“Someone from Google called and they want to help me work through some recommendations.”
Often, the business owners getting these calls are excited – Google is taking time out of its busy schedule to help me get better results! Or, they get a bit skeptical about the work my company has done for them. As in, why do they need Google to “fix” my account if they’ve been paying for you to help them rank all along?
A more appropriate response might be one of indifference. That’s because Google isn’t exactly calling to help. Or at least, they aren’t calling to help you. To understand why, and what you should do when a Google rep calls, here are a few things you need to keep in mind…
When Google Calls You, It’s Almost Always a Sales Call
A lot of business owners don’t realize this, but Google makes a lot of outbound sales calls, so you’re likely to get one eventually. This is particularly true if you use AdWords, or if you have in the past.
Typically, the rep will say (to you or your voicemail) that they are calling to help you optimize your account, or help you get more from it. They might use words like “account set up or campaign optimization.” What they mean by that is to have you increase your budget, target more keywords, in order to draw more website traffic.
These sound like really good things, and they can be, but in reality, they are geared to help Google’s bottom line just as much as yours.
I’ll explain why in just a moment, but for now let me just point out that the calls Google makes to you are about sales prospecting, not optimization. And that’s assuming they even come from Google in the first place.
Some Google Partners Skirt the Ethical Line
Occasionally, calls originating “from Google” aren’t from the company at all. In these cases, they are coming from third-party firms, Google certified partners (or those claiming to be), who have seen you online and decided you were an opportunity.
In these situations, the call sounds official, but these are sales prospecting calls. More so, they may be coming from a business that wants to sell you pay-per-click management for a commission on your monthly online advertising spend.
This isn’t to say that all PPC firms are unethical – nothing could be farther from the truth – or that you shouldn’t get help managing your online ads. Under the right circumstances, getting a bit of expert assistance can be well worth the time or money.
Just be sure you’re getting a good deal, and that you know who you’re working with. Don’t assume that someone who calls you using the Google name is necessarily affiliated with the company.
The Challenge With These Sales Tactics
Although I personally object to the idea of sales reps from Google or an affiliated company using the words “help you” when selling to you (it goes against the concept of transparency), the bigger issue is the way the actual “optimization” or “setup” will be performed.
As I’ve written in the past, one of the worst things you can do is take the recommendations Google gives you on its self-guided AdWords account set up process. Doing so is going to leave you targeting broad search phrases. That’s wonderful if your goals include generating impressions or traffic, or spending a lot of money on clicks. But, if you’re focused on reaching your ideal buyers and generating conversions, you’ve got to be much more precise than that.
As usual, the devil is in the details. When you’re spending a lot on ads, you should see big traffic numbers. The impression is: “look, it’s working!” But is it really? The reality, however, is that it’s only working if it’s resulting in qualified leads and new customer conversions.
A system that’s designed to keep you spending on traffic, isn’t necessarily how you get the best possible return on your investment if it doesn’t result in actual sales.
AdWords Done Right
Google AdWords does have value for businesses of all sizes, but your campaigns have to be tightly focused, and set up with the right goals. You need to be targeting a certain type of buyer, using affordable search phrases that indicate some kind of real need (intent is key) and not just a passing interest in getting general information.
Once you have those ads in place, you need them pointed to dedicated landing pages with conversion tools such as forms or e-commerce PayNow buttons – not generic contact or product info pages (unless they have contact info/links on them) – to ensure you can capture legitimate leads. And finally, you need to constantly test your sales funnel and keep improving your content and conversion rates.
This is a proven way to benefit from AdWords, or any other PPC platform. But, it’s not the one that Google’s sales reps are selling. So, if you get a call from the company asking if you have time to review or setup your account, politely inquire whether the person on the other end is making a sales call.
If they are, remember whose revenue they’re really concerned about, and then go back to optimizing your advertising accounts the right way.