PPC Chat Streamcap – Client Interaction

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with a great topic titled “Client Interaction.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Ideally, how often do you communicate with clients, whether by email, phone or in person?

  • Depends on the client. Large budget & lots going on = 3-4x/week; smaller or routine, maybe every other week. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • It differs w/every client but email at least weekly, phone call bi-monthly or monthly, and in person, when necessary. – PurePPC.com (@pureppccom)
  • It varies per client. Some want a lot of meetings, some are hands-off, some are random based on findings/results, etc. However, the communication line is ALWAYS open. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • All of the above? For simple stuff email, complex stuff call, longer term meetings/planning in person. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Ideally, at least once a week, even if just to check in ans review high level data. – Brittany Baeslack (@BaeslaBr)
  • A monthly report/contact is great, but I like to keep in touch as needed throughout the month. Frequency varies. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • At least one meeting a month to go over the report, but I generally have consistent email communication with clients. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Normally once or twice a week on average, I aim for a face to face once a month. -Andrew Baker (@AndrewBaker72)
  • Weekly for phone calls, often daily for email. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • As much as the client would like, we’re flexible. Almost weekly emails. We set that expectation at the beginning of relationship. Few of our clients are actually in the same state, so in person meetings are few & far in between. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • I like monthly meetings on small-mid budgets, so trends can be discussed, larger budgets weekly so everyone stays on pace. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • I try to do so weekly, a quick check in to see how things are, report any big wins, or noticing areas to expand. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • For frequency as Harris said always weekly calls. Would much rather be a voice than a phantom on the other end of a screen. – Aaron Levy
  • I tend to email my agency throughout the week, but mostly with PPCMemes. – Chris Kostecki
  • It seems like clients can get a hold of us when they want…which is the way it should be. – Matt Umbro
    • That’s the key. The monthly meetings will be to discuss results based on initiatives discussed during the month. – Brian Gaspar
  • I find when I have to communicate often, the account gets better work. More the better (though time is not unlimited). – Luke Alley

Q2: Aside from showing great results, what are some things you do to improve client relations and build trust?

  • Proactive transparency. If things are going poor, tell them. If things are going great, tell them. If you’re hungry, tell them. – Aaron Levy
  • Keep them up to date on new trends / features and explain how they can be used for the client’s campaigns or at least tested. – Mark Kennedy
  • Always respond in a timely manner, reach out to them proactively, let them know what new things you’re testing, etc. – PurePPC.com
  • Listen 2x more than you talk. Learn about their business. Learn about them as people. Small talk goes a long way. – Melissa Mackey
  • Explain everything we do even if they don’t get it. Regular opt plans to let them know what we’re working on. – Harris Neifield
  • Its important to reinforce their decision to hire you. Whether its hitting goals and being consistent or nimble and cutting edge. – Chris Kostecki
  • Applying those PPC trends to the client’s industry in a way that they understand. It’s about knowing their business goals. – Brian Gaspar
  • Set realistic targets and expectations right from the off goes a long way to build trust. So important to have fully tested conversion tracking implemented for your agreed goals, accurate ROI reporting = trust. – Andrew Baker
  • Validate their ideas, even if they’re bad. There’s a fine line between being an expert & being a know-it-all. – Melissa Mackey
  • I will research new opportunities that may not be directly PPC related if it makes sense for the client (call tracking). – Matt Umbro
    • It’s also about applying those opportunities cross other clients. – Brian Gaspar
  • Show them new business opps & marketing tactics too (through SQ’s, kw research, ad copy testing, trends). – Aaron Levy
  • Share news and articles that aren’t always related to PPC, but within their industry & marketing. – Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
  • Always responding within 3 business hours of a client’s question. – Jessica Fisher (@jessicamfisher)

Q3: Equally as important, how do you convey poor performance or account setbacks to clients?

  • The truth – Why it happened and how it can be fixed or addressed. – Mark Kennedy
  • By being upfront and completely honest. Also go in with a well thought out plan of how you’re going to fix the issue(s). – PurePPC.com
  • Tell it like it is. No spinning, no hiding, no fudging. Honesty goes a LONG way. – Aaron Levy
  • Exactly how it is. – Francis Shovlin
  • Quickly and with a plan of action to resolve the issue. – Andrew Baker
  • Honestly. Tell them what has happened, but always add your game plan for fixing it. – Luke Alley
  • Also talk about lessons learned from the experience and how to apply moving forward. – Matt Umbro
  • Buck stops here. X, Y and Z went wrong, we are doing A, B & C to fix it, communicate a plan that gets back to success. – Harris Neifield
  • "Poor" performance is always relative to some other expectation. Detail assumptions that lead to this expectation. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Don’t forget a plan to make sure it never happens again, not just a band aid. – Aaron Levy
  • Be honest and completely transparent, explain why something may have happened & what you’re going to do to fix it. – Matt Hopson (@matthopson)
  • And within an agency, the lesson learned can be preventative for other clients in some cases. – Mark Kennedy
  • Always address the issue before your client does! – Jessica Fisher
  • Poor performance happens, mistakes are avoidable, important to distinguish. – Chris Kostecki
  • All this stuff is easy to say but very hard to do when you’ve messed up. – Richard Fergie
    • True, but I’ve always found clients would rather you be honest & explain stuff instead of hiding it. Hiding/ glossing over what’s gone wrong will inevitably come back and bite you in the arse – Matt Hopson
    • Haha. The worst is leaving Disp. Network on or getting geo-settings wrong! Been a while since thats happened luckily. – Luke Alley
  • Proactive is better than reactive. Cant catch em all though. – Francis Shovlin
  • Acknowledge the issue, the reasons for it, and the actions taken to remedy it. Most likely the next meeting will be more positive. – Brian Gaspar
  • Sh&t happens. Trying to hide it won’t work, cause it still stinks. Better to be honest and work on a game plan. – Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
  • Honesty works best in PPC, at work, and in life. – Melissa Mackey
  • In the end acknowledging your errors helps to improve the relationship. – Matt Umbro
  • All this honesty stuff can be difficult: How do you create a culture where it happens naturally? – Richard Fergie
    • If you have a good relationship with the client, then it’s easier to do. – Brian Gaspar
    • If it is your own fault (not just poor performance) acknowledging the mistake & how you will avoid in the future can go far. I think it starts from the top. If a boss acknowledges their mistake, employees will be more likely to do it. – Luke Alley
    • Simple! Don’t hire jerks. – Aaron Levy

Q4: How important is the client’s participation in the PPC campaign? Do you convey expectations to clients?

  • I absolutely convey my expectations – to have a successful campaign PPC managers NEED their clients’ input. – Matt Umbro
  • Can run campaigns w/hands off client, but it works better if client is actively involved & shares ideas & news. – Melissa Mackey
  • The more feedback/involvement the client gives, the better the results. They have more inside info on leads to sales and quality. – Mark Kennedy
  • It’s HUGE! Can’t scale up if we don’t have input from the client on where they want to be optimized. – Brian Gaspar
  • It’s crucial for the client to communicate their business goals & what they expect from their PPC campaign. PurePPC.com
  • It’s not even just about the knowledge they bring, but also being responsive to updates, ideas, etc. – Matt Umbro
  • As a client, I try not to micro manage, I hired them for a reason. I provide direction, goals, and track performance. – Chris Kostecki
  • I handle the PPC (bids, sqs, analyses) + client handles biz (lead quality, ROI, industry news) + we share = win! – Aaron Levy
    • Sharing business goals, product margins, being response to communication, etc. – Matt Umbro
      • Exactly, I need insight into the stuff I CAN’T see. Other than that, I’ll drive. – Aaron Levy

Q5: How active are you with clients about discussing non PPC factors such as conversion rate optimization, SEO, etc?

  • CRO is a vital piece of the PPC puzzle; SEO and other marketing is also important for max success. All work together.  So, they get brought up regularly even if they’re not being actively worked on. – Melissa Mackey
  • Goes back to listening as often as you talk. Using the SPIN (Situation Problem Implication Need) approach to a client to identify solutions to meet their needs. – Brian Gaspar
  • We (@Realicity &@WebRanking) are VERY active with non-PPC factors. Can’t have a band with just a drummer! – Paul Kragthorpe
  • CRO is HUGE – part of the job of a PPC manager should be to provide landing page/CRO recommendations. – Matt Umbro
  • Depends on the client. If they can control other aspects of biz then bring up. Otherwise all need to focus on biz reality. – Chris Kostecki
  • PPC is a data goldmine, can be used as an incubator for site & message testing. plus, can show effectiveness of other channels. – Aaron Levy
  • CRO needs to happen more. Using @unbounce for a handful of clients now. Makes it easier to do CRO. – Luke Alley

Q6: What are some strategies you use to improve communication with unresponsive clients?

  • That’s tough. I keep updating and communicating, even if it is one-way. Just so they are in the loop whether they respond or not. – Mark Kennedy
  • Try all types: email, phone, dropping by in person (if possible); give negative option ("we’ll proceed unless we hear from you"). And as Mark says, keep updating even if you never hear back. – Melissa Mackey
    • 100% agree with you here. It’s documented in the event they never respond and then ask why it was done weeks/months later. – Brian Gaspar
  • If after sending 2 – 3 emails and not hearing a response I will pick up the phone and call directly. – Matt Umbro
  • Email, call, or even visit, maybe try for a far off strategy session, otherwise double the budget. – Chris Kostecki
  • Pick up the phone at diff times of day, week. Send emails of industry or company news. Have sales guys checkin on expectations. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
    • This is a good one, sometimes a new face/voice helps. – Melissa Mackey

Resources

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This Guy Does Streamcaps, and Does Them Well

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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