Offline Client Blunders

19 replies
Have you ever had a client that you know you should not have taken? I am currently running a ppc campaign for a client who was referred to me by there web designer... I reluctantly took the assignment (I tried to talk him out of it) and now I regret it.

The problem is their website is a wreck and the web designer has been putting band-aids on it trying to get it to convert( but she doesn't really understand the marketing or the need for a opt-in box)... I was brought in to provide more traffic and get "seen" by Google. I have very little say or ability to alter the website.

So I designed a ppc campaign for him with the understanding that I can not guarantee sales but could guarantee traffic... Which I have delivered on however, His website just does not convert. I have a feeling that this is going to go south at some point and I have never had a dissatisfied client.

How would you guys handle the impending train wreck?
I want to do right by him and have some other ideas that I can implement but I also don't want to obligate myself unnecessarily...
#blunders #client #offline
  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    if nothing else, maybe you can create a 'proper' landing page and have the webmaster upload it to the site.
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  • I agree with Jason, and if the webmaster won't do it, resign. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
    I had a client who wouldn't fire their "web guy" to hire my partner and I. This guy thwarted every step of the process, and actually "accidentally" DELETED our work 3 times. This actually DESTROYED the business relationship between my partner and I and that business ended. He wanted to keep taking it and I couldn't. I fired them as a customer, and I had wanted to after the first time he deleted it and they asked me to fix it for free.

    I recommend AGAINST EVER working with a client who DOES NOT UNDERSTAND what it is we actually do, and how it works. If you are preparing an important court case, you let your relatives interfere with the lawyers AT YOUR PERIL.

    For some reason, people think ANYONE and EVERYONE's opinions matter when it comes to websites though. I'm INCREDIBLY fortunate to be doing well enough to say no when I feel it's right.

    And sometimes, it's right, not just because I can't ultimately help them, but because I don't want to go to the police station for a long vacation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    That's sad, cause he's losing money everyday.

    Maybe you can send him a new sales page template, just a quick drawn in Paint, explaining WHY the positioning of the essential pieces?

    If he approves it, the webdesigner can code it and bring that baby back.

    It's a pity, but sometimes people just don't want to be helped.
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    • Profile picture of the author netkid
      I wouldn't spend too much more time with this client other than putting down on paper your recommendations of what needs to be done for improving the site's effectiveness, hand it to her and leave it at that. Write your recommendations in simple language so the "lay person" can understand it.

      That way, the client can save "face" by declining your recommendations and you both walk away.

      Over the past 6 months I "fired" two clients because of similar situations.
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      • Profile picture of the author jrod014
        Originally Posted by netkid View Post

        I wouldn't spend too much more time with this client other than putting down on paper your recommendations of what needs to be done for improving the site's effectiveness, hand it to her and leave it at that. Write your recommendations in simple language so the "lay person" can understand it.

        That way, the client can save "face" by declining your recommendations and you both walk away.

        Over the past 6 months I "fired" two clients because of similar situations.

        I agree. At the point you are at, I would rather consult than work with a over demanding client.

        I would follow Bruce's advice.

        Jerry
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        • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
          You're really answering your own question in your post.

          Is this a client you want to be working with and a situation that you want to be working in?

          Your answer is no for the second and that should be enough for you to either turn down the client or insist that if you're going to take them on some changes need to be made (they have to be willing to do what you tell them to with their website).

          The smartest thing you can do with many problem clients is to move on as early as possible.

          Trying to work with clients who are not a good fit for you is courting disaster and the deeper in your get the more trouble it becomes.

          There's always another prospect.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
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          • Profile picture of the author Daniel Brock
            I can forsee it going sour pretty soon too.

            If he is truly going to lose money on his PPC stuff, there is no reason for him to be running them...

            tis only a matter of time before he calls you up all pissed off about why he spent all this money on PPC and has no results to show for it
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
    In a nutshell, its like marrying a girl that you shouldn't have went down the isle with (not that I know through experience but you get the drift).

    You are ALWAYS asking for trouble when their were PLENTY of warning flags ahead time. Live and learn.

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    Chris Negro
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Create a check list that needs the boxes ticked before starting. (for future works)
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      You don't have to "fire" the client. At some point, you may simply and honestly tell him that you have delivered the traffic but you have reached the limit of what you can do for him with his current site.

      It can be professional and polite - but honest, too. Knowing when to leave a job is as important as knowing when to turn one down.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    Originally Posted by thespuds View Post

    I want to do right by him and have some other ideas that I can implement but I also don't want to obligate myself unnecessarily...
    Be direct and just tell him this.

    Then take it one step at a time from there, only risking what you are comfortable with each time. Small steps may help you get on a new track - a successful one.
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  • Profile picture of the author poker princess
    I had an experience where it was too CRITICAL. This client was among those who go beyond honesty and just complain too much. This one was never happy, and everytime make me feel bad about my own work. I just said to myself, I don’t need such type of clients.

    Working for positive clients is much more satisfying and motivating. It actually took me a while to realize that those clients (and their issues) were preventing me from giving 100% to my great clients. You can also burn out quickly if you choose to continually deal with these issues.

    I have started the practice of giving the client a free month of updates after the design project has been completed.
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    • Profile picture of the author PaulBaranowski
      My suggestion is try to have a conversation with the boss,if you haven't done so yet. If he's already seen traffic from your PPC efforts,every normal boss will listen to your advice.
      If you see he isn't appreciative,well there's very little else you can do.
      You'll just take it as a lesson to not get involved with clients like this.

      My lesson a year ago was that i decided to refund a "pain-in-the-butt" client
      to stop dealing with his crap. Now I have a standard questionnaire it takes me minutes to qualify a client with.

      Best of luck man
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  • Profile picture of the author Venturetothetop
    I say congratulate yourself. You have got to the stage, where many people never get... the stage when you can freely say 'I do not want to work with you'

    So firstly, recognise how big this step is in your career. Congrats.

    To fix it simply:

    1) State what he needs to do to convert better (put it in writing)
    2) Perhaps as suggesed create a simple landing page to show some evidence of your theory
    3) Be prepared to walk away should he not accept your advice. Be polite, but FIRM that they will not take your advice, you cannot do your job. You must mean this, when you say it, as when things don't improve you want them to remember you had a plan and walked away because they would not listen.

    I did this a few times when I first started, and mostly they call me back within a few months. Of course, I raised my price, and I did exactly what I would have done before at the cheaper price, but with a lot more respect from them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Preben Frenning
    You should position yourself more like an authority to this customer. Be cocky.
    Tell him you can't help him if he doesn't do what you ask. Then ask him to let the results speak for himself.

    Carefully explain to him that you want him to get results, and explain how and why in a way he understands. A good way to do this, is to ask the proper question to make him think for yourself.

    Or you can make a proper squeeze page, and explain why it will work better, and ask if you can test it for him.

    If nothing works, fire the customer. Someone here told me that they call a prospect for a 30min call, and if he couldn't make the potential client to laugh at least 3 times, he wouldn't work with them. I would say that's a cool way to determine if the relationship will be good

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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    In these cases I always do a traffic blog either of the same domain or on a different one suggesting to the client that 2 domains are better than one.

    It is good competition and you can try some different things and play off one against the other.

    So far worked 100% and ended up getting all their sites plus referrals.

    Quentin
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