In the agency world, email is relationship currency. A good client email carries the reassurance of a virtual hug. You know the guy that gives half-hearted hugs with three pats on the back? Yeah, you don’t want to be that guy.

When it comes to digital marketing, many clients are as insecure as I was as a teenager. That’s why they hired us. Our job is essentially to make clients feel like we’re there for whatever they need, and that everything’s going to be all right. Be the Sean Maguire to my Will Hunting. Go see about that girl.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

R.I.P. Robin Williams

At Intended, I’m personally in charge of six client accounts. On average, I need to send three emails to each client a day. Do the (pretty simple) math, and that averages about 18 daily emails. If I’m spending 10 minutes writing each email, then that’s three hours a day and fifteen hours a week, just for communication with clients. There goes almost half my workweek. Say goodbye to that ski trip in Tahoe, because I’m working on optimization this weekend.

I’ve created a template to streamline the email process. After weeks of meticulous analysis of every client email I’ve sent over the past six months, I’ve teased out the most important aspects of successful client communication and trust building. Include these four basic pieces to your emails and you’ll be golden:

1. Show that you’re doing the right work.

It turns out my 5th grade math teacher, Ms. Herrera, was right: show your work. Demonstrate that you’ve done something tangible to move the needle in the account. The client doesn’t want to imagine that you’re sitting around twiddling you thumbs and wasting their marketing budget. Clients want results, and results only come from demonstrated work.

2. Proactively inform them about the impact of your work.

This is a chance to flex your expertise. If you raised bids, offer what you think is going to happen to the traffic mix. You killed an ad test; we’re going to see more conversions as a result. The job isn’t to predict the future, and you don’t have to know what’s going to happen next, but a client will be much more assured if you give them an idea of what the work means, rather than simply what it is.

3. Tie it back to the client’s business.

This should be obvious, but you may need to spell out specifically why these impacts are meaningful to the client. Customize the email for each client’s needs. Are they launching a sales promotion? Are they opening up to new geographic markets? Has a competitor recently entered the market? Talk on the client’s level, demonstrate a deep understanding of their business model, and show that you have a hand on the pulse of their company. Baby, now we got a stew going.

4. Offer alternate solutions and recommendations.

This is where you take it over the top. By offering alternative solutions, you’re showing that you have all the bases covered and are keeping an eye on the big picture. If plan A fails, you have plan B ready to go. It could mean anything from turning on the old legacy campaigns after a restructure to removing a negative that’s blocking quality traffic, but this attention to detail and the client’s needs will not go unnoticed.

So, there you have it. Do the work. Show its impact. Make it personalized. Show alternative strategies.

BONUS: Include a picture of a baby animal.

Nature's brownie points.

Nature’s brownie points.

Nothing says “I love you, client” like an adorable kitten popping out of a cardboard box. Go to and copy and paste the top trending image post. If the client hates puppies, stay tuned for my next blog entry: Firing the Client: “It’s Not You, It’s Me.”

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Jon Ringvald
Jon works at Intended, one of the top independent SEM agencies in the Bay Area. He once ate 3 super burritos in one sitting and recently starred in an Ugg's shoe commercial. He graduated from Brandeis University in 2011 with a Bachelor in Economics.