Let’s face it. In our PPC world, we spend other people’s money to make them money… and if we’re lucky, we get paid well enough for our expertise and skills to make a decent living. It’s really pretty simple. But it does require Trust, lots of it, and getting a little sticky.
One of our core values at Point It is:
To make our clients successful by being a collaborative, trusted partner.
We have all agreed that this is who we are. We sat down together and crafted this statement, debating word choice. This is what we believe we bring to the table. We hire smart people who are trustworthy, honest, and have integrity. We encourage each other to continually act in the best interests of our clients. And for us this fosters professional growth, relationship skills, and a general feeling of well-being and job satisfaction. We can sleep at night and look ourselves in the mirror the next day. We also have fun doing it (another of our core values). And once again, we are on the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in WA list for the second straight year, so it appears to be working for us.
Being Trust-Worthy for Clients
You know it when you have it, and you know it when you don’t. When you don’t have trust from clients, emails can be stressful and emotional. You spend too much time over-thinking, over-analyzing, and trying to read between the lines. What did she mean? Why did he say that? What is she really trying to say? It can be exhausting. Meetings can be inefficient, unproductive. Reports can become defensive, checklists, and not forward-looking or strategic. It is NOT fun…for anyone.
Clients don’t trust words, clients trust actions. Good performance, meeting targets, education in the early stages of the program, and ongoing direct, open communication can all help to build trust.
Be genuine. Be sincere. Mean what you say, say what you mean, and DO what you say. I know this sounds cliché. But looking someone in the eye and being direct about what’s what, even if it is breaking bad news or discussing poor performance, will put you on more solid footing than any slick PowerPoint presentation.
Don’t attempt to sell or recommend increased media spend if it is not expected to perform at your goal hurdle rate or yield higher revenue or lead volume. If it is something the client is asking you to do, be clear about your reservations based on your experience. Many times there is a tradeoff between efficiency and volume, you can’t grow both, and you need to educate your clients on that tradeoff. Making recommendations just to increase spend and mgmt. fees may yield short term revenue and fees for your agency, but if it doesn’t drive performance or growth, you will lose trust of that client and IMHO it is not worth it in the end.
Be clear about your expectations around tests. If you think something is a slam dunk, go out on a limb and say so. Get their attention. Wave your hands in the air. Make sure your “we’ve GOT to do THIS!!” is being heard. But if you think something is a really “iffy”, set expectations and a clear plan/timeline for analyzing results. If it were your personal money/company/business, what would you do? How would you spend that dollar? Tell them so, even if it puts your ppc program on hold while they work on website development or landing pages first. They will come back eventually or refer you to others.
Trust in Clients, Vendors, Tools, and yes – even Publishers
When you have gained the trust of client partners, you can also trust in them. They have your backs within their organization, and want you (and in turn them) to succeed. They will look out for you. If your program is hitting targets or even missing them every once in a while, they’ll step back and let you do your job, and you can inform them of what’s happening, make strong recommendations, and they will not feel the need to micro-manage you. They’ll inform you of something big in the pipeline as a partner rather than throwing chaos at you last minute. They will let you know about things coming up on the horizon for them so you can plan campaigns, tools, or staff 3 to 6 months out. We are under NDAs and deal with a lot of proprietary and confidential information that we can’t discuss. Make sure everyone in your organization knows the importance of this, and be diligent about maintaining high security standards.
Just like you, vendors and publisher reps get a sliver of the marketing budget pie. You need to trust in their expertise, leverage their knowledge and resources. In the words of one of my wise colleagues, you need to “assume positive intent.” Start every new vendor or publisher relationship, with communication about your goals/targets and expectations. Tell them what you want and what you don’t want from them. The “don’t waste my time with” conversation can save buckets of hours on both sides of the relationship. And if it smells like just a way for them to make a quick buck, it probably is, and tell them you think so. They will get the picture eventually. Sometimes it just takes a little time for the mold to set.
Trust in Your Team
In August I took a one month sabbatical. I did not check my work email or login into any UIs or platforms, no…not even once <gasp>. How could I do this? Well, I trust my team. I trust that they have the technical skills, expertise, and relationship skills to fully cover for me. I gradually delegated as much as I could before I left. I also knew they could work together to find solutions for whatever unforeseeable issues that arose. And…they did outstanding. They made solid decisions, and we did not skip a beat. I came back and got back up to speed very quickly, thanks to their great notes and documentation. You got to give trust and empower those around you in order to be able to soar and scale.
Trust in Your Own Skills, Experience, and Gut
Because often there is no one right answer to a ppc question and several different approaches can solve many ppc situations, any account manager, even the most experienced, can question their strategy, recommendations, and on which activities they spend their limited time. Sometimes the strategy behind ppc tactics is as much of an art as it is a science. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to communicate what you do comes with experience and working on many and varied campaigns/advertiser types.
But if you’ve done the training, have gotten the certifications, have seen great results as the outcome of your actions/your optimizations, be confident and trust yourself. You know what you are doing. If you don’t feel that way, there are all kinds of great resources to get up to speed – certifications, conferences, training videos, e-books, blogs and an incredibly supportive ppc online community (see you on #ppcchat on Twitter).
Long-term PPC Success can be achieved. You just have to get sticky. Trust me.