Steps to Take When Evaluating PPC Agencies
There are several key steps to help you find an exceptional PPC marketing company. Don’t rush into any decision as it can cost you dearly. Instead, take the time to figure out your goals, requirements, and budget — all of these will help you select a suitable PPC partner. How to do that exactly? Read on.
Objectives: Why Do You Want to Hire a PPC Agency?
Typically, when businesses decide to find a paid traffic company to help them, they hit Google and look for the best pay per click agencies in their zip code.
Before you spend time Googling, take a moment to consider the reasons you want to outsource PPC campaigns. What are the goals you are attempting to achieve? Writing down a couple of your most important objectives is the key to getting the agency that can deliver them. Remember to make them as specific as possible and ideally in a form that can be tracked and measured.
Most businesses are looking to increase sales, which is why they pick from the top pay per click agencies. If this applies to your situation, calculate the revenue you want to target and work your way back from there to define specific objectives and budget that will get you there without killing your margin. The best PPC company will give you direct feedback on how you can achieve those goals.
Pricing: What Can You Afford?
Now that you’ve set your specific goals, you’ll need to figure out what type of pricing will best suit your budget.
While it sounds good in theory, performance-based payment can result in generating a lot of leads that aren’t necessarily high-quality.
So, even though your leads might be going through the roof, if they are low-quality, you can expect your conversion rate to drop. You don’t want that.
Keep in mind that we are not telling you to completely disregard this payment structure, only to think about the possible trade-offs and define a quality lead in your situation.
Some of the top PPC companies will offer to invoice you by taking a percentage of your overall ad spend in one month.
This method makes it easy to calculate your PPC costs beforehand. On the flip side, the agency you’re partnering with might be more likely to inflate your PPC budget.
This pricing structure is excellent for those that don’t want to spend too much time worrying or calculating how much they’re spending each month on PPC outsourcing. You’re paying the same fee every time which equals predictability.
Nonetheless, this isn’t a perfect answer for everyone, so not all top PPC management companies are offering it. You will end up paying a fixed monthly fee for varying amounts of work done, and if this bothers you, you’ll be better off with a different payment structure.
If you’re not happy with any of the three previously listed payment structures, here’s one that might appeal to you. With the hybrid pricing structure, you get a combination of a fixed base fee, and a percentage of the overall monthly ad spend.
This is an excellent option for most businesses as it allows for peace of mind knowing that the base fee guarantees recurring work, and the percentage signals the efforts put into doing more for you. Many pay per click management companies have hybrid pricing and clients seem to like the convenience.
Portfolio: What Are Their Specialties?
Identifying the key specialties you want to match in your PPC firm will make finding one much easier. You want to take a close look at the sizes of the companies and specific industries they specialize in, among other things. Your ideal PPC partner will have the necessary experience in advertising the products or services you are offering, which will ensure that your budget isn’t wasted.
Methodology: What Type of Processes Can You Expect?
With all the previous steps done, it’s time to send that email or pick up the phone. Take advantage of the fact that the majority of PPC companies offer a free initial consultation.
Now that you’ve started contacting prospective agencies, it’s time to figure out the methodology of each PPC marketing agency and what they plan on doing for you.
Make sure you ask all the important questions. Here’s a list to get you started:
- What type of bidding strategies do they use?
- What is their keyword research process?
- What is their bid optimization process?
- How do they track and collect the needed data?
- How will they analyze collected data?
Focusing on the last two questions, keep in mind that when you’re working towards optimizing your PPC campaigns, data is paramount. Knowing this will help you weed the bad ones among the pay per click advertising companies. Ensure that your chosen partner is tracking and analyzing all the relevant data for your website, so there are no surprises.
Communication: What Is Your Preferred Working Style?
Moving the more technical stuff out of the way, we’ll now focus on aligning working styles. This is one of the things that result in frustration.
The best course of action is to set up expectations early on. Define your communication and general campaign management needs so that everyone is on the same page.
Take note of some of the things that might be important to discuss with pay per click marketing companies:
- Will you contact an account manager only, or will you get several points of contact?
- How will you reach your PPC manager? Will you have scheduled call times in advance?
- How long will you have to wait for an email response from your pay per click management company?
- How long does the agency predict will be before you see any tangible changes?
- Will you be getting reports on the progress? If the answer is yes, will you need to ask for them, or will you get them automatically?
- Will the goal setting and vision mapping sessions be scheduled?
When working with the best PPC companies, you will typically get direct contact with at least two people, so you’re able to get help if one is unavailable. However, this will mostly depend on your preferred communication style. Also, they should answer your emails in no more than one business day.
Your progress reports and goal-setting sessions are essential as things move at a fast pace in PPC. The reports should come much more frequently, but any sessions for reconsidering and adjusting strategies should be done at least once every quarter.
Qualities to Look for in Pay per Click Companies
It’s time to focus on understanding what makes the best PPC agency. There are several things you need to look at if you want to be sure that they will create the ultimate strategy for your business.
After going over the necessary steps to choosing the right company that will handle your pay per click advertising, here are the most important things that will help you recognize who deserves your money.
PPC Case Studies
Determining how efficiently your potential agency is in handling PPC services can be done through reviewing their case studies. One issue with case studies is that the best of them are often not free, and sometimes they will require that you sign up to a particular mailing list.
Free or not, a proper case study should have a description of the obtained results, along with the account setup process from start to end. Insight into monthly data statistics should also be present, and the pay per click firm should always pinpoint what parts of their strategy can be improved.
An Extensive Blog Is Always a Plus
One resource that should always be present is high-quality blog content. All the best PPC companies have a well-structured, comprehensive blog that serves as a base to display their knowledge. The content you should focus on first is their original research and their approach to how-to guides.
Certified or Not
Whether a PPC company has a certification is not necessarily the apparent factor that plays into figuring out if the company is high-quality.
Typically, PPC advertising companies are obligated to renew their certifications yearly, which coincides with the industry updates. However, not having certificates doesn’t necessarily mean that the agency in question is a bad choice.
One of the reasons might be that accreditations and exams that the pay per click advertising company needs to take can get very expensive. For example, Google Ads Partner requires specialists to spend a minimum of $10,000 in 90 days in Google Ads to be eligible for accreditation.
So, while you want to look for accreditations, keep in mind that they do not mean that the company is automatically a great fit for your needs.
There is no good working relationship if there is no transparency. This sounds reasonably understandable, but it’s surprising how many people end up collaborating with subpar PPC advertising agencies.
The company’s readiness to share information and let you know precisely what they are doing with your PPC account is of the utmost importance. When a pay per click agency is not transparent with their clients, it indicates it either isn’t spending enough time on your campaigns or simply does not know what they’re doing and wants to hide it.
Understanding and Sticking to Target Goals
Understanding client goals and the timeframe in which they should be attained is critical for successful PPC campaigns.
When your PPC agency understands the specific goals you want to reach, they will make sure that you know when and how those goals are met. Conversely, if they haven’t been met, the outstanding PPC agencies will give you the necessary information regarding the reasons and provide a plan to remedy the problem.
So, before you commit to a company, ask them for a walkthrough of what happens when your objectives are not met — this will further help you weed the good companies from the great ones.