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PPC: The Business of Emotion



PPC: The Business of Emotion

There are some hard truths in business that are never discussed. Everyone has run into one of these obstacles in their interactions with clients, but there are almost no resources for agencies and solo operators to look to when dealing with them. But, before I go any further, I want to focus on one of these “facts of doing business” that seems to crop up in my industry, digital marketing, all the time – emotions.


Paid Search is a lucrative portion of any good digital marketer’s portfolio. It can reap tremendous benefits for both the agency and the client, but, many times, these gains can come at a significant cost to the agency in terms of wasted time and energy. The vast majority of clients seem incapable of separating the agency and their fees from the actual recipient of the lion’s share of the client’s capital – Google.


This inability to distinguish between entities creates tension at every meeting. The client oftentimes is faced with the largest expenditure of his cashflow when looking over his PPC reports. The fact that the ROI is clearly stated doesn’t seem to affect the focus they have on the cost for their campaign. This determination on their part, as wrongheaded as it may seem, to find fault with the reported data is real and regenerative. The explanations and information an agency uses at one meeting to quiet fears and allay suspicion mean absolutely nothing at the next meeting, so the cycle is repeated over and over again.


It’s completely understandable for a client to be anxious and inquisitive during any new business endeavor they don’t fully understand; especially when it costs a great deal of money in comparison to other ventures they’re used to. But, and this is the biggest disconnect emotional responses cause in PPC campaigns, they can’t see the real, substantial gains they’re making because their emotions are clouding their vision. They are continually missing the forest for the trees.


There are ways to combat the emotional nature of PPC clients an agency can use to diminish the pushback they inevitably receive. Here are just a few:


  • Try to remain calm. Becoming emotional yourself won’t accomplish anything, and may simply help to exacerbate an already tense situation.

  • Keep your eyes on the ball. Remember you have indisputable proof of the results you’re getting. The client has them in hand, so keep directing their attention to the numbers.

  • Do your best to remind the client of who called who and why. The easiest tack to take is to simply state the obvious; they called you. You’re the expert in this situation. Act like it.

  • Give the client all the time they need to vent. Hey, it’s no fun, and you’ll probably wish you were anywhere else, but this is a paying client. Treat them with respect. Let them know that you understand their fears and anxiety, but never let them forget that business is a results-driven ballgame. If they’re not on your team they’re on the wrong team.

There will never be a way to completely remove emotions from the meeting room. They have always been a part of making and losing money, and they most likely always will be. So, adapt to the client and survive. Realize before you enter the first negotiation that the person across from you is human, and pay attention to every reaction they display. It’ll be invaluable information down the road.

about Spencer Wade

I'm Spencer Wade - strategist, designer, manager of people and ideas. Platinum Top Contributor for Google Search, G+ & AdWords - TC Mentor too. I’m the founder of Lift Conversions, a Google Partner agency, located in Chicago. I’ve completed Google’s tests - Search, Display, Video, Analytics, & Mobile, and enjoy being a part of the forums. My agency is also an Official City Partner in the Get Your Business Online effort with Instant Verifier access to help immediately verify business listings.