Imagine the end of your current PPC gig.
No really, take a minute to think how that might happen.
If you’re in-house, imagine you’re leaving for another position. If you’re managing client accounts, imagine the day you hand over the account to another manager or the client takes over PPC. How would the client describe you? Your co-workers? Your boss? Here are what I hope would be said of me:
- He really cared about the success of our program
- He went above and beyond expectations
- He understood how PPC fit in our larger marketing efforts
- He was reliable and did what he said he would do
- He communicated well
Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind
As human beings we have the gift of imagination. This enables us to visualize a reality that has yet to take place. You can envision your PPC accounts with larger budgets, more conversions, better ROI, and any number of improved metrics and then “see” what you did to achieve those metrics. This is the first creation.
Everything has two creations. The first, as described above, is a mental creation. Many people would liken this to planning. You plan the structure of your PPC accounts, your budgets, your conversions, etc. The second creation is the actual execution of that planning & vision. The first creation is leadership (doing the right things) while the second creation involves management (doing things right). We’ll focus on the second creation in Habit 3.
To borrow a farming example, weeding, watering and harvesting are all management tasks. The second creation. Choosing what seeds to plant is leadership. The first creation. If you don’t choose your crop correctly, you might end up with watermelon at Christmas-time or pumpkins for Easter.
What Is Your Center?
In Habit 1: Be Proactive we discussed the the Circle of Influence. At the center of your circle of influence are the values and principles that guide your PPC work. What lies at the center of your circle of influence impacts how you view your accounts & campaigns. It guides how you react to every situation. So what happens when you place one factor at the center of your circle of influence that isn’t one of your core principles or values? Here are some potential examples:
- CTR Centered – You diligently monitor your CTR. Improved CTR means that you’re making progress and you believe you’ll be rewarded with improved QS, lower CPC, and improved CPA. You pause or delete keywords with chronically low CTR and are constantly testing ads; always keeping the one with the best CTR. Dropping CTRs cause you anxiety and you quickly make optimization to bring CTR back up. However, you may be pausing early funnel keywords that get you included in the consideration set. You may be pausing ads that increased conversion rates by qualifying clicks better.
- Volume Centered – For the brand advertiser this can manifest as a desire to get the maximum number of impressions on a limited budget. For the startup it can manifest itself as a desire to increase conversions (new customer acquisitions, leads, sales, etc.) In both situations the PPC manager is looking for more, more, more. Keyword expansion is paramount because it unlocks new areas of potential volume. Getting on more platforms, targeting more audiences, and retargeting all help to drive more volume and bring feelings of success. However, budgets may become exhausted prematurely. Unqualified leads drive your sales team crazy. Cancelled orders and returned items may start to pile up when customers don’t get what they expected. In your quest for volume you may kill the program under a deluge of “success”.
- Budget Centered – Smaller advertisers are more prone to this center. You have a limited budget and can’t go over. You want to do all the things you know the “big boys” are doing, but can only commit small amounts toward the effort. You feel success as you cover all your bases, but some of your programs may flounder for months before you feel strongly enough to give them more budget or turn them off (often without a fair chance.) Worse still, these expansionary efforts are pulling budget away from your core terms that you know are driving success.
There are numerous alternative centers that can influence your decision making and your performance. PPC Habit #2 involves making a deliberate and conscious choice about what your center will be. By placing principles and values at your center you ensure that your decisions are being made according to the bigger picture goals of your company, department, or brand instead of reactionary decisions based on competitor actions or platform changes.
So what should be at your center?
Understand that principles and values don’t change. That is their nature and that is exactly why you want them placed at your center. Here are questions that can help you choose principles that you could place at your center:
- Are PPC efforts representing the company/brand correctly? If yes, how? If no, how are they falling short?
- How is PPC helping (not hurting) other channels?
Most PPC managers that I have encountered are very good at optimization/execution/management; all Habit 3 actions. However, the best PPC managers also ensure the first creation, Habit 2, is undertaken BEFORE the execution takes place.