Gaining Buy-In for Your PPC Account Plans

In some cases, clients are not receptive to new PPC account ideas. It’s even possible for PPC ideas to be kiboshed before they’ve had a chance to make it into campaigns. In this article, I’ll discuss some client obstacles and some important factors involved in getting good ideas incorporated into PPC accounts. For the purposes of this article, here are some examples that may elicit objections from clients:

  • Content optimization – When we attempt to drive traffic from the content network.
  • Bid changes – Objections may occur when we try to increase bids to test higher ad positions.
  • Landing page testing - Here, we like to try revamped or new landing pages. In this particular example, I’ve had clients swear up and down there’s nothing wrong with blatantly bad landing pages. Sometimes, people take suggestions personally especially if pages have been revamped or tested internally.
  • Campaign budget increases – Clients may fuss when we dramatically increase budgets to ensure we’re getting the most PPC coverage possible.

From the get-go, it’s worth mentioning a couple of things:

  1. Sometimes good ideas don’t always happen because of the workflow with the client and that determines whether blueprints turn into implemented action items. Clients sometimes have a certain thoughts related to product lines or services that they consider important and their number one objective. In these cases, it can be harder to convince them of new ideas especially if it moves them away from what they perceive is important to their company. Also, clients can be overly concerned about revenue goals and not want to muck around with accounts. They’re scared to jeopardize the company’s bottom line even though often testing yields improved results in PPC accounts.
  2. The biggest mistake is to assume you don’t have to sell when working with clients. As SEMers, we are constantly convincing clients to think a different way or try a different tactic or approach in accounts. You may not be selling a specific product or service per se, but sales skills of some sort almost always come into play. People have to do it within organizations, as well as within the agency-client relationship.

In the rest of this article, I’ll suggest ways to get clients to open up to new PPC ideas. The tips include: 1) client relationship / demonstrated expertise and 2) solid project management skills.

Client relationship and demonstrated expertise

Sometimes, it’s the client relationship which doesn’t allow you to move forward with ideas. Clients may not be convinced you are equipped to make significant improvements in accounts. Just because you have secured a contract, it does not mean you’re done in terms of selling yourself or your company. At the beginning of a project, it’s important to demonstrate that a company has made the right decision to invest in your company. In the initial stages, I try to secure some quick-wins. For example, I’ll tweak ad copy to show some relatively quick account improvements and demonstrate we’re headed in the right direction.

From there, obviously additional and consistent improvement over the course of a contract is key for the client relationship to continue to flourish. Client trust increases through expertise, communications, bottom-line results and tangible account effort. Don’t be surprised if clients love you more, and listen to your ideas, if they can see evidence of significant activity. This includes not only account work, but insightful reporting, interim commentary and asking relevant questions on a regular basis.

Solid project management skills

Use project management skills as method of further solidifying trust and gaining buy-in. When we implement campaigns, we sometimes roll PPC initiatives out in stages. Also, along the way, we are obviously tweaking and often add new ad groups and campaigns (as we determine what is performing in accounts). The various implementation times and dates can be confusing so good project management skills are essential. I dedicate quite a bit of time to ensuring projects are running smoothly. There are obviously a variety of project management tools available on the market, but the ones I use are quite simple. They are:

1) Basecamp – for project management, communications, budget tracking & reporting

2) Excel – for budgeting

Harry Beckwith’s great book Selling the Invisible reminds us that we need to make our service relationships more tangible, or we won’t get proper credit for everything we’ve done. Good luck with your PPC advertising!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Paid Search Column


About The Author: was recently voted the 2013 Most influential SEM. She is the Vice President of Online Marketing Strategy at Page Zero Media where she focuses on search engine marketing strategy, landing page optimization (LPO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

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  • nickstamoulis

    Wow, you are right on the money! Having managed clients in an SEM role for years (as I continue to) selling without selling is always part of the client management process. Next to achieving excellent results for clients, then comes communication and organization, without all 3 the client/agency relationship may not be long term and health…


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