If you’re going to invest money in an online marketing campaign you need to know that you’re going to get return on investment (ROI), and that your efforts – and money – are going to convert into actual sales and actual money in the bank. And while pay-per-click (PPC) can be a gold mine when done correctly, you can spend more money than you should if it’s not tightly managed.
If you’re not familiar with PPC, you need someone you can trust managing your account. Spending a little time now to find the right PPC agency will mean you avoid being part of the 61% of PPC ads that fail to produce a single conversion. That’s mad when you think about it, especially when you start to realise just how much money can be made from a well-managed campaign.
If you’re looking for a company to manage your pay-per-click advertising, including Google Adwords Management, then here are 8 questions you should be asking them:
8 Questions you should ask your PPC agency
1) How will your company measure success?
For starters, it’s not about clicks, it’s about conversions. If a company you’re talking to is only speaking in terms of impressions, clicks, or click-through rates, maybe you should drill a little deeper. After all, clicks and impressions can’t pay your bills. A good agency will be focussed on conversions, cost per conversion and return on ad spend. They’ll be intent on getting to know your business, product and margins so that they can do a thorough assessment of how much they can bid per click while optimizing your return.
2) Who will manage my campaign, and how often will they be reviewing it?
When you first speak to an agency, chances are you’re talking with their sales team, not the person who will be carrying out the work for you. Asking to meet the person who will be working on your account gives you a chance to make sure that you have a skilled expert working for you, not just an intern or graduate. It also gives you a chance to ask them how frequently they plan to review your account. PPC, especially in the early stages, is not a set-and-forget situation – you need someone to vigilantly assess what’s working and what’s not. A good agency will be reviewing your account at least weekly, often more, to ensure they’re maximising conversions and minimising any wasted spend.
3) What strategy do you use, and can you show me examples of your success?
Strategy will vary from agency to agency, but they should be able to discuss the techniques they use. You could ask them whether they use bid scheduling and advanced bidding strategies, whether they always split test ads to find the most effective copy and whether they use call tracking, for example. Even if you’re not well-versed in these practices yourself, it will give you an understanding of how they work, and how comprehensive their approach is. And don’t just take their word for it – ask them to show you case studies so you can feel confident with what they can achieve.
4) Do you advertise using AdWords?
AdWords isn’t suitable for every situation, but it can be a very effective source of leads and you want to know that the company you’re going with is able to maximise ROI here. Ask them to show you how they manage their own company’s AdWords campaign and you’ll be able to see their skills in action.
5) What kind of reporting do you provide?
A good PPC agency will provide regular reports, with monthly reporting being the most common. It should include a high-level overview of activity (clicks, click-through-rate, conversions, and an indication of revenue generated), detailed conversion information (sales, enquiries, phone calls and other conversions) and an overview of work completed (such as what new campaigns or ad groups were developed, what new ads were created and what adjustments were made).
6) Who will own the account?
Any work that’s done for your account will be valuable for your company down the line – you need to have a record of what’s worked and what hasn’t. Good agencies will create your own business account and then request access to it. Bad PPC companies can try to hold your account hostage to deter you from moving on. Make sure you have a frank discussion upfront about who maintains ownership of your account.
7) Do I need to sign a long-term contract up-front?
While lots of agencies offer incentives for long term commitment, good agencies won’t put you under pressure to lock in straight away. That’s generally a decision you’ll want to make after you’ve worked with someone for a while, once you know that they’re a good fit for your business. If a company is demanding lock-in contracts before delivering anything for you, you might consider that to be a red flag: there’s considerable room for the customer to lose out if you get tied in with an agency that underperforms for you.
8) Are you certified?
AdWords certification and the Google Partners program is the bare minimum when it comes to identifying acceptable industry standards. It’s important to know that it’s not a guarantee of good service – these certificates are generally quite straightforward to achieve (through easy online exams) and are largely based on a company’s monthly spend with Google rather than on account performance. With that said, given the low entry point, any agency wanting to be taken seriously will be properly certified.
It can be difficult to determine which company is the one for you. Do your own research, too. Do they have lots of testimonials, or are there reviews online? Take a look at their social media accounts too. You need and agency you can trust and develop a good rapport with. After all, they’re going to be key in representing your business and tapping in to that gold mine that’s out there if you’re ready to invest in PPC.