Being a successful PPC manager takes a lot of skill and knowledge. Not only do you need to be well versed in marketing, you also have to be an expert in the finer details of search marketing, including the many complexities of AdWords.
But there’s another skill PPC managers must have that’s often under appreciated: organizational skills.
Because even if you’ve memorized an entire bookcase of marketing texts and can set up AdWords campaigns in your sleep, if you can’t back those up with excellent organization and planning, then implementing what you know is going to be a major challenge.
So as we dive into 2017, make your it New Year’s resolution to stay organized!
To get you started, here are my top tips for staying organized as a PPC manager:
Tip #1: Always Recap
Recaps are short summary emails you send to clients after every phone call or meeting. Recaps summarize the discussion, any decisions and next steps.
I admit that when you’re busy with work, the idea of recapping conversations is hardly appealing. Who has the time? But even though they do require some effort, they’ll end up saving you a lot of time in follow ups and confusion.
In addition to keeping everyone on track, recaps also have these benefits:
- They help you process the conversation. The process of writing the recap helps you digest what was discussed and think more deeply about follow up tasks and plans. Time and time again, I’ll spot issues and opportunities when writing the recap that I would have missed if I’d gone straight into other work after putting down the phone.
- They help your client process the conversation. Similarly, when clients receive your recap they’re also given the opportunity to review and reflect on what was discussed. And again, it may spark new ideas and thoughts.
- They provide a written record for you and your client. As an informal “minutes of meeting,” recaps are a written confirmation of what was said and agreed to.
- They’re good preparation for your next call. I always review recaps prior to my next call with the client, especially if we have a standing meeting. It’s a good way to freshen my memory and double check that all tasks have been completed.
What Makes a Good Recap?
Not all recaps are equal. Here’s what separates a so-so from a stellar recap:
1. Create it immediately. The longer you wait to summarize the conversation, the less you’ll remember. You’ll get more detail (and it will be easier and faster to write) if you create it immediately following the conversation or very nearly.
Sometimes, I’ll even jot down notes into a draft email during the call. Then I’ll quickly edit what I’ve written and send it as a recap when the call is concluded.
It’s important to send the recap as soon as it’s complete so that the conversation is also fresh for the client. Sending a recaps days later isn’t nearly as helpful. (Although it’s still better than nothing.)
2. Schedule the time to take action. Most likely, your conversation included tasks and deadlines. Get these in your calendar and schedule the time to work on them now, before you forget.
Sending a recap, and then failing to take action on the items discussed, isn’t helpful.
3. Schedule in follow ups. Does your client need to perform a task or get some information to you? Put these in your calendar as well and schedule in follow ups just in case.
While you might be tempted to push the task of recapping onto your client, you shouldn’t. Remember, they’re your client.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t demand the same service when you are the client. Don’t hesitate to ask businesses for recaps as a requirement for having your business.
Tip #2: Manage Your Calendar Relentlessly
PPC managers live and die by their calendars. Okay, not literally, but it can feel like it sometimes.
Regardless of whether you prefer online, desktop or hardcopy, you need to have a calendar—especially if you’re working with a team.
At Group Twenty Seven, my team and I share an online calendar that’s part of our project management software. We use it to schedule calls and mark deadlines. In addition, each team member also has their own personal calendar
Personally, I use a hardcopy calendar from Whitney English. Using a hardcopy calendar might seem old school, but for me the kinesthetic act of physically writing down tasks and reminders works well. It’s a habit I developed early in my career, and I’ve stuck to it.
So what should you put in your calendar beyond the obvious project deadlines and meeting dates?
Well, one item that people sometimes don’t think to schedule are follow ups. I’ll often schedule weekly or bi-weekly follow ups in my calendar to make sure tasks have been completed.
I’ll also schedule follow ups for AdWords changes. Any time we launch a new campaign, or test a feature or keyword, I’ll put follow ups into my schedule. I want to keep a close eye on these changes to see how well they’re working (or not).
As you can imagine, making these changes, and then forgetting about them for days or weeks, could be disastrous.
Given the high stakes, it’s not enough to simply block off a chunk of time for following up. You need to specify each and every item to check so that none are accidentally missed.
Tip #3: Make (and Use) Lists
My last task at the end of each day is to prepare a priority task list for the next morning. Conceptually, this sounds pretty straightforward, but there’s an art to making a list that’s motivating instead of overwhelming.
For starters, you need to keep your list simple. Don’t get overly detailed. If your task list gets too long, you’re more likely to get discouraged or won’t know where to start. You have to prioritize!
Rather than having a list 50+ items long, a better approach is to have several lists that serve different purposes. These are some of the lists I like to use:
- Priority tasks list: These are things that need to get done in the next day or two. Keep these short! Crossing items off this list is hugely rewarding and motivating.
- Radar list: These are things you need to keep an eye on. Wondering how that AdWords change is impacting your campaigns? Put it on your radar list.
- Ongoing tasks list: These tasks aren’t top priority but are still important. You plan to get to them at some point but not immediately.
- Waiting on list: As the name suggests, these are items you’re waiting for clients (or other stakeholders) to send you. Even though you’ve put these tasks into your calendar as follow ups, it’s nice to have a separate list that pulls them all together.
Bonus Tip: Get a Buddy
If you work as part of PPC team, working with a buddy can be hugely useful, which is why we’ve implemented it as best practice at Group Twenty Seven.
All our clients accounts are managed by two team members. Each team member supports the other to stay organized and make sure nothing gets dropped.
As an added benefit, if one team member is sick or away from the office, the other team member already knows exactly what’s happening with the account and can take over.
Whether you’re a PPC manager or PPC team member, I hope you find these tips helpful. As a PPC manager, I like nothing better than when my team members use their organizational skills to support my organizational skills!
What will you do to keep your PPC team organized in 2017?