4 Ways to Kill Your PPC Health

Most medical experts agree that patients should take responsibility for their own health. While it’s a doctor’s job to help the patient get well, the patient needs to cooperate. When the doctor and patient don’t work together as a team, the patient’s health can suffer.

An agency/client PPC relationship is a lot like a doctor/patient relationship. Both parties are responsible for the health of the campaign, and they need to work together. Not doing so can lead to less than optimal PPC well-being.

Here are four ways clients and agencies can kill a campaign.

Diagnosing Without an Exam

Consider this scenario: Patient walks into the doctor’s office and says, “Doctor, my chest hurts. I need open heart surgery.” Doctor says “OK, let’s schedule the surgery now.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

You don’t need a medical degree to realize that the doctor in this example isn’t doing his or her job. What if the patient only has indigestion? Or what if they have bronchitis or pneumonia? Is open heart surgery going to fix either of these issues?

Yet in the PPC world, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve met with a client early in an engagement and the client says, “We need to launch a PPC campaign.” And too many PPC agencies say “OK, let’s open an AdWords account.”

The problem with this picture is that you haven’t figured out what marketing problem the client is trying to solve! What are their business goals? What are the pain points in their online marketing? What are the key performance indicators for their yet-to-be-launched PPC campaign? How will those KPIs be measured?

No reputable doctor would prescribe treatment for a patient without a thorough history and exam. Likewise, no reputable PPC company should launch a campaign without first establishing goals, KPIs, and tracking, along with a conversation about how PPC fits into the overall marketing mix.

Seeing Too Many Doctors

Most people would agree that medical specialists serve a necessary purpose. A general practitioner is probably not the best doctor to remove a tricky brain tumor, for example.

However, the doctors need to work together. They all need to understand the patient’s diseases, history, and treatment plans. When a patient runs from one doctor to the next without telling the others, it can have catastrophic results.

The same thing can happen in PPC. If too many people work on the account and don’t talk to one another, usually the campaigns don’t do very well. Or if the client makes changes to the account without telling the agency, performance can suffer.

Clear communication between all responsible parties will go a long way in ensuring that the campaign works as well as it possibly can.

Taking Medicines Because You Always Have

While there is a lot to be said for tried-and-true medications, sometimes they stop working. Either the patient gets better and doesn’t need the medication any more, or their body stops responding to it. Regular checkups are needed to make sure the current medications still make sense.

In PPC, regular meetings between the agency and client will help ensure that the campaign and marketing tactics are still working. For example:

  • Don’t bid on the same keywords for years at a time without reviewing them to make sure they still work and make sense.
  • Don’t settle for the same ad copy month after month without testing something new.
  • Work together as a team to continually question and review the current marketing plan and make sure the prescriptions are still working.

Not Telling the Doctor What Medications & Supplements You’re Taking

This is a common issue in the medical world. Patients either knowingly or unknowingly don’t tell their doctor what medications they’re taking, and this omission can have serious consequences. Medications can work together, or they can work against one another – and some combinations can be deadly!

Similarly, it’s not uncommon for PPC clients to forget to tell their agency about:

  • Sales or promotions taking place in other channels that could affect or benefit from PPC.
  • Products that are no longer available.
  • Website pages that have been changed or removed.
  • Shifts in overall marketing strategy.

Usually, the client isn’t being malicious – they really just forget to tell their PPC agency about these things. Yet these omissions can keep their PPC campaigns from achieving optimal health!

If you’re a client, be a good patient. Provide your agency “doctor” with a complete history and marketing picture. Communicate with them regularly.

If you’re an agency, be a good doctor. Ask questions so you understand the client’s marketing goals and KPIs. Communicate with them regularly.

By working as a team, you can ensure that your PPC campaigns stay healthy!

Editor’s Note:  This post originally appeared on Search Engine Watch on February 14, 2012.

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Comments

  1. I love this post – so much truth in it! However tempting it may be to blame clients if they have been using lots of different people for different things – or if they've forgotten to tell us vital issues – it's still our jobs as account managers to get the information out of them. Tricky sometimes, but always essential!

  2. Absolutely agree, Katie. Just as a doctor needs to ask the right questions of the patient, the communication must flow both ways between agency and client.

  3. Mel,

    This rings true on the Dr patient side as well as the PPC side of things. I especially like the part about making sure you and your client understand what the goals are they are striving to make, and why they think PPC is going to make that happen.

    Too many times neither the client nor the agency/ppc manager understand what the overall & specific goals are and that causes long term problems. One other piece I would like to add is that in life and PPC if you want to have long term good health it means doing the hard things sometimes and not going for the quick fixes. A good Dr will tell their patient that even if they don't want to hear what has to be said and then be willing to work with the patient to make the necessary lifestyle (account and site) changes to make things succeed.

  4. simple love this one. I agree client do out to multiple agencies not only in PPC but almost every outsourced thing. And then they start negotiating that they are getting this and that from so and so agency.

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