There have been countless blog posts around the Web on how to best manage the relationship between a PPC agency or consultant and the in-house team. And quite frankly, the reason this topic comes up again and again is because, well, the relationship can be a challenge.
The disconnect that can sometimes occur between an outsider (the agency) and an insider (the in-house team) can hinder an advertiser’s progress, making it difficult for both parties to benefit.
Just like any relationship, the one formed between a business and PPC agency needs three things:
In this post, I’m going to share three common scenarios where the these attributes can be vital to the success of the client-agency relationship.
1. The Act of Listening
Listening can come in many forms. Often, people can passively hear something but not critically think about it. When a business hires a PPC agency, recommendations are often made on how to get the most from the advertiser’s budget.
But can you guess what happens if those recommendations are dismissed time and time again? Too much time passes, and the competition gets a leg up.
The one thing that’s constant in the PPC world is change. Advertising platforms like Google AdWords are always evolving, offering new features and sometimes getting rid of the old. And then of course, advertising strategies change to keep up with the latest and best practices.
If you’re an advertiser, when your PPC manager makes recommendations based on features that can help you improve ROI on your advertising, take heed. It’s worth it to at least ask more questions, such as why it’s being recommended and how it can help.
This goes both ways, too.
If you, the advertiser, don’t feel like your PPC agency is giving your requests and recommendations the attention they deserve, this is a red flag. Your agency should be a partner in your quest to meet your goals, and education is a part of that so your business can make more informed decisions moving forward.
2. The Value of Participation
Have you ever heard of a relationship working when only one person is into it? There’s nothing worse than not being on the same page as the other party. Much of this comes from not setting expectations, or not talking about it when things get off track.
When a working relationship is going well between an agency and a business, sometimes there’s little need for communication at all. When this happens, there’s often a nice cadence to the project and all is well.
But there are times when someone needs something, and whether it’s the advertiser or the PPC agency, actively participating in requests is crucial in the fast-moving world of PPC.
If your PPC manager requests approval for something, it’s usually because they are ready to move on it right then — when it matters most. A lag time in response can mean a loss of money to the advertiser, and that’s not fun for either party.
Likewise, if you’re the advertiser and have questions about anything occurring in your account, but you don’t hear back from your agency for days, this is concerning. Dollars are at stake each day in online advertising, and you should feel at ease knowing someone is on top of managing your funds.
The other side of the participation coin is keeping one another abreast of anything happening in the business that could affect the advertising account.
Sometimes during a phone call, we’ll uncover a nugget of information about the client’s business that’s so valuable, we wished we had known it sooner. And on the flip side, your agency should be sending you any updates they come across that could change the landscape of your industry’s advertising online.
3. The Power of Trust
For any relationship to work, you need trust. And trust does have to be earned. But once you’ve settled into that place where there is a reasonable amount of trust between two parties, this should be the foundation for all decisions moving forward.
Maybe it’s because too many businesses have been burnt by lackluster agency relationships, or maybe some businesses have managed their own PPC for so many years that it can sometimes be challenging for them to relinquish control, but a lack of trust can hinder any relationship.
Just to be clear, relinquishing control doesn’t mean not participating. The perfect agency-client relationship is one where ideas are shared, respected and explored together based on mutual trust and respect.
After all, that’s why advertisers hire outside expertise, and that’s how agencies become a seamless part of the in-house team.
Creating Better Client-Agency Relationships
Good relationships are based on listening, participation and trust. If you’re a PPC manager in a bad relationship with one of your clients, or an advertiser having a tough time with your PPC agency, think about ways to get back on track before the relationship goes on auto pilot, or worse, someone cuts ties abruptly.
If you’re an advertiser, communicate your needs and what you want out of the relationship. If you’re an agency, work to set expectations on how they can benefit most from your services.
Even if these expectations weren’t set up front, there’s still time to salvage the relationship by being open and honest – as long as it’s coming from a place of wanting to get it right.