Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on June 23rd, 2010

How to Get on the Same Page with Paid Search - Aligning Goals with Opportunities

When clients and PPC providers are not on the same page, even the smallest communication misstep can cause a meltdown in the campaign and relationship. But all can be avoided if the proper rapport, research and analysis is conducted before the first ad is even posted.

In Monday’s blog post How to Get on the Same Page with Paid Search - Understanding Client Needs, we walked through key ways to build rapport with the client, what preliminary research is needed, how to fill in the gaps with further analysis, and what client challenges are common in paid search.

Once you understand your client’s or company’s needs, you are ready to flush out and align the campaign’s goals and opportunities.

Understanding a Client’s Challenges

I know I covered this at the end of Monday’s blog post, but I believe this is important enough to review again. Here are a few typical challenges you can run into with a client, and examples of their results:

Challenge #1: Limited Time

Result: Unable to effectively pursue new marketing strategies

Challenge #2: Lack of Experience

Result: Mistakes in online marketing campaigns

Challenge #3: Resource Constraints

Result: Cutting corners

Challenge #4: Not Targeting Audience Effectively

Result: Failure to generate revenue

Challenge #5: Inability to Measure Success

Result: Suboptimal use of marketing budget

Challenge #6: Limited Marketing Strategy

Result: Missing out on customer segments

Challenge #7: Limited Budget

Result: Limited investment in future

Nearly every company or client will have at least one of these challenges, but those who prevail will acknowledge these challenges before launching their campaign and work to overcome them.

Understanding Client Needs: Aligning Opportunities

I think its safe to say that any company who is interested in paid search has the goals of increasing awareness, traffic, and conversions. Those are all good goals to have, considering the opposite would basically be burning money in a dumpster while your children watch. Hopefully you get my point. It’s time to start getting specific.

By now you should have flushed out a basic understanding of the company, their marketing efforts, challenges, and goals. It time to use the tools you have in your toolbox in order to align those with opportunities.

The Toolbox

Nearly every paid search campaign will be using Google’s AdWords. AdWords is Google’s prize pony, and offers PPC advertising and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. You can focus on local, national, or international distribution with short, concise ads that consist of one title line and two content text lines.

The Tools

Whether you are pitching this to a client, to your company, or to yourself, goals should be flushed out at this point. Here are a few questions that are designed to build awareness of the many tools and features of AdWords that provide the best opportunities to achieve those goals:

Q: Are you concerned that you’re spending too much/not spending enough on marketing?

All too often the client may not have a specific figure to support their answer to this question. Which is why you are here. If they aren’t making enough money, the answer will be “too much”.


AdWords gives you a range of helpful online tracking tools so you can understand what’s working, what’s not, and which adjustments you can make to maximize your investment. It costs nothing to develop AdWords ads and there’s no minimum spend. You only pay when consumers click on your ad to go to your site. You can adjust, pause, or stop your campaigns at any time. If you only want to spend $10 a day with a maximum cost of twenty-five cents for each click on your ad, you can.. and have some ice cream with that cake!

Q: Are you worried that your current media plan isn’t as efficient as it could be?

Most clients who need to outsource their paid search will not have an efficient media plan for one reason or another. This is where one of the many challenges we discussed earlier will come into play.


AdWords gives you incredible flexibility and local targeting. You can set your ads to appear only for people searching in a particular city, region, or country. You can even target folks within 20 miles from your actual store or business. Or, you can go the other direction:

• More than 170 million people use the Internet in the United States.

• Google’s network reaches 80% of these potential customers.

• Target potential customers by neighborhood, city, state, or country.

• AdWords is available in 38 different languages and 250 countries.

Q: Are you concerned you may not know how to best target your advertising to your audience?

Not every business has the time or resources to pull together the quantitative and qualitative research to truly target their audience. For those businesses, AdWords has you covered.


Google’s contextual targeting technology will automatically match your ads to webpages that are most relevant to your business. They also offer performance reporting that reviews your ad’s performance on a site-to-site basis to see impression, click, cost, and conversion data.

• AdWords shows ads to potential customers when they're actively searching for what businesses like yours have to offer.

• Your ads are being placed when decisions are being made.

• Of consumers making in-store purchases in key categories, 89% have conducted online research prior to purchase.

Q: Are you satisfied with the level of traffic, conversions, etc. that you are experiencing?

This might seem like a dumb question, but there are no dumb questions when conversions are on the line. One of the many reasons for these obvious questions is to flush out more specific concerns, goals, and opportunities you can take advantage of with paid search.


Hundreds of thousands of websites, news pages, and blogs partner with Google to display AdWords ads - ads that could belong to you. You will be reaching users all over the web with your paid search campaign to drive targeted traffic to your site to convert.

• In online advertising, a conversion occurs when a click on your ad leads directly to user behavior you deem valuable, such as a purchase, signup, page view, or lead.

• Conversion tracking, then, is a way to monitor and evaluate how well your ad campaigns convert into a meaningful action like a sale.

• Because AdWords delivers people information about the products and services they're already looking for, it can help to drive conversions.

• Your AdWords account includes a free conversion-tracking tool to measure your conversions and ultimately help you identify how effective your AdWords ads and keywords are for you.

• To get started, just click 'Conversion Tracking' at the top of your account's 'Campaign Management' tab. Then click 'Create an Action' and follow the steps provided.

Start Me Up

Paid search, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC), is one of the most effective ways to promote your business online. When creating a new PPC account and relationship, it is critical that both the client and the PPC provider are on the same page. If you are able to build rapport, conduct thorough research and analysis, understand challenges, set reasonable goals, and align opportunities, you will have a success story worthy of Google.

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Did I leave any vital information out of the post? Do you disagree with this process? I would love to hear from you with a comment below.

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