One of the biggest challenges any marketing agency will face is client retention. While it can be (relatively) easy to get leads on the hook, and even to convert those leads into paying clients for a month or two, it’s far harder to keep them on board for months or years at a time.
For agencies, reducing churn is particularly important when it comes assuring the long-term growth and health of your company. FreeGren Digital, a digital marketing agency based out of Bellevue, WA, has found an unconventional solution to this classic business problem: Rather than focus their time and energy on big payouts from big clients, they work to cultivate lasting relationships with small-to-medium sized clients, most often in business categories with high dollar transactions.
“We prefer working with SMB’s as we can have an active role in helping those clients grow and succeed,” explains FreeGren co-founder Scott Freeborn. “We’ve found that our clients prefer a high-touch and hyper-focused approach where we’re true strategic partners with them.”
Or, as they tout at the top of their website: “No nonsense, just results. We do what we do best so you can do what you do best.”
“That means using platforms like CallRail to drive results,” says Freeborn, “as they allow for the kind of insights and engagement that traditionally a client would only receive from larger national or regional marketing firms. That type of agency has largely ignored our target client as their budgets are well below the minimum spend required by large agencies”
Agency call tracking and analytics help build enduring client relationships
Freeborn, along with fellow FreeGren co-founder Dan Sundgren (who puts the ‘Gren’ in FreeGren), brought a great deal of experience to the table when they teamed up to found their company in 2017: Freeborn has worked with small businesses and in SMB digital marketing for more than 20 years, and Sundgren was one of the original search engine experts who helped open Google’s Seattle office back in the early 2000s.
Initially, they decided to take a core direct marketing approach to client services, including SEO, paid search, web development, and hosting. They were also eager to branch out into the burgeoning field of reputation and review management, which focuses on social media presence, along with generating, managing, and responding to user reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, and other external-facing communications.
“Businesses often don’t think about [social and review platforms] when they’re preparing a digital strategy or thinking about their digital presence,” Freeborn says. “We’ve found that a continual focus on your online reputation — or what we like to refer to as your ‘digital foundation’ — is just as critical as having a good paid search strategy.”
With this approach in mind, Freeborn and Sundgren quickly discovered that being true partners with their clients required the kind of deep, strategic insights that can only be achieved with the advanced analytics provided by services like CallRail.
“If you look at KPIs and the most important metrics for all of our clients, the number-one item on the list is making the phone ring and driving leads to them,” Sundgren says. “That’s partially a reflection of the businesses we serve — most of our clients are operating service-type businesses in highly competitive markets.”
He continues: “So for these businesses, calls are the main KPI. The next most important KPI, which CallRail also helps us track in a very easy and elegant way, is form fills. For our clients, those are really the channels that provide the biggest one-two punch in terms of value and revenue.”
And so, one of FreeGren’s primary missions is to track those key channels as granularly as possible in order to help clients figure out exactly where their high-value leads are coming from. That means having comprehensive and detailed analytics down to the keyword level for the web channels that are driving calls — in their case, search engines like Google and Bing.
They spent a great deal of time strategizing over which services and technologies would be included in their marketing stack, and since calls were so essential to their clients, they knew that call tracking would be a critical piece of that puzzle. However, they also knew that their clients likely couldn’t afford expensive, enterprise-grade solutions, so they’d need a call tracking service that was powerful but still being flexible enough to scale with clients of varying sizes and business needs.
“That’s the main thing that made CallRail appealing,” Sundgren explains. “Not only do you have all the features that you could want from an enterprise-level solution, CallRail is priced at a level that a small business can easily afford.”
Call tracking features provide deep strategic insights
As FreeGren got off the ground and continued to integrate agency call tracking into their day-to-day operations, they found a treasure-trove of insights into how their clients’ phone teams were performing.
Thanks to CallRail’s Call Recording feature, FreeGren has an instant, at-a-glance view of how their clients’ phone teams handle inbound calls, whether the person answering is a receptionist, an accountant, or an independent service. With weeks’ or months’ worth of a client’s call recordings at their fingertips, the FreeGren team has a high-level of insight into the overall health of the business.
“This wasn’t a service we originally were charging for, and currently still don’t, but more and more we found ourselves playing the role of calling center coaches for our clients,” Freeborn says. “Many of our clients’ businesses involve very high-dollar-value transactions. The time we allocate to listen to their inbound calls, review call transcriptions and analyze the information on inbound forms directly benefits our clients as a properly handled call or reply can be the difference between thousands of dollars in sales or a potential customer who decides to look elsewhere.”
While it wasn’t in their original business plan, they quickly discovered that this level of involvement and engagement could provide FreeGren with insights that the clients themselves weren’t aware of.
Thanks to CallRail, they could draw on a vast amount of analytics — call and lead data by channel and keyword, along with transcriptions and call recordings — and help their clients be completely confident in their work.
And that’s not to mention the stellar results FreeGren has achieved for their clients by optimizing their marketing campaigns according to these call tracking insights: “In one case, a client had never tracked calls before, as a result they didn’t see the value of Google in driving leads to their business. There was pushback on the call tracking component as we were implementing a new strategy for them,” Freeborn says.
“However, with the data generated from CallRail, we were able to go back to the client and show that in the first three months after implementing the plan we had put together for them, they had already already experienced a large increase in call volume and a 40 percent lift in qualified leads.”
The key to reducing agency churn
With all of their combined experience in digital marketing and the agency field, FreeGren understands all too well how much their clients rely on them. Most small business owners just don’t have the time, the personnel, or the technical expertise to login to Google Analytics and CallRail every day and digest the data.
Small businesses rely on agency partners like FreeGren Digital to dig into their analytics, listen to their calls and then translate those analytics into actionable insights. FreeGren’s data-driven business model has been instrumental to the success of their savvy, client-first approach.
“Just like our clients have KPIs and metrics they need to hit, we have one main internal KPI here at FreeGren: Churn,” Freeborn explains. And they’re particularly proud of the results they’ve achieved when it comes to eliminating churn.
“‘We don’t lose clients’ is not just a phrase at FreeGren Digital: Our main mission is to deliver on the high expectations we have set with our clients. As we deliver, churn isn’t an issue,” he continues. “Thanks to the benefits CallRail brings to our business, we’re definitely succeeding.”
For a complimentary analysis of your marketing program(s) and a no nonsense evaluation of what you could (and should) be doing to drive your business, please reach out to FreeGren Digital at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re interested in seeing the benefits call tracking can bring to your business, you can start right now: Begin your 14-day free trial of CallRail, or request a personalized demo.