Better Communicate The Value of PPC To Those You Answer To

By Jeff Baum | @jeffbaum71 | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

So you’ve done everything right. AdWords & Bing certified? Check. Read tons of articles and keep up on the latest industry developments? Check. You’re a dedicated PPC Hero reader? Check (Apologies for the shameless plug). In addition, you can write killer ad copy, diligently research new keywords, methodically change bids and analyze data with the best of them. In other words, you’re a lean, mean PPC advertising machine.

Unfortunately, that machine grinds to a halt because you’re having difficulty conveying the value of what you do in a way that resonates with clients or in-house management. You’re also in a never-ending battle of misconceptions about what PPC is and what the expectations are. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard from clients or in-house bosses things like: ‘what is it you do again’? ‘Google ads are those listings on the left side of the page’, ‘Why aren’t we in position #1’, or my personal favorite…’If we increase spend by x, then we’ll get this many more leads/sales’.

Today we’re going to discuss some ways to better communicate the benefits of paid search, while at the same time exploring some ways to increase your value to those you answer to.


Framing the Conversation


How do you communicate to clients or managers the concept of paid search? Are your explanations too technical or down in the weeds? When I was first starting out in paid search, I thought everyone understood it the way I did. I would talk in great detail about short and long tail keywords, splitting out ad groups, a/b testing ad copy, and how to measure CTR and conversion rates. After many blank stares from bosses (and a few lost freelance opportunities), I realized that I needed a simpler, more benefit driven approach to selling the value of paid search.  In the end, my clients or bosses could of cared less about how to pull the levers but wanted to know instead how their business would grow as a result of employing a paid search program.

If you want to frame the conversation on your terms, develop an elevator pitch that clearly explains the high level benefits of PPC. Forget about the details for now. What you’re looking for is to buy in to the concept. Whenever I would tell a client or boss that pay per click is simply another form of direct response advertising, the light bulb went on. At that point I knew I had them. Once I had them bought in to the fact that PPC can produce more sales and leads, then I could start getting into the tactical conversations like how to set up campaigns and what features to employ. Yada, yada, yada.


Become a Subject Matter Expert…. On Your Organizations or Clients Business


I cannot stress this enough, make it your top priority to become a subject matter expert on your client or organization’s business processes so get to know them inside and out. Clients and bosses already assume you’re a PPC guru; otherwise they never would have hired you! What they really want is someone with the ability to apply PPC to the unique circumstances of their business. A big part of that is understanding their back-end metrics. It’s not good enough to merely know if a keyword or ad led to a conversion and end the story at that point. Show how that conversion became a lead and turned into a sale or how the names you collected from e-commerce purchases led to growing the size of the email list. Show that PPC has a relational effect on other parts of the marketing machine and you’ll truly set yourself apart and make yourself indispensable.

Immerse yourself in the culture of the organization. Use their terminology, understand their pain points, and learn what drives their leaders and what their fears are. If you’re ever called to the C-suite understanding the dynamics at play will put you in a position of driving the conversation, as opposed to purely reacting and being on the defensive. Understanding their needs inside and out will help you craft a focused, well thought our strategy that’s more likely to lead to success (not to mention enhancing and solidifying your reputation).


Sweat The Small Stuff


What I mean by ‘sweating the small stuff’ is get into the details and really understand what is happening in your accounts.  Be prepared at any time to answer any questions or speak at length about the state of your PPC program, what the issues are, the opportunities, and what the short and long-term strategy is. Always know what’s going on. Don’t be afraid to talk about bad news. Address problems or issues head on and offer possible solutions.

I have found many times when I’m asked ‘what’s going on with paid search’, its less about clients or managers wanting to know the details, but rather them reaffirming that you are on top of things and continue to be the right person to manage their paid search program. Simply said, being in control inspires confidence and enhances your credibility. If you are hesitant, unsure or don’t exude confidence, red flags are surely going to be raised.

Remember, it’s not just a matter of how much you know. The more important attribute to being an effective PPC professional is to clearly communicate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what the strategy is and how it will contribute to the bottom line!