If you’ve got a business online then visibility is everything. There are a plethora of different digital marketing tactics you can employ to maximise your exposure online with one of the most effective being PPC (Pay Per Click).
With thousands of agencies to choose from to help with paid search management though, how do you find the best digital partner for you?
This question has been posed multiple times across every iota of the Internet, with experiences and reviews of digital marketing agencies being mixed at best.
This makes it extremely difficult for business owners to separate the wheat from the chaff in the digital world. In this article I will help give you some invaluable pointers that you should indeed consider when hiring your next PPC partner.
What is PPC?
PPC, or Pay-Per-Click is quite simply a model of Internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time their advertisement is clicked. This type of advertising can be highly targeted to specific users through keyword targeting and a multitude of other variables. The most popular platform where PPC is most heavily utilised is Google Ads (formerly AdWords).
Why would I need assistance from a PPC Agency?
The main reasons for taking the plunge and hiring a PPC Agency are time and expertise. Many people ‘dabble’ in Google Ads but don’t actually see the return they hoped for. This could be down to varying reasons and, if you’re campaign is set up incorrectly or in a way that isn’t optimal for your business; you stand to lose money (and in some cases, a lot of it!). Hiring a PPC Agency can not only get the performance that you’re looking for out of your Paid Search strategy but it can also save huge amounts of time and money in the long-term.
With this being said, let’s delve into looking at things you should be asking prospective digital partners and looking at before hiring them.
Is the agency or consultant Google Ads Certified?
This is probably the first thing you’d want to know before employing any PPC agency as your digital partner. Google Ads have a certification programme whereby people can learn how to put together campaigns and deploy them effectively. If you’re talking to an agency that doesn’t have this certification then there should be alarm bells ringing from the offset.
You want to work with an agency that have shown willingness to better understand the Google Ads platform and although agencies baring this certification doesn’t particularly mean that they’re competent, they’re far more likely to do a better job given that they’ve answered hundreds of questions and have extensively learnt about how to effectively put campaigns together.
Ask for success stories and references
This check, in my opinion, is one of the most important things that you should ask an agency before any engagement takes place. Ask the PPC agency for references, testimonials, numbers to call and client email addresses so that you can find out first hand about the agency itself and its relative performance to their campaign.
It’s worth noting at this point that if they have any clients that are in your industry (obviously not a direct competitor though) you’d want to speak to these people. If a PPC Agency has already had success in your market then you want to speak to the clients that they’ve worked with.
Another great way to find great PPC Agencies is by asking friends and family if they’ve used any agencies and if they can recommend one – these are nearly always great referrals.
Make sure you work with strategists, not just account managers
With a PPC strategy performance is everything and as such, you want someone spear-heading your campaign that has a tailored battle plan in place for you to deploy you paid search strategy with the best chances of success.
Many agencies worry about ‘account managers’ and less about the people that can actually make your campaign flourish. Ask who you’ll be working with, ask about what their knowledge of your campaign will be. In the ideal world you’ll want your account manager to also be your strategist or, at the very least, have access to communicate directly with your PPC strategist to keep an open and transparent working relationship.
If any agency says that clicks are the only thing that matters, move on
In the world of PPC clicks are what you pay for, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll pay you. A reputable PPC agency will be looking to find the bestclicks for you. These are clicks that stand the highest possible chance of conversion and a good agency will focus on profitability and return on investment. If your agency doesn’t discuss these two pillars of PPC, then they’re definitely a no-go.
Agood PPC agency will focus on the pillars of PPC marketing:
- Get the right traffic, at the right time, at the right place with the right message that’ll resonate and lead to conversion
- Convert the click at the best rate possible
- Measure the campaign and identify flaws, weaknesses and areas of improvements to continually evolve your campaign and monitor campaign health and direction
Be wary of long contracts
Many PPC agencies offer extraordinarily long contracts to some clients – but this is useless to a client if the campaign isn’t performing and you’re stuck with a big management bill.
Reputable agencies will show you that they’ve got some ‘skin in the game’ by proposing short-term contracts. If an agency does perform well, longer-term contracts can be discussed, but from the start, be wary of what you’re signing into and contract duration lengths.
Work with a local agency
It’s always good to work with an agency that you can physically visit so that you can sit down with them, have a coffee, get a feel for the agency and its environment and have that flexibility of having the option to visit if you really wanted too.
For example, if you’re looking for a London PPC Agency take time to look online to find local PPC agencies in and around London (or at least within bearable travelling distance) by using local search.
Make sure that whatever is created is yours to keep
Over the course of your campaign there will be a lot of changes, landing pages created and various other elements carried out. You’d want to ask a prospect PPC Agency that in the event that you’d want to leave for any reason that you keep everything.
This is a very, very important thing to ask a PPC Agency before engaging with them. The last thing you’d want is to leave and for the PPC agency to retain all the work that you’ve already essentially paid for – so make sure you ask the question.
As a paying customer, you deserve the full right to unaltered transparency with any agency you work with – and this is absolutely fundamental in gaining trust with an agency and perhaps more importantly, building a campaign that works.
You will want to retain full administrative rights to your Google Ad account that allows you at anytime to check changes made by your PPC agency. If in initial discussions a PPC agency a shaky about this then I’d call the meeting to an end right there.
Fundamentally, you want to know what’s happening with your account and when that access is revoked it can be a very scary place – so just ask the question.