We’ve had a lot of people asking us for advice on what to look for when choosing a PPC Management partner. We’ve helped many people to make the right decision in this area over the years so I wanted to outline a few of the points we always encourage people to consider before making a decision on where to place their PPC activity.
Firstly, hopefully not teaching you to suck eggs, I think it’s important to abolish the acronym and clarify that by PPC we’re talking about Pay Per Click digital marketing activity. That is digital marketing activity where you pay for each and every click on your advertisement. In our experience when talking about pay per click most people are referring to Google AdWords but the term PPC can be used to describe the method of buying digital media across a variety of different channels, Facebook, LinkedIn, Outbrain, Bing, to name just a few, all let you pay per click.
The challenge with most, if not all, PPC platforms is that they take time to setup, manage and optimise – this is exactly the reason most clients start talking to us about PPC Management in the first place. Many clients don’t have a digital person in house to take the reins and even those clients that are fortunate enough to have in house digital expertise often find that their digital person doesn’t have the time, capacity or sometimes expertise to take on PPC management themselves. In fact our advice for 90% of the people that we talk to is not to try running PPC in house – rather find a way to outsource it so you and your team can focus on what really matters to your business – keeping your customers happy.
To help those people that are searching for a PPC Management specialist we’ve produced this list of tips, you can view the summary below and the click each headline to get more detail on what exactly we’re talking about. If you have any questions or feedback about this list then please do get in contact with us:
- Put your business objectives first, channel second
- Ask how your PPC Manager will report on performance
- Think about how people research your products/services – even if people don’t “Google it” it doesn’t mean you can’t use PPC
- Do some keyword/audience research
- Think about ways to encourage your target audience to get in touch with you
- Consider what you’ll show people on your PPC landing page, if you use a landing page
- Ask about who else your prospective partner works with and whether they could share some testimonials from existing client
- Check out the competition but don’t get hung up on it
Put your business objectives first, channel second
Everything you do in your business should relate back to your business objectives. So when you go looking for a PPC Management specialist don’t just tell them that you “want to rank on Google” or be “visible on Facebook” – tell them what you and your business are looking to achieve. For example, “this year we want to increase sales of our widget from 1,000 units last year to 1,300 units. We need 40% of total sales to be generated as a result of digital leads.” This will enable your PPC suppliers to work as much more than just a “supplier” rather they should be able to partner with you to ensure the best mix of
Ask how your PPC Manager will report on performance
Your PPC Manager should be reporting in the metrics that matter the most to your business.
Not just click through rate (CTR).
Not just impressions.
Reports should be based on your objectives. By this I mean number of leads generated, the value of goods sold, how many downloads of your latest lead magnet were generated and so on. Things like CTR, impressions and clicks are valuable when diving into the detail but these are not the metrics that you should be focused on when talking to your PPC Manager.
Think about how people research your products/services – even if people don’t “Google it” it doesn’t mean you don’t need PPC Management
A large number of people will turn to Google for an answer to almost any question.
Check out some of these auto-complete examples taken from Google Australia…
However, even with these weird and wonderful searches, it doesn’t always mean that your products/services will be widely searched for on Google.
Or more importantly not directly searched for.
For example I deal with many clients who sell products to very specific industry niches, it’s not that people who work in these industries don’t use Google, it’s just that the product is often so specific there is very little search traffic from people who are looking to purchase.
When this happens it could be that you need to consider PPC channels outside of search, things like Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
You should also consider what are the other more tangential terms that a person may be searching using that imply an interest in the industry or your sub-set of products. For example somebody who works in the hospitality industry might conduct searches for general “hospitality supplies” but might be much less likely to search for something as specific as “hotel booking management software” – by targeting the former it is possible to increase the pool of potential prospects.
Do some keyword/audience research
Hopefully by now you’re already thinking about ways to reach your target audience.
To do this effectively it’s always good to put yourself in your customers shoes and think about the search terms that they’d use to find your business, or at least businesses offering services relevant to their needs.
If you’re interested in taking on some of the keyword research yourself I wrote about how to do this here. Often you will find your PPC Management partner will help you with this phase.
It’s also worth considering your audience research, again your chosen partner should be able to help you with this. This is partly why it’s so important to approach your potential partners with a brief that relates to your business objectives and not to be too specific, too early on, a good partner will likely be able to help you identify and reach audiences that either you hadn’t considered or maybe didn’t realise were possible to reach using digital channels.
Think about ways to encourage your target audience to get in touch with you
The mistake I’ve seen time and time again is that businesses produce some fabulous content that really helps their audience but then fail to make it easy for them to get in touch.
Or in the worse cases, they fail to even ask their audience to get in touch.
Sometimes simply “asking” isn’t enough.
Sometimes you’ve got to compel your audience to take action, they’ve got to feel the burn of desire to enter their contact details into your page.
Often, the best way of doing this is to offer something of value to your audience, for free. A downloadable information pack, or checklist (like we’re offering here 🙂 ). The marketing term often used to describe this is “value-exchange” or “lead magnet” – basically an irresistible bribe that you can offer to your audience that compels them to enter their contact details to receive what’s on offer. This approach works particularly well for sales in business-to-business contexts where the decision making journey is likely to be more complicated, involve more people with different motivations and also likely result in a higher value sale. That said the lead magnet approach can be used in a variety of scenarios.
Consider what you’ll show people on your PPC landing page, if you use a landing page
I could write a lot about landing pages and I promise to do so in a future article. However, one recommendation I’m going to make today is KEEP IT RELEVANT.
If you’re using Google AdWords to drive your PPC traffic then make sure you echo what the user searched for, if they’re searching for “Catering Equipment Suppliers In Sydney” – then make sure your landing page references this and makes it clear that you’re a catering equipment that services the Sydney area.
One size fits all may work to an extent BUT it won’t maximise your results and means ultimately that you’ll end up wasting at least some of your spend on clicks that never result in enquiries.
Ask about who else your prospective partner works with and whether they could share some testimonials from existing client
The proof is in the pudding.
That is you really won’t find out what a prospective PPC Management company is like until you start working with them. Which obviously comes with a degree of risk, especially if you’ve got to commit to a minimum contract term.
The best way to discover whether they’re worth working with or not is to request to talk to one or two existing clients.
Have a list of questions ready to ask the clients (or see the questions we include in our checklist which you can download from the link below).
Check out the competition but don’t get hung up on it
Take a look at what your competitors are “ranking” for in both the paid and organic (non-paid) listings but remember to stay balanced. Just because they’re ranking well now doesn’t mean that they always will or that they’re generating quality enquiries from the traffic.
There are usually multiple ways to achieve the same goal, so don’t think you need to run and imitate your competitors, work with your PPC Management partner to identify your own opportunities and build from there.