I promised you the one tip that will save your PPC management career, and that tip is: Be Flexible.  John Lee, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing, explains in the following interview how flexibility is key for being a successful PPC manager.  Watch/ read the interview below for John’s full explanation.

But first…

Hero Conf Countdown

Only 11 days left until we kick things off in Indianapolis at our Sunday evening networking event (7:30 pm at the JW Marriott), and it is time to register for Hero Conf if you haven’t yet done so.  You can still receive a $100 discount on a 2nd registration if you sign up before April 6, and receive a $50 Visa gift card for each person you refer through our referral program!

Our incredible lineup of speakers includes John Lee and a bunch of other stars – check out the packed-full agenda,  and visit our justify your trip document if you need to convince the boss. It is the conference you won’t want to miss, especially with these great discounts!

John Lee: Account Structure, Social, and Saving Your PPC Career

Laura: Hello, I’m Laura Johnston, Marketing Coordinator for Hanapin Marketing, and we’re delighted to have John Lee here with us this morning. He is the Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing. John, it’s a pleasure to have you here with us.

John: Yes, thank you for having me.

Laura: Thanks. Well, to start off with, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

John: Sure. Again, my name is John Lee, Director of Client Services and Managing Partner for Clix Marketing. We’re a search marketing agency that specializes in PPC. We do one job and we do it very well. But underneath that it’s not just PPC. It’s display advertising. It’s social media PPC. It’s a very layered product. About me personally, I went to college at Ball State University here in Indiana. Bounced around different career options before I landed at PPC. But PPC is my passion, and that’s what I’ve chosen to make a career out of for the long term.

Laura: What is it about paid search that made you decide to become a PPC professional?

John: I kind of got into PPC by accident. I worked for AuthorHouse, who was a book publishing company here in Bloomington, Indiana. I was in promotions. So I wasn’t exactly doing pay-per-click at the time, but I was doing a lot of media research to understand demographics, who is where in the country doing what. I was ready to move on and found a job listing for Hanapin Marketing here in Bloomington, Indiana. I knew of Pat, who owns Hanapin, but I knew one of his employees who had previously been my manager at AuthorHouse. So I decided to take a chance. I thought search engine marketing sounded interesting and exciting. So I had the interview, got the job, and then the rest they say is history.

Laura: What is it about account structure that you’ve learned throughout your time here working in PPC?

John: Account structure is what I’ll be talking about at Hero Conf. It’s something that for a long time I would harp on, account structure, that it’s very important. It’s a foundation of everything you do with your accounts and the performance of PPC. The biggest thing I have found is that you can’t have a one size fits all strategy. So if you feel like having a simple strategy that you can take, replicate, and scale with every client, every account, it’s doomed to fail. There are several roadblocks that can get in your way that, regardless of your strategy, they’re going to dictate how your account structured ends up. So again, looking at geo-targeting issues and talking about budgetary concerns, reasons why you would have to split out campaigns. You have to be flexible. The one size fits all strategy, like I said before, is doomed to fail. So think of it that way and think outside the box.

Laura: Are there any features in AdWords or adCenter that have come out recently that you find particularly useful or enjoyable to use?

John: Yes, absolutely. So Microsoft adCenter, a lot of my peers complain about Microsoft adCenter. I prefer to think that they’ve come a long way. They released the adCenter desktop tool a few years back. It made managing their account so much easier. There was some export functionality to take campaigns from AdWords over, but there were problems with it. There were always errors that you would have to fix that would take an hour, two hours to fix the errors before you could ever [publish] those campaigns. It wasn’t really worth the time. I could just build them from scratch and take just as much time.

So the recent update to adCenter desktop tool was now you can directly export campaigns from AdWords with your AdWords account ID and login information. It will pull the information out of AdWords directly into the desktop tool. One, it’s faster. Two, I have run into very few errors in doing that. It’s made my life a lot easier. That’s one of the better features I’ve seen come along from either, at least in terms of [inaudible 4:20].

Laura: That’s really helpful.

John: Yes, absolutely.

Laura: And you mentioned social PPC, that you were really involved in that.

John: Yes.

Laura: What are your thoughts on it? Is it something that people should pursue in their accounts and campaigns?

John: Yes, with caution. I absolutely think that social PPC is a very strong platform. Everybody should look into it, learn about it, understand how it functions. We’ve got exciting opportunities. We’ve got Twitter. We’ve got Facebook. We’ve got LinkedIn. Those are really the big three right now in terms of having a solid advertising platform, but the ellipses at the end of my agreement is you can very easily spend a lot of money, get a lot of traffic, but not necessarily traffic you want if you’re not careful. So you have to tread carefully. It’s very much like display advertising, insomuch as it’s very much focused on audience targeting, knowing who your audience is and make sure that you target them specifically, interests in Facebook. Even in Twitter, if you’re doing promoted tweets for search, you can put in interest keywords, things like that, and really hone in on who your customers are. Again, I’m sure Hanapin is like Clix. You’ve got specific goals you’re trying to achieve, particularly with conversions. So in social media PPC, you have to be very, very careful and approach it with caution and be diligent in managing it so that you make sure you hit your goals.

Laura: Stepping back a little bit, just PPC accounts in general, what do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when managing those accounts?

John: That’s an excellent question. I spent a lot of time thinking about this question and how to answer it, and I hope I don’t come off as a flake in my answer. I’m going to answer the question from a fairly high level. To me, a successful PPC manager, you have to be flexible, and I know it’s a super simple answer, but it’s very loaded. There’s a lot behind it. The industry is constantly changing. AdWords, adCenter are constantly adding features, removing features, changing the rules of the game sometimes, and you have to be flexible to that. In addition, your accounts themselves are going to change. Search patterns change. Search traffic changes. You have to be able to respond to those changes and come out the end still smelling like roses. So again, be flexible. Again, if I were to go and try to hire a PPC account manager today, I would have to ask the right questions and understand if that person is somebody who can be flexible, or if they’re just going to be another ostrich with their heads in the sand.

Laura: Well, that’s a really great answer. Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with us today. We have enjoyed it and definitely looking forward to hearing you speak further at Hero Conf.

John: I’m excited to do so and meet a lot peers in the industry that I’ve yet to meet. So I can’t wait to see everybody in April.

Laura: Hero Conf will be on April 16th and 17th, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. We’re looking forward to hearing John and a bunch of other great speakers there. If you’d like more information or to register, you can visit our website at www.HeroConf.com. Thank you, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.

John Lee is the Client Services Director for Clix Marketing, an SEM agency specializing in PPC. John is an internet marketing jack-of-all-trades with experience in PPC, SEO, and social media marketing. Working in the search marketing industry since 2006, John has perfected his paid search, social media advertising and analytics skills for his role at Clix Marketing. John is also an avid blogger, and has been featured on the Clix Marketing blog, Search Engine Watch, Wordstream Blog, PPC Hero, SEO Boy and Website Magazine. Before Clix, John was the PPC Manager for Wordstream, a Search Marketing Consultant for Hanapin Marketing and Promotions Project Manager for AuthorHouse. Follow on Twitter @John_A_Lee

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