Imagine if for every dollar you invested in advertising you received two dollars in return?

According to Google’s Economic Impact Report, that’s exactly what Google Ads can do for a business.

Sure, this is just an average. But it illustrates the game-changing power of PPC advertising.

When done right, with focused targeting, optimization, and relevant expertise, pay-per-click campaigns can quickly scale a business right in front of your eyes.

Of course, it’s not simple to achieve these results. For every PPC success story, there is someone who has burned through months and months of budget without any notable PPC results, and a big gap in their business objectives.

That’s what draws businesses to agencies like yours. They are chasing the magic bullet that is accelerated sales growth through paid acquisition, but they need your expertise to get there.

The problem you face is that marketing agencies are a dime a dozen. The barrier to entry in this industry is minimal, which means there is a lot of competition in the market, and subsequently a ton of skepticism from potential clients.

Perhaps the biggest question on any warm prospect’s mind is about PPC results. How quickly can you get them the outcome they desire?

Before you can answer that question, you first need to determine precisely what your client considers a positive result.

What does your client consider a result?

Here’s the thing: Every PPC client is going to be slightly different in their objectives and expectations. During the prospecting and sales process, it’s up to you to identify and clearly define what success looks like. Because without a definition of success there is a strong likelihood that your client will have unmet expectations at some point.

You might be training for a marathon, but your client wants to enter the long jump. Sure, you’re both vying for the Olympic team, but the training and preparation for achieving both of these ambitions are significantly different.

The same goes for PPC. If your client is entering the relationship with an expectation of closing sales, yet you focus all of your energy on attaining clicks or booking meetings, then there will be a gap between the reality and the expectation. Give it three months, and you may have booked hundreds of meetings for this client – something you perceive as a successful campaign. But if they haven’t closed any of those meetings into sales, then you have a distinct gap. No matter whether or not you think it is fair they will have you on the hook for what they were expecting to receive, not what you thought was a good result.

So, then, the single most important leading indicator for PPC results is creating a shared definition of what success looks like. If you can have the client express what they want from the relationship, it becomes easier to pursue that end game, optimize the campaign accordingly, and report back to them about the results.

“The single most important leading indicator for PPC results is creating a shared definition of what success looks like.”

To help you with this conversation, here are some common outcomes that your clients may be looking for:

  • Brand exposure or website traffic – determined by Clicks, Click-Through-Rate, and Cost-Per-Click.
  • Leads, Calls, or Meetings Booked – determined by Lead Conversions and Conversion Rate.
  • Sales or ROI – determined by Revenue, Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate, and ROI calculation.

PPC Results Image 1

Once you have a clear definition of what your client considers a “result,” then you can estimate how long it will take to achieve.

How long does it take to get PPC results?

Ok great, so you have a well-defined destination that you are striving to reach for your client. In almost all instances, the very next words out of their mouth will be… How long will it take to reach that milestone?

For inexperienced PPC agencies, this question is a huge stumbling block. Our natural tendency is to over-promise in an attempt to close the deal. Unfortunately, this approach will come back to bite you at some point. In fact, most of the time an overly ambitious timeline will actually cost you the sale because a client with an ounce of PPC experience will smell a rat.

The key to answering this question – and retaining a client in the long-term –  is to make an educated estimate of how long it will take to reach your client’s goal based on your experience, and then quoting them a timeframe of two or three months longer than you expect. This way, you create a bit of breathing space during the onboarding period of the engagement as well as setting yourself up in a strong position to exceed expectations.

With this approach, and a good understanding of what your client considers a positive payback from the campaign, here are some guidelines for the speed at which you can achieve PPC results:

Brand Exposure or Website Traffic (Clicks)

PPC Results Image 3

If your clients are motivated by brand exposure and website traffic, the good news is they will start seeing results almost immediately once the campaign launches.

The problem with clicks and click-through-rate as results-based metrics is that it’s easy to get clicks without necessarily closing sales. So, while clients may tell you that this is what they want, it may be worth pushing back on this objective to ensure there isn’t an underlying sales-driven goal that goes unspoken.

In saying that, clicks form the basis for any successful PPC campaign because they determine how receptive the audience is to your messaging. So while they may not always be a stated desire of your client, they are still a valuable discussion point when determining how to optimize campaign performance.

Leads, Calls, or Meetings Booked

PPC Results Image 2

The vital reporting metrics for Leads, Calls, or Meetings, are the conversion metrics. These are a much more common outcome to be held accountable to than clicks because they have a direct influence on the revenue and sales growth of your client’s business.

Managing expectations can be hard when it comes to how fast a business will see results like this. There are a number of variables that affect the speed and volume of lead acquisition, such as:

  • Budget
  • Campaign offer
  • Industry
  • Keywords
  • Search volume
  • Location
  • and much more.

As your agency matures and you build up data, knowledge, and experience in specific industries, you will be able to make more educated estimations to set expectations with your clients. If, however, you don’t have access to this information yet, then one month is a fairly safe time frame for seeing results that you can tell your clients. Alternatively, lean on a white label PPC provider to tap into their in-depth industry experience and data. This will help you set more realistic expectations with your clients.

Sales and ROI

PPC Results Image 4

Without even talking to your clients it’s pretty safe to assume that they want to increase sales from their PPC campaign. However, be measured and delicate with how you discuss this. Much like the lead conversion rate discussed above, the sales equation has a number of variables that affect its performance.

The key difference between “Sales” and “Leads” is that, as a PPC agency, you have (almost) complete influence over lead generation. There are variables, however, in the sales process that you have no control or power over.

We strongly recommend not promising sales in your PPC management proposal. You can provide informed estimates and data-backed hypotheses to manage client expectations, but you don’t want to be accountable to a metric you can’t control.

Sales cycles vary significantly depending on the industry and internal follow-up processes. They could be anywhere from a day to months or even a year in length. Keep this in mind as you set sales-driven expectations for your clients.

If your client only talks about sales and ROI as their desired result from the PPC campaign, try to help them understand your position:

  • Reinforce the minimal influence you have over the internal sales process, and encourage them to re-adjust their expectations of the campaign.
  • Have the client take accountability for a Lead-to-Sales Conversion rate, the part you don’t control, and hold your team accountable to the generation of leads that will satisfy their desired results based on that conversion rate or a Cost-Per-Lead goal.

Conclusion and wrap up

Setting results-based expectations with your clients is a crucial determinant for the long-term prosperity of a PPC agency.

If you can…

  1. Get your clients to clearly articulate exactly what it is they want, and;
  2. Provide an estimation, based on data and experience, for how long it will take you to reach that destination.

You will end up with a list of happy, successful, and long-standing clients.

In sum: Know what it is you can deliver and be conservative when setting client expectations.

I'm the Invisible spokesman here at InvisiblePPC! It's my aim to spread the word and educate ambitious agency owners on the benefits of white label PPC and agency growth. I care about creating quality content that delivers value for our followers, friends and partners.

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