 3 and 5+ years ahead. This means they don’t try and do everything at once and they stay focused.
  • Are True Thought Leaders – This is perhaps the hardest part of marketing. In a world of a billion blogs, it’s hard to stand out. Our really successful clients don’t write bland content of XXX words long just because that’s what they think Google wants. They produce interesting, engaging content, tools, interactive calculators that no-one else is doing. They stand for something and they stand out.

What Successful Digital Marketing Clients Do Not Do

Similarly, there are lots of things our successful digital marketing clients consistently do not do:

  • Ad Hoc Tactics – They don’t do knee jerk “campaigns” in the hope of solving long term problems.
  • Tinker – Successful clients let experiments run their course. They don’t change their Google Ads or Facebook Ads every few hours (yes, we have (ex)clients that do this). They don’t change their website structure today because they just read a blog that contradicts the other blog they read yesterday.
  • Argue and Debate All The Time – Good clients ask lots of questions but they do it in a purposeful and meaningful way because they want to learn. On the other hand, unsuccessful clients tend to argue minutia and try to score points, all the time.
  • Expect Miracles – Success rarely (if ever) comes overnight. Usually, it’s the result of lots of hard work over a long time. Successful clients understand this. Unsuccessful clients seem to expect to be on the front page of Google by publishing one blog that is the same as the other 12 million results for their keyword.
  • Expect Failure – This is a big warning sign for us. If a prospect says ‘every marketing person we’ve dealt with has failed’ we don’t work with them. Ever. Usually, the problem is them. Negative people rarely succeed and they aren’t fun to work with!

What do you think success businesses and clients do differently?


Matthew Clarkson
Matthew Clarkson

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