Running an effective PPC campaign for your client is one thing, but building a successful relationship with them can be a different ballpark.
Problems will likely arise when there is a lack of relationship between you and your client – from a misunderstanding of expected results to frustrations over increasing CPCs and confusion on how budgets are being spent.
Unfortunately, frictions like these can hinder the ability of both parties to help PPC campaigns succeed, adding further challenges to your already demanding position.
Building more than a transactional relationship with your client is important because it will facilitate a more collaborative approach to tackling the PPC strategy.
You want to be in a position where:
- You have everything you need to do the best job possible.
- The client is confident in letting you get on with your work.
- You feel comfortable having difficult discussions when the need arises.
With all this in mind, here are six things you can do to build better relationships with your PPC clients.
1. Have a thorough onboarding process
The onboarding process is more than just getting to grips with the accounts. It is about becoming familiar with the business and the PPC campaigns’ role in helping achieve their objectives.
While you do not need to know all the ins and outs of the business, some topics you may wish to consider discussing with the client include:
- How does PPC sit within your wider marketing strategy? What other marketing activities are taking place within the business? How do they see PPC complementing these activities?
- What challenges is their industry facing at the moment? How is their product/service overcoming these challenges?
- Who do they see as their main competitors? Is this friendly competition, or have they faced issues with them in the past?
- What goals does the business have over the next 12 months?
All this information can be useful when creating and optimizing campaigns. Having these discussions demonstrates your genuine interest in your client’s business.
A transparent onboarding process builds confidence, especially when working with new clients or those who have been burnt by a bad agency experience.
2. Understand their wants and needs from the partnership
Several clients may want a thorough report at the end of each month, while others might feel overwhelmed by metrics and stats and prefer a few summary points.
A few may want to approve all ad copy before it goes live; others would prefer to be left out of those decisions. Some may even want to brainstorm campaign ideas or are simply happy to be told what you’ve decided to do.
Find out exactly what your client wants from you in terms of communication, approvals and reports. This way, you can efficiently accommodate their wants and needs. It could also save you time pulling together detailed documents and emails, which they won’t even read.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- How often would you like me to check in with you? Would you prefer this to be over email or via a call?
- Do you have an approval process for things such as ad copy, or are you happy for me to go with what I feel is most appropriate?
- How much detail would you like to go in during the monthly reports? Are there any particular metrics you will be interested in seeing?
When building this framework, think of how familiar they are with PPC. Depending on their understanding and experience with PPC, your context and terminology may need to be adjusted.
Dig deeper: 3 steps for effective PPC reporting and analysis
3. Be consistent with your communication
Once you’ve understood the level of communication and detail the client expects, you must make this consistent.
Bringing consistency can help clients feel more comfortable, as they know what to expect and when to receive it. It can also help you to get into a routine and better organize your workload.
This could include:
- Scheduling a monthly call with them.
- Adding a reminder on your calendar to send over some top-level stats from the week before.
It’s not unusual to receive ad hoc requests or for them not to respond to a question for a few days. But if you find these happening regularly, the “wants and needs” discussion with the client may be worth revisiting.
As important as it may be to keep your clients happy, you also deserve consistency from them.
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4. Be transparent
It’s much easier to talk about a campaign’s performance when it’s all going well than when conversions are declining. However, discussing the negatives is equally important to build a sufficient relationship with your client.
Being open and honest about things not going the way you’d hoped or admitting to a mistake you may have made can help to build trust with your client. This demonstrates that you are being transparent and have nothing to hide.
Address the issue proactively before the client becomes aware. Show them you’re actively resolving and maintaining control of the situation.
In such situations where you need to address dips in performance or an error you made, aim to provide solutions and next steps to the client.
For example, if you accidentally set a campaign budget to $150 per day instead of $100 per day, suggest how much you would need to reduce spend by during the following month to make up for the overspend.
This further helps to reassure them that you know what you are doing and are actively addressing the issue.
Dig deeper: What to do when performance tanks in PPC
5. Be proactive
Clients want to feel reassured that they have the right person for the job who is striving to help them reach their business goals. One way to do this is by proactively presenting to them what you think should happen next.
It’s easy to become solely focused on executing your current strategy. Still, a stronger approach involves:
- Looking at what you can do to grow the current account with new campaigns.
- Exploring what new features could be utilized.
- Uncovering opportunities to expand into new platforms.
Show the client you’re up to date with PPC developments and are building more opportunities for them to expand on their current performance in the future.
Even if you make suggestions that your client decides not to go for, you have shown that you know what you’re doing and want to help them achieve more.
6. Go beyond the click
You could be running the most perfect campaign in the world, but if the post-click experience is poor, you will struggle to see tangible results.
While what happens once someone lands on the website is most likely out of your scope, you can offer insights into how they can improve the rest of the conversion process.
A better post-click experience could help your campaigns convert more, so everyone wins!
Some elements of the post-click experience that you might want to explore and discuss with your client:
- What is the landing page experience like? Does it have the content someone would need about the product/service?
- How does their landing page experience compare to their competitors? How does their product/service offering compare to the rest of the market?
- How easy is it to complete a Conversion action? Are there obstacles that could make it difficult or unappealing for someone to convert?
This willingness to look at more than just your piece of the puzzle shows your client that:
- You see yourself as an extension of their internal team.
- You have a vested interest in helping them succeed, both in terms of their PPC campaigns and overall online performance.
A solid agency-client relationship is based on trust
Clients seek more than just transactional exchanges when working with freelancers or agencies. They want to feel informed and confident when handing over the PPC reins to someone outside their business.
By taking the time to understand your clients’ needs, maintaining open and consistent communication, and demonstrating a vested interest in their success, you can develop strong, productive relationships that extend beyond individual campaigns.
Approaching your clients as true partners rather than just accounts to manage can lead to greater long-term wins as you face challenges and celebrate victories together.
Dig deeper: How to retain clients in PPC
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