Let’s go ahead and get the obvious out of the way up front – we’ve all experienced the good, bad and ugly search engine representative stories. Some of them directly, and others we’ve heard from our peers. In the interest of picking a side, I may even venture to say that most of us would say those experiences tend to be poor and less than helpful.
What I can say from my direct experience, however, is that search engine reps can be very helpful…as long as you (or someone managing your campaigns) know how to use them.
Here are some basic tips for how you should and shouldn’t utilize search engine reps.
Reach out, even if you don’t think you “should.”
It can be easy to assume from previous experience (or those you’ve heard stories from) that search engine reps aren’t helpful. I would encourage you to at least attempt to reach out to your reps, even if it may not be a venue you’ve had success with in the past. You may find a situation where a niche rep can assist further, or there could be a caveat to the situation at hand that wasn’t the case before – now making it a help-able case. An email to your rep will only take a few minutes, so why not?
Something else that is true is that search engine reps turnover quite a bit. So you could have a different rep than the last time you reached out anyway. Try it again!
Let them know when you have beta interest.
The best reps reach out to their clients/accounts when there are new betas or tests available for access. There will be some that your accounts do or do not qualify for, but if your rep wants your budget to grow they will bring these ideas to your attention when they can. The truth is they don’t always, so if you hear of one you want in on let them know.
It will feel obvious to you because you’re managing YOUR business (or your clients’ business, for the agency side) but your rep may need a little reminder. If you can provide additional direction on the kinds of betas you’re interested in (i.e. B2B-focused, new Display features, etc.), that will help them even further and increase the likelihood of you hearing about the betas that matter most to you.
Check in to see if they can help with compliance issues (if you run in to them).
Hopefully this never becomes something you have to encounter, but if you run in to compliance trouble the first line of defense should definitely be your search engine rep. It’s highly likely they won’t be able to fix the problem or dig in to it further for you, but they can (and should) point you in the direction of someone who CAN get you some further details. Could those details be that there’s nothing you/they can do? Sure, but still look to your reps for an initial insight.
Ask for additional educational opportunities.
In those situations where you find yourself feeling less knowledgeable about a particular topic (and after you’ve looked to PPC Hero, of course), you can find an initial mode of education through the search engine behind the area of interest. The engines tend to publish posts with at least introductory details on their own blogs and with more extensive rollouts they’ll set up training sessions (again, either with you directly or whomever manages your campaigns). If something is stumping you, see if your engine rep can get you started in the right direction.
Find an agency that has a set of great reps, themselves.
It could be that (whether it’s fair or not) you need some slightly larger guns behind you to get someone with the engines to pay attention to you. This is where getting an agency behind you can be particularly helpful, specific to search engine representative access. The team at Hanapin consistently fends off engine rep approaches that aren’t a good fit for our clients, in addition to proactively requesting new tools or access for those clients when appropriate. Getting a team behind your brand that can handle that conversation on your behalf can be the key in some situations.
Assume any rep has a magic wand for your issues.
Engine representatives can often put you in touch with someone who can help you in your time of need. When they can’t, they can generally dig in a bit further on their own and provide additional insights. What they cannot do is make some sort of magic happen on your behalf. If that’s why you’re reaching out to them – stop. No agency, engine rep, or combination thereof has a magic wand that can make all your performance woes go away. They could help though, so refer back to “DO” point #1.
Ask them to access an account for you ahead of working with them (if you’re an agency).
This is for our agency readers, admittedly, but you need to stop asking your engine reps to get in to things they can’t/shouldn’t be accessing on your behalf – namely accounts of clients not yet doing business with you. This tends to come up in compliance-based situations, because you need insight on a prospective new client’s account that came to you because they can’t get someone from the search engine on the phone. Sometimes accounts get flagged for silly things (i.e. company selling iPad covers with ad copy that mentions ‘tablets’ – gets flagged for pharmaceuticals), but if the restrictions are legitimate the business may not be worth the trouble. If you’re asking your rep to look at a flagged or shut down account to determine if you should bring it on board perhaps you have your answer on whether it’s an account you want.
Request them to bend the rules – for any reason.
This somewhat feeds in to my previous point, but if you want your engine rep to make some kind of miracle exception for you you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. From an integrity standpoint, you would likely feel uncomfortable if a client or customer asked you to bend rules. Search engine reps are people, too, so consider the age-old ‘do unto others’ mantra here. I’ve heard these requests to reps run the gamut: even more advanced access to new features, account access, competitor account data, competing agency MCC info (who are these people?!) and I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it must be to fend them off. Do your search engine relationships a favor and don’t ask for things you can’t or shouldn’t have.
Forget they have a job to do and quotas to meet of their own.
At the end of the day, once you get the help (even if not exactly what you were seeking) you requested, let your rep get back to work. They’ve got a roster of clients who need attention just like you. More importantly, they have their own goals to hit that are crucial to their success just like yours are to you. Your reps are there to provide a service – but always practice professional courtesy. Thank them for their time and put a bow on things so you can all move forward.
I’m a huge proponent of finding resourceful, unique or creative solutions to every day and situational PPC problems. There are times when search engine representatives can be an incredible help in getting those solutions outlined, but they’re not your only source of information and may not have all the answers. Utilize your reps to their full capabilities, but then use the rest of your network of PPC peers to get all the way there.
How about our readers? Tell us about some of your experiences working with search engine reps and how you’ve shaped the best relationships so that everyone achieves their goals! Leave any questions, thoughts or ideas in the comments section below – and thanks for reading!