I recently partnered up with Elliott Reid from our sales team to do a webinar for agencies on what you need to know to win more PPC business. Elliott is our resident agency expert – he has over three years’ experience helping agencies acquire new clients and has spent two years coaching and managing a team of eight to help agencies manage PPC accounts, working with digital agencies of all sizes.
If you run or work at an agency that has recently started offering PPC services, or you’re looking to expand your client base in this area, this article is for you – I’ll share some of our best strategies for winning new PPC business.
Starting the Sales Conversation: Finding opportunities
Unless you have a dedicated sales team or you are a sales person at heart and just love to prospect for lead, I’d imagine that just making first contact with a prospect is a big hurdle for most. If you do have a sales team, or the time, I recommend a strong follow-up process to all inbound leads.
If you don’t – it’s all about taking advantage of opportunities you might not realize are opportunities:
Go after low-hanging fruit
This includes current clients who are not using PPC. If you already know their business model and budget you should have a strong sense of whether PPC will be a good fit for them and what PPC strategies will apply.
Talk the talk
Fold PPC into ALL of your new business opportunities and marketing material. Don’t talk about marketing channels like organic search or email marketing without considering how paid search marketing complements these channels.
By partnering with complementary companies and services you can start to build a referral base. (Word of mouth FTW.)
Attend tradeshows and local business events
Here in Boston, we make a point of getting to big shows like INBOUND, Agency Day at Wistia and Google’s small business events.
Sometimes you have to make the first connection. This can be really effective if you’ve done your research.
Now that you’ve identified some opportunities, let’s talk about how and when you should contact them.
Frequency of Contact: If at first you don’t succeed …
The Importance of the First Attempt
The first attempt is your reps’ best shotto reach a prospect because connect rates drop 33% after the first attempt. Make sure your reps get the most from these calls by having their pitch prepared and the right time blocked off. Coach them to continue following up on accounts when they have contact information for the decision-maker, and to break off after 6+ touches on weaker accounts. When they have time (or when lead flow is low), they can always return to these weaker accounts where some potential exists.
Try, Try Again
Many reps assume that if they haven’t connected with a prospect by the fourth or fifth attempt, they never will. But our data told a different story: Even after 10 attempts, our reps were able to connect with their prospects almost 5% of the time. Connect rate declines quickly at first, but levels off around the sixth dial – this means that there are a lot of conversations buried in seemingly unreachable prospects.
The Takeaway: Develop a Plan That Optimizes Your Reps’ Time
The number of times you should have your reps call each prospect depends on your lead flow. If your reps are drowning in leads, it makes more sense for them to focus on making first attempts, where there is a significantly higher connect rate. Conversely, when lead flow is dry, don’t hesitate to have them dig into some older leads that they haven’t connected with yet. It may take them 20 calls to reach a single prospect, but that’s one more conversation they’d have than if they’d given up.
When you do connect with your prospects, remember that the focus of your conversation isn’t paid search – it’s their business and how they can grow it. PPC is just a means to an end they care about.
Why PPC? Responding to Common Objections
“My SEO is good enough!”
It’s crazy to depend entirely on organic search as a lead source. Organic results are unreliable and have shrinking real estate on the SERP, especially on mobile.
Further, we’ve found that the most high-intent searchers (people who are really ready to buy) are more likely to click paid results than organic results, even if they’ve found your site organically while they were in the research phase. Plus, tons of studies show that doing PPC adds incremental traffic on top of your SEO:
So “I’m already doing SEO” is not a good argument against PPC.
“It’s too expensive.”
Putting aside the fact that SEO isn’t free (it requires both technical and creative resources), PPC is only “expensive” if you ignore what you’re getting back from it. There are tons of levers to pull in PPC to control spend, so that you only pay for the clicks most likely to convert, which is the key to getting strong return on your investment.
“The clicks don’t convert!”
If your prospect says PPC hasn’t converted for them in the past, one of a few things could be going on:
- They’re not tracking conversions properly – if it’s a business that gets a lot of calls, make sure they’re using call tracking so that calls are properly attributed back to the ads that drove them.
- Their offer just isn’t compelling – if that’s the case no channel is going to deliver conversions.
- Landing page problems – maybe ads link back to the home page, so leads get lost, or the landing page isn’t focused. This can be solved with either landing page optimization OR call-only campaigns that bypass the leaky landing page altogether.
- They’re not remarketing – The first time isn’t always a charm! More often than not, you have to take your date out to dinner a few times before you sleep with them—and sales courtship isn’t too different! If a visitor doesn’t convert right off the bat, all hope is not lost. Remarketing is a great CRO tool because it allows you to continue to engage with and nurture people who have already expressed interest in your website. For example, last summer I tried Jeni’s gourmet ice cream for the first time at a friend’s house. It’s absolutely divine but, at $ 12 a pint, I had no intentions of stocking my freezer with it. However, I will admit, I checked up on their site pretty regularly to peruse the latest flavors. Next thing I know, I’m getting slammed with remarketing ads! I managed to stay strong after seeing a few, but caved pretty quickly.
I’m now $ 56 poorer and 10 pounds heavier and I have remarketing to thank.
All these things are fixable and getting it right can turn PPC into a lead generation machine!
One last note …
We’ve been focusing on how to win new PPC business, but as a final caveat, I want to stress that it’s also important to know when to say no to a new client. We covered this in the webinar, but I wrote a whole post about it a couple of years ago, and all my advice still applies, so be sure to check out my top ten red flags that you’re dealing with a client who is going to be a nightmare or is going to churn. Just say no, it’s not worth your time!
You can watch a complete recording of the webinar below:
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