Employee Performance Review Tips

Sep. 27

When it comes to the pay per click search engine marketing career path, it’s simply not enough to do great work. You need to do great work and get recognized. How can you get recognized? It’s all about dressing up for your job and creating the right search marketing perception. Now, what’s one of the premier ways to set everyone’s perception about your great work? Easy: Your employee self performance review! Today, I’m going to discuss some of my favorite tips for optimizing your annual self review.

Tip 1: Keep Detailed Search Marketing Records

Employee Performance Evaluation

I can’t stress this tip enough! In fact, I wrote an entire post about keeping detailed ppc records. Just think about it: Pay per click can get crazy! There are numbers we have to hit, fires we need to put out, and initiatives we need to complete. When we’re moving a mile a minute, it’s easy to move from one thing to the next without keeping good records.

However, resist the temptation and keep detailed records. When your annual self review comes around, leverage your records to your advantage. It’s time to go into painstaking detail listing out every single project you worked on. It’s time to leverage your records and shine!

Tip 2: Spend An Entire Day On Your Self Review

So now that you have detailed records, it’s time to work on your self review! Your schedule is crazy and you have limited time. As such, the natural tendency is to spend a few hours maximum on your self review. My advice: Spend an entire day on your employee self review. Block out all distractions. Go in a private conference room if you must. Turn off Outlook. There is no higher leverage event in the SEM career path than your self review. Remember, your boss may not know the true details of your accomplishments since you’re moving so quickly.

Tip 3: Go Above And Beyond In Your Self Review

What do I mean by going above and beyond? It’s probably easiest to illustrate this by example: I wrote a 15-page essay for my last self review! I included granular numbers and metrics, accomplishments and projects, successes in my team’s growth, and even pasted some of my recommendations from my LinkedIn (I have 58 recommendations on LinkedIn, after all)! Moreover, I spent some time seriously outlining my goals and aspirations for the next year. One thing is for sure: By going above and beyond in your employee self review:

  • You tell your manager that you’re really serious about your PPC job.
  • You know that you did everything in your power to ensure a positive outcome to your review!

Image of Employee Performance Review © iStockPhoto – maxexphoto

Online Marketing Business Etiquette

Jun. 27

Hey Everyone,
I recently did two former business colleagues huge favors with absolutely no thank you at all. As a huge fan of business etiquette (being humble, grateful, and thankful got me where I am today), I’d like to share my recent experiences and make the case to think twice about the "small" stuff. Rising fast in the world of online marketing requires etiquette. If you master the numbers and the game, your online marketing career will seriously thrive.

Bad Business Etiquette: New Job, No Thank You

Thank You Note

It’s all about your network. I have invested substantial time over the years building my network, both in person and also on LinkedIn. Why is my network so strong? I like to do favors for other people and help them out. The more you give, the more you receive – It really is as simple as that! I truly care about others and enjoy growing careers in this great industry.

So, when I noticed that one of my bright former business colleagues was out of work, I went out of my way to leverage my network to help them out. I ended up landing them a really sweet job! Here’s the problem: I got absolutely zero thank you. Can you believe it? I sure find it hard to believe! No thank you note, no dinner, no lunch, no thank you at all. My advice to you: Never take a favor like this for granted. No matter how busy you may be, take the time to really say thank you.

Bad Business Etiquette: Letter of Recommendation, No Thank You

I recently spoke about online marketing at Stanford GSB. I was thoroughly impressed with the strong caliber of students at Stanford. As a Stanford Computer Science major, I aspire to attend Stanford GSB one day. As a fan of business school and higher education in general, I always am more than happy to write strong letters of recommendation for old reports and co-workers!

This year, I have enjoyed writing several letters of recommendation. Most of the time, I will get a sincere thank you note, lunch, dinner, or at least an in-person thank you. Recently, however, I wrote a really strong letter of recommendation and got absolutely no thank you! I really can’t believe it, can you?

My advice to you: Always take the time to write a heartfelt thank you note. We’re in a crazy industry where time is at a premium. However, I can tell you for a fact that the leverage of focusing on etiquette is extremely high. I always place etiquette at the top of my list because it has totally fueled my career. I now have an army of friends and colleagues ready to help me out. Focus on the small stuff and your network will propel your career to the next level.

Bad Etiquette Has Negative Leverage

It’s important to really focus on leverage in online marketing. Getting more done with less will exponentially impact your career. However, leverage works in both directions. Bad etiquette can really add negative leverage to your career. Just think about it: Not only will I be reluctant to help out these individuals again, I’m sure their bad etiquette has also impacted other situations with other people. People like to talk in general and this type of stuff can really start spreading! My advice: Be humble, grateful, and thankful – It will work wonders for your SEM career!

All the best,
PPC Ian (Ian Lopuch)

P.S. My blog commenting contest is almost over! However, it’s definitely not too late to enter. You have a few more days and I’ll announce the winners on June 30th. The comments have been amazing and I can’t wait to review the winners.

Image of Thank You Note © iStockPhoto – DNY59

Controlling Your PPC Mind

Jan. 13

So it’s 2010 and you’re looking to get promoted in your PPC career. At the same time, you value your work-life balance. You can’t imagine working 80 or more hours a week, trading your personal life for promotion. Well, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely don’t need to! In my opinion, it’s totally possible to ascend the corporate PPC ladder while enjoying your personal life, on a 40-60 hour workweek. How are you going to do this? It’s simple: You need to work smart by programming your PPC mind. Today, I’m going to uncover three of my favorite mind games to unleash leverage in your PPC career.

Force Yourself To Work With Extreme Efficiency In Pay Per Click

Blue Lightbulb

I honestly wrote 40-60 hours above to be conservative. As someone who’s ultra-efficient, I totally believe that the 40 hour workweek is possible in PPC. Just think about the time that gets wasted during the day when you’re:

  • Surfing the Internet (unrelated to work)
  • Logging into your Facebook account
  • Taking a really long lunch
  • Chatting with friends
  • Working at a slow pace
  • Getting distracted and jumping between projects
  • Just sitting there (or even dozing off) without actively doing work

Now, just think about what would happen if you were incredibly focused the entire workday. You came into the office with the "I’m here to work hard" mentality. You actively fought against your mind when it tried to tell you to lose focus. (Believe me, my mind’s natural tendency is to defocus.) The answer is simple: You would get promoted faster and reduce the duration of your workday, dramatically.

In my opinion, all it takes is a little conscious effort and the recognition that you need to force your mind to focus. When you accomplish this, the amount of work you can get accomplished in the normal workday is astounding! While all of this is applicable to any job, it’s especially applicable to PPC because we’re often juggling more priorities than we can count while facing the pressure of hitting numbers. We’re in a situation that promotes defocus. Force your mind to focus and you’ll be on your way!

Two other tips to stay focused in PPC: First, Make sure to vary your workplace. I like to switch between my company’s two offices and even spend some time working at Starbucks. The variety really keeps my mind from defocusing. Second, take time off when you need it! PPC is like a sport, especially when you’re ultra-focused. This amount of focus can be quite draining. If you’re able to really force your mind to focus, I suggest scaling back your hours and taking off days when you need it. Your mind needs time to recover.

Force Yourself To Be In a Charged, Positive Mood Every Single Day

I absolutely love this tip. Are you naturally happy every single morning? Of course not! Even if you’re like me, in the career of your dreams, sometimes you’re tired and grumpy. It’s ok and perfectly natural. Now, I’d like to highlight another awesome opportunity to control your mind. Take a step back and realize that you’re the one in control, not your mood. My strategy: I like to hype myself up. I’ll straight up lie to myself. "Ian, you’re not in a bad mood. You’re in a good mood. You’re the man! You’re PPC Ian!" I’m serious here. After a while, I’ll believe the lie. I’ll program my mind.

Now, let me let you in on a secret. In my opinion, positivity is one of the greatest factors in promotion. Nobody wants to promote the disinterested employee. They want to promote the employee who loves their job, the person who lives for the company. It’s as simple as forcing your mind into a hyped up state even when it’s not. It almost becomes a game. How hyped up can you be when facing difficult situations? As I mentioned in a previous post, PPC perception is reality. If you’re always in a positive mood, you’re carefully crafting the best possible perception.

Some other great points about positivity in your search engine marketing career:

  • Enthusiasm is very contagious. You’re not only hyping yourself up, you’re setting the mood for the entire team. You’re acting like a PPC leader.
  • Those that have a positive outlook tend to realize their goals. When you start thinking negatively, you’re stepping away from your goals. I’m a big believer in The Secret.
  • I’ll consistently hype myself up before any meeting or call that involves sales. Sometimes people think I’m crazy talking to myself in a conference room but it totally pays off.

As a closing piece of advice, make sure to give yourself extra rest. It can be very tiring if you’re in a charged mood all day. You need time to recover so you can consistently deliver results.

Force Yourself To Avoid Conflict and Anger

There’s no way around it. Even if you’re a nice guy like me, you’re likely to get into a situation once in a while that has conflict potential. It’s probably not even your fault. Someone does something (either unintentionally or even intentionally) to step all over you and you’re upset. My advice: Do absolutely whatever it takes to be the bigger person. I repeat, never show emotions of conflict and anger at work.

This is very important in your PPC career. We’re naturally under a bit of stress in pay per click. We’re managing to stretch goals and have a plethora of projects in mix. Now, throw on top of that the fact that someone might not be playing by the rules and you have the potential for career disaster.

However, if you’re smart and have perspective you will always handle the situation gracefully. My two pieces of advice: First, never react right away. If you feel like you’re going to get upset, take some time to really think about it. Sleep on it. Never start sending that nasty email before it’s really well thought through. In fact, once you think it through, you will never send that email, trust me. Second, make sure to exercise regularly. If you get upset at something, it’s very easy to take out your aggression at the gym and then come back to work the next day in your charged, positive attitude.

While this is probably the most difficult mind-controlling trick, it’s the one that shows the most maturity. If you’re able to consistently work efficiently, stay positive, and avoid conflict at all costs, you are playing the PPC game to win and will be promoted to the top. These are all attributes of the most effective pay per click leaders out there. These are all mind games that are directly under your control.

Image of Blue Lightbulb © iStockPhoto – BlackJack3D

Search Engine Marketing Perception

Dec. 29

Anyone who’s ever worked on my team knows that I live by the following statement: "Perception is reality." When you take a step back and really think about it, my affinity for this line makes total sense in the context of PPC. Pay per click search engine marketing is a very new industry. At many companies, the executive team will not understand exactly what you’re working on each and every day. I can’t blame them! PPC is complex and moreover it’s a moving target. This can become a bit problematic, however, when you’re trying to gain visibility, prestige, and ultimately promotion within your organization.

Let me cut right to the punch line: As part of your daily routine, it’s your absolute duty to educate and set everyone’s perception (and therefore reality). It’s precisely when you’re delivering results and setting perception flawlessly that you’re on the fast track to career promotion. Today, I’m excited to share some of my favorite ways to make sure perception is set perfectly and you receive full credit for all of your hard work!

Tip 1: Leverage Your Company’s Task Manager Consistently

Spotlight on PPC

During the course of any random workday, it’s absolutely amazing how much stuff I get done! At the end of the week, I’ll often have difficultly remembering all of the projects I completed. However, to set perception amongst my organization, I want to take credit for every single project I completed. So, what’s the easiest way to do this?

It’s very simple: Record every single project that takes more than one hour in your company’s task manager (such as SharePoint). Even if you’ve completed the project already, create a new task and then close it out immediately. I’m very serious here and if you only take away one thing from this post, please follow this tip. From my experience, the leverage here is plentiful:

  1. When performance reviews come around, you now have an instantaneous way to pull a list of all completed projects for your self-review. No completed project will ever slip through the cracks!
  2. This centralized repository of your tasks creates a very simple way for your manager (and the executive team) to immediately tap into your projects. The more impressive your project list, the more impressed management will be.
  3. During your weekly team meetings, you now have a very easy way to recall all of your projects from the past week and take full credit for all of them as you summarize your initiatives.
Tip 2: Take Your Sweet Time Presenting Your Pay Per Click Initiatives

The next time you’re in a team meeting, focus closely on presentation. As everyone goes around the table to discuss projects, successes, and failures, pay close attention to the good presenters and the not so good ones. What are the main differences?

From my experience, there are two. First and foremost, the good presenters take their sweet time. They have a lot to say and aren’t going to stop until they’ve exhausted their speaking points. Second, the good presenters are confident and project very clearly. My advice to you: This is your time to shine, take it seriously! Print out your completed tasks from Tip 1 and don’t hesitate to go through all of them. This is your time to not only take credit for all of your hard work, but also to stand up as a leader amongst your organization and inspire greatness. Aside from Tip 1, this is just about the easiest way to set everyone’s perception around your strong work ethic and limitless determination.

Tip 3: Invest Time Managing Pay Per Click Success Upward

This one makes perfect sense. If you think you’re busy, just think about how busy your boss must be! It’s easy for your successes to slip through the cracks if you don’t proactively manage upward. My advice is quite simple: Each time you have a major success, spend some extra time emailing it to your manager. Moreover, make a point of actively mentioning your successes when you meet with your manager.

It is possible for this strategy to backfire, however, if you don’t take your time and fully think through all of the possible questions your manager may ask. My advice: Anything you send to your manager needs to be bulletproof. Think through all of the possible questions and anticipate them. Include relevant metrics and fully explain yourself. Keep things simple, your manager doesn’t have all day to sift through thousands of words. Consider allocating around 5% of your time proactively pushing your paid search successes upwards, you won’t regret it.

Tip 4: Print Your SEM Analysis Out

Here’s a fun one that ties into all of the other PPC perception tips just highlighted. Consider printing out all of your team’s major SEM analysis and compile them into an organized binder. While I don’t invest as much time doing this anymore, it really worked wonders for me during my first gig. Aside from being a really powerful symbol of my dedication, this strategy allowed me to immediately quote any analysis at a moment’s notice, gaining full recognition for both myself and my SEM team. (SEM people managers, please remember to never take credit for your team’s work. You need to celebrate and honor their success. You get to take full credit for training and empowering your team to reach such heights.)

Tip 5: Celebrate Search Engine Marketing Success

I’ve talked about this subject over and over and it’s a strategy very core to my personal management style. It’s powerful and simple yet often overlooked. Please check out my post all about celebrating SEM success.

Conclusion: It’s All About The Numbers, Not Projects

It’s a battlefield out there. Each and every day things are hectic and it’s very simple for your analysis and successes to get lost in the shuffle. For that reason alone, I truly believe in the power of investing in perception. Perception is reality after all, and you want to make sure reality credits your hard work.

However, as a closing point I really want to highlight that numbers are everything. All the stuff in this post is great and all, but it means a lot less if your numbers are not at their maximum potential. First and foremost, never forget about your commitment to the numbers. Now, if you’re maximizing your numbers and creating the proper perception of your work, there is no limit to your upside in the pay per click industry.

Image of Man With Spotlight © iStockPhoto – mevans

Investment Expertise Will Boost Your SEM Career

Nov. 26

As you may know from my about me, I was co-president of The Charles R. Blyth Fund, Stanford University’s prestigious real money investment club. My passion for investments actually dates all the way back to my high school days. I’m still addicted to the game and can’t get enough whether we’re talking public companies, private companies, or even commodities. You may be thinking, "What the heck does this have to do with pay per click search engine marketing?" Surprisingly, it has a whole lot to do with your SEM career.

Connect With Internet Executives on an Investment Level

Bull Market

I have a natural ability to hold lengthy conversations with executives. I’m very proud of my ability and it’s something that I’ve been leveraging since day one when I interviewed for my first PPC job in 2004. For a while, I didn’t really know why I had such successful relationships with senior executives. Now, I do. What am I typically talking to executives about? All aspects of investing!

At the end of the day, all executives are investors. All executives enjoy talking about investments. From my experience, all executives are passionate about investing in their personal portfolios, but let’s put that aside for a minute. Focusing just on the operations of your organization, executives are in strategic roles where they’re often making investment decisions for the company. They need to know the market thoroughly and are always thinking on a merger and acquisition level. From that perspective, it’s impossible to be an Internet executive without being an investor. Now, If you’re a passionate investor, you immediately have a common point of interest that you can leverage to make a great name for yourself and increase your odds of promotion.

Your Investment Knowledge Will Add Value To Your Company

Now, you may be thinking, "Ian, this sounds a bit superficial. So I’m supposed to shoot the bull with the executives about tomorrow’s hot stock and I’ll get promoted?" The short answer: Yes and no. There are two important takeaways here. As you get promoted, you’ll become a visible leader within your organization. You need to prove you can hold a conversation with the decision makers (and investing allows you to connect and prove your abilities).

Second, I truly believe your knowledge about investing will add serious strategy level value to your organization, which is exactly what leaders need to do. There exist a multitude of ways your investment knowledge could pay off greatly. I’d like to highlight just one small example next.

I’m passionate about sifting through thousands of small company stocks. One day, I took this passion to the next level by searching for small Internet businesses that could make great acquisition opportunities for my employer. I started frequenting sites like Buy Sell Website to find website investment opportunities. One day, I came across a perfect acquisition opportunity for my current employer. I drafted up a proposal and after our due diligence we ended up acquiring my recommended investment. Needless to say, this definitely helped my career.

Learning About Investment Essentials – A PPC Manager’s Guide

So this all sounds great, but you’re not sure where to start. First, there’s absolutely no reason to worry at all. You’re a pay per click search engine marketer. The tasks that you’re performing every single day are precisely the same skills that will help you become a great investor. You’re great with numbers, modeling, Excel, operating to a solid margin, and identifying growth opportunities. PPC is the quintessential operational role and it sets you up to become an investment superstar.

In terms of building your investment toolkit, following are my top pieces of advice specifically for those in pay per click search engine marketing:

  • As soon as you hit your stock option vesting cliff (typically one year after your start working for your employer), exercise at a least a percentage of your stock options. This will give you access to your company’s annual report, not to mention putting a little bit of your personal wealth on the line. Spend time reading your company’s annual report at length. You’ll learn a whole new dimension about your organization and will be armed with the very information that decision makers are pondering daily.
  • Know all the players in your industry, both public and private. You’re probably already familiar with your competition from the PPC landscape. Take it to the next level by researching them from a strategic investment perspective. A great place to start is Yahoo! Finance. The ties you’ll start forming between your operational knowledge and the strategy side of things are astounding. The ties will help you formulate and communicate your PPC strategy on a whole new level.
  • Read as many investing books as you can. I know, you have limited time. You need to make time. Robert Kiyosaki is a great introductory author and my favorite financial mentor. Over the years, I’ve read a huge number of investment books. Because you love PPC odds are you’ll get addicted to investment books like me!
  • Last, make sure to invest a few of your own dollars. There’s no better way to learn that putting your own money at risk. Never risk more than you can afford to lose and start small. Your company-sponsored 401k might be the best place to start. Then, consider a brokerage account and start investing in individual stocks. This experience will greatly reinforce everything else.

To close out, I want to underscore the importance investing as a tool to accelerate your SEM career. PPC and investing go and in hand. Armed with the two, you’ll start seeing major strategy opportunities and will climb the corporate ladder to become a PPC executive in your own right.

Image of Bull Market © iStockPhoto – Henrik5000