Four Reasons to Trust a Farmer's Daughter with Your PPC Account

By Pat East | @pateast | CEO at Hanapin Marketing

This is the first post of a series called “why to trust a (insert stereotype) with your PPC account.” It’s the brainchild of Amy Hoffman, one of Hanapin’s Account Supervisors and our first profile!

Let me first give you a bit of background:

In March, we wrote a series called “Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Amazing Search Marketers.” Its focus was on Hanapin’s job interview process and how we use that to find great employees for our team. This series’ focus is about the people we eventually hire.

There are several characteristics that we’ve determined good search marketers have:

  • Marketing mindset (effectively interprets consumer data)
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Energized by client success
  • Love data
  • Internet enthusiast
  • Flexibility in what they’re asked to do (goes with the flow)
  • Proactive (one step ahead)
  • React effectively (grace under pressure)
  • Experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Can balance multiple responsibilities
  • Relationship building skills
  • Interface experience (AdWords, adCenter)
  • Experience with PPC tools/software

How did we come up with these? A lot of trial and error! We have eight years of experience in hiring folks, so we know the types of characteristics that work well. We created a workout group, brainstormed the top 50 characteristics, and then pared it to the top third, listed above. I should note that these characteristics are ones our Account Executives chose based on their experiences working with other Account Executives.

While it always helps to have a marketing background (as does a third of our team) or previous experience in paid search (no one on our team), they’re not requirements. In fact, we’ve found these characteristics are good predictors of success, hence the impetus for this series. Of course, if someone exhibits the above characteristics and has a marketing or paid search background, the chances of success increase dramatically. Backgrounds in economics/finance or customer service seem to be applicable too.

Without further adieu, here’s our first profile on Amy, the “farmer’s daughter!”

Strong work ethic: However long it takes to get the job done at whatever hours necessary. While everyone says they have a strong work ethic (who wouldn’t?), there are times where this is really put to the test. Did your client’s website go down and you need to help them troubleshoot it at 6 am? Did you just find out their conversion tracking isn’t working on 500+ confirmation pages right as you’re about to leave for the weekend? Farmers deal well with stress, relatively speaking. Between the weather (it’s always too hot, or too rainy, too much sun, or not enough), the price of fuel, the price of grain, managing workers, and mechanical breakdowns farmers are under constant stress to provide us with food, clothing, and shelter, and still they bear the stress and work efficiently to make sure they get things done no matter what the job requires of them. You can’t pay the bills with “if we would have had a better crop this year.”

Relentless improvement: Every farmer has a yield; some are okay and some are flat out bad. But a good farmer is never truly satisfied, even if the yield is good. A good farmer is always looking to better themselves, their equipment, and their technique. We’ve had clients where we doubled conversions and saved them $250K/annually, all within the first 3-6 months of their engagement with us. That’s not usually the case though – most clients experience incremental improvement. Testing, testing, testing and more testing. If you think you can’t generate more performance, there’s always something you can do better. The key is not whether you’ve implemented something, but rather how well you’ve implemented it: a big keyword you missed, better ads that resonate with your target audience, or landing pages that convert at a higher rate.

Wearer of many hats: You can’t just plant a seed an expect it to grow and reap the benefits. There is a lot of analysis that goes into all parts of the job, and different fields (different clients) require different maintenance and attention. You need to do whatever is necessary to keep the wheels turning. Also, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. There are many factors in success or failure and, according to Amy: “I try to make sure that everything gels – if something doesn’t click, I get into the mechanics of it (also a regular responsibility in farming) to figure out the kinks and determine whether it should be fixed or nixed.”

For the love of the job: Last but not least, most farmers don’t farm because of the money. It’s not the most lucrative job in the world, but they do it because they love it and because they take pride in it. If you don’t love doing paid search and you’re just doing it for the paycheck, you’ll always be a step behind the person who betters their skills for the love of their job.

Well, that’s a wrap for our first “stereotypes” profile! We hope you now know you can trust a farmer’s daughter to do great work on your PPC account.

In this month’s Letter from the CEO, I promised I would post a new profile each Monday starting on the 11th. It’s obviously the 18th, so to make up for it, I’ll post the other two tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s profile about the “life scientist.”