To take a quote from Kent Lewis, President of Anvil Media, “The good news: you can setup and manage a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising program on Google, Yahoo! or MSN within minutes. The bad news: you can setup and manage a PPC advertising program within minutes. “
As a search and social media marketing firm it is frustrating to see and hear some of the services that other so called search marketing companies are offering. I have lost track on the number of times I have met with businesses and clients who have been frustrated with the service, quality of work, and advice their previous search marketing agency had been providing. Just like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
With so many businesses offering Pay-Per-Click services (Yellowbook, Dex, OregonLive.com, Reach Local, etc.) it can be hard to find the ones that will offer a quality service and product. If you decide to hire someone to manage your PPC campaign, take note of these points. It will save you many headaches in the long run. If you are currently using a company to manage your PPC campaign, make sure these are being done or have been done.
- Research: There should be an in-depth research phase for every PPC campaign. This includes but is not limited to analyzing past and current PPC campaigns, competitors, current customer base and keyword research. Look out if the research and set-up of your campaign includes only picking a few keywords, writing a few ads and pressing play. The more the search marketing company wants to know about your business, your customers, and your competitors, the better your campaign will be.
- Keywords: Ask about their keyword research process. How do they go about selecting keywords and have them give reasons why keywords were selected. In reality there is more to it than picking 10 keywords that relate to your business.
- Management: A PPC campaign isn’t like the Ron Popeil “Set it and Forget Rotisserie”. When you hear something like “your campaign will be fully automated”, go running for the hills. A business owner who does not adapt to the changing market, will eventually fail. The same holds true for any PPC campaign. There are many moving parts to a successful PPC campaign and they all have to be cared for.
- Reporting: At the end of the month or whenever you receive reports for your campaign, there should be a detailed account of changes or recommended changes to your campaign. If no changes were made or no changes are recommended, that is a big red flag. Here are some bits of information that you want to see in your reporting or end of month analysis: What ad copy changed, what keywords worked well, what keywords were dropped, what were the conversion rates for each keyword, what was the placement of your ads, etc. There should be a reason for every move within a PPC campaign and it should be a move to increase your business’s ROI.
- Guarantees: Also, be cautious of any company that guarantees a particular ranking, level of success, or number of clicks. Search engines frequently change their algorithms, so it is impossible to know where and when your ad will be. In the end it does not matter where your ad is or how many clicks you get. It is all about conversions and ROI.
There are dozens of search marketing companies clamoring for your business’s money. Some only seem to care about their bottom line. By taking into account the above points, you will be able to find someone who cares about your business’s ROI.
For more information on creating a quality PPC strategy check out, The Four E’s of a Successful Pay-Per-Click Advertising Program.