In the past, I’ve written about what makes a good PPC specialist and what makes a good agency; but today, I want to talk about what makes a good PPC client. Obviously, in the long run, the client is always right, even when they are wrong.Having worked in agencies for my entire career, I’ve definitely seen some great clients, and I’ve also seen some that would have been better off throwing their money into a shredder. Below are some tips for getting the most out of your client-agency relationship.
Know How to Listen
The first thing that makes a great PPC client is knowing how to listen. You hire a PPC agency for their expertise in the field and for the manpower to make sure your campaigns are run correctly. If a client doesn’t listen to the advice a PPC agency gives, or worse, won’t let the agency do what needs to be done to make the campaign successful, that client would be better off not hiring an agency. They would just be wasting money and everyone’s time.
Maintain the Right Tools
A good PPC client also cooperates with the agency to maintain the tools necessary for running a good campaign. At my agency, we are platform agnostic when it comes to analytics and bid management software; however, we are adamant that a client have them. We just don’t care which package they use.
The client needs to install these tools on their site in a timely manner for us to do our job. Some client IT teams are too swamped to handle our requests for implementation or won’t work with us to get the tools installed correctly. This delays the success of the campaign. Most of the time, the clients that fail to install the tools correctly are the same clients that want fast results and are quick to blame the agency when such results aren't forthcoming. However, the agency can’t provide results without the tools it needs.
Have Realistic Expectations
This brings me to my next point. Clients need to have realistic expectations. One of the first questions I get in any engagement is: How much do you think you can get me? Well, the answer to that question is never simple. I know I can bring you value. I know I can improve your marketing. But by how much? That depends on your site, your product, the market, seasonality, and a ton or other variables.
Clients who come in with unrealistic expectations and won’t listen when the agency tells them their expectations are unrealistic are in for a rough ride and most likely, a string of agency hirings and firings. I am always wary of the client who has gone through several agencies in the past year. These clients tend to have unrealistic expectations, won’t listen, or won’t cooperate.
Allow Enough Time for Success
A good client allows its agency enough time to succeed. Many clients erroneously assume that their PPC campaign will start performing optimally right away. While there is almost always some immediate improvement, the real results come down the road after the agency has had time to analyze historic information, test out keyword and landing page strategies, and find the creative that works. It’s not an overnight process.
I once had a client fire me less than one week into the campaign. He said I wasn’t being aggressive enough. Of course I wasn’t. In the first week, being aggressive can be like throwing money away. Until you know the landscape, you don’t put your foot on the gas. I subsequently heard that client went through three more agencies with no engagement lasting more than two weeks. He then hired a poor in-house PPC person who lasted two months before quitting. I just checked, and it looks like that client has given up on his site or gone bankrupt. I wonder how much money he lost along the way because he wouldn’t listen to his agencies.
But the worst thing a client can do is meddle. When I say meddle, I mean clients who log in to their accounts and make changes themselves without contacting the agency. At my agency, any client who does this is likely to be fired (yes, we sometimes fire clients). We can’t be responsible for the results without controlling the process.
If you need something changed, which happens, contact your agency and tell them why you want it changed. There are times when we are testing keyword placements or other variables that may not make sense to the client without understanding the test. By changing things, you ruin the test and sometimes weeks worth of work. So don’t meddle.
In closing, I have to stress that most clients are great, but some need coaching. Your agency is your partner, and you should treat them with the respect they deserve.