How To Pitch Winning Paid Search Initiatives

By Kristine Hyman | @KristineHyman95 | Senior Client Services Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Pitching initiatives to clients is something anyone who has ever managed a PPC account has done. Initiatives are an important way to grow an account but they also serve as a way to show your clients you are on the cutting edge of PPC. How successful you actually are in getting your clients to move forward with initiatives is another story.  By following the steps I describe below, you can be confident you will not only get a yes but you will be able to claim success whether the initiative works well for the account or not.


The What And Why


You should first figure out what initiative you want to pitch and the why behind it. Is it because the account needs more branding, overall growth or an increase in getting people back to the website? No matter what the reason, there should be something specific that you are trying to achieve. Why are we doing this initiative and what are the expected results? Before we move on from the what and why, we need to ask another important question. Has this initiative been tried before?


If it has been tried in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be an automatic no moving forward. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances as to why initiatives didn’t work out. It could have been the budget at the time, that the platform wasn’t as sophisticated, or the person who managed it really didn’t have a great handle on how to maximize performance.


Managing The Initiative


Now that you have the initiative, the ‘why’ and if it has been tried before, you should think about how long the initiative will run and how often it will be reported on.


Will there be a range of acceptable performance? Trying something new without these parameters can be a recipe for disaster. You don’t want to run too long if the results aren’t there but you will also want to make sure you aren’t leaving results on the table if things are going well. Checking in often and communicating results is key. Being very clear on what good and bad results will look like is essential in ensuring there will be no surprises in the long run.


Specifications And Requirements


Now you know the what, why and for how long. The next bit of information you need to know are the requirements for the initiative. Requirements are items like:


  • Minimum budget
  • Creative specifications
  • Type of campaigns


Most of the information will come directly from the initiative itself whether it be a new platform or something like a Google Beta. The budget, on the other hand, can be tricky. Sometimes there is a minimum budget a platform requires or recommends. Client input is also important at this stage. The amount of money they have or want to spend may be different than what you would choose. Depending on the clients risk tolerance and working with the requirements/recommended budget, you can come up with an agreed upon number.


Time To Pitch


With all the information you just gathered, you are probably wondering, “now what?” Well, it’s time to pitch to the client. Pitching an initiative can happen in a number of ways, including:


  • Over the phone
  • A PowerPoint presentation via online meeting
  • In person meeting


Each way has its benefits, but also some drawbacks.


Let’s start with the “over the phone” pitch.  I would only go for the quick pitch over the phone if you know your client is familiar with what you are pitching. If the client knows the platform and is familiar with the initiative this way to pitch could be a time saver. I have made the mistake of pitching something to someone quickly over the phone and it just did not get the point across. I also know that when doing it quickly over the phone, the “pitch” can sometimes be missed. At some point, you may have a client who thinks you never bring them anything new or they don’t remember the initiative because you didn’t put enough focus on it.


My favorite way to pitch an initiative is online via a GoToMeeting or Google Hangout using a PowerPoint for added emphasis. Using these tools, you are able to show the client what it is you are trying to pitch. You can have slides for the what and why, specifications/requirements as well as what the actual initiative will look like once implemented. Another good thing about a PowerPoint is that the client can have a copy that they can refer to if they ever have questions or want to talk about it to someone else. It is a really great resource for them. (The same holds true for an in person pitch with a PowerPoint presentation.)




You’ve made the pitch. Was it a swing and a miss or a home run? Regardless you will want to know when the client will a) make a decision or b) have all the requirements available to move forward. Then the real work will begin.