Add3 is a 30-person search marketing agency with offices in Seattle and Portland. With over 35 active clients and millions per month in spend going through us, we find ourselves launching new paid search campaigns multiple times a month. With this, I have developed a checklist of sorts to ensure a successful launch. The ideas below are not rocket science; they are simply 5 easy things to make sure you know about the client before going live. Have these covered and you are set for a smooth first month with your new client.
1) What is the budget: Nothing makes for a tougher call then having to tell the client that you have spent more money then they had allocated to their paid search effort. As you can imagine, over-spending forces your contact to immediately involve her boss, her finance team and a bunch of other scary people you would just as soon keep out of your hair. Ask the monthly budget, ask it again and then confirm it in an email. Also, unless told otherwise always set the spend to pace evenly. No spikes or spending all the money in week one allowed.
2) Know the target CPA: As my old boss used to say ‘without a destination, any path will get you there’. Meaning, you have to have a target CPA or you will not know what to optimize towards. This can often be difficult to get from the client. Get ready for responses from the client such as ‘you tell me what my CPA should be’ or ‘obviously I want the lowest CPA possible’. Both of these responses are troublesome. At this point in the relationship, you are not equipped to tell them what they should pay per transaction – the client needs to do his homework and get you an answer. In regards to getting the lowest possible CPA, that is a mistake because it gives no consideration to the needed volume of conversions. Once you have the target set, be sure that you explain that it will take a while to get to this number. Also, explain to them that you may learn that the target is not attainable but you will deliver a detailed analysis on what CPA they can reach and what volume is tied to that CPA level.
3) Make sure tracking is 100% locked and accurate: Often times the client is eager to get spend rolling right away. She is likely under pressure to increase conversions immediately and has intelligently identified paid search as the place to start. It is your job now to push back and ensure that the tracking loop is 100% locked. Identify every action that the client wants to track and test to make sure tracking is happening. You simply can’t allow a dollar to be spent until this is covered. Unless of course you are a glutton for punishment and look forward to calls that go something like this “well, we spent $5,000 but we aren’t sure what happened or how it performed.” Ouch, there goes trust and confidence jumping out the window.
4) Does your contact rock to Van Halen or groove to Bruno Mars: Take some time on the initial calls to get to know your contact. Figure out what makes them happy. Work is tough. Your contact is stressed out. If you can be a bright spot in their world by being easy to get along with and fun, the relationship will stand the test of time. Remember, we are buying clicks here people, not curing cancer.
5) What would make your contact a rock star?: Your client has hired you because they believe you are the best agency to drive their paid search program. No doubt, hitting their target CPA and volume goals is your primary objective. But what could you do to make them be a rockstar at their company? Figure this out, provide it and you have a client for as long as you want. Maybe giving them industry insights that they can share internally gets this done. Perhaps you introduce them to other tools and vendors that make their marketing programs hum. Maybe your contact’s boss loves the Yankees and you find a way to get her amazing seats. Try to learn what would make your contact shine prior to launch and remember to always spend time working towards achieving this. This helps you remember that being a search agency is much more than simply buying traffic.