Managing a pay-per-click account long term is an interesting task, to say the least. Looking at the same account structure day in, day out and pulling the same reports each week takes its toll on the unsuspecting PPC manager. Without a supportive team or careful planning, it is pretty easy to get stuck in a rut! Sometimes that means you adopt a “set it and forget it” attitude, other times you become blind to obvious errors or simple changes that could improve your account. Today I’d like to share some basic tips to enliven your long term PPC management and to help you avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

If you don’t set goals and create a monthly (quarterly, etc.) plan already, you should. I can’t stress enough the importance of setting goals. Setting goals acts as a compass for your PPC account, giving it direction. Each month, pull comprehensive reports to take stock of your account’s performance in relation to your goals, and create a plan of action to reach those goals in the next month. This is a great way to consistently review performance and force yourself to think ahead to continue growing your PPC account.

Get Back to Basics

On occasion, it makes sense to double check your work and overall approach to managing PPC. Set aside some time when you are at your brightest (for me that’s 8 am with coffee in-hand), and force yourself to rake your PPC account across the coals. Any setting or misplaced ad group is fair game!

Are you maximizing your reach by advertising in Google, Yahoo!, MSN and any other relevant search engines? If not, maybe it’s time to test a new search engine to shake things up. Review your account settings, account structure, ad texts and keywords. See if you’re missing opportunities that could be remedied with a little optimization. It’s also important to note that Google changes its policies about every week, so make sure that you’re tactics are up to date (OK, so that’s exaggerated, but you get the point).

Review Your KPI’s

Think of this as “goals part duex.” Another way to get yourself out of a PPC rut is to review your KPIs (key performance indicators) and tweak as necessary. Are you still gunning for the same cost-per-lead you were a year ago? Have you generated the same number of clicks for the past 6 months? If so, why? I’ve never seen the perfect PPC account that couldn’t be improved in some form or fashion.

To force yourself to think outside the box, pull reports for 6 months, 1 year, 2 years (just get a few months of data) and plot out your trailing averages. Trailing averages are a great way to view trend-data. If your stats trend upward, that’s great! If they’re static or worse yet, trending downward, it’s time to shock yourself into submission and get to work. Guess it’s time to increase your PPC goals so that you have something to work towards.

If all else fails, call a friend. Get a fresh set of eyes to review your account (assuming you have friends who know PPC!). There’s nothing more valuable than to have someone else review your work and point out mistakes. It may sting your pride, but your PPC account will only benefit from the fresh perspective. No matter what you do, it’s never OK to rest on your laurels when it comes to managing PPC. And I encourage YOU to never be “OK” with your account as-is. Keep pushing forward, trying new ideas and making an effort to better your account. That perspective on PPC management will go the farthest in helping you to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Have any great ideas on keeping your long term PPC accounts fresh and out of a rut? Leave me a comment!