How to Avoid Getting Burned by your PPC Agency

How to Avoid Getting Burned by your PPC Agency

AdWords is an extremely powerful marketing tool, particularly in the hands of a skilled PPC agency. A well-planned, well-thought-out campaign can give you a major leg-up over your competition, help you reach markets that are otherwise inaccessible, and most often carry a price tag that’s considerably smaller than conventional advertising.

Unfortunately, with this exciting, constantly-evolving piece of marketing technology comes a slew of those who would prey on its unfamiliarity. After all, if you don’t fully understand the technology, how can you gauge the value you’re getting from it?

In this article, we’re going to run through the red flags that you need to look out for when choosing a PPC agency. Please keep in mind that many of these apply to other forms of PPC and digital marketing, such as Facebook and LinkedIn Advertising. This focuses on Google AdWords because it’s still the largest, most comprehensive, and most flexible ad network–as well as the one for which most of my clients have gotten sketchy calls.

NeverEnding-Story-400-300If a PPC agency seems too good to be true, they probably are.

There’s a reason that cheap services are cheap. Perhaps they’re inexperienced and untrained. Perhaps they’re cutting corners. Perhaps they’re doing the literal bare minimum to minimize setup time, and not optimizing at all.

If you’re looking at an agency which is less expensive than others, don’t be afraid to ask them why. They might have a legitimate reason–for example, we provide all of our business through a freelance network, cutting back on overhead and reducing our hourly AdWords setup and maintenance costs by about 30%.

If a PPC agency says they’re from Google, they’re probably lying.

Every now and again, Google will reach out to businesses to suggest AdWords. And, while they do submit these offers fairly regularly, they will never set up, optimize, or maintain a PPC campaign themselves.

This is intentional–it’s meant to keep the PPC field competitive. In fact, this competition is the entire reason why they started the Google Partners Program: The program includes mandatory online training and regularly updated testing to make sure that all marketers are competing on a level playing field. The more level the playing field, the easier it is for an intelligent campaign to carve out its swath of the market.

In other words, a campaign run by Google–the people who write the rules, and the only ones privy to their inner mechanics–would have a such a game-breaking advantage over everyone else that it would undermine the entire platform.

Beware shady PPC agenciesIf a PPC agency shies away from transparency, they’re probably hiding something.

Many of the more spurious offers that our clients reported have involved a flat rate “for PPC”, with no indication whatsoever as to what that money goes towards.

A proper AdWords campaign takes time to set up, and care to maintain and optimize. A portion of what you spend on a managed AdWords campaign goes towards making sure that your actual AdWords spend is put to good use. If an agency won’t tell you how much is going towards setup and maintenance, there’s no way to tell if they’re spending too little time and care on the setup to be efficient, or if they’re spending too little on actual AdWords spend to be effective.

Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that AdWords is one of the most easily tracked and analyzed marketing mediums out there. By linking it with your Analytics account, we can tell you exactly how much bang you’re getting for your buck, and fix any sags or blips that we see almost immediately.

It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s extremely informative. If you’re being offered a PPC service that doesn’t let you see how it’s performing, that should be another red flag.

h2.2 - Bug maintenance 525 350If a PPC agency doesn’t charge for maintenance, they’re probably not doing maintenance.

AdWords doesn’t have a static formula where you can plug in a few keywords and then rake in the fat ROI stacks. Quite the contrary: The specifics of its inner-workings are well-guarded secrets (to avoid mathematical exploitation), they consistently update their algorithms and interfaces, user behaviour can change based upon a number of factors (such as seasonality, time-of-day, and so forth), trends that drive that behaviour can shift, and, above all else, many of the businesses with whom you’re competing will constantly be maintaining their campaigns to find new ways to get a leg-up on you.

And that’s all assuming that the campaign was perfect when it was created. (Which it never is; even the most experienced agencies will always require a certain amount of tinkering to get a campaign running smoothly.)

If a PPC agency doesn’t ask about your business, product, or clients, they probably don’t care about your business, product, or clients.

Understanding is a key to quality marketing in any context, PPC or otherwise. A proper campaign needs to take into consideration who you are, what you do, who you serve, and what they think of you. The more we understand you, the more efficiently we’ll be able to bid for you, the more relevant our ads will be, and the greater the return on your PPC investment.

This also ties into web content: If you’re designing or re-designing your website[WJH1]  and are considering using PPC advertising, your business might benefit from specialized campaign landing pages.

I will likely do another article on specialized landing pages at some point in the future, but the long-and-short of it is that a proper PPC landing page can greatly improve conversion rates.

Your premiere PPC agencyIf your PPC agency is Precision Impact, you’re in good hands.

We offer a number of AdWords starter packages catered to small businesses. We stress transparency and will patiently explain any element that you don’t understand. All of our campaign packages include regular reports so that you know how well your campaign is performing. And we not only get to know every aspect of your business, but are also equipped to help you develop  any aspect that could be improved.

Ready to get started? Take a look at our ‘entry-level’ PPC offers[WJH4] , or get in touch[WJH5]  to get moving today

William Hull
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