So you sell pay-per-click (PPC) marketing services. You know your stuff, you’re good at what you do, and you know there's a market for helping people advertise online.
But maybe you haven’t quite figured out how to market your own services. Your sales process to attract PPC clients may be a bit haphazard. It may be a bit unpredictable. You may not have a process at all.
So, how do you market your PPC marketing services? First, you must know what your potential client needs. Second, set your pricing according to the business problem your prospective client is facing. Third, develop a sales process that allows your prospective client to make the decision quickly and confidently.
This video and the article below will give you a streamlined baseline for how to think about selling your services more effectively. Let’s get started.
How Do I Sell PPC Advertising Services?
Let's start at the beginning: What is the most effective sales strategy for PPC marketing services? How should you be thinking?
I think there are two important points here:
- The first is to remember that the person that buys your PPC marketing services is a person. There's an actual human being looking to make this buying decision. That person may be of any age, gender, or social status, but at the end of the day, it is a person trying to make a buying decision. Any information you offer is designed to help this person make that decision as quickly and as safely as possible.
- The second major point is to remember that your best client is doing digital marketing already. So there's some level of web presence that exists, and they're trying to optimize that web presence.
So to think about that for a second, your best client might be:
- in the content business, like the Wall Street Journal, making money every day on the thousands of articles they store on their site.
- in the e-commerce business, like Nike, selling thousands of SKUs every single day.
- in the software industry, offering different kinds of apps and downloads and software tools.
- running a membership site, with the majority of their offering and interaction with clients behind a paywall.
Your best client may operate in one of these models or some hybrid of these models. But the point is that your best client already has an existing web presence, and they want you to help them better optimize, to get even more value from that presence.
Know What Clients are Looking For
What do these clients need? What might they be looking to buy? Let's put them in three categories here.
- Beginner. The beginning client already has an existing client base, but their web presence may not be aligned with current commerce practices. They may use the phrase, “We want to put ourselves out there.” They're trying to push beyond their normal community, their normal physical location, their established organic opportunities. So for them, digital advertising means expanded reach. The beginning client knows that they don't have the advertising know-how that they need, and they're willing to make the initial investment. It becomes your job to quantify what that core investment needs to be and what they can expect from that initial investment of time, energy, and money.
- Intermediate. The intermediate person has most likely made the initial investment, but it was an imperfect investment. They have a system, and it more or less works. They have some advertising are set up, but it’s probably not working as well as it could. There is probably some version of a break/fix that needs to happen in their world. Someone needs to look at their advertising strategy, look at the setup, and fix what’s breaking so it happens more efficiently and they can begin to depend on it more. Do you know what I mean? The intermediate person more or less is looking for a break/fix solution.
- Advanced. The advanced client is looking for volume and/or speed. They already have advertising in place. It works and they know it works, but now they want greater or faster results. And they have metrics in place to measure that speed. So they start using terms like ROI (return on investment) or ROAS (return on ad spend).
They're comfortable spending money, and they know they may have to make a significant investment, but there's a way that they measure the investment when it comes back. And so you've got to be willing to look at their situation, see what has the most opportunity for return on it, make the improvement, and measure the return.
Avoid This Classic Mistake
Now there's a really important point that I have to call out here. It's a classic mistake that we make when we sell digital marketing related services. It's important to sell to the sold, not to the stubborn. What you want to be able to do is sell to people who are already doing digital marketing.
The mistake that we make as experts is that we see the opportunity—if a company would just do this, if a client would just do that—and so we begin to “evangelize” things to clients. The trouble is that the person you’re selling to hasn't already understood for themselves that an opportunity is present.
If you're selling to stubborn people, that means you have to convince them that a certain web property, web strategy, web element is a good idea. And if you have to convince them, that's heavy lifting on your part, and if you have to convince them, then they don't pay the premium for it.
You want people who are already sold on the idea that PPC marketing is a good idea, that digital marketing investments are profitable investments, and that if they invest with you, they can see a compounded return on their effort. You want to sell the people who are already sold. Be careful of becoming an “evangelist” and selling to people who are currently stubborn.
How Do I Price My PPC Marketing Services?
The basic framing of hourly work, project-based work, and retainer-based work is always sound and will always be appropriate. You can choose from those three, as they relate to your clientele and as they relate to your company.
Let's look at pricing here. What is the average cost of a monthly retainer for PPC campaign management? You can see that fees can range from $500 to $6,000. Putting together a one-time campaign runs from $1,000 to $2,500, and simply creating ads can get you anywhere from $25 to $250 per ad.
That's quite a spread. You can sell for more than that if you choose. You can sell for less than that if you choose. But you get an idea of how the pricing of services is typically structured. Whether you think about it in terms of a monthly fee or a project-based system, it'll fit somewhere along these scales.
Now let's talk about why that price range might exist. If you want to charge more for your services, make the prices go up, what do you have to do?
- Scope: You’ve got to be willing to take on more scope. These could be simpler projects, just done on a larger scale. So instead of creating one ad or 10 ads per month, maybe you are creating 50. Instead of managing one or two campaigns for a client, you’re managing 25. Larger scope allows you to drive the price up.
- Complexity: If you want to drive the price up, you’ve got to take on more complexity. Maybe you're creating or managing fewer campaigns, but the topic is rocket science. Well, that's more complex, and that allows you to turn the price of your services up.
- Opportunity: Another element that allows you to charge more for your prices is opportunity. That could be a matter of revenue or of cost. If your client is aware of an opportunity in the marketplace and your PPC marketing executions can help them acquire that opportunity, well, that's more revenue for them. That makes your services worth more to them.
If they know that not advertising this way could cost them money in the long run, if there's some sort of marketplace disadvantage, they're aware of that cost. Your saving them from that cost, again, allows you to turn the price up.
So if you want to charge more for your services, be at the high end of the range, these are the kinds of things you need to deal with.
Now, what kinds of things drive the price down? If the price is cheaper, why might that be the case?
- Existing marketing: If your client has existing marketing, if they already have ads, if they already have a campaign put together and just need someone to run it, there’s less for you to execute. There's no need for a premium to be paid if they've already paid the premium in the form of existing ads and campaigns.
- Existing organization: Another thing that can drive the price down is if your client has an existing organization. I'm talking about people. If they have people in place to do the marketing already, if they have workflows in place to run the campaigns, then they don't need you to do those things; they just need you to create the ads or the campaign, and they’ll take it from there. Those things help keep the price down and a bit more manageable.
As you think about working with clients and finding a price point that makes sense, all of these options need to be considered, because at the end of the day you're trying to solve the problem facing your client. If your client has challenges that drive the price up, so be it. If your client has assets that keep the price more moderate, so be it. What's most important is that your pricing reflects the scenario your client is experiencing.
How Do I Create a PPC Marketing Proposal?
If you're looking for a step-by-step process to sell your PPC marketing services, what might that look like? Well, the basic process begins by identifying the right people. From there you make contact, that contact leads to a conversation, and that conversation becomes a closed sale. This is pretty much how the process works.
Now the mistake we make is we normally have the wrong mindset as we move through these steps. Let's look at how you should be thinking as you take each step.
- Identification: When you identify people in the marketplace whom you may be able to serve, what you're looking for are problems you can solve. These are people with an existing web presence, and you can tell by looking at their advertising that something is not 100%; something could be improved. So there's something about their scenario that reflects a problem to you.
- Contact: When you reach out to make contact, you're simply offering to have a conversation. If you see this problem, you ask, “Hey, would you like to talk about this?” That's all you're trying to get done. You're not trying to sell in this contact. You're just trying to see if a conversation makes sense.
- Conversation: When you talk to that person in this conversation, you are confirming that the advertising issues that you perceive actually exist. If you're correct and the issues exist, then you can move forward. If not, then you should try to understand what's really going on so you can propose the next course of action. This conversation is about confirming, not forcing their hand to move forward as a client.
- Sale: When they decide to become a client, when they decide to close, then the work begins immediately. You don't introduce any other bureaucracy; just get started solving the problem that you found in the first place.
Now, timeout for a brief sanity check here. I know that what you're looking at here looks really, really simple. We under-appreciate how simple and how elegant the sales process can be.
The number one mistake that we make is trying to force people down this chain of events. We're so focused on making our sale, hitting our numbers, getting that closed deal, that we don't leave enough space for the person on the other side to move down this process with us. So yes, this process can be quite simple, but it's really important to navigate it in a professional way so that both parties can be comfortable with the conclusion that's made in the end.
How Do I Get New PPC Clients Fast?
So if you're excited, you're focused and you want to start this process right now, what do you do? I recommend that you go with tried, true, and proven approaches.
- Go with friends and family. There are people in your network who know who you are, who respect what you do, and it makes sense for you to reach out to friends and family first to get your initial point of momentum.
- Use social media. You have people who follow you, who have connected with you, who are in your online networks, and it just makes sense to leverage those networks first to build on your initial momentum.
- Use freelance networks. There are numerous sites designed to put people in front of you who are ready to make the buying decision. You can bid on that work and get your initial thrust of opportunities from platforms like Upwork and others.
Are there nuances? Yes. Are there complexities? There certainly can be. But whatever process you choose to go forward with, what’s important is the essential insight that you're using your process to help this person make a buying decision. The easier you make the decision for this person, the faster they can say, “Yes,” and work can begin.
What Should My PPC Marketing Business Model Look Like?
So you’ve figured out your pricing, you know where to find clients, and you know what sort of clients to look for. Now, how do you pitch those services to turn prospects into clients?
Let’s be honest about pay-per-click services. In regard to growing a business, pay-per-click can be like putting gasoline on a fire. When you get it right the business can grow two, three, four, five, six times. You can also go in the other direction and lose money at the same speed. It’s a scary proposition.
The client has to pay you and use their advertising budget to actually create and run the campaigns. So all the while you’re talking, the business owner’s doing the math, and it just gets scarier and scarier the more you explain what’s involved.
How do you put yourself forward as a premium PPC marketer so the client knows they’re in good hands? How do you make the decision easy? How do you make it simple? How do you make the client feel good about interacting with you?
Let’s walk through a couple of examples.
Service Example: Sell PPC Management to an E-Commerce Client
First let’s think in terms of running an e-commerce site. Your client sells smaller-priced items, smaller purchases. Those could be children’s clothes, they could be handmade items, they could be books, et cetera. That is what they sell. You want to run PPC campaigns to get customers to their services or to their products.
What you should show them is your process for getting it right. Don’t just say, “Hey, we want to run all your campaigns.” Show them your professionalism.
- Establish measurable results. This is kind of obvious in the PPC world, but make it clear that there are certain metrics that you’re willing to be held accountable to, certain objective metrics. It isn’t about closing a bunch of sales; it’s about making sure that what you do doesn’t damage the business. Be clear on what those objectives are so you know when you get to the end you’re talking about the same stuff.
Now, you can work the process backwards.
- Establish the process. If you are helping the client sell more of their smaller-ticket items there’s some sort of landing page that people have to go to in order to buy. Landing page, shopping cart, something. Do you know what that is? Does it need to be tweaked in some way?
Prior to that you’ve got to do funnel design. How do people get to the actual landing page? Are they buying things on the first time through the site, second time through, the ninth time through?
Is there a sales person involved in the process? Are there email auto responders involved in the process, et cetera? You’ve got to understand this funnel, and you may have to make some edits to it.
Prior to that, you have to do good targeting. We’re talking about retargeting their existing audience, reaching out to cold audiences. Are they warm on some level?
Each of these steps deserves its own process. You have to show the client that you understand that all these things are necessary. You need your own internal mechanism, your own internal method to get to clear targeting with the client to clarify or to improve or refine their funnel with the client.
Then when you step forward to the landing page we all know what landing page or shopping cart or buy button is the one that we’re all optimizing for and then we can all sit and talk about the right metrics. You’ve got to show your client this level of thinking before you begin the actual engagement.
Service Example: Sell PPC Management to a High-Ticket-Sales Client
Let’s think about it in terms of larger purchases. Let’s say that your client sells $4,000 items, $10,000 items, some software platform, some large consulting offering or what have you. Now, it’s the same basic process, but your systems should be a little bit different.
- Establish your metrics. First of all, what are the metrics? What are these metrics that we’re agreeing to on the front end that we’re going to use to measure our success?
- Establish your process. What’s the landing page? Now, if it’s a small ticket, it’s probably one page with a lot of different things on it, but when you buy a bigger ticket item typically there’s one major landing page. Are you split testing that page? Who’s editing that page, et cetera?
One step before that: we’ve got to do funnel design. If someone’s buying a four-, five-, eight-thousand dollar product, then there’s probably a phone call somewhere in that process. Who makes that phone call? Should you talk to the director of sales or the sales person to understand what their current script is for those calls? Should you edit that script in some way, depending on how you want to drive traffic through it? Are you even thinking about that part of the process?
One step before that is targeting. Again, are we targeting an existing audience? Are we targeting more complex audiences? Are we targeting cold audiences? If we’re selling higher-ticket services, we probably aren’t targeting a million different people. It may just be a thousand people. Do you have the ability, do you have the expertise to target a small number?
You’re the expert in people. You know there are a lot of things going on here, and you can add more steps if you need to. What’s important for your client is that you show them you have a process that’s designed to bring success and you’re willing to discuss that success with them.
That’s on their end. For you, internally, you have your method of getting to clear targeting so you can help the client figure this out more quickly. You have a method for designing funnels to help them be clear on their funnel more quickly. You have a method for establishing a clear landing page or refining their existing one if you need to. You’re prepared to have the big boy/ big girl conversation when it’s time to talk about the results of the campaign.
Show the client your professionalism on the front end. It will lower their fear. It will lower their trepidation. You’ll get fewer objections, and that way you can step forward and serve them the way that you know that you should. If you accept this challenge, there is an opportunity in it for you.