Issues in Handling Difficult Pay Per Click Clients (Lawyers, Doctors, and Others)
Happy Sunday Night. Since we have an extra hour in the US, I’d write about an interesting topic : how to handle difficult clients (Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, Developers).
Most difficult clients I put into two groups. Clients who had a poor agency experience and taught themselves PPC. And clients who are analytical and are able to run their account; however they do not have the time to do so. Both often have unrealistic expectations and goals. A worst situation is a client who believes they know PPC… when they sort of know.
Issues that often come up : Click Fraud, Impression Fraud, and Search Abuse.
Click Fraud is when a competitor clicks on your ad and makes you spend. There is a variant of Click Fraud called Advertising Distributor Fraud many clients point to when they are angry. This is when ads appear on “partner” sites in which revenue share is paid. A smart client will understand the difference and can be upset if they find themselves on one of these “partner” sites. No amount of coaxing will convince them it’s a good idea. I advice avoiding “partner” sites completely. To lawyers/doctors/etc, a partner site is not Google. And honestly it’s not. I check advertising records and logs to identify websites generating clicks but little value, i.e. mobile games. You have to block these out in the beginning… because clients are not pleased when they find ads on Mobile Strike App Game even if it’s an unpaid impression.
Impression Fraud is similar to Click Fraud but the competitor is trying to drop your Click Through Rate. The industry I see this most in is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers use bots to lower ad quality scores of competitors. It’s quite interesting… The client may believe you are doing this, since all digital marketing is attributed to you. It’s difficult to determine who is using bots on the campaign, however by proactively addressing the issue in the beginning, you avoid angry clients later. It’s important to delineate what you are doing if there is another agency involved… let’s say a seedy SEO agency.
Search Term Abuse comes up a lot of with lawyers. Trademark infringement is a concern. This happens when a competitor buys your client’s brand as a keyword or search term. It’s false advertisement at a minimal. Results on these conquest campaigns are meh. Clients will search their brand keywords to see if their ad comes up. When they don’t see the ad they call. When a competitor shows for their brand keyword search… they call angry. Have an emergency contingent explanation set. Inform the client you will contact the competitor (via call extension) and ask them to not bid on their brand keyword. 90% of the time a phone call is enough. The other 10% you need to send a cease and desist letter. That scares them well enough.
Legal issues that come up with more educated clients : False / Misleading Statements, Stock Images, Reviews, Ethical Requirements. Difficult clients are often smart… very smart. Therefore they will be aware of the following. Lawyers and Doctors in particular get sued a lot.
Clients get into trouble with “regulating boards” if they make false or misleading claims. This is largely for ad text but can be for display. Saying you are the best or top attorney/doctor/etc isn’t true. It creates a false expectation of results. There is case law about using misleading claims on advertising : Board of Managers of 60 E. 88th St. v. Adam Leitman Bailey PC (Sup Ct NY County Jan. 29 2014). In that case the law firm used the term “gets results.” Apparently they didn’t get results and that line of text cost the attorney $52,000. Make sure to be careful with what you say in ads. Marketing is a jungle, but for some clients it’s a heavily regulated jungle.
Stock Images isn’t something most clients ask about. However, since lawyers, doctors, etc are being sued constantly, this is something they ask about. The simple solution is to disclose that the people in stock images are not clients but actors. This can be done on the landing page or in a disclaimer on the ad. Also make sure you have the copyrights readily available for the image. On a cloud of some sort is best.
Reviews… in particular paid reviews. There is a tactic called astroturfing; and for lawyers it is unethical. Lawyers cannot make false or misleading statements to clients. False reviews are such a statement. There are many ways to get real positive reviews and use them for a review extension. I actually choose not to use review extensions for lawyer and doctor clients, since many times they don’t know if a review is real or not. They never asked their past agency.
These are some issues and how I handle them. I would love to know how you handle them in the comments below.
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