— July 6, 2018
While we’re always happy to take on new clients, we’ve learned over the years that even the most brilliant PPC campaign can be scuttled when certain conditions aren’t met.
Fortunately, fixing these problems is within reach of most clients with a few resources and the right mindset.
But until then, proceed with caution. As a PPC agency, we don’t want to waste your time or budget. Which is why we sometimes decline to work with clients when these conditions aren’t met.
What are these problem areas you ask? The most common ones are as follows:
1. Your Site is Too Slow
Recently, I was working on a new client proposal and proceeded to check out the client’s website.
I soon found that the client’s pages were taking forever to load. As first, I wondered what was wrong with my internet connection. But I turned to Google’s page speed analyzer and discovered that the problem wasn’t my internet connection at all—it was the website.
Page speed is an important factor in paid search advertising. User experience of landing pages impacts how ads will compete. It also affects ad rank and quality score.
As AdWords explains, “Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.”
Based on my findings, I contacted the prospective client to explain that there was no point in developing an ad campaign for a site that was so slow. I’m still waiting to hear back….
The crazy thing is that improving your website speed isn’t always difficult. Sometimes it just takes a few adjustments, such as compressing images and code, and enabling resource caching.
2. Your Site is Missing Critical Content
One of our clients completed our onboarding questionnaire and identified all kinds of cool product features.
We were so impressed, we built our PPC account strategy around these features. In a crowded marketplace, it was a great way to differentiate the client’s products.
But once we got further along in our planning, we realized that those cool features were nowhere to be found on the client’s website.
Without them, we knew that our ad campaigns would be negatively affected. There would be a major disconnect between the features highlighted in the ads and the website itself.
Fortunately, this client quickly understood the problem and proceeded to get missing content on their site.
3. Your Site is a Mess
In another case, we had a client who’s site was extremely disorganized. It was very difficult to navigate and find relevant information. It was in desperate need of a redesign! We didn’t want to send people from our ads to this site—where they’d inevitably get lost or frightened off.
Unfortunately, this client wasn’t prepared to do a major redesign, so we settled on creating separate landing pages for the campaign.
This wasn’t a bad temporary solution, but it wasn’t ideal either.
The well-designed landing pages and the poorly designed website looked completely different. If we were lucky, people clicking on the ads would never find their way to the website. But there was no guarantee. And if they did, the “bad” website might scare them off.
4. You Don’t Care About Tracking
We recently met with a marketing director who’s a client of ours. He and his team have several AdWords accounts nationally and internationally.
He complained to us about the amount of time his staff was spending correcting tracking issues. Frankly, he was tired of hearing about it.
But instead of digging deeper to find out why so many tracking issues were emerging, his solution was to stop tracking altogether!
His argument was that the company’s brand was responsible for most of their conversions, so tracking wasn’t all that important.
This argument took me by surprise, especially as PPC is this company’s most productive marketing channel. Why jeopardize its success?
But after some negotiation, we agreed to stop tracking in only one account.
Can you guess what happened next? That account’s performance started to drop. And because we haven’t had tracking in place for the past three months, we don’t know where the problem lies. As a result, we don’t know how to fix it.
It’s true that tracking can be a pain to administer. Without proper processes in place, your web development team can easily mess up tracking every time they update or change your site.
But if you’re not willing to put those processes in place—and identify and fix tracking issues when they do occur—then PPC isn’t worth doing.
Because without tracking data, you’re managing by guesswork—which isn’t smart or sustainable.
5. You Don’t Have Time to Meet With Your PPC Team
You might think that when you hand off your PPC duties to an agency, you can wash your hands of the whole business of PPC. And certainly, we can take much of it off your plate.
However, we do still need you for approvals. Which is why we usually request a standing meeting of 30 minutes or so every month (or every couple months), with our clients.
I understand that you’re busy. But at the same time, these meetings are crucial to the success of your PPC program.
Unfortunately, some clients seem unable to make this time available to us. In one case, for example, we’ve been trying to get ad campaign messaging approved since January!
It’s gotten to the point where other people within the same company are contacting us to tell us that our current ad messaging is out of date. We know! But we can’t do anything about it until we get our ads approved.
And we cringe to think of how many opportunities we may have missed in the meantime.
Sometimes, in this kind of situation, we’ll ask for forgiveness instead of permission. After following up three or four times with no response, we’ll let management know that we’re going to go forward with the ads unless we hear back by a set date.
However, we can’t use this approach with this particular client. The client’s industry is heavily regulated, and we simply can’t take responsibility for changing messaging without their advanced approval.
It’s frustrating for us. And it’s not doing the client any favors either.
Are You Ready to Move Forward With PPC?
There’s no question that PPC can deliver fantastic results under the right circumstances. But unless certain conditions are met up front, you can severely hamstring your own efforts.
So invest the resources you need to solve these issues before you begin. And make some mindset adjustments if needed.
Otherwise, don’t bother.