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Greetings Happy Readers! This week’s PPCChat session was inspired by Kirk William’s article “It’s time to de-frenzy PPC“. During the session, host Julie F Bacchini found out how experts handle emergency requests from clients/stakeholders, do they have any processes in place to handle the frenzied atmosphere, and more.

Q1: Do you and/or your team find yourselves working nights, weekends, etc. regularly? If so, why? And if not, why not?

Not anymore, but we did have this problem last year and in a big way the year before. Overall what helped was communication. @JuliaVyse

Almost never. And IF I do, there’s usually a very good reason for it e.g. an unexpected emergency OR a website relaunch (had a couple of those this year already). @BorisBeceric

No, not regularly. Although I check emails thorough the evening and at weekends, so would jump on the laptop if something urgent popped up. @marketingsoph

An emphatic NO, I do not work nights, weekends, holidays, on vacation, etc. Only exception is a TRUE emergency (which we will discuss later in the chat). Boundaries are so important, especially when you live and work in the same space! @NeptuneMoon

We sometimes choose to take a day off midweek and finish up on a Sunday but 6 day weeks almost never happen. Same with nights – flexible but not at all necessary. @selley2134

Quite often. But that’s because I choose #1: To divide my working week over 6 or 7 days, rather than 5. #2: I often choose to go out during the day. In which case, I’ll finish work later. #3: I sometimes work with companies in America. @stevegibsonppc

Fortunately not! Very lucky to work somewhere where boundaries are encouraged. After having a dreadful experience in my first agency where bullying was the norm I had to retrain my brain to how agencies should be. My mission is to never replicate that for any juniors. @PPC_Fraser

Do I work weekends? Yes sometimes, but I truly enjoy it, so I don’t count that as a loss. Our employees are NOT expected to but since we have a totally flexible work schedule, sometimes they work weekends to catch up if they took a weekday off. @gilgildner

9-5 is an outdated concept and focus > time so I prefer to work when focus is at peak. You can’t say you’re results driven and then ask everyone to pretend they’re on an assembly line making cars for Ford. The tricky part is not overworking which is easy to do. @beyondcontent

There are some days when I work overtime. But not during nights, or weekends. In order to have a healthy mind & operate well on the accounts, I prefer to establish a good work-life balance. @DianaAlinaAldea

For our public sector clients, we contractually offer them coverage for emergencies. This means defining emergencies, and trading so no one is the key contact every single time. @JuliaVyse

Of course, there are times when I can’t help but check the performance of some campaigns during weekend, but because of pure curiosity and pleasure in seeing metrics going up (hopefully). @DianaAlinaAldea

The first six months to a year of any agency job I’ve had since my first was 10-14 hour days, every day. That’s less to do with the accounts and more to do with picking up the pieces of whoever you’re replacing. @ferkungamaboobo

Yup, work nights all the time – usually Tues, Wed and Thurs & some weekends. Reasons – if I don’t then I don’t get to everything I need to in a week. I also just like the work that I’m doing after hours and care about trying to improve the accounts I work on. @dylanppc

Earlier when I was working under an agency, I felt it that way. I have to be present every time and panic going on most of the time. Now, I take direct projects so I see some decrease in pace but I think it’s coz you have to be present whenever something happens. @1tagupta

Plus humans especially gen z is constantly getting used to notification alert. Sometimes I feel both are the reason for working on steroid mode with remote work environment, especially in PPC. @1tagupta

In the first 6 months of the pandemic, my WFH-life balance was terrible. I was always online, trying to help clients any way possible during an unpredictable time (even if I wasn’t fully billing my hours). @adclarke10

It was totally unsustainable though & I’ve gotten way better at ending my day at a set time. No weekends or late nights – my mental health is better for it, my work product is still the same quality, and clients are still satisfied. @adclarke10

Contd: The job is to create value and solve problems. If you succeed, then clock off. The biggest mistake I’ve made in my career is operating as if running my phone on 1% battery was OK. It’s not. Burnout is worse. @beyondcontent

Hard “No”. Setting boundaries is extremely important and I’m honestly much more productive if I put up boundaries. @KurtHenninger

Have I worked at places where late nights and some weekend work was necessary to get everything done, yes. But not currently, my current employer has a commitment to mental health and is really good at maximizing the time people spend away from their desks. @BrettBodofsky

We don’t as we plan ahead and set expectations with clients. If someone’s working at night then they changed around their start time on the team. We try to be flexible about life & family as they come first. If I work nights or weekends it’s a choice. Which I do. @duanebrown

Not anymore. I’m really strict with my boundaries now. But I did burnout at agency one, and at agency two I was luckily in a position of power to create a better working environment for my team. @AmaliaEFowler

Not anymore. I encourage everyone to log off at an appropriate hour and to take the weekends off. I want to prioritize everyone’s well-being. We’re no good to our clients if we’re not good to ourselves. @adwordsgirl

Q2: Do you find that your clients or stakeholders are regularly requesting “emergency” or “urgent” help on things? If so, what kinds of things? And, how do you handle these requests?

Sometimes, but if you are fortunate enough to work with client service teams this is where I hand it over to them to manage what is and isn’t an emergency.  @PPC_Fraser

No. I don’t work with clients like that. @stevegibsonppc

No, I think I have learned the hard way that you have to be upfront about how you work and how you deal w/ these things & people seem to respect it. Last year I may have had a different answer. @selley2134

Asked all the time, yes. Pre-defining what is “urgent” or an “emergency” is key. @KurtHenninger

Thankfully I haven’t experienced that since joining @MarinSoftware. There’s a lot of respect for out-of-office hours. @TheMarketingAnu

I also put in my contract what standard communication reply times are (including time zone!). I have found when you gently tell a client that dropping everything to “hop on a call” will come with a premium upcharge for that time cuts down on that behavior A LOT. @NeptuneMoon

So our situation most often comes down to launch dates. Creative isn’t ready. landing pages aren’t live yet. client changes direction. but live date is the live date. It’s not feasible and can be solved. the proof? we solved it last year! @JuliaVyse

As we’ve gone upmarket, we’ve found our client requests have migrated from “hours” to “weeks”. It’s a nice place to be, and indicative of how most PPC accounts require patience rather than urgency. @gilgildner

Nope, no regular emergencies or urgent help. There are occasions when I’ve hopped on a meeting or call after hours, but only if it suits me. If it does come up, I usually don’t check my emails/phone for work stuff so they’ll only get a reply the next day or Monday. @dylanppc

A lot of the one-off requests with fast turnaround times we get are for reports. Ex: our point of contact is meeting with their CEO & needs some data by EOD. Usually not a big deal so we just handle it, but that kind of thing can definitely set my day back 1-2 hours. @adclarke10

Sometimes. But I’ve learned to bake this into my contracts. You want “emergency” assistance or Slack availability? Fine – let’s define emergencies and that’s an additional 2K thank you. That usually does the trick. @BorisBeceric

Happens sometimes like when there’s some new product launch campaigns or something unpredictable happens. However, I charge hourly for the calls and discussions so I kind of balance. What are your thoughts on 100 hours work week? I read that some people do it. @1tagupta

Client: Getting fewer calls please improve bid or do something. Mostly I recommend them to wait 1-2 hrs and check if the call flow is okay. If not then I do diagnose. The client sometimes insists on changing the bidding strategy to maximize CPC. @mr_govindsingh

Not anymore – because I both set boundaries and my agency partner understands the definition of an emergency. In agency days though – I got interrupted all the time for “emergencies” that weren’t emergencies. Including on Christmas. @AmaliaEFowler

But overall, we set timeline expectations ahead of time, so clients know that if they want a campaign build/launch it has to be requested by a certain time. @adclarke10

Often we got requests to upload ads for the weekend on Friday 4 pm. Not one client either… multiple clients regularly. Last year I sent each client an email. New 3 pm deadline the day before they want ads live. After 3 pm we can’t guarantee it goes live. @duanebrown

After Facebook went down last year and I worked until 8 pm to get ads live. I said I can’t live like this. Each client was fine about the new deadline. No one pushed back. They said it was fair to want a healthy lifestyle, all be successful, and QA ad time. @duanebrown

I also feel like it’s so important to remember that we’re literally all humans here. Nothing is an emergency, unless you’re literally dying. It’s not fair to ever put someone under this pressure. @PPC_Fraser

The way I structure things, it’s rarely an emergency situation – though scope creep is real. But it was at the agencies that didn’t have good process that things would come up with 0-day turnarounds. @ferkungamaboobo

If you’re in charge you have to understand your team isn’t going to tell you they’re too busy or can’t get things done – they’re not going to hold boundaries all the time because you’re in a position of POWER. No matter how often you tell them “just let me know” @AmaliaEFowler

Never. Unless their website is down. Maybe that’s a sign we’re getting better at getting great clients. Sometimes, a client has a call with *their* client in a few hours and they have a special request — I LOVE to help out in such cases. @searchrook

Happily, no. Some “emergencies” that occur are usually related to reports on ongoing campaigns. @DianaAlinaAldea

Thankfully, no. There are random emergencies but that’s usually regarding budget changes or a client deciding to stop a promotion early etc. @adwordsgirl

Sometimes they see things as ‘emergency’s’ and then once spoken to it’s usually brought down to a ‘something to look at that week’. Especially when they get disapproval and policy emails from Google. @marketingsoph

Q3: Do you have any language that you use in your contracts or communications when a client or stakeholder views something as an “emergency” or “urgent”, when it really is not? Do you specifically define what you consider to be an emergency situation?

Yes, we define what constitutes an emergency. And I will repeat here that if a client is in constant emergency mode, (a) might not be a great client to keep, and (b) try the “this will cost extra” method and see if that cuts that nonsense out! @NeptuneMoon

Not really. I feel like we avoid this early on by being selective about our prospects. Good clients don’t have fake emergencies. @gilgildner

I have T&C that state turnaround times for different tasks, response times, etc and that anything that has not explicitly been contractually agreed on will be billed separately. @BorisBeceric

Yes, we do, and we try to keep communication open. When we’re doing public safety campaigns or responding to sudden news, we know timelines can be tight. Keeping things realistic rather than overpromising is an important factor. @JuliaVyse

No. I actually never thought of that before. @adwordsgirl

Don’t create unnecessary emergencies either. Again, Kirk’s post talked about timing of taking new initiatives live – don’t do it on a Friday afternoon. Put language in your contracts about timing of taking things live and what you require. @NeptuneMoon

Not yet but I’ll mention this point from now on. Defining the urgent situation and the priority of the urgency makes more sense. @1tagupta

Absolutely! I establish from the beginning that I do not work or answer emails on stat holidays or weekends. I teach all my clients to pause their ads if needed, and they know I work another job – I’m upfront about it. @AmaliaEFowler

Not directly. Though we talk about working together for mutual success and keeping communication open as much as possible. I often say in potential client meetings we’re not saving lives. Few things in this business are an emergency since we’re not doing that. @duanebrown

I don’t know if it’s specifically defined in our contracts. But in our proposal and/or kickoff calls, we usually get a question like “how soon can campaigns launch / what’s the typical turnaround time” and I make sure to set boundaries & expectations from there. @adclarke10

It’s also not enough to simply have in your contract. Salespeople / you (if freelancing) have to walk through it with them. Verbally state it. Draw their attention to it in the email. Cover your butt. @AmaliaEFowler

I do not but have pretty clear timelines and scope of work outlined. Need to look at adding these for the next one. @selley2134

Looking at our Ts & Cs, 32 defined terms to cover the main areas. Here’s an example of the timings listed in it. @beyondcontent

Contd – Emergency situations tend to be about something being off-brand OR impending revenue/ROAS target miss OR free audit rival pitch BS. In which case your contract should have some cover as a starting point. These two especially. @beyondcontent

Q4: Do you have any processes in place that either add to a frenzied atmosphere or reduce a frenzied atmosphere? Is this something you’re going to be thinking about after this chat?

We make sure our team has a good life (six weeks paid vacation, all-expenses-paid retreat every year, total flex ability for work, all remote) so it helps balance out the occasional crunch time. @gilgildner

We use firm work backs, shared docs for feedback, and of course our contracts. We also have a shared sheet for creative deadlines (Omni). This way the client can see that their late feedback directly affects launch dates. @JuliaVyse

Part 1: Reading the article that led to this topic, it reminded me of the principle that, if you live in a world of drama, it’s almost always either because you chose that drama or invited it into your life. @stevegibsonppc

Part 2: That drama can come from choosing the wrong clients. Or it can come from taking on too many clients, or from being someone who repeatedly misses deadlines. (Or working for a shitty agency.) All those things are choices. @stevegibsonppc

I plan for random acts of Google or Facebook or whatever to happen every year. Might not know which month it will hit, but it inevitably does. Give yourself buffer to deal with it! And add to the scope if it is a major deal to get things in line w/ changes! @NeptuneMoon

I try to maintain a healthy balance – never work more than what I agreed with my wife and do 1 or 2 passion projects on the side. If things get frenzied with clients, you need to have a talk, but that usually is very productive. Clients are people too. @BorisBeceric

Definitely gonna take some help of code to create some automated workflows. Thanks for choosing this amazing topic, so refreshing. @1tagupta

We do our best to reduce. We have recurring planning meetings, systems for requests, etc. I’d say we do a fairly good job, but we are small so it helps us stay agile. @selley2134

I try to do little things to keep my mental health in check. Things like: – Log off at 6 pm ET, no matter what – Late afternoon messages on Fridays are a Monday problem I do think some of our org processes could be better, but it’s something we’re actively working on. @adclarke10

Had to step out for a hot minute… More people need to write down their processes and SOPs. Someone telling me their checklist doesn’t need to be an SOP and I wonder why even ask someone on your team to follow it then. Wrote your damn processes down. @duanebrown

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