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Being exposed to the agency life for quite some time now, I’ve come to find there are considerable differences in the way PPC strategists operate. From the good, the bad, and the “OMG,” I’ve seen a lot of great work and many things I never want to see again (e.g., 466 keywords in one ad group).

With that said, here’s a taste of what it takes to be a badass PPC professional, in my humble opinion:

1. Communication

There are many moving parts in the business world, and as a pay-per-click (PPC) strategist, you have to be able to communicate with all of them. As you know, it’s common for stakeholders to be responsible for different objectives inside an organization, requiring us to deliver multiple sets of data. It’s essential to be able to talk PPC and adjust your communication accordingly, whether you’re corresponding with stakeholders, your other team members, or an individual who doesn’t have a clue about how PPC works.

Stellar communication skills are the overarching theme of success. We work with many clients who are new to digital advertising or maybe just don’t have the time to learn and understand all the nuances. As an extension of their team, we make it a point to ensure our clients are up-to-date and clear on our PPC strategy and recommendations. There’s no better time-saver than the efficiency that comes with being on the same page as a client.

2. Data-Driven Mindset

As a PPC professional, you should be eating, breathing, and dreaming return on investment (ROI), return on ad spend (ROAS), and cost per acquisition (CPA) daily. It’s our job always to be working to improve these numbers and to be able to talk to them. After all, we’re in the business of making money and saving money for our clients. It’s crucial to be ready to dive into the data and discover trends and opportunities, and better yet, be able to make decisions based on the data.

3. Storytelling

A vital skill of any PPC strategist is the ability to show the value of what we do. It can be challenging to determine the exact path a user took to conversion, what role PPC played in each conversion and the correct return on investment (ROI) of a campaign. In other words, the value isn’t always clear from a high-level perspective, which is why we need to be able to paint a picture using data when we’re rolling out monthly reporting.

Another side of storytelling happens when we’re meeting with our clients. These client meetings not only serve as an opportunity to get updates on how the weather is on the other side of the phone but also as an opportunity to advance the PPC plot. What I mean by that is, it’s good practice to come to these meetings with ideas for improving PPC performance.

At Ten26 Media, we’re always looking for areas of opportunity to maximize our efforts, which in turn maximizes our clients’ returns. I’ll be the first to tell you no one likes a cliffhanger in the business world. What our clients do appreciate is that we’re constantly writing the next chapter, which is always titled, “How We’re Going to Make This Even Better.”

4. Attention to Detail

A huge mistake we see too often when reviewing PPC accounts is a lack of attention to detail. We provide full management services, which means we’re in our clients’ accounts daily. If something breaks, we find it and fix it right away. We notice when and where we should make bid adjustments. We’re continually refining keyword targeting and refreshing ad copy. Nothing gets past us! Well, we’re not perfect, but the point is, we care a lot about what’s happening in each campaign, and we treat every account as if it were our own.

Attention to detail doesn’t mean you’re caught up in minuscule matters, though. Certainly, take advantage of automation and create processes to keep yourself on track with each PPC maintenance task. At Ten26, we plan our days, weeks, and months out with priority tasks for each client so that we never lose sight of what we’re trying to accomplish in each account. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.

5. Risk-Taking

Because so much of what we do is testing and optimization, it’s essential for you to be comfortable taking risks. As we like to say around here if you’re going to fail, fail fast. The digital world is a fast-paced, ever-changing environment where only the most creative and innovative players survive. If you limit yourself to playing it safe, you’ll never be a thought leader. Create a space where failure is not only okay but expected, and you’ll both discover endless possibilities and be amazed at how much it takes to get fired.