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Increase Customer Retention by Learning to Manage Your AdWords Clients’ Expectations

(Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the InvisiblePPC blog. Read the original post here.)

As an agency owner, account manager, project manager, or any individual who deals with an agency’s clients, do you feel pressured into promising them exactly what they are asking?

Do you find yourself agreeing to all of their requests and promising you can deliver exactly what they want or think they want?

To increase customer retention, you need to learn to manage your clients’ expectations and set realistic goals from the start.

If this rings true, I have one word for you. STOP.

Stop thinking your client is in control.

Yes, of course, they are to a certain extent. They hired you, so they can fire you. They control how much budget they allocate to their PPC (pay per click) campaign and what products or services will be promoted.

But despite all of that, they came to you to manage their AdWords; because they need someone who knows what they are doing.

You won’t be doing yourself or your client any favors by paying them lip service. In fact, it’s likely to lead to a bad client relationship and eventually, they will move on.

To increase customer retention, you need to learn to manage your clients’ expectations and set realistic goals from the start.

Over the last five years, my team and I at InvisiblePPC have run AdWords campaigns on behalf of over 500 agencies and in excess of 2,000 of their clients, spending over $66 million on ads in the process.

Through this experience, we know that clients can have some fairly unrealistic (and sometimes crazy) expectations of what they want from their AdWords campaign.

When it comes to managing existing customer expectations in regards to AdWords, here are my top five ways. Following these scenarios will help you increase customer retention.

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 1: Lack of Advertising Focus and Instant Implementation

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 1: Lack of Advertising Focus and Instant Implementation

Their Expectation: “I’ve signed on the dotted line. Let’s begin.”

They want to focus on 101 different things about their business in their first PPC campaign and have it started immediately.

How to Manage Their Expectation

Don’t let your client get carried away.

Sit down with them and look at the what, where, and how of their strategy. Find out what services bring the client the most return.

Many new clients won’t want to spend a large amount of money on their first campaign but might want to promote several areas of their business. But doing this will create a very diluted campaign that is unlikely to yield results.

Instead, you’ll want to focus your campaign by starting with one area of their business.

Look at how their PPC Campaign is going to fit in around the other areas of marketing they are doing:

  • Are they launching a new product or service?
  • Are they having any sales?

It’s important to be firm with them. Explain that their budget would only be suitable to promote certain areas of their business.

You can’t make sound decisions on the performance if you don’t truly know how it is performing.

In time, if they want to promote additional areas, you can sit down with them and discuss increasing their budget in order to accommodate this.

Next, give yourself some wiggle room to build the campaign and get it to the live stage after tracking has been implemented.

Three days is usually ample time.

Many clients might not understand the importance of tracking their campaign; however, you can’t make sound decisions on the performance if you don’t truly know how it is performing.

Having tracking set up from the beginning also allows you to have access to correct and realistic data. Often, your clients may claim nothing has come from PPC in the past. However, there is no way to know this without tracking.

Don’t be afraid to tell them that it will take a couple of days to build a campaign and that won’t start until they have tracking installed correctly on their site.

Trust me, they won’t thank you after a few weeks when tracking hasn’t been installed correctly or at all and the campaign build was rushed due to setting a to short a time frame.

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 2: Expecting Immediate Results

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 2: Expecting Immediate Results

Their Expectation: “My AdWords isn’t performing well.”

Many clients expect to see an immediate return on their investment, most likely within a few days or weeks of the campaign going live.

How to Manage Their Expectation:

PPC isn’t an overnight fix! Make sure they understand this from the beginning. There is no such thing as a quick fix.

Time leads to a refined campaign; in order for the campaign to mature, testing to be carried out, and sales or inquiries to come in, it needs to be run longer than a few days or weeks.

Make sure during your onboarding with the client that they understand they should be prepared to commit to a minimum of three months of advertising before anyone can start to think about PPC not working for them as a form of marketing.

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 3: Dictating Which Keywords are Used

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 3: Dictating Which Keywords are Used

Their Expectation: “I want all these keywords. This is exactly what my customers will search.”

They know their customers and the products or services that they provide, therefore, they feel that they know exactly all the search terms their customers will use.

How to Manage Their Expectation

The Fact: Although some keywords they provide will be relevant, it is unlikely that your client has ever conducted meaningful keyword research.

Take the time to explain to them the importance of keyword research and show them the data.

What they think people are searching, because they are industry terms, turns out not to be the case sometimes.

Take the time to explain to them the importance of keyword research and show them the data.

Sometimes they can be pleasantly surprised at the terms their customers are using.

It’s also a great way to find new terms and start building their negative keyword list. Going through this exercise with your client will also better help you to understand their business, and exactly what they want to achieve.

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 4: Questioning Cost per Click Values

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 4: Questioning Cost per Click Values

Their Expectation: “Oh, the CPC is very expensive.”

You may find that your client thought that they would pay next to nothing for their clicks or leads. They may think you’re doing something wrong because the CPC (cost per click) isn’t what they expected.

How to Manage Their Expectation

In my experience, there are so many clients in all types of business that are surprised by the CPC, which is something that always surprises me.

Considering people do marketing to build their brand, gain business, and ultimately to ensure clients come to them over their competitors, it shouldn’t be a shock that their competitors are doing the same.

Some keywords, by nature, are expensive…

  • “Mortgages”
  • “Loans”
  • “Lawyers”

…to name a few.

Other areas where there is high competition can also lead to expensive CPCs.

Therefore, with high costing clicks, having a smaller, very targeted campaign will only benefit them.

It’s important that your client understands from the beginning what they can expect to pay per click. You should also explain this isn’t set in stone and only is acting as a guideline.

This concern inadvertently ties in with one of the previous expectations, which is when the client wants to target lots of areas of their business with their current budget.

If a client’s keywords are averaging $10 a click, and their budget is only $500, it isn’t going to go very far during the month. Their ads will hardly be shown and they will receive very few clicks. Therefore, with high costing clicks, having a smaller, very targeted campaign will only benefit them.

Last, but not least, on my list of top five common client expectations is probably my favorite…

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 5: Googling Keywords and Not Seeing Ads

Manage AdWords Customer Expectations Scenario 5: Googling Keywords and Not Seeing Ads

Their Expectation: “My ad isn’t showing for my keywords.”

So many clients think that if they type their keywords into Google their ads will appear every time. So they need to sit on their computers and type in every keyword they can think of to see their ad appear.

For some reason, they feel that doing this will prove or disprove the fact that AdWords is working, or that you’re doing what you said you would. Some firms will even have their staff do the same thing.

How to Manage Their Expectation

This does not work.

Google is smart enough to know that the same searches are carried out on the same keywords from the same people.

Explain that Google filters IPs when users don’t show intention to buy or suspect fraud and consistent searching is likely to prevent them from seeing their ads at all.

If your clients need to see that their ads are showing, assure them you will send a few screenshots from the Ad Preview Tool. Providing clients with monthly reports will keep them informed, and help them see their ads are effective.

Where Do You Go From Here?

As your agency grows, you are likely to come across any and all of these challenges with client expectations on a daily basis.

Don’t forget, Adwords management is an intangible service. As such, the business owner is likely to be on the lookout for points of contact that make the service more tangible and many of these issues come down to fulfilling this need.

Well executed, timely communication and great reporting is the best method to keep your client in touch with her campaign and to feel engaged in it.

Keep your clients’ expectations managed and engaged and you’ll keep them with you a lot longer and spending a lot more — because they are happy. And who doesn’t want long-term happy clients? 🙂

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