Agency Advantage 24 Podcast: Building a $1M Agency in Less Than a Year Feat. Johnathan Dane
Hiring the right PPC company is a pretty big deal.
Such a big deal that I actually had to make this post a two part series.
It can be like getting married. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. Is the PPC management company going to flop on its face or will it grow my organization?
Since PPC could be the only source of new business for you, and for that reason alone, you should take great care on who you work with. No brainer right?
With a lot of business owners not having the time, knowledge, or patience to dabble in AdWords, it makes sense that they want to outsource to whole shebang to someone who does this for a living.
But be careful.
Advertising and marketing is never a guarantee of results, even though a PPC company might tell you different.
Expectation setting is crucial, and not knowing your goals or doing your research on the PPC company can kill any remote chance of success you might have had to begin with.
So to make you smarter, wiser, and a wiz when it comes to choosing the right PPC company, here are the 12 things you need to avoid at all costs.
By the end of this, you should be strapped and ready to find your perfect fit!
Or…you can skip ahead and get some insight on how KlientBoost has been successful in meeting the points you should be looking for that our outlined in this post…
1) Low Barrier To Entry
Believe it or not, starting a PPC company is extremely easy.
All you have to do is create a website (or landing page) saying you do PPC, and voilà!
If you go on Google and search “PPC company” then you can be sure to see at least one new website advertising per day, following with a quick pull down of ads because they quickly realize that cost per clicks are around $40.
So how do you avoid working with a brand new company with no track record? Well, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to work with someone new, as they’ll usually have more time to focus on your account. But you should be hesitant on deciding to go with them since they can set up shop today and shut down tomorrow.
To be safe, it’s important to find a PPC company that’s been in the game for a while. Not just because PPC experience is a no-brainer, but working with a company has been around allows them to have learned things with other advertisers money, not yours.
This should help you feel more at ease as the PPC company should be able to get to work right away and show you quick results.
When you think you’ve found a company to handle your PPC, ask them about their retention rates, their average client lifetime, and what they do for retention (keeping you around as a client).
More often than not, PPC companies won’t be able to answer those questions because they’re not tracking them. Those numbers are the lifeblood of the PPC company’s health and if they don’t know their own metrics, how do you expect them to focus on yours?
2) Certifications Are Easy
Google AdWords isn’t rocket science. And the tests to get certified are pretty easy (it’s an open book test).
If the SEM company you’re about to work with touts that they’re AdWords certified, then run for the hills.
Don’t get me wrong, being AdWords/Bing Ads certified is great and kudos to the companies that have taken the time to do it. But, it shows that they haven’t had much experience handling sales calls if that’s their main unique selling proposition.
There’s so much more needed to be a great PPC company than an AdWords certification. For example:
– How’s their knowledge on the landing page split testing side?
– What’s solution do they use for landing page testing?
– What happens if the initial PPC ideas don’t work? Is there a plan B?
– How often are tests being run?
– How long do they let a test run before declaring a winner/loser?
It’s important for you to know that there’s no shortage of PPC companies out there. It’s super unfortunate that many companies looking for PPC help are usually overwhelmed with the ins and outs of PPC and therefore get burned by a PPC company who is good at convincing.
It comes down to how good you are to separate the winners from the losers and then find someone who seems trustworthy at the beginning.
You can use the Google Partners portal link below to find PPC companies who are AdWords certified:
3) No Conversion Rate Optimization?
Although I know conversion rate optimization (CRO) involves more than just A/B split testing, we’ll focus on landing page split testing for this example:
If you think about it, PPC is at least a two part (if not three part) process:
– First, the PPC company has to get quality traffic for you. This involves making sure they’re using the right keywords and keyword match types or the right demographic targeting on the Display Network or Facebook ads for example. That alone is not an easy task.
– Second, your landing page designs or website (hopefully you’re using a landing page) has to convince the visitor to take the next step that has hopefully been outlined in the call to action on the ad they clicked on. This is how you get the lead or sale.
– Third (this only applies if you’re looking to generate leads), it’s up to you (the advertiser) to be able to close the leads when they come in. That means that you should be ready to immediately call the new lead and that you also follow up with that lead at an almost religious level.
To hire a great PPC company, you have to make sure that they take care of the first two parts. Focusing solely on getting you traffic makes no sense because you’ll quickly plateau your PPC performance – and no bid changes or ad copy tweaks will save you.
Only taking care of one part of the PPC process will severely debilitate your PPC performance.
Kinda like when you have a head of dog that’s also thirsty, but only have a regular sized straw.
4) References Are Key
Testimonials and case studies are great, but nothing beats talking to a current or previous client of the PPC company you’re interested in.
It’s therefore vital to ask the PPC company if they have any references. If you followed my advice from the first point, then the should definitely have references.
Give those references a call and ask them bluntly what their frustrations are or have been and if they’ve been improved.
Then ask if things improved and if they’ve they’ve gotten results working with the PPC company.
Once you’ve gotten feedback from one client, call another one.
Most of the time you’ll get a client on the phone chosen by the PPC company, so their feedback will always be positive.
Gathering multiple points of feedback from different clients will allow you to poke holes and get a clear understanding on what expectations you should set for that PPC company, should you choose to work with them.
5) Client to Account Manager Ratio
This is a big thing to avoid.
Some PPC companies work with a lot of smaller advertisers and because of that, they have to charge low fees.
But that sometimes doesn’t affect how much the PPC company pays their own employees.
To make up for that and still be profitable, a PPC company will load up to 30-50 clients on one account manager. That’s quite a bit right?
So how does an account manager have enough time during the day to manage all accounts and not be overwhelmed?
The simple answer?
Ask the prospective PPC company how many clients an account manager works with at a time.
The lower the number, the more time they have to focus on your account and be successful.
I’d recommend going for a PPC company that max has 10 clients per account manager.
This will allow them to not just tread water and put out fires, but give enough time during the day to really think and do what needs to be done to move the needle in the right direction for you.
6) One Stop Shop? Bad Idea
If the PPC company you’re thinking of working with also offers SEO, social media, content marketing, and dry cleaning, then you can be sure that they’re mostly a jack of all trades, but master of none.
The sad thing is that it makes sense to work with just one company that handles everything for you.
But what doesn’t make sense is that it’s the account manager you’ll be working with who’s expected to know everything and do everything for you.
Have you ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule? It’s not that a person is only an expert once they’ve practiced something for that long, but that they’re deliberate in what they do.
If you think an account manager who is trying to learn all digital marketing aspects to then help your business, then also be devoted to it, and not have a life outside of work, then you’re in for a unpleasant surprise.
It will be nearly impossible for them to give you everything you need since they’re spread so thin across all the digital marketing disciplines that PPC company offers.
A better solution for you will be to pay the premium of a dedicated company that focuses on one aspect and are truly experts in it. Then once you’ve reached success with PPC (for example), go find another company or individual to handle another aspect of your digital marketing (like content marketing).
Like Macklemore said:
“The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint, the greats were great because they paint a lot.”
The same thing goes with PPC.
What are some other things you’ve found you need to avoid when hiring a PPC company? Share them in the comments!
Want to get the six other things to avoid when hiring a PPC company? Read them here >>