Question: I run social media marketing for a few clients and I keep running into this problem perrenially. The issue of the client expecting sky high results but providing minimum budget allocations. How do I tackle this without antagonising the client?
Nancy - Nairobi
Answer: This is - sadly - a very common problem that I keep getting when engaging professionals working as freelancers or in digital marketing agencies. A client has made demands for certain deliverables and has also said they do not have as much money as the campaign requires.
How do you go about it?
Well, it will have to start at the planning stage in what I call an expectations management session. As a marketer, you have to be aware of your limitations and the limitations of any budget you get and you have to clearly state what the client would get starting from a zero budget all the way to a budget that would only be described as Nirvana.
And while keeping a client happy is most people's goals, lying - as I often like to call over promising - will lead you to a having conflicts with the client or in some cases, losing the client. It should be crystal clear what they will get with their budget from the onset - and what they will not get - with clear tabulated justifications of what the budget can achieve.
Whether they want to hear it or not, you need to say it. That way there will be no fight about delivering something you said was not possible in the first place.
That said, you can be clever about how you spend the low budgets you get, usually by prioritizing the key objectives of the client's needs. If the client wants people to know about their business, focus on awareness. If they want traffic to their website, focus on clicks. If they want actual leads, focus on getting the client leads.
Everything else should be treated as a side-show.