And you do what for a living?
This is a question that the average paid search marketer knows is difficult to answer quickly, especially when your audience is an older relative or significant other’s judgmental parents. From my personal experience answering the all-important “what do you do for work” question it is a Four Step process if the person is actually interested (which in this case is usually a bad thing).
First step: This is the easiest but ultimately the most pointless step in the process. First you tell them what you do “Yeah, I am a Search Marketer, I do PPC marketing for a digital marketing agency.” Once that sentence has been uttered the face of your interrogator goes into full puzzle mode, and you can see the gears stop turning in their brain (like as if you had just asked them to explain gravity). This puzzled look is almost always coupled with some form of “…Hmm.” Now I have heard legends of a distant Uncle that knew what PPC was, asked detailed follow up questions, and the conversation progressed naturally and positively. Yeah, o.k. and Bigfoot sightings are real and aliens have been probing poor farmers since the 60s (I doubt it).
Step two: This is all about escaping the awkward silence created by step one and releasing your audience from a state of self-doubt about their own level of intelligence. You ask, “Are you familiar with PPC or Pay Per Click digital marketing? Honestly most people aren’t” (throwing them a bone). Now your audience is hit with a wave of relief and self-confidence which prompts them to make a statement that gives them half credit “…oh yeah P…P….C, yes I have heard of that, so you, like, build websites right?”
Step Three: This is where you politely say “umm no not exactly….do you use search engines?” (Which nowadays is like asking people if they eat food or breathe oxygen).
Side note: if the person you are talking to says no (which should never happen), you need to end the conversation and move away from that person as soon as possible. Immediately remove yourself by taking a fake urgent phone call. Fake an illness by grabbing your stomach, or worst case scenario start a small but noticeable fire, anything you can do to get away from them because they are some kind of “Cyberdyne systems” android or “Colonial Quaker” time traveler that is up to no good.
Normal human people will respond with “yes of course” which will get you to the final step.
Step Four: This is when you get into the details; Go with something like “right, sorry, of course you use Google ha-ha (polite laugher). Well when you search something, there are these ads that show up on the side and top of the results page. (They used to show up on the side too…RIP Side Gutter ads, your low CPCs will be sorely missed.) I am one of the people that writes those ads for specific companies.” This usually impresses them slightly, not as much as being on television, but you are in the ballpark of show business. Usually I go into more of the process: “We bid on specific terms or ‘keywords’…..then they make a purchase or transaction on a customer’s website.”
Once you have completed the four steps you have answered the question and should change the subject before they ask you to help them build a website for their “small business” (translation: mediocre invention/terrible hobby).
Good luck my Fellow PPC’ers. I know some of you have your own process and any way you slice it, it is not easy. If you find that any kind of process is a little too much for you, just do what I do, print up some fake business cards and tell everyone you work at Google.