Why Client Engagement is like Dating
When you really look at relationships, be they romantic or professional, you notice some striking parallels. At Big Sea, we prioritize the relationship we build with each client. Sure, plenty of agencies can take you on a romantic stroll. But we’re here to do more than sweep you off your feet: we’re committed to building something that lasts.
Finding “the One”
Dating has been digital for a while. I mean, Meg Ryan got mail from Tom Hanks a whopping 24 years ago (whatever, the 90s look great on you). But we all know that meeting somebody new typically starts with a great pic and catchy bio that puts our best selfies forward. Similarly, when your business needs the perfect partner to build you a website or marketing plan destined to convert customers, your team will swipe left and right until y’all find the agency match that sparks. (You love long walks? I love long walks! You need a website? We build websites!)
But how do you know when you’ve found the perfect client-agency relationship? How do you navigate the ups and downs as you grow together? Big Sea is here to drop wisdom, share the love and inspire some client #couplegoals this Valentine’s Day.
You’re vibing, we’re vibing. Everything is new and exciting. We’re sharing our hopes and dreams for our partnership: building a dazzling website that converts with a click.
Our first impressions tell us it’s time to deepen the connection: we’ve paid attention, we’ve actively listened, we’re responsive. All signs that we’re mutually invested in giving this thing between us a shot. And it is exciting to think long-term and visualize all that we can accomplish together as our stars and goals align.
But does commitment just ruin the magic? Aren’t honeymoon phases destined to pass?
So what are we?
For account leads and clients, the next level of the relationship hinges on defining the big plans: What are we going to do and when will it happen? Do we know what we want for the future and how we both get there together? Reality is sinking in: just how much work we have to do together.
But if we build off of that strong foundation – responsiveness, active listening, open and honest communication, and a pure desire to make the other person smile – we can turn our toughest goals into #couplegoals.
That’s Not What I Meant
Relationship milestones are important. Many are fun, some are stressful. Inevitably, any new relationship encounters its first misunderstanding. Even with the best intentions on both sides, wires and tempers are bound to cross.
Those early days of easy communication might get more complicated as we work to build something together. After all, communication is tricky, nuanced, and heavily reliant on individual points of view. As partners, you think you’re speaking the same language, but sometimes it can feel like you’re starting to mean different things. Maybe the budgetary roadblock is actually just poor scheduling. Maybe disarray in design is actually a structural flaw. It’s the solution that’s important.
Maintaining our strong relationship is about cultivating trust and a sense of security. We promise to talk about what’s going on with us, and you promise to tell us what’s bothering you. Then we work it out and never go to happy hour angry. If that foundation is there, any bump in the road can be smoothed back out again. At Big Sea, we tackle any problems by developing a shared language with our clients that helps us all avoid future misunderstandings. Tough conversations are, well, tough. But they get easier as our trust for each other grows.
Ready to Commit
The first disagreements are always the hardest, but soon the reality of day-to-day life sets in. The best thing we can do to show our commitment? Show up. You don’t want to be with that partner that ghosted you. Or the one who seems too busy all of a sudden to answer a text or talk about what they did that week. The result? Confusion, disconnect and a whole lot of assumptions.
So we show up for each other and make sure we’re there to listen, focus, and work through life’s funny, odd problems. When it comes to our work, this is the phase where the rubber meets the road on all the amazing planning that the strategist and client worked out in the honeymoon phase. The home and service pages are functional and striking. Dreams are becoming things in the world. And we’re still showing up by sending those weekly status updates, budget breakdowns, creative problem-solving recs, and check-in meetings.
Even though we’ve worked out these big plans, it’s important to include those steady touchpoints that ensure we still share the same goals and are accountable to each other as we progress.
Put a Ring on It
We’re social creatures, humans. We thrive when we have solid relationships to support us. We embark on interpersonal adventures because we believe we’ll find mutual success and shared fulfillment. And when we follow through on our promises, and trust each other, we do feel fulfilled. When we focus on solutions, we do succeed. And when these behaviors become habits, we feel whole. Now that’s a relationship worth holding onto – long term.
It’s around this point that we start to feel all the feels: the nostalgia, thinking back on all of the goals we dreamed up in those early days. Did we meet them? Exceed them? If the answer is, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” then we finally know that the first swipe right was, in fact, the right swipe.
Look, we’re rooting for you. We want you to find the partner of your professional dreams – and that dazzling website with the full-funnel, high-conversion marketing. But maybe, just maybe, that perfect partner was right here all along.
Happy swiping from Big Sea.