PPC Chat Streamcap – Selling Pay Per Click Services

Hello again PPCChatters!

#PPCchat @ SMX Advanced
Before we get into the streamcap I just wanted to let everyone know that we are having a #ppcchat Meet-up at the upcoming SMX Advanced in Seattle. The meet-up will take place at Pike Place Brewery at 8 pm on Monday, June 6th. So if you are, or are going to be in Seattle, Join Us! Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Realicity if you have any questions.

This week, our host Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro), lined up another great topic that focused on “Selling Pay Per Click Services”. The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat.

Q1: What is your number one value proposition when selling PPC to potential clients?

  • Quantifiable results and hitting users that have a strong intent in using your services/purchasing your products. – Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
  • Probably measurable ROI, as many other advertising venues dont really have an accurate ROI – John Lavin (@Johnnyjetfan)
  • Build upon business goals by tapping an existing demand. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos) +
  • I strongly emphasize that people are searching for you and you can hit them when they are most interested. At least for the Search Network portion. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • In-house built reporting platform, conversion driven strategy. – Matthew McGee (@Matthew_McGee)
  • Build upon business goals by tapping an existing demand. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Increased profitability by measuring goals & ROI PLUS business insight you can’t afford to ignore. – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
  • Platform flexibility and features, traffic volume compared to bids, etc. – Cleofe Betancourt (@askppc)
  • ROI cannot be undervalued, know precisely how much revenue was generated compared to spend. – Chris Kostecki
  • ROI through full control over entire process from targeting, pre-click ads, and post click conversion rate optimization. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • ROI, full control, get your message in front of customers who are already looking for the service/product you provide. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Nothing better than telling a client that a click costing $1.43 turned into $500 of revenue. – Matt Umbro +
    • or a $5 click into a $40k contract! – Aaron Levy
  • Guess only paying when someone clicks on your ad could be a selling point too – not 1st though. – Andy Groller +
  • PPC = Increased profitability by measuring goals & ROI PLUS business insight you cant afford to ignore. – Josh Bachynski (@joshbachynski)

Q1 Summary: ROI & Control. Potential clients are always looking for a marketing solution that has a high chance of success. If done right (see: #ppcchat), pay per click campaigns will provide the targeting and cost control to generate an ROI that will satisfy most CMOs.

Q2: What resources do you use to not only sell PPC, but make yourself or your company stand out from the competition?

  • Case studies. The people @dragonsearch too. Put a face to a name & create a personal relationship. – Andy Groller ++
    • Andy definitely agree! Putting a face to a name really helps. – (@7Search)
  • They get me as their PPC manager. KIDDING! Integration between all channels is a differentiator. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Experience, software, collective intelligence and best practices, have gotten beyond DIY PPC in most marketsj. – Chris Kostecki
  • I think Case Studies and Testimonials proving your work are really important. – Hannah Yarrow (@PYC_Hannah)
  • Case studies, being an AdWords Certified Partner, but I always point potential clients to my blog to show thought leadership. Not to say my blog entries are the be all end all, but I try and show clients I keep up with the industry. – Matt Umbro
  • Blogs, Certifications, Client Experience. – Amy Hoffman (@Hoffman8) ++
  • All business goals must be SMART: Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Real-time, targeted – PPC = perfect marketing. – Josh Bachynski
  • Our people and our work! Blog, Twitter presence, Case Studies & referrals. – Aaron Levy
  • Specific language and cultural niche. – (@notjustSEO)
  • Experience, certifications, and case studies to back up all the claims. – Matthew McGee
  • I think that’s really important, otherwise, why don’t they just do it themselves? – Hannah Yarrow
    • Clients often do try to do it themselves, how can we show them they did a bad job? – Josh Bachynski
  • I am more inclined to trust “organic” resources (blogs, experience) than canned (case studies, testimonials). – Chris Kostecki
  • Previous achievements, testimonials, expertise… the fact that you live PPC every day. – Andrew Baker
  • I’m happy that we can be certified to stand out from the competition, but very rarely does it come into play. – Matt Umbro
  • F/U never had a client ask beyond “are you certified.” – Chris Kostecki
  • I do make an effort to tell potential clients that our company is an AdWords Certified Partner, even if they dont know what that is. – Matt Umbro +
  • Used to be an authorized reseller, that had weight, but was then gamed and shuttered. – Chris Kostecki
  • I like to explain my certification as, “Yeah, me & Google are like bff’s. Hang out on the weekends, & they gave me this cool cert.” – Matthew McGee +
  • Show them their projected waste on equivalent or better key phrases? Then they use the same tool and still do it badly. – Josh Bachynski
    • I offer a Free PPC Review to show them where they’re wasting loads of money and where improvements can be made. – Hannah Yarrow
  • It’s too easy to cheat on the Certification tests – don’t know that it means anything unless the other (moral) chips fall in place. – Aaron Levy
    • Good point, however, titles and certifications are huge to potential clients, even if we don’t think so. – Matt Umbro
    • True but I think certifications are expected or the client is leery. (I would be). – Amy Hoffman
  • If we can look at their account in advance we can set expectations for how we can better the account (save money, gain leads) – Amy Hoffman ++
    • Great point – I like to do “free audits” of accounts – show them potential optimization areas. – Matthew McGee
  • I never ever mentioned Certification to clients I believe. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)

Q2 Summary: AdWords certification, case studies, testimonials and blog posts are all good ways to stand out from the PPC crowd.

~ Achievements and Certifications from 3rd parties like the Google AdWords Certification and Microsoft adExcellence Accreditation are valuable because they show a measurable level of expertise and are provided from an independent and neutral source.

~ Testimonials and Reviews obtained from past clients are good for showing that you have an established client base that was happy with your work. Potential clients will take this to mean that they are not the first client to try your services, which will make you less of a risk to go with.

~ Case Studies are a step beyond testimonials and reviews. They show that you have not only worked within certain PPC industries and verticals, but also have provided a measurable level of success.

~ Blog Posts are a great medium for showing clients you are knowledgeable in specific areas related to PPC. For instance, instead of describing to each and every potential client your understanding and practical implementations for keyword match types to control targeting, simply point them to a post you have written on the topic. (note to self: write an updated post on keyword matching for 2011)

Follow up question: Have any of your potential clients asked about your AdWords certifications

  • Rarely. – Andy Groller +
  • Not really actually. – Matthew McGee
  • Unfortunately no. – John Lavin.
  • Nope. – Melissa Mackey
  • Follow-up Summary: Quite often potential clients will not ask about AdWords certifications because they are unaware that they exist. Being certified will give you a competative advantage when pitching your PPC services against another individuals or agencies that are not.

Q3: How much effort will you spend trying to win business (or what deliverables will you provide) before you ask for a decision?

  • No deliverables. I will review obviously places for improvement but they don’t get free work. – Pamela Lund (@Pamela_Lund) +++
  • I think the audits are great…i want them to sign on before we start discussing their nut and bolt specifics. – Chris Kostecki
  • Review, analysis, audit… Top level stuff only. No Free Deep Insights. – James Svoboda +
  • We’ll give a quick review of where things can improve, but the review only takes a few minutes. – John Lavin
  • Free audit of the account – but no deliverables. Of course, that’s assuming they have a current Adwors acct. – Matthew McGee
  • I do about 1-2 hours of research and make a report, on paper, that I bring and take with me. The 1-2 hours gets rolled in. – Josh Bachynski
  • I’ve set up everything from online presentations, budget proposals, offered car washes…the whole shebang. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • Depends on size of acct, but enough to give them a glimpse of experience, reporting, service level, mgmt intensity. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Pretty flexible depending on the value of engagement. – Amy Hoffman +
  • Sometimes if they are a bad prospect I’ll give them the keys to the kingdom. – Chris Kostecki
  • It varies, but in general if I’m spending more than 2 – 4 hours you need to make a decision. – Matt Umbro
  • I put a few hours work in to give the client a high level health report of their account & what can be achieved. – Andrew Baker
  • Usually start with a 1-2 hr review, so that we can give an accurate assessment – setting client expectation is key. – Amy Hoffman
  • Quote_time x chance of sale x total profit = worth of risk – standard business algorithm. That beign said, 3-4 hours seems kinda high unless it is good chance of getting it, or really good money, compared to other projects. – Josh Bachynski
  • We usually have a look at existing campaigns and give some recommendations. In THEORY this could be used instead of hiring us. – Martin Rottgerding
    • I sometimes worry about the same thing, haha. – Matthew McGee
      • I don’t really worry: fixing some stuff only takes you so far. – Martin Rottgerding
    • Ttrue, but many times those suggestions carry the weight that can earn you business. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • Bottom line is you can’t be doing too much free analysis. – Matt Umbro
    • Exactly. Otherwise clients expect more free stuff later. – Melissa Mackey
  • I would say 1-3 hours is a fair investment of your time to pitch for new business, so long as you have a decent conversion rate. – Andrew Baker
  • Directly proportionate to [Value of client] * [Client’s urgency]. – Mike Shollenberger (@webjock)

Q3 Summary: 1-4 hours of initial analysis & reviews seems to be an acceptable amount of time to put into potential clients. This range will typically vary based on the potential campaign for the specific client.

Q4: How do you deal with potential clients who ask for guarantees or have unreal expectations?

  • Hang up the phone. – John Lavin +
  • Never, never set expectations before looking at an account. You’d be shooting yourself in the foot, be the goal to high or too low. – Amy Hoffman
  • It’d be like a weatherman guaranteeing it’s going to rain or snow. – Aaron Levy
  • I don’t “hire them” as a client if we can’t agree on reasonable goals (in writing). – Pamela Lund +
  • Analogies – put things in terms that they understand. – Matthew McGee
  • With the truth. Yes, I can achieve x number of conversions if you dump x $’s into it. You can’t get something from nothing. – Josh Bachynski
  • Brutal honesty. Works best and lets me sleep at night. – Martin Rottgerding
  • Educate the client, and if they continue to be unreasonable then walk away…sometimes its best. – Cleofe Betancourt +
  • If potential client has unusually high or unrealistic expectations, then so do I… more ad groups, more landing pages, more testing… – James Svoboda +
  • Goals = good; Guarantees = bad. – Melissa Mackey ++
  • Too many factors to guarantee performance, usually…if expectations are unreal, prospect will be a bad client. – Chris Kostecki
  • There are no guarantees, expectations are discussed and understood, if the client is happy we proceed, simple. – Andrew Baker
  • Agree with everything being said, I’m not going to bring on a client like this that could potentially take me away from others. – Matt Umbro
  • I can’t emphasize how important it is to set a realistic goal. Over-deliver, don’t over-promise. – Amy Hoffman ++++
  • In an agency, need to be flexible to manage many clients, if 1 is a brat it can hurt the rest. – Chris Kostecki
  • Additionally, you don’t need the added stress. – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve often told potential clients that AdWords might not be a good fit for them. The greatest campaign won’t help the worst website. – Martin Rottgerding ++++
    • Yes, adwords doesn’t help conversions if their website sucks w/ no call to action. – Josh Bachynski
  • Sooo many IT prof’s don’t understand the importance of client expectation management – most important IT skill!!! – Josh Bachynski
  • The only cure for unrealistic expectations is pain. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • The only counter argument I would present is sometimes we don’t have the convenience of being able to pick and choose our clients. – Matt Umbro
    • Bringing on a bad client will cost more than not taking them on. – Chris Kostecki +++

Q4 Summary: I believe that Melissa Mackey (@Mel66) said it best, Goals = good; Guarantees = bad. It has been my experience that potential clients who are looking to only hire search marketing professionals that will offer them with a guarantee, are the clients that have higher expectations than is reasonable for their budget.

Q5: Do you specifically sell AdWords to potential clients or do you vary by situation (ex: small budgets should just use adCenter)?

  • Help them look at the bit picture, set up a strategy. Let ’em know we WANT them to succeed but we need to go about it the smart way. – Amy Hoffman
  • AdWords is the 800 lb gorilla so hard to avoid. Strategy within AdWords is the main point. Beyond that (i.e. adcenter) varies. – Andy Groller
  • Adwords, simply based on market share. AdCenter is ancillary. – Matthew McGee +++
  • I focus on AdWords as standard, it’s where the eye balls are (at the mo). – Andrew Baker
  • Varies by situation and budget. AdWords is not a good medium for a new or emerging product without an existing search base. – James Svoboda
  • For the most part AdWords is the number one seller. Will mention adCenter for lower budgets, but need AdWords to succeed. – Matt Umbro
  • With the volume on Google, thats usually the 1st choice, get momentum on a narrow build then expand. – Chris Kostecki
  • Depends on their market share, but mostly adwords, no? – Josh Bachynski
    • Sell your story, create supporting docs to translate why you do what you do. – Chris Kostecki
      • I suppose I could get better market share – most of my clients are IT companies who watch my PPC and copy. – Josh Bachynski
  • We usually start with Adwords and then expand into Adcenter – Adwords tends to be more predictable traffic-wise. – Amy Hoffman
  • Dont see adcenter as a value minded option, more to grow into additional markets when google is saturated. – Chris Kostecki
  • Lately I want to not even let clients know about AdCenter just so I can avoid using it!!! – Matthew McGee ++++
  • ADWORDS ALL DAY LONG! – John Lavin
  • Depends on budget and industry/offer for FB & LinkedIn PPC. – Andy Groller
  • I’d rather pitch small clients on AdWords 1st, even if it means limits (only use exact match, etc.) need to be applied. – Mike Shollenberger
  • The truth is that many clients only ask about AdWords. – Matt Umbro +
  • Adwords is the big dog, but exploring other networks can pay off big time. Depends on the client’s needs. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • I think AdWords is for everyone. At least here in Germany (Google market share > 90%). Over here in Germany, I’d only recommend AdCenter/YSM to the ones that want to squeeze out the last bit of traffic. – Martin Rottgerding
  • Social media advertising isn’t right for everyone but I haven’t had a client yet that couldn’t do SOMETHING through Adwords. – Amy Hoffman
  • Would rather focus on high qualified brand/exact matching on adwords for savings than going to smaller markets. – Chris Kostecki

Q5 Summary: Because Google AdWords has the largest traffic reach, it is usually the first, and sometimes only, PPC ad platform used. The only times that this might not a good start for a campaign would be for a new or emerging markets without an established search base. For these niches, if might be best to consider Facebook or LinkedIn ads.

Follow up question: Now that Facebook and LinkedIn are recognizable PPC platforms with lower CPCs (sometimes) how do they figure in to your pitch?

  • Exactly, sometimes FB, or Linkedin, or other online marketing makes more sense in the spending spread. – Josh Bachynski
  • Social Media ppc is more based on what type of client. e.g. known brand, what kind of service/product, B2C?, etc. – Matthew McGee
    • True, but are still other, sometimes more cost-effective options. – Matt Umbro
  • Facebook & LinkedIn come later after traffic/CPL are stable so that they won’t skew overall performance. – Amy Hoffman +
  • Do any of u ppc experts have data or anecdotes on efficacy of Facebook or Linkedin vs. Adwords? – Mongoose Metrics (@mongoosemetrics)
    • Generally AdWords is best for lead generation/revenue while FB & LinkedIn are great for brand awareness. – Matt Umbro
    • FB & LinkedIn also good when targeting hyper-specific demos (i.e. triathletes). – Andy Groller
    • I would actually say LinkedIn vs. Facebook, and keep AdWords separate. LinkedIn has worked great for B2B. – notjustSEO
  • Once success is proven, trust is built we often discuss other platforms like Facebook (if they are appropriate). – Andrew Baker ++
  • FB & LinkedIn often are more of support for social media programs, rather than standalone PPC. – Melissa Mackey +

Follow-up Summary: Facebook and LinkedIn typically figure into the PPC mix when/if there is the available budget to support these platforms and/or if demographic targeting for these is deemed a better fit for the campaign than keyword targeting.

Q6: What are the challenges you face when you are doing the PPC work and acting as the sales person at the same time?

  • Time! No brainer. – Andy Groller ++++
    • Thankfully we have a sales team so I don’t have to do the selling. – Melissa Mackey
      • One of the fundamental issues between freelance and working for an agency (sometimes). – Matt Umbro
  • Oh, brother, you have no idea! For starters, how much time do you dedicate to the customer versus passing them on to support. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • I’m currently training technically savvy young staff to do the PPC so I can just supervise and sell. – notjustSEO
  • Absolute faith in what you do can blind you to how your potential client sees & understands PPC. – James Svoboda +
  • I would say quality of work. The less time you have the more your work will suffer which ultimately affects the client. – Matt Umbro
  • I get the greatest satisfaction being knee deep in the accounts, not so much running around. – Andrew Baker ++
  • Always the risk you’ll put in too much unplanned non-billable time communicating with the client. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Definitely Time. Dont want to set expectations, when you got your ass handed to you for something you couldn’t control. – Chris Kostecki
  • I don’t have to do the fishing, I just help reel in the catch with account audits, etc. – Amy Hoffman +
  • I’ve seen others fail because they wore too many hats. You can sell and run PPC campaigns, but have to be smart about it. – Matt Umbro +
  • Managing a sales pipeline takes time and work, just like and ad campaign, can’t excel at both. – Chris Kostecki ++
  • Whenever I’m asked to help pitch/sell I always think about the time I could spend on retention, referrals. It’s hard to balance. – Lisa Sanner ++
  • I think it also depends on your business model and if you constantly want or need to be chasing new work. – Hannah Yarrow
  • Salespeople are not PPCers by nature, and conversely PPCers are often not good sales people. – John Lavin +

Q6 Summary: Time. Doing sales and the PPC work is the equivalent to wearing many hats while running a small business. You run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and not really being great in any one area.

Q7: Google puts a big emphasis on using AdWords vouchers to win business. How much do you utilize them in the selling process?

  • $100 doesn’t make a difference to a client w/ $5K budget really. Offer $500 and maybe it will work Google. – Andy Groller ++
  • Just like certifications I mention the vouchers, but usually don’t mean too much, especially for clients spending $1,000s. The $100 vouchers are great for small budget campaigns (usually freelance projects). – Matt Umbro
  • $100 off PPC doesn’t really affect most clients. I think Adwords pushes those vouchers to bring in individuals on their own. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • I dont want a green client, usually someone established and used to google randomly hitting their credit card. – Chris Kostecki +
  • They’re a nice little bonus, but they don’t necessarily factor into the sale process. – Aaron Levy
  • With Google’s new push of vouchers the only people I’ve seen get excited about them are people who want to try it out on their own. – Neil Sorenson
  • I don’t usually mention them. $100 won’t sway a client. – Amy Hoffman
  • Not in the sales process. I use them as a feel-good, get off to a good start, after the IO is signed. – Lisa Sanner +++
  • Vouchers are usually only of interest to small businesses. Small budgets are tough to land at competitive agency rates. – James Svoboda
  • We don’t advertise it, but if a client has the use for one, we give them out. It’s nice to save a few bucks, but that’s about it. – Martin Rottgerding
  • I throw it in the mix but I’d be concerned if a client focused on a £75 voucher to choose me TBH most clients have them any way. – Andrew Baker
  • I use vouchers on smaller clients to show (for free) that PPC and me (of course) have good ROI w/o costing them anything. – Josh Bachynski
  • I like to use the vouchers once they’re signed. It’s usually a nice surprise, even though $100 isn’t much in terms of Adwords spend. – Amy Hoffman
    • It sounds like most everyone here doesn’t want to be bothered with the little guys…$100 coupon is a +. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • It’s funny how Google promotes certifications and vouchers to gain new business, but clients rarely care about these features. – Matt Umbro +
  • $100 is small in an average AdWords budget, but usually higher percentage of spend for other platforms. – James Svoboda
  • Those vouchers are worthless. No good for established accounts. – Melissa Mackey
    • Wish it were otherwise! – James Svoboda ++
    • I’ve asked my reps why these vouchers aren’t good for existing accounts…seems would be a better gesture. – Matt Umbro
    • Vouchers SHOULD be good on existing accounts, for sure. – Melissa Mackey
  • $100 gets your broad match terms a lot of impressions on their display network. – Chris Kostecki
  • I think coupons are great for the kind/size of companys that trys out AdWords on their own. – Martin Rottgerding
    • Precisely – vouchers = a good test case which costs nothing. – Josh Bachynski
  • I have received vouchers I could use on existing accounts but each account can only use one -ever- but Idk if that’s all vouchers. – Amy Hoffman

Q7 Summary: Most AdWords professional look at these as kind of gimmicky and have little appeal. Small businesses are likely to be more interested in these, but enterprise level accounts with 10K+ monthly budgets would probably not be.

PPC Tip of the Week

This week’s Clever and Insightful tip came to us from Matthew McGee (@Matthew_McGee), PPC manager at X Studios in Orlando, Fl.:

I like to explain my certification as, “Yeah, me & Google are like bff’s. Hang out on the weekends, & they gave me this cool cert.

Matthew’s, ummm, not-quite-believable, explanation of his relationship with Google carries a bit of weight. Potential clients will be interested to know that you are certified for Google AdWords and the deeper relationship and involvement that this implies with this PPC ad platform. You can think of it in these terms: Would you be more likely to hire an auto mechanic to work on your Ferrari who has been certified by Ferrari, or a mechanic who works on all cars built in Europe including BMWs, Volvos, VWs, Peugeots…?

Additional Resources – PPC Certifications

  • Google AdWords Certification
  • Microsoft adExcellence Accreditation for adCenter
  • More PPCChats

    Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


    Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

    About the Author

    James Svoboda provides PPC Advertising Consulting at WebRanking.comThis is a guest post by James Svoboda, managing partner at WebRanking in Portland, OR, Sphinn Editor, infrequent search engine marketing blog author, SEM content hound, Tweeter @Realicity, and Co-Founder of the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association.

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    3 Responses to PPC Chat Streamcap – Selling Pay Per Click Services

    1. Thanks for the summary James! Wish I could have made it to the live chat.

    2. Awesome summary, thx guys! Great to still be able to see what was discussed when you can’t make it!!

    3. […] question actually relates well to another topic we did in May, “Selling PPC“. – Matt […]

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