I spend a lot of time auditing accounts for prospective clients, and I get to see a lot of different things. Sometimes I see some really great campaigns and pick up some pretty cool tricks and strategies. But what I find more often than not are poorly designed campaigns that are wasting money. Some of the worst accounts I’ve seen are actually being managed by professional companies. So I’ve compiled a list of five of the deadliest sins that I see by professional Adwords consultants:
As a paid search marketing consultant you have a responsibility to manage a client’s account that goes beyond the account / campaign set up. You must actually “manage” and “optimize” the account. To manage and optimize an account, you need to go into the account periodically and make the necessary changes to improve the performance of the campaigns.
When I audit prospective clients’ accounts that are currently being managed by other companies, or consultants, I consistently find that these accounts are being neglected by the account managers. They set up these accounts and basically just forget about them. I’ll look at the change history and notice where no changes were made to the account in a month, or two months, or even longer.
Here’s a quick example of this very issue I found with a new client. He owns a small local plumbing company. He wanted me to audit his account. A very large PPC company was managing his account and his results were terrible to say the least.
He spent $4600 in two and a half months. This $4600 resulted in 11 phone calls, some of which were junk calls.
When I looked at his keyword history report, this is what I saw:
Roughly $2k spent on “water softeners,” “reverse osmosis system,” and “hot water heaters.” Do these sound high quality keywords for a small local plumber? Do these three keywords justify 43% of the budget?
So I looked at the change history in Adwords and noticed that no changes were made to the account in the previous three weeks. They neglected this account. They looked ridiculous when I pointed this out to the client, and they could offer no reasonable excuse. Yet they refused to reimburse the client.
When you manage a client’s account, you really need to log in periodically (at least every two or three days) to simply check to make sure there are no “runaway keywords” chewing up the budget and wasting the client’s money. When other competing companies pull their ads down for whatever reason, your ad may jump up in position under certain keywords. Those keywords can “runaway” with the budget spending wasted money like in the sceenshot above.
2. POOR LANDING PAGES
When you bring on new clients, one of the first things you’re going to look at is their website and/or landing pages. In a lot of cases you’ll find that their landing pages are not designed for marketing purposes. They may love their website, but it’s not going to convert well with paid search. As a marketing consultant you have a responsibility to encourage them to either optimize their landing pages or have new landing pages created, which is a possible upsell for you.
Contractors (plumbers, roofers, electricians, etc) typically have poorly designed websites. I’ve been doing some testing recently with Unbounce Pages. I haven’t had any problems getting the pages approved and I like the A/B variant testing UB offers.
But two weeks ago, I found a new option for local businesses, and quite honestly, it knocked my socks off. About a year ago I was talking to a good friend of mine, Jack Hopman. Jack is local ppc marketing genius, specifically for pay per call marketing. Jack and I were talking about the need for a really, really good WP template for local businesses. A template that would come with many different themes for all different types of local businesses. The idea was to create a beautiful website for local businesses with just a few clicks, and built in a way that would increase phone calls. No more than 10-15 minutes to create a site.
Fast forward one year later and Jack created “Local Theme Jack.” The template he created was even better than I had imagined. I used it for the first time last week, and created a website for a plumbing company in about 10 minutes. I spent another five minutes going through and making minor tweaks to the default content within the site. When my Google rep saw the site, she said “is this their site or did you create this? Wow! This is perfect.” This is my new solution for creating websites and landing pages for my clients that need them. Check it out here and see what you think.
3. POOR CLIENT COMMUNICATION
A lot of paid search marketing consultants do not want to spend the necessary time to communicate with their client and get all the necessary information they need to build an effective marketing campaign. I am not a plumber and I don’t pretend to know everything I need to know about plumbing to build an effective campaign. So I ask my client to help me build the keyword list. There is nothing wrong with asking for their input. Your clients know their businesses better than you do and they know the industry lingo, the different services they offer, and how people ask for them.
In the example above, here is a question the former ppc manager probably should have asked the client:
“Are water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, and hot water heaters a big part of your business?”
Because when I asked him this question, his response was “hell no.” If 43% of the budget is going to be spent on these three keywords, shouldn’t you at least ask the client if these are relevant keywords?
4. CONVERSION TRACKING
If the business you’re marketing has a measurable goal (phone calls, sales, leads, downloads, etc), you need to be tracking these goals with Google’s conversion tracking. It’s very easy to set this up. Conversion tracking will tell you exactly which keywords and ads are generating all your conversions. Once you know the keywords and ads that generate conversions, you can focus on those keywords and ads and eliminate wasted money on keywords and ads that are not converting. This will greatly increase your client’s ROI.
5. LACK OF RESEARCH
Spend time thoroughly researching your clients business, their competitors, and similar businesses in other geographical areas. Thorough research will lead to more keywords, keywords that are probably being missed by competitors. By spending time digging and mining for keywords, you will find some real gems that will pay off. You will also find more negative keywords which will help increase your client’s ROI.
By researching similar businesses in other areas, you will find some great ideas for your ad copy. You may also find some great ideas for sales and promo’s your client never considered. You may even find an entirely different angle for your keywords and ads that you missed completely.
Research pays off. Communicating with your clients pays off. Creating landing pages, and simply managing the accounts routinely are all things we should all be doing. When you stop doing these things, you stop providing quality service to your clients, and someone like myself will come in and audit the account, and take it from you just like I did in the example above.