The PPC Snobs Blog

Module 1: Discover

Answer important questions about our organization, industry and customers. Align on key objectives, funnels, processes, strategy, tactics and marketing maturity.

Table of Contents

1.1 Research

I always start any PPC discussion with a a thorough discovery session. Effective discovery helps me to understand the business as well as uncover opportunities in the market. The information that I gather during the discovery process will lay the foundation for my PPC strategy. I’ve listed some of the questions that I ask below.

1.1a Discovery

Organization

  • What is the legal structure of our organization?
  • How many employees do we currently have?
  • Who/what do we need to make this business work?
  • What do we spend your money on?
  • What services and/or products do we sell?
  • How do we make money?
  • Do we require special licensing/education/certifications to operate?
  • What are our 1-2-5 year growth ambitions?
  • Can we see ourselves doing this 5 years from now?
  • What’s our yearly revenue and operating costs?
  • What KPIs should we track to determine success?
  • How often do we meet to discuss marketing goals?
  • Who will take ownership of the PPC within our organization?
  • Who makes final decisions about strategy, tactics and budgets?

 

Industry

  • What industry are we in? (Please be as specific as possible)
  • Who are our direct and indirect competitors?
  • Why would we lose a deal to a competitor? What factors do they compare?
  • What objections do customers voice about the competition?
  • What companies have failed in the industry? Why did they fail?
  • How does our pricing compete against the market?
  • What USPs do we offer versus the competition?
  • How do we stand out from the pack? Is my business idea unique?
  • What are the leading industry publications?
  • What seasonality trends can we identify?
  • Who are the leading influencers in the space?
  • How has the industry changed in the last 5, 10, 20 years? Where is it headed?

 

Marketing

  • How are we currently generating business? 
  • What marketing tactics do competitors use? How successful are they?
  • What are the top pieces of content created by your competitors?
  • Do we have a website and how are we currently using it?
  • Are brand and style guidelines established?
  • What marketing channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc..) are we using?
  • What marketing software (analytics, CRM, etc…) are we using?
  • What creative assets (brochures, blogs, etc..) do we have available?
  • What is our monthly/quarterly/yearly marketing budget?
  • Can we explain the sales process from start-to-finish?
  • What questions do prospects typically have during the sales process?
  • What kinds of information do customers seek as they shop for our product/services?
  • How long is the sales process on average?
  • Do we have a reseller program?

 

Customers

  • Who is our ideal customer? Who can we service?
  • What objections might a customer have about your products/services?
  • What locations do we service?
  • What problems do our customers face?
  • What solutions are our customers looking for?
  • What type of content does our audience consume?
  • Is there a niche that we serve?
  • How many times do our customers buy from us on average?
  • How long do our customers stay with us on average (churn)?
  • What’s the average lifetime value ($£€) of a customer?
  • How much are we willing to pay to acquire a customer?

1.1b Equity and Inclusion

I always challenge organizations about the commitment that the are willing to make to advocate fairness, equity and inclusion through their mission statement, business objectives and PPC engine.  Unfortunately, the PPC industry is notorious for its lack of diversity.

  • Developing meaningful relationships with stakeholders that are built on serving their genuine needs.
  • Offering opportunities to vendors, employees, and customers that are inclusive and equitable.
  • Engaging stakeholders through transformative experiences that go beyond dollar value. 
  • Empowering others with the knowledge, skills and values to contribute to a more inclusive, just and peaceful world.
 
Resources:
 

1.1c Competitor Research

If you sell a product or service, then there’s likely a peer already selling it better. If you’re already the best at selling your product or service, then it’s good to know who else is innovating in your space.

With the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool, we can identify competitors/peers, which provides a starting point for researching our market.

(If you’re doing this research on Google, please DO NOT click on your competitor’s ads. Your competitor will get charged for this click. No need to play dirty)

Once you’ve identified your competitors, make a list of your top 10-20. Visit their website and look for the following:

What does your competitor offer its users in exchange for their information? Whitepaper, guide, infographics, email list, etc…

What does your competitor do better than everyone else? What do they say that they do really well? Are there similar USPs among different competitors.

What certifications, associations, badges or client logos does your competitor use to highlight trustworthiness? What is stopping you from obtaining the same certifications?

What does your competitor’s site structure look like? Footers often show you a competitor’s website outline, which can tell you plenty about their content and audience strategy.

What keywords is your competitor using in their headlines and descriptions? Look at the H1, H2 & meta-description tags for an idea of the SEO strategy your competitor is building their website around.

Use the free Google Pagespeed Insights Tool to measure your competitor’s website speed. A fast website, with high scores across core web vitals is a good indication of a strong SEO department.

What social media networks do your competitors maintain an active profile? Look for recent activity and level of engagement.

What kind of things do your peers write about?

What cities, states and countries does your competitor operate in? Who do they primarily serve?

What roles are your competitors hiring for? Are there openings in the marketing department? This says a lot about what your competitor might see as a priority for their business strategy or a gap in expertise.

What do others have to say about your competition? We recommend Google Alerts, where you can track internet mentions for a specific brand or topic. 

How do your prices compare to the competition? Are there competitors that disrupt the traditional pricing model for your industry, for example a SaaS that automates a key tasks or service.

1.2 Funnels

1.2a Call-to-Actions

Do you understand how customers shop for your product/service? 

Mapping the customer shopping journey — also known as the marketing and sales funnel — means identifying the key steps and decisions that customers make as they make a purchase. Develop an understanding of the customer journey then design content, creatives or interactions to guide those steps.

As we dissect the shopping journey, we will also make assumptions about what’s ‘important’ for our stakeholders. A core part of our role is interpreting and re-reflecting the perspectives of others as we design our strategy. We need to be respectful of the communities that we advertise towards. More importantly, we need to be conscious of how we represent these audiences in our creatives and processes. 

Tip: Let’s play a game called, “Spot the CTA”. Next time that you see a clickable button on a website, pay attention to the text inside of it. This is the call to the action (CTA). CTAs often give away the stage of the customer shopping journey that is being targeted by that website.

See some examples below:

1. Top of the Funnel CTAs

Top of funnel CTAs usually identify where the relationship building process begins. They often ask for a soft commitment (subscribe, follow, like) in exchange for more access to our creative assets, content and channels.

2. Middle of the Funnel CTAs

Middle of the funnels CTAs seek to guide towards information about our functions and/or prices. Our creatives assets should support the decision making process, such as trials, demos, and webinars.

3. Bottom of the Funnel CTAs

Bottom of the funnels CTAs get us started with the sales onboarding and intake process. Request a quote or contact sales. For e-commerce, this is usually appears as add-to-cart,  checkout or buy now.

1.3 Maturity

Google & BCG has this great free digital marketing maturity benchmark assessment tool. It looks at where an organization sits on the path to full, data-driven marketing. The assessment takes about an hour to complete, and offers both strategic and tactical recommendations to help your organization evolve its digital marketing maturity.

Tip: Your digital strategy should plan for the following: (1) the capacity to measure results, (2) investment in tracking software, (3) an understanding of what and where to target, (4) creatives that explain your products/services and highlight your unique selling points (5) automation of processes and functions, and (6) clearly defined roles and project ownership within your organization.

1.3a Organization

How does your organization’s decision making tree, departmental silos/structure, or usage/lack of expertise impact your organization’s ability to strategize and execute on key PPC tasks? Essentially, how do ensure that things get done faster and better? 

Tip: Determine who will take ownership of the PPC management, whether you require outside expertise, and who is responsible for budget decisions.

1.3b Measurement

Our organization’s capacity to track and analyze important performance and business metrics. The ability to understand the online and offline journey of each click is the basis for running successful PPC campaigns. 

Our measurement strategy starts with how you’re able to track important metrics and business actions (i.e. users, clicks, conversions). Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help us understand how our PPC campaigns drive key business outcomes. In simple terms: is our PPC working.

Tip: Gather the expertise, software and processes required to collect key metrics about how our PPC is driving business outcomes.

1.3c Infrastructure

Infrastructure refers to our technology stack, account setup, and campaign architecture. We need to use 3rd party tools to measure and manage many of our processes. These will serve as the foundation for our PPC engine. 

Tip: Invest in a good CRM Software ($99/m) and/or Call Tracking ($99/m)

1.3d Content

The ads, images, videos, webpages, emails, webinars, blogs, and/or any other form of content that you share…serves as the basis of your digital relationship with stakeholders. It’s often how they will create their first and most lasting impressions of you. 

Tip: Start writing headlines (30 characters) and descriptions (90 characters) for each of your products and services. 

1.3e Targeting

The who, what, where, when, why and how of targeting your audiences. Knowing the levers of targeting that move performance, and more importantly, ROI, is key to making your PPC engine sustainable in the long run. 

Tip: Decide on the keywords, audiences and locations that you will be targeting with your PPC campaigns.

1.3f Automation

Our capacity to leverage smart bidding and machine learning to deliver relevant and high value stakeholders is determined by our capacity to feed the PPC engine with critical information about our KPIs and audiences. 

Tip: Invest in software that easily integrates with the major PPC platforms. This will make automation easier.

Points to Remember:

  1. By the end of the discovery process we should have (1) a clear outline of our business objectives, processes, roles and responsibilities, (2) a better understanding of our industry and audience, and (3) clearly defined unit economics (how much a customer is worth on average and how much we are willing to pay to acquire them).
  2. We should also have a clear outline of the customer journey, especially the most important steps in our lead to sale process. A customer relationship management software will help to automate key functions and will be important for passing data back to our ad systems.
  3. Our goal is to advance our digital maturity: organization, measurement, infrastructure, content, targeting and automation.

Startup Guide

Module 2: Setup

Module 3: Optimize