Start Your PPC Client Relationships Right

By Diane Anselmo | @diane_anselmo | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

As account managers, we all know the feeling we get when we’re notified that we’re getting a new client added to our roster. Usually, we’re excited to hear about the client, discover their business and work on devising a strategy to help them achieve their goals.


Admittedly, sometimes we are so excited, that we occasionally bypass the basic first steps that any account manager should take when embarking on a new account. In this post, I will outline those steps and explain how each plays a role in getting the account management off on the right foot.


It’s All About The Money


One of the initial conversations you should have with your new client should be about budgeting. Have a discussion with the client about how much they want to spend during your first month of account management, but also ask them if they have any insight into what they think the budget may be for future months. This information allows you to plan accordingly and avoids you having to make drastic account changes when the client reaches out to you mid-month and says, “I only wanted to spend “x” amount this month. Please slow down my spend.”


Though tempting, never go on the assumption that a client’s budget in one month will be the same as the previous month. There are so many factors that go into a client choosing a monthly budget—and many of those factors are internal and are unknown to us. But, for the sake of smooth account management, make sure you have that conversation upfront.


Top Performers


Whether your new client is ecommerce or lead generation, you’ll want to have a conversation with them about keywords and/or products that have proven to be top performers in the past. This is where your client can give you great insight into initiatives they’ve tried in the past that may have worked well or may have failed.


And, of course, this is where you can start devising your own strategy. Familiarize yourself with the keywords and products that the client deems to be important. Learn which products give the advertiser the highest return on investment. Learn which keywords have brought the client quality leads that convert into sales and which ones don’t. But most of all start thinking how you can focus on what has worked in the past and make it even better.


Tracking, Tracking, Tracking!


Before you get too deep into any new PPC account, you need to have a conversation with the client about tracking. Questions may include:


  • What kind of tracking system are you using to track leading and sales?
  • Is it working properly?
  • Are all the necessary tracking pixels placed correctly?


Imagine putting your hard work into an account only to find out that performance “looks” poor because the tracking isn’t working. Remember, just because the client tells you that all is working properly doesn’t mean that it is. Let the client know that you’d like to perform a test lead or sale and make sure that the tracking system records it properly. And, if it doesn’t, start working with the client to better understand what needs to be done to get the tracking functioning properly again. After all, our performance is tied back to these numbers—it’s our responsibility to make sure that it’s correct.


Can We Talk?


When taking on a new client, it’s best to set up a communication schedule right off the bat. Ask them if they would like a weekly call where you can review all of the account changes while discussing optimizations and strategies that you’d like to make in the coming week. A client that opens up to you on weekly calls is your best asset, as you can get a solid feeling of how your account work is being received.


This is a great time for both the account manager and the client to ask questions and gather information as they proceed along in the account. Once you set up a regular time slot to connect with the client, do your best to stick to it. Consistency is key here.


Revisit the Past


Even though the relationship is brand new, the account manager should do some due diligence and get an understanding of past performance. Pull reports within the interfaces and get an idea of what budget, leads, sales, ROI and other metrics previously were. Discuss these reports with the client and identify which metrics are most important to them. Identify if there’s been a major shift in the metrics over the past year and try and gain an understanding of why the numbers looked the way they did. All of that information will help you better understand the account in general.


Learn The Industry


Is your new client in an industry that’s unfamiliar to you? If so, you need to take some time to learn the basics of it. That’s not to say that you need to become an expert in the field, but you do need to have some sort of an understanding of the industry and educate yourself on the latest trends. Set up some news alerts so that any pertinent articles regarding the industry wind up in your inbox. Ask your client questions about the industry. The more you know about the world your client lives in, the better you can manage the account.


Image of Google Alerts


Final Thoughts


Though there is no exact formula on how to accomplish this, the steps above detail many of the basic elements that will arm you with the knowledge to successfully begin management and devise strategy for your new client.