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A few weeks back I wrote about the consultative approach and how it can be used to manage PPC accounts more strategically. Our key stakeholders expect us to be a strategic business partner who proactively pushes their business forward through the use of paid search. What they don’t want is a reactive partner who’s just ‘awaiting orders’ before proceeding ahead with tasks and projects.
A powerful tactic that can be used to implement the consultative approach is called ‘business storytelling’. Today we’re going to discuss what business storytelling is, how to communicate a compelling, action driven business story to your clients, and tools that can be used to successfully deliver that story.
What’s a more compelling story to tell our clients and stakeholders?
“Last month your account had 1000 clicks and 10 conversions”
“Last month we learned that only 30% of conversions came from desktop and 70% came through mobile. This conversion split signals a distinct market shift towards mobile and we’ll need to adjust our strategy accordingly to capitalize on this changing dynamic”.
Storytelling is powerful because people relate to them emotionally. I constantly use stories to highlight examples or to drive home key points. When I tell a story, I can tell through body language or voice inflection if I’m on the phone that people are engaged in the conversation and connecting with the information being presented to them.
Storytelling also allows us to take a dry topic like paid search and bring it to life. No one wants to sit in meetings or business reviews where all you or your client does is listen to someone drone on about performance metrics without any context as to what those metrics mean and how they relate to the big picture. Paid search can be a very dry topic at times because it’s so analytical, therefore wrapping our work within the context of a bigger business story will help get and keep our clients engaged.
Our key stakeholders are always striving to understand the underlying drivers behind their paid search performance and the only way to do that is to provide context. Telling the underlying story is a tool in our arsenal we can use to assist clients with making big strategic decisions and furthers our standing as trusted strategic advisors.
How do we build compelling business stories that keep our clients and stakeholders engaged while at the same time providing actionable information? We can do this by:
Now that we’ve built our story, we need to communicate it. Some tips for effectively delivering your story are listed below.
Now that we know what a business story is and how to create and communicate it in a compelling way, we need some tools to help deliver our story. Fortunately, these tools are the same ones you use almost every day in both your account and client work.
The first tool to have in place is a strategy template. Templates can be built in PowerPoint, a Google Doc slide deck, or any other platform where you can clearly present information. Regardless of the platform, the key thing is that the template forces you to think through the overall business situation, what PPC strategies and tactics are in play, whether or not those strategies and tactics are working, and what’s on deck next to improve performance.
Another tool to make use of is having frequent business download meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to have an up to date understanding of the current business situation and what the priorities are. Business strategies constantly evolve and past strategies may no longer be applicable. Getting a solid download on new products, services, or how the business is going to move forward is key to aligning your paid search program accordingly.
Competitor analysis is another effective tool. Whether it’s Google’s auction insights or a tool like Spy Fu or Keyword Spy, understanding what the competition is doing can help support your story and determine next steps. In many instances, the business story is a direct reflection of how clients (internal or external) view and react to their competition.
Business storytelling is a key component of the consultative approach. It allows you to demonstrate the overall understanding of your client’s business and provides an opportunity to convey that understanding in a compelling way that leads to further action.
Using the business storytelling approach also provides the benefit of forcing you to think more rigorously about your client’s PPC program and where it needs to be. Understanding your client’s overall situation will allow you the ability to create strategies that bring their PPC to a totally new level and is in alignment with their overall plans. Being in alignment increases the chances retaining clients for a very long time.
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