Choosing a PPC Agency the Right Way
by Tim Hands
There is no question about it, even the most inexperienced of small business owners recognize that paid search management is an important part of a successful long-term digital marketing campaign. The only problem? Many of these businesses don’t have a lot of time to devote to managing their campaigns, at least not enough time. That’s what in certain cases, it pays to outsource, which is why knowing how to choose a PPC agency is so critical in today’s online culture.
Will your business benefit from a PPC agency?
Most know that a PPC campaign can be a sure-fire method to drive results, but that does not mean it is the best option for you and your brand. The first step you need to take is to evaluate exactly what your objectives are and whether or not they can be reached without PPC first. Just because something is effective for one business or industry does not mean it will be for yours, especially if you are operating on a tight budget. Reconsider if one of the following is true.
- Your audience is limited and stagnant.
- You have yet to properly and thoroughly researched the competition.
- Your business’s domain is not configured to support the surge of traffic a successful PPC campaign might bring.
Manage your expectations. Different industries play by different rules and competition is steeper in some places than it is others. A healthy budget is required if the goal is to break into the PPC space with a bang, so you will need to be prepared by understanding how to appropriately value costs in relation to a campaign. A pay-per-click firm or expert may be able to point you in the right direction, but the only way that is going to work is if you are completely up front about how much you are willing to spend and also, where your biggest hurdles may present themselves.
Your relationship with an agency or consultant
It is not so much about getting along as it is about finding people to work with who understand your needs. Expertise is important, for sure. But just because someone comes with a hefty resume to back up their experience does not mean they are the right fit for what you are trying to accomplish. Just like any other position in your company, the whole package has to be there if you’re going to hire them.
If you are not wise to all of the PPC lingo, demand explanations. Buzzwords help no one and since you are paying for this service, they should be willing to bring you in on common ground so that you can comprehend what it is they are talking about.
Another vital element is time. Your business may keep odd hours. You yourself probably keep long hours and you are going to want accessibility for when things get sketchy. Most PPC agencies function similarly to any small to midsize business in that they go home at the end of the day and at a reasonable hour. But some go above and beyond with their customer service, offering late night calls and emails. See what is out there before settling.
What they should expect from you
Any good business relationship is a two-way street, so certainly feel free to let prospective hires know how you do business. Your habits, working hours, and communication preferences are all important. Be up front and dish it all out so that they know in advance what kind of client they are getting. The information will help them serve you better.
The big picture that leads to results
This is where numbers start to become part of the process. One thing you will learn is that in the world of paid search, spreadsheets are everywhere. You will be making spreadsheets dealing with conversion rates, data analysis, landing pages, ads, ad buys, and so on. Likewise, your agent will be doing the same and if they are good at what they do, will politely ask you to try and keep up. However, there are still questions to be asked.
– How long will it take to churn out new ads?
– Will the agency recommend how to boost landing page performance?
– Who is in charge of each aspect of your paid campaigns?
These questions will need to be answered by both parties so that a healthy, prosperous working relationship can begin to flourish. And be sure to include SEO into the mix. Paid search and organic SEO are often two sides of the same coin and if you are also looking for help in that regard, one agency that handles both can solve a lot of logistical (and potentially, financial) issues.
You are after results, plain and simple. And since you are investing money and time into this part of your business, you are going to want to ask a PPC agency where they can take your business one year, two years, and beyond. They may also want to know about your own level of involvement. A campaign manager may ask if you plan to one day bring in a full-time employee to handle your PPC. A solid agency plans for such contingencies and will sometimes go so far as to train their replacement. It should be noted that they also should release any and all pertinent account data, as well.
Find a partner who is familiar with your goals and is ready to face the challenges of your industry. You also want one who is going to be ready to rise up to the challenges of a competitive market. PPC, like anything else, is based on competition. And when it comes to competition, the more skilled and prepared your teammates are, the better.
March 13, 2017
March 2, 2017