How To Spot a Bad Client: 3 Prospective PPC Client Red Flags

A difficult client has cancelled your digital marketing services after just two full months of working together. The team is disappointed in the results, the client is no longer confident in your services, and the possibility of a referral, case study or success story dies with that 30-day cancellation email. In this situation it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming your team’s effectiveness when really the relationship wasn’t sustainable from day one.

But how do you know the cause of your client’s departure? There are some palpable warning signs of any new client that can typically be uncovered on the initial call and discovery phase. Paying attention to these can have a tremendous effect on your agency as a whole, and ignoring them is a surefire recipe for team headaches, distrust and inefficiency of your agency’s time.

Look for indications of poor conversion

Do they have an unrelenting number of bad reviews? Are their landing pages awful? Does their website just look straight up confusing? More importantly, do you believe in their product? Ultimately your purpose is to drive leads that convert and increase their visibility online. So, many of these barriers automatically make your job tougher. If, however, your team has the capability to take care of these then you need to be compensated for them. Clients can sometimes have unrealistic expectations for design costs and timelines so being 100% transparent here paves the way for a smooth relationship.

No measurement of success

“I’m looking to do some marketing – how many leads can you get me per month?” I can’t overstate how many times I’ve heard this question from an initial consultation call. You can lead the client to describe what success looks like. But, if the success measurement isn’t defined it can setup your agency for failure.

What could success look like?

  • A number of qualified candidates filling out lead forms on their site
  • Growth of followers on social media
  • Fluctuation in email marketing metrics (Open rates, CTRs, Bounce, Spam, Etc)
  • Increase in conversions in AdWords or decrease in wasted spend.

Budget doesn’t fit the goals

Determining your PPC Ad Spend should rarely be a guess and check scenario. Learn how to work to a PPC budget. Sometimes client’s have goals that aren’t tied to analytics. This is not a deal-breaker. But, now it’s your job to make sure you can deliver the amount of leads they’ll need to add a desired amount of new customers per month. Work backwards keeping their goals in mind to prescribe the estimated cost of ads that produce their result. Overpromising leads translates to your marketing team having to backup your promises with either results or excuses. Too much of the latter is a great way to build a portfolio of short-term clients who end up unsatisfied.

Don’t write anyone off too early

Sometimes “not yet” is a better response than “we don’t want your business”; especially if the client’s goals don’t necessarily fit the service they initially inquired about. If a client wants your agency to manage and improve their AdWords conversions, but you know you’d have better success driving sales through their email list, tell them why. By dissuading a client from one service (PPC) you might find an opportunity for another strength of yours (Email). Because you were honest in the viability of their PPC effort, you might gain trust and are more likely to take on other business as a result. Trust is the not-so-secret ingredient to any agency-client relationship. There’s no better way to build this than to prove you’ve got your client’s best interest at the forefront of all that you do.

Any marketing consultant has primary responsibilities to three stakeholders: their team, their clients, and finally to the agency’s brand. If you allow these responsibilities to shape the conversation, you end up with engaging long-term partnerships that are built on trust.

Andy Parker is a Digital Marketing Consultant with Markitors, a digital marketing agency that connects clients with customers…and has a good time doing it.

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