Earlier this year, I successfully planned my wedding. And by successful, I mean that there was enough food and booze, there was a lot of smiling, and no one caught on fire. (In retrospect, I may have had low expectations for the behavior of my family and friends). In the end, we had a medium-sized wedding in an Irish pub filled with people we cared about and enough fun and laughter to keep spirits high.
While Googling “wedding tips” ad nauseum, it occurred to me that planning a wedding and planning a PPC campaign aren’t much different; both involve lots of planning, research, cross-checking, and sample testing. Setting goals and measuring success also come into play – how many people came to the wedding/how much traffic did you drive to the site. You spend a lot of time building to the big launch, and then, off you go! (Both can also be done on the couch in yoga pants, but there’s no scientific proof that this will make either successful.)
Splurge on the Most Important Things
For my wedding, this meant the food and an open bar. I was fine with not having an arbor of five thousand white roses if it meant upgrading to Guinness BBQ meatballs. In PPC, the meatballs are your keywords. If you want to dominate your niche market, you’ll want to bid high enough on relevant keywords that will place you in top ad positions via Ad Rank while still maintaining a cost-effective campaign. Take a minute to decide where you want your ad spend to work for you, and where it will be the most effective. While it’s nice to have a small budget to test the waters on some less obvious keywords and phrases, make sure you have a strong base from which to drive traffic.
Being Indecisive is Just as Bad as Being a Bridezilla
Trying to settle on which wedding ring I wanted kept me up for several nights, and that flowed into other areas where decisions had to be made. I didn’t trust myself and I overthought it all, which almost lead to disaster as I waited until the last minute. (Luckily, I didn’t have to resort to a broken shoelace tied around my finger, although it was close). You also need to avoid the mindset that there is only one way to plan a campaign – being a “PPCzilla”. The digital landscape changes all the time, and what worked for one client may not work for another. Remember, good PPC managers have both instinct and qualified data to work with, as well as knowledge of current updates on various ad platforms. This keeps them on task and allows them to make decisions in a timely fashion.
Make Lists…Lots and Lots of Lists
The number of checklists I had for my wedding was ridiculous; I kept moving them from folder to folder as I shared them with key people. In PPC, there are keyword lists and negative keyword lists, remarketing lists and customer email lists, CSV and TXT formatted lists, location and targeting lists…lists upon lists upon lists (that need to be shared with teammates, clients, and vendors)! Being organized helped me keep my ceremony on track and focus in place, and I found this methodology carries over into my PPC work successfully as well. We have a hybrid approach at Command Partners that involves many different services but Google Drive is central to our organizational system.
Skip the Rituals That Don’t Really Matter to You
“Don’t feel obliged to include anything just because it’s tradition” — this quote made things so much easier for me. Tossing a garter or a bouquet seemed silly, and with a simple buffet lunch, we opted out of formal toasts as well. These things just didn’t work for the wedding we envisioned. If there’s a specific piece of a campaign that doesn’t work for your client, don’t feel obligated to include it. One bride’s dream wedding is another bride’s nightmare, and not every client translates well as an image display ad, or will do as well on AdWords as they would on Facebook. While an all-encompassing package may seem impressive with its reach, tailoring it with an understanding about what works for the client will make your spend more productive.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate/Automate, Automate, Automate
Anything that you can delegate to someone else during the wedding, you should, in order to save both your sanity and your time. Letting others handle details like flowers or music meant I could concentrate on family and the fact that I was about to walk towards the love of my life. For PPC, this means adding automated rules to your campaigns, which saves you steps, such as having to manually turn limited-time offers on and off. You can even set up scripts that will only display your ice cream ads when the weather gets over 80 degrees! Automating allows you more time to focus on ways to improve the account performance, and get the client to love you even more.
After lots of research and planning, there is no bigger relief than having everything go off without a hitch. When an account launches and you start seeing positive results, there’s no better feeling in the world (well, okay, except maybe the whole “I do” thing…that’s pretty awesome, too). And even when you’re past the initial honeymoon phase, you still find ways to work together, and improve on the things that work.. There may be changes, but pull together the key data and skills that made everything work the first time (mixed with a dose of flexibility for things to come), and you’ll find that your client relationship will continue to grow and blossom.