So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and outsource your PPC campaign management. (Good decision!) Here are a few things to consider when choosing a PPC agency for your ad spend:
Is the Agency Certified?
An agency really should be a Google AdWords Certified Partner to start. In order to become a Google Partner, the agency must be certified in AdWords, meet the spend requirement (as set by Google) which shows that the agency handles a certain amount of business, and also implement Google’s best practices in their client accounts. By choosing a PPC agency that is a Google Partner, you can be sure that the people working on your account actually know what they are doing, as opposed to someone who just says they know what they are doing.
Does the Agency Specialize In My Industry?
When speaking with the PPC agency while searching for the right fit, it’s important for the agency to ask questions about your business. While they don’t need to be an expert in your industry overnight, if they haven’t had account experience with your type of business, they should be asking questions to learn about it. In order for PPC campaigns to work effectively, the person managing it needs to have knowledge of keywords to target, negatives to include on the account, targeting, etc.
There are pros and cons to having a PPC agency that works with other companies in your particular niche or industry or one that specializes in a particular industry. For example, if the agency is working with a direct competitor, there may be a conflict of interest. However, if your business is a pastry shop in Boston and the agency also handles a pastry shop in Dallas, your target market (as it relates to location in particular) is different, so the same agency may be able to handle both accounts. In this situation, having experience in your industry is an added benefit of working with that particular agency. They will have knowledge of what keywords may work over others, and may even have some great campaign strategies for particular products or search queries. While an agency may not be able to disclose specific company names without having you sign a NDA, they should be willing to let you know if they are currently working with a company that might be advertising in the same target market as your business.
How Transparent Is the PPC Agency?
You should be able to log into your AdWords account without having to go through your PPC agency. While it’s important to have trust with your PPC agency, there should be no reason why you cannot go in and check on things whenever you want to. This is your money that is being spent after all.
In addition to having access to your account, the agency should also provide reporting to show results/proof of success. It’s important to find out before you sign a contract, how often you will receive a report, what is included in those reports, and if you will be able to go over them with the person handling your account.
Which brings us to the next issue…
Who is Going to be Working on Your Account?
You may think that a large PPC agency is the best way to go because more eyes on an account is better than less. This isn’t always the case. When you hire a large PPC firm, you may find yourself being shuffled between employees handling your account. If your account is constantly being given a new account representative, and you find yourself constantly having to reintroduce yourself or explain your business, a large PPC agency may not be the best fit. Or you may find that a large PPC agency actually hires out their work to freelancers or other agencies, which is just asking for trouble.
Most small to medium sized companies find that working with a boutique type PPC agency is the best fit for them. This type of PPC agency will often provide years of experience, but have less people with hands on access to your account. This will help to ensure that the person working on your account knows what is going on, knows your business, and can truly customize your PPC strategy to optimize your ROI. When interviewing a PPC agency, ask who will be working on your account and how often it will change hands. If they don’t live up to what they tell you, it’s OK to change agencies.
What Other Services Does the PPC Agency Offer?
A one-stop shop for SEM services is going to have a clearer view of the big picture for your compnay’s search engine marketing. If an agency ONLY provides PPC management, they may not be able to provide landing page design services, which really go hand-in-hand with successful PPC management. In addition, website development, social media marketing, web analytics and SEO expertise are invaluable. If a PPC agency is able to handle more than just PPC, you may just have found yourself a winner.
Other Important Factors When Choosing a PPC Agency
Remember this: set and forget = setting up for sub-par performance. In order for a PPC campaign to be successful, it’s crucial to consistently monitor and adjust bids, keywords, negatives, etc., in order to maximize your ROI. If your agency is only going to set things up for you and not do anything beyond that, don’t walk… RUN away.
If you’re in the market for a reliable PPC agency for your small to medium sized business, give us a call at Full Circle SEM today for a free consultation.