Seminar at Google's New York City office

Accelerating Growth: Winning New Paid Search Clients

This week Steve DiFranco and I had the privilege of traveling to Google's NYC office to attend a very helpful and relevant 1-day seminar. Below are just some of the things we took away to make us better equipped to serve our clients, with Google's help!

Chelsea, NYC - On Wednesday, September 20th, we were able to attend a presentation at Google's offices at 75 9th Avenue. We were given a warm welcome and made our way to the 4th floor where the meeting was held. 

Many Google Partners from NY, NJ, CT and NC were represented there. Of course we were proud to represent the Cleveland, OH area. A light lunch was served to help prepare us for an interactive 4-hour presentation. Introductory comments were given by the following representatives:

  • Tim Jordan, Development Agency Manager for Google, Inc.
  • Tong Yang, Head of Agency Development for Google, Inc.

Mr. Yang had some fun facts that he shared. A couple years after Larry and Sergei (founders of a little known search engine called Google while at Stanford University) began the company, they thought about selling. They talked to a company called Excite, and how much was the offer they were made? $1 million. They turned it down. Fast forward to 2002, before Google's IPO. Yahoo made them another offer...$5 billion! Quite a jump....Larry and Sergei thought about it and even spent several months of negotiations, but ultimately the deal fell through. (Incidentally, last year Yahoo was bought by Verizon for about $4.3 billion). Mr. Yang stated that 'now, thanks to you [our Partners], there is unlimited headroom.'

Mr. Yang also brought up a good point about branding, mentioning a recent business development that affected the beloved Toys 'R Us. They just filed for bankruptcy chapter 11 protection. Everyone recognizes the brand. They don't have a problem branding, as he stated, especially since he is a father of young children and immediately thinks that is the store he needs to stop at if he's in a car and his child is upset and a toy would soothe him! What might have happened then if branding wasn't the problem? Could it be that they possibly didn't think enough about their competition? Amazon for example is a challenge to any brick and mortar store. Who is Toys 'R Us' #1 competitor? Walmart.

The objective from Google's standpoint for us as their Partner Agency is to have walked away feeling equipped with an organized, compelling narrative to initiate paid search conversations. They also wanted us to be inspired and eager to evangelize paid search to our clients. We can truly say we feel that way having left that day.

The agenda included the following: 

  • 1:15pm Google Keynote Address - presented by Sergio Calix, Search Solution Specialist at Google, Inc.
  • 2:30pm - Agency Panel
  • 3:30pm - Interactive Activity
  • 4:00pm - Concluding Comments, Mixer & Swag

In the Keynote Address by Sergio Calix, he said that back when chat rooms began it was common to say "BRB" (Be Right Back), but since we're all on mobile devices nowadays, we don't say that anymore. We are always connected. In fact, most users find what they're looking for in search on average in 2.8 seconds to make a decision. Shoppers are becoming loyal to their immediate needs, not so much to brands. 

What I really appreciated is that they addressed a very common question we as a digital marketing agency get on a regular basis. Clients tell us that they never click on ads on Google in the search results. "But does anyone really click on ads?" Many do not, but consider this statistic: 89% of paid clicks are incremental to organic clicks. This means that if you were to turn off your paid campaigns, then only 11% of those clicks would still be captured by organic ads. If you turn them off, you lose 9 out of 10 users with your organic. 

More case studies to help our customers can be found on Think With Google. These are the things our clients deserve to see to help their bottom line and how we can support their investment! 

After some Q&A and a 10-minute break, we enjoyed listening to panel members. This was one of the highlights of the day. Here are some tips that I took away from listening to other experts: 

Ask a lot of questions to know the needs of the customer; this will help prevent giving the impression of pushing a sale on someone who doesn't need it as well as help to build trust. 

If you start talking over a person's head right away, you can give them the impression that you're not being up front with them. Sit down with them and show them data that is both understandable and helpful to them. 

The good thing about paid search is that if it is done correctly you can beat almost anybody at it! 

Sometimes we hear from our clients that "we need to do more SEO"...this phrasing may seem funny to us in the industry. There is something called the periodic table of SEO elements, and this demonstrates there are thousands of things that affect how you rank. How much traffic your website gets is determined in part by AdWords, Google My Business, and a host of other things. Google has increasingly taken a more holistic approach based on a company's reputation. These are good things to keep in mind when someone calls you and says "I was sitting at my desk and looked us up on Google and we're not showing you're not doing your job!!!"

Google search is high in intent, meaning if you're looking for a local company (i.e., tow truck service) the search is based on your immediate need. To "Google It" is now a vocabulary term in regards to problem solving. 

One panelist favors SEM over SEO because the approach is less trial and error and more targeted. His recommendation? Let AdWords campaigns show visitor behavior and what works and what doesn't. This approach instead of spending investment dollars on phrases that never do anything will help win trust and benefit the bottom line. 

"I don't click on the ads" - 89% of people don't. However there are a lot of people who do for each business. If SEO is not caught up to where it needs to be, Pay Per Click/paid search/Google AdWords is a fast pass, especially if people on average take 2.8 seconds to find what they need. Why not use AdWords? 

It is not a good idea to combat a personal feeling with a personal feeling. Use integration with search console accounts and show CRM data. One panelist got a call from a client who represented a bank in Boston, MA. She said she wanted to spend less on Google AdWords and promote the business on Duck Duck Go.

"Why?" the panelist asked surprisedly.

"Because I heard a clip on NPR this morning on my way to work that Duck Duck Go is really cool."

"OK, well before you do that, consider that since January your ads on Google have resulted in 181,000 visits leading to opening mortgage accounts, a host of other services, etc. Duck Duck Go resulted in 50 sessions last month. It's really not a wise investment." Our panelist's client was convinced and did not change her approach. 

Nurture interpersonal relationships with our client's staff. We don't want to take their job away. If we get some push back and push our requests through to upper management, we only end up getting the same pushback on a daily basis. Our approach needs to be such that our job depends on helping each staff not only keep their job but move up. One panelist always asks his client: "Would you like to work less and make more money?" Most say yes; if some say no then maybe it's not a good fit so move on (haha). Also remember that a lot of these people are wearing multiple hats anyway. They generally value their time at about $100 per hour. Would they be able to spend the same amount of time doing the other things on their table? The panelist uses the analogy of not cutting her own hair. She could but it's likely she would not get the same results as if she paid someone to do it. In fact, she probably would end up getting someone to fix it. The lesson? When it's your clients' money and it's thousands of dollars or more, shine the light and help them see the perspective. Can they run their own ads? Possibly. However, do they have the time necessary to analyze the data, make appropriate adjustments to not waste investment dollars, and continually improve on a regular basis? Are they a certified Google Partner, and do they have the training that we do? 

It is important to monetize your clients' AdWords investment. As a rule of thumb, the first three months is the testing period. Treat every dollar as if it were your own money. "What would you do if this was your business?" one panelist and business owner asked several of his staff. If they didn't know, he pushes them to think it through to the end and consider these investments as if they were their own, dollar for dollar, cent for cent. Admit mistakes as everyone makes them. The faster you can admit them to the client, the less of a retention issue for you as their agency it becomes. 

Since the market is very fluid, it is better to underpromise and overdeliver than to overpromise and underdeliver. 

Lisa, one of the panelists, directed her next comments to agencies who serve clients that have non-ecommerce websites and the bulk of their work is B2B or smaller companies. Extremely well thought out reports do not merely consist of data in an Excel spreadsheet. Instead, they are tailored to the clients' needs and requests for information. This data should influence areas for improvement. This is exciting for business owners to see things they haven't thought of regarding potential for products or services they can market more, do email marketing campaigns or write blogs to drive SEO and sales. 

The same panelist said that their company does not have Account Managers per se. If a client has a question on paid search, they can contact her or two others. Clients know who to call from their initial kickoff meeting and know who to contact when they need to. They do have some clients on retainer but are happy to get on the phone for a few minutes with a customer. 

Next came some Q&A between panelist members and the floor. Here are some takeaways:

The human element is irreplaceable when it comes to a comparison with search engines. We have become very tech-driven, and strides have been taken to help us track the right kind of data. Schema ads (taking one ad, splitting into three different ad angles) is an example. If you take a salesman off the street and ask him to make you $100,000 in revenue in a month, you'd doubt he could. Search engine and paid ads are similar. Someone is on the other end of running that ad. In addition, if that sales guy off the street makes you that much in a month, you'd want to give him a raise. You'd likewise want to keep and reward the person helping you with the ads to help grow your business. 

Beware of overpitching. One example is pushing YouTube ads when the client doesn't know what SEO or SEM even means. Build trust first, realize and get on their level with them, and then you can get them there at the right time. 

Prove that you can take the necessary amount of time to investigate a company's website to understand their needs. Invest some time getting to know them. This never goes wrong in a client meeting. Compare this with generic email blasts and general sales recruiting efforts which are much more informal and have less of an impact, not to mention conversion rate. 

Help people become more interested in what you can offer without telling them what is specifically wrong with their website. They probably know what's wrong. It's possible (one panelist named Eric had this issue) that a client has an ecommerce site but couldn't make the recommended changes because it involved complicated moving parts involving other outsourced vendors. Letting them approach you with their specific needs may save you redundant work in the long run and allow you more time to really help your client. 

During the final interactive session, our very own boss Steve DiFranco won 1st prize for finishing an online quiz and then creating an impromptu sales pitch for a B2B standing desk retailer. In the scenario, the client is currently utilizing our agency for SEO but does not believe in the value of paid search. All finalists had to include points that were learned during the seminar. 

Here at Alt Media Studios, we are dedicated to solidifying our partnership with Google and on building trust with our clients. We want to be your #1 choice for custom web development and digital marketing. Please contact us to discuss your needs and how we can help you reach your business goals! 



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