8 Ways to Lose a Client in PPC Marketing


Whether you’re working at a PPC Agency or running your own, there will be good and bad experiences, lessons learned and constant tweaking of your scope of services as new platforms emerge. No matter what happens, one thing stays the same and that is doing good business. In this post, I will highlight on some of the mistakes that can happen not only with signing a new client, but also building trust and success with that client.

Scope First, then Set the Expectations

This is probably the biggest failure in all of Paid Search Marketing and, frankly, I have seen it quite a few times. In medium to larger PPC firms, Search Marketers are often not included in the sales process to land a new client and that’s a bad idea because it sets the agency up for failure. Why? Expectations! When sales teams try and land a new client, they often “over-promise” success so they can get their sales commission. This is troublesome, because without a thorough level of “SCOPING” of the client’s Accounts, the prospect/client has been inadvertently lied to and puts more pressure on the PPC Marketers. This not only looks bad on the agency, but it also leads to bad referrals from that same client. The only promise you should make is that you will constantly improve what they currently have and be reliable, and most of all be professional.

Protect Yourself. Benchmark

Getting an good understanding and defined starting point is crucial to PPC Success. If the PPC Marketer or Account Manager fails to identify a somewhat accurate benchmark, it will be almost impossible to measure what is success and what is not. PPC marketers are also responsible to ensure that conversion tracking is working accurately. If you happen to find “holes” in the tracking, then you already have impressed the client and they will start building trust in your expertise.

PPC Marketing is not a Perfect World:

Let the client know that Google has it’s own bugs and editorial glitches. Just be prepared to explain to the client Google sometimes will “out of the blue” deactivate an Text Ad, or increase a CPC or even turned off an Ad due to some latent Trademark policy issue. When having the first Kickoff call or even within the first few weeks or month, let the client know that this type of stuff happens and it is somewhat out of your control.

Choosing To “NOT” Go Out of Scope:

This one really “Grinds my Gears” (any Family Guy fans out there?) In some cases, its not always the PPC Marketing strategy that is failing, its the client’s website. Sometimes, in order to prove that PPC Marketing is effective, the PPC Guru needs to be honest with the client and inform them that their website is in need of some upgrades in order to “move the needle”. Even the littlest upgrades such as a tweak in the shopping cart or the removal of a few fields in a Registration could make all of the difference.

Educate the Client:

When speaking to potential Clients/Companies, they want to know more about how this Google Edwards” thing works (that is an actual saying from an actual prospect). It’s good business to keep the client aware of the generic best practices so that they ensure they are getting the most for the investment in your services. Most clients do not want to have to deal with looking at CTR%, Keyword Positions, etc… Just give them enough information to make them feel comfortable that they made the right decision.

Ignoring “Offline” Advertising Efforts

If you think your job is to focus on just the PPC audience, you are seriously mistaken. Almost all companies have other Offline Advertising that can benefit from a PPC Campaign. Whether it’s print, radio, tv or even a retail store, reinforce PPC into the mix. If the client is a little “weary”, then educate them and persuade them to make the small investment for a month or two. Paid Search is effective only when the website provides the products and/or services it advertises. Even if they do a ton of Offline Advertising, the prospect or even existing customer will do a Google search on that offline messaging.

Not thinking “Outside the Bun”

If you are happy with just providing the same old routine week after week with nothing new and exciting and maintaining that same ROAS threshold, you may want to wake your ass up and start being more proactive before the client shops around for another agency or decides to bring it “in-house”. I am talking about engaging their business and throwing out 5-10 ideas on how they can improve their business.

Obsessed in thinking you are the smartest person in the room

I have seen this happen and fail miserably. Trying to act smart and tell the client that they are stupid and to do things your way will most likely blow up in your face. The PPC Marketer is the smartest PPC Marketer in the room in that they know how to execute the best practices, they know the algorithms and know what to expect when launching and maintaining a successful PPC Campaign. The business practices and decisions should be left to the company to be responsible for.

In Conclusion:

There are many people who claim to be PPC Experts and many companies have been burned. There’s a belief that just because someone got an Adwords Certification makes them the smartest person in the room. That cannot be more further from the truth. Having PPC Knowledge and experience is not just about a good CTR% and Quality Score, it’s also about Client Management. What the point of having a certification if you can’t effectively manage a client’s expectations.



Greg is a well-versed Internet Marketing Expert who has helped companies both large and small achieve success in Search Engine Marketing through proven strategies and effective implementation. Since 2004 he shifted his focus to Search Engine Marketing Industry, especially Pay-Per-Click- Marketing, where he has helped both Fortune 500 companies, as well as Start-Ups to improve branding, increase online and offline revenues, cut costs and succeed online.

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