Evolve CommunicationsArticles by: Daniel

Posts By: Daniel

How to Sell Pay Per Click Campaigns


NOTE: This is the third on our “How to Sell” series. If you like this, check out the first and second parts.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a rather broad term that often gets confused with other similar terms such as search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC).

SEM works to build traffic to a website by raising its visibility in search engines. That can be either through paid inclusion in search results (pay-per-click–PPC) as well as on-page and off-page tactics to boost a site’s appearance in organic search results (Search Engine Optimization).

It would seem obvious that an agency might try to sell these services whenever they build a new website. Yet, there are certain times when SEO is preferred over PPC, and vice-versa. Here’s how an agency can identify the need for PPC (more on SEO later).

Is the client in a highly competitive marketplace?

Theoretically, all clients who turn to marketing agencies are in a competitive marketplace. If they weren’t, then they likely wouldn’t need to hire an agency! Yet there’s a difference between “competitive” and “unique.” Being in a competitive marketplace is a great opportunity to (literally) rise above the competition through PPC. Here’s why. In competitive marketplaces, it can be very challenging to organically improve a site’s ranking in organic search. There are many factors that can contribute to a site’s ranking, some of which a company can control and others which it can’t.

By engaging in PPC, clients can quickly elevate its visibility in search engines (as well as other websites through display network advertising). However, the client should have a budget to support a PPC campaign, especially in a competitive marketplace. The same keywords

Does the client want an online brochure or a sales & lead generation machine?

If a business is not looking to convert customers through its website, then why should they pay for traffic?

Yet, if they’re looking to generate sales and leads, then PPC can be an extremely useful, cost-effective tool. Some things the client should consider:

  • PPC can drive a lot of traffic. But the key is to drive qualified traffic, and that usually takes time to develop.
  • The effectiveness of your ads are only as good as the effectiveness of your landing pages. It’s essential to build customized landing pages for your campaigns.
  • The client may need to give something away for free in order to close the deal with the customer

How well does the client knows their customers?

PPC is not the place to go to figure out who your customers are. It’s essential to have a solid definition of your customers before starting a PPC campaign. Why? Because it’s essential to understand how people search for products. After all, it’s not what the client thinks, it’s what their customers think.

Does the client have enough budget to justify SEM?

Success in search engine marketing only comes from sustained efforts. And sustained efforts require a budget. Sometimes significant resources.

It’s a common misperception by some small businesses that Goolge Adwords–or other ad network–is an affordable place to market their business. And they’re right, when comparing the costs of Adwords to, say, buying a television ad. However, that doesn’t mean they will get something for nothing. Unless you’re in a very niche market, long gone are the days where you will spend less than $1 for a click. And, if a client wants more than one lead per day, the client should expect to pay a bare minimum of $500/month.

Additionally, it’s essential to develop landing pages that match your ads. Too often, a company will spend money on ads, but will only send potential customers to their home page. And too often, that home page is not equipped to handle that traffic.

Ultimately, it’s essential to pose these questions to the client to determine if PPC is right for them. While it’s not always a good match, with a little bit of common sense, a smart agency can find ways to integrate PPC into their arsenal of tactics that help their clients reach a competitive edge.

How to Sell Public Relations Services


Although Evolve Communications was founded to primarily help agencies enhance its digital marketing services, we quickly saw the need to offer public relations services. PR is an excellent compliment to other digital marketing tools, particularly social media (some would even argue that social media is public relations and not marketing, but that’s a different discussion).

However, some agencies don’t always know when to steer clients towards a PR solution, and as result, public relations is sometimes deployed to accomplish goals when there might be a tool that’s a better fit.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines for agencies that can help identify when public relations is a good fit for your client–and when it isn’t.

The client has a good story to tell

Some PR practitioners would argue that every company has a story to tell. And to some degree that’s true. The question is whether or not it’s an interesting story. Yes, it’s the PR practitioner’s job to make a story appealing to a company’s audiences. But let’s be honest: putting a “spin” on something less than appealing doesn’t serve anybody (not the agency, not the practitioner, and least of all, not the client).

What makes a good story? Several things: uniqueness, timeliness, relevancy. The client’s story should demonstrate the company’s differentiators, and it should be clear how the client relates to its clients and its industry.

We can certainly help a client articulate their story, but they need to have a story to begin with.

The client has data to back it up (or budget to buy data)

A story is only a work of fiction until you can back it up with data. Clients should have data to back up the claims in their story, or at least have budget to devote towards obtaining supporting data–either through secondary or primary research.

If a client doesn’t have this information, or isn’t interested in obtaining it, then PR may not be a good match for them.

The client has the assets to support it (or the budget to pay for it)

By assets, we mean images, infographics, videos, etc. If they don’t have this already, they need to be willing to pay for it. It doesn’t have to be a huge line item in the budget. But if the client wants to launch a new product, or wants to do a new hire release, or wants to promote a travel package or a destination, or whatever, they’re going to need assets.

Having quality images is integral to securing coverage much of the time, and the client needs to be made aware of that.

The client is open to working collaboratively

Like many marketing disciplines, PR is a collaborative process. It is often an ongoing, evolving process that shifts over time. In PR, the relationship with the client should not be a scenario where the client provides some information and guidelines about what they want to see, and then a few weeks later have an end-product. In PR, it sometimes takes time to develop a story, and that often means collaboration.

Successful public relations requires regular communication between the client and the agency. If a client feels like this is a burden, or they think that hearing from their PR person is just an annoyance, then its likely that they also will not want to talk to the media (see the next item).

The client is willing to talk to the media

We understand that every business has things that are considered proprietary and they don’t want to discuss them publicly. And that’s fine.

However, once we identify the story and how we want to tell it, the client must be willing to tell that story to the media. The client doesn’t have to be media-trained; we can train them to give great interviews. After all, its incumbent on the PR practitioner to prepare the client, including helping the client answer difficult questions that they might not want to answer.

But, if the client is afraid to talk to the media–regardless of training and preparation–then their expectation for obtaining coverage needs to be tempered. Journalists (and bloggers) want access–not necessarily to every detail of a business–but enough to get the story right.

You might be asking, “Does a client need to meet all of these criteria?” Our answer is Yes. But No. But Yes. Yes, ultimately clients need to be able to do all of these things. No because they don’t need to meet these criteria right off the bat. We can work with you to help get them up to speed. And yes, again, because ultimately, the client’s interest in obtaining coverage for their business must be matched by their willingness to contribute to the process.

How to Sell Social Media

This is the second in our “How to Sell” series. You can read the first post in the series, “How to Sell Public Relations Services.”

With companies across the spectrum looking to incorporate social media into their marketing mix, selling social media should be relatively easy, right? Believe it or not, many companies still face several hurdles to incorporating social media into their marketing mix. These include:

  • Not fully understanding social, and therefore ignoring it.
  • Feeling like it’s something a lower-level employee can do (and therefore not giving it a plank in the strategy–or tying it to strategy at all).
  • Their agency doesn’t recommend social media solutions as much as they could (or should).

Many agencies focus on selling services with which they’re comfortable and have experience. They know they should be growing their social media practice, but can’t seem to quite close the deal. That’s where we come in.

Here’s what agencies need to do in order to sell more social.

Bake social into everything

This must go beyond simply creating a Facebook and Twitter page. That’s the price of entry, and not an idea in and of itself.

Marketing solutions need to demonstrate ideas for identifying, engaging, joining and sometimes building communities. That can be through creating interesting content, developing a company’s online presence, and exchanging useful information that create value for the client’s constituents.

Be social

Seems obvious, right? Social media may be new to some, but companies that want help with social expect an agency with at least a modicum amount of experience. Even if an agency doesn’t have experience, it’s people surely do (seriously, who isn’t on Facebook?). That means letting its employees be active on social networks. That also means giving up some level of message control (which is perhaps the largest hurtle for many traditional ad agencies).

Should the agency itself get social? Evolve’s answer is Yes–and No. It’s o.k. to have a presence, but we believe the true power of social media is in people, not organizations. That’s why we believe it’s essential for agencies to loosen their hold on the reigns and let their people represent online. Guidelines, in this case, are recommended (but not rules). The bottom line here is that some agencies just need to adjust their thinking (and approach) towards how information is spread today.

Be open with clients and set realistic expectations

This might be the most difficult thing for an agency. Client-agency relationships can be tenuous, and they need to be cultivated and constantly maintained. No agency wants to risk losing a client by presenting an idea that the client won’t buy into.

But it’s the agency needs to both be open with the client about what is possible with social media, and what isn’t. By now, most companies know that social is not a panacea to its marketing problems. And most recognize the need for integration with other marketing activities.

Perhaps that’s why starting selling social ideas to long-term, existing clients might be the best place to start. There’s already a level of trust there, which the agency can then leverage to its advantage. The agency can take its past record with the client and use that as a platform to demonstrate new ideas that incorporate social media.

Why agencies need to do this?

To protect their business. The biggest threat to an agency today is not evolving (sorry, we can’t resist the pun). There is a lot of room in the marketplace for upstarts to come in a snatch up business from agencies focused on more traditional marketing solutions. And with the plethora of freelancers on the market, its easier for a small agency to start in social and work into more traditional avenues than it is for a more established agency to develop a social media practice.


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