Most PPC managers have to report to someone. This could be clients, a direct supervisor, or upper management of their company.
For many PPC professionals, these reports/updates take place over the phone. So how can you get the most out of client and/or upper management meetings – whether they are over the phone or in person?
I’ve been managing PPC campaigns for about six years. During this time I’ve hosted more client calls than I can count. Many of these have been great, productive calls. Unfortunately, some of them I wouldn’t consider to be so stellar.
Productive Client Calls: What Works
You can define a “successful” PPC call/meeting as the following:
- Productive: Meetings and meeting preparation take time. You have to make sure that everyone’s time is spent wisely and that every meeting is productive. Focus on performance trends, any issues or concerns, and upcoming strategies. When everyone walks away from the meeting they should feel like it was time well spent.
- Positive: Meetings should be a positive event for everyone. If anyone walks away discouraged or disappointed, then the meeting has failed. Good meetings are where issues are discussed and a plan-of-action is determined. When everyone walks away from the meeting they should feel as if they have been given direction and they are ready to get started.
The people in your meeting are extremely busy. Your meeting, while important, may be one in a long line of meetings they have on a given day.
Here are 12 tactics to ensure that you have a successful PPC call/meeting:
1. Invite the Right People
Don’t waste anyone’s time by inviting them to a meeting that isn’t necessary for them to attend. Make sure you invite decision makers and the individuals who absolutely need to know what is happen with your SEM efforts.
2. Start on Time, End on Time
This should go without saying. If you’re running the meeting, then take responsibility and make sure it runs on schedule.
3. Determine Your Objectives
Do you even need to have a meeting? If you aren’t sure why the meeting is even happening, then you may not need to have it. However, if all signs point to yes – then you need to have objectives for the meeting. Don’t just focus on topics: what should everyone get out of the meeting?
4. Pull all Statistics in Advance
Preparation is key for any successful meeting. Don’t show up without spending ample time reviewing your recent performance.
Try to anticipate the questions/concerns that may arise during the meeting. However, you can’t predict every question that will be asked, so don’t be afraid of saying, “I don’t know,” – followed up with, “But I’ll find out and follow up.”
5. Provide Statistics and Analysis
Pulling stats is important but equally (or even more important) is analyzing the data and providing insight. Your client/boss doesn’t just want stats – they want to know what they mean for the business.
6. Create an Agenda
Always know what you’ll discuss in the meeting ahead of time. This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your objectives.
Create an agenda before the meeting and at least an hour before the meeting starts, send an email to everyone who is attending. This way all of the attendees know what will be discussed.
7. Prioritize Topics
Don’t spend the first half of the meeting going over less-important topics. Make sure that the most important topics are at the top of your agenda. This way, if you run out of time (by making sure the meeting ends on time) - these secondary topics may be discussed during the next meeting or even over email.
8. Communicate Clearly
This is the most deceptively difficult tactic on the list. It takes practice to communicate clearly. One way to enhance your clarity is to review your agenda a few times before the meeting.
9. Ask for Feedback
Before closing out any topic on the agenda, ask again if anyone has any questions, comments, or concerns before moving on. Someone may have been thinking of something but not spoken up yet. This will help close each topic as you move through the agenda.
10. Review Takeaway Tasks
At the end of each meeting always review the takeaway tasks. Review what you will accomplish as a result of this meeting – and also what others need to complete as well. If you really want to be a superstar, send out the task list for everyone when you finish the meeting.
11. Keep it Short
I think I’m allergic to long meetings. They make me drowsy, distracted and irritable.
Meetings kept under 30 minutes tend to be the most productive. Once you hit that 40 minute mark, everyone starts to lose steam – though there are exceptions to this rule.
Sometimes meetings just have to run long. If there is a topic that needs to be discussed and it’s taking longer than expected, don’t cut it off just to keep the meeting short. However, do your best to keep things moving and end on time.
12. Utilize Repetition
Once you’ve determined a meeting format that works for you and your client/supervisor, stick to it. Get in a groove. Just like any repetitive task, the more you do it the better you’ll get and everyone will know what to expect.
For PPC managers, hosting awesome meetings/calls is mission critical. This is your chance to control the conversation and make sure that the powers-that-be understand what is happening with your PPC campaign.
Communicating the successes and challenges of your SEM efforts is just as important as any ad writing, keyword research, or quality score optimization strategy. By implementing these tactics, you’ll be well on your way to hosting productive, positive meetings!