Choosing the right PPC agency

what, why & how

Starting PPC is scary.  The average PPC agency would expect you to pay £2,000 per month on just advertising and at least £450 set up cost with a 12% management fee.  Plus, you may not make any money for a good couple of months!  

This guide takes you through what you should expect from a PPC agency, how to save yourself a ton of money and what you might be missing that makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign.

Who’s this guide for? Anyone looking to find a PPC Agency and wants to know the pitfalls and problems that can occur.

So what is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of digital marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.  Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your website.

PPC is probably best known in the form of search engine advertising (e.g advertising on google), whereby companies can “bid” for an “ad placement” in the search engines (google/bing) for a specific keywords or keyphrases that is related to your business offering.

Every time the ad is clicked, you have to pay the search engine a fee.  The entire point of PPC is to make sure that you earn more in sales than the money you have to pay in advertising and management of your PPC.

Similar to Ebay whereby you can bid to win the item, in PPC you can bid for position.  So if you want your website to appear in position 1 for a certain keyword in the search engines you can outbid your competitors to get that position.
Ad placement is effectively the position you want to appear in the search engines for your chosen keyword.  In SEO we talk about high rankings in PPC we talk about ad placement.

So what is adwords?

If you have heard of PPC you have probably heard of google adwords.  If you have ever wondered how Google made so much money over the years, look no further than this PPC advertising model.

Google adwords only appears on google and is by a country mile the most popular for businesses when it comes to PPC, as other companies like bing do not have a good enough market share to warrant spending the set-up fee (although the cost per click is cheaper).

googleadwords

Why should I choose PPC over other forms of marketing?

PPC is probably the quickest and easiest way to reach your customers who are looking for your business or service.  If you are using google adwords (with a little help) you can very quickly reach thousands of people a month and monitor and improve your sales ratio.

It is also a very good way to test how good your business is when competing with similar businesses to you.  Some may say the ultimate test as once you start PPC you are left in no doubt whether your business can expand or needs further improvement.

The golden rules – before you hire a PPC Company

Before you hire a PPC Company you must remember to follow a few Golden Rules.

1

Stand out from the crowd

If you are deciding to venture out in the world of paid advertising then welcome to either a very intense experience or one of complete euphoria as you realise that actually you need no other marketing and you have found your solution that can support and drive forward your entire business.

capture

Yes, yes.  PPC can be the absolute answer to all your marketing problems.

However PPC agencies lose a staggering 30% off their clients within the first 6 months, with businesses losing huge amounts of money and deciding that PPC is not for them.

Is it the agencies fault?  Well possibly. But it could be because the company has not realised that in order to advertise online, especially against bigger competitors, you need to stand out from the crowd.

The only way to sell online with PPC is to either have a great price, strong brand, strong social proof or a very personalised, targeted product/service.

You must remember that you are not advertising exclusively to your customer, you are simply entering the race, so the same rules apply that if you were on a high street exclusively filled with your competitors.  Stand out from the crowd.

2

Expect at least 3 months of misery

When you start with a PPC Agency, you will have an initial set up discussion whereby the agency will do their best to create a solid starting point for you but this is only the beginning.

ppc-processPPC agencies are a group of people that love data and PPC delivers it in droves.  They can make significant improvements using the following to improve your sales, but they need time to understand the best:

  • Location
  • Buyers persona
  • Time of day
  • Keywords that deliver ROI
  • Headlines that work
  • Most profitable position in Google

Don’t look at your first months report, panic and then stop.  It is a process.

3

Personalise, personalise, personalise

With PPC you are trying to put your brand in front of customers that are looking to buy and the best way of understanding if those customers are actually ready to buy is to personalise your advertising.  For example: If you sold cheap shirts, then there would be two ways to sell your product.

  • Advertise online saying “cheap shirts”
  • Personalise online by advertising the exact product “cheap ralph lauren shirts”

If the customer is ready to buy then aren’t they more likely to put in the exact brand they are looking for?

PPC Agency - Cheap Shirt ExampleThis is one of the big issues when businesses are reluctant to pay good money to set up the PPC account, because they sacrifice the time it takes to personalise each individual product. When you hire a PPC agency don’t make a decision based on a cheap set up cost because you are sacrificing personalisation.

4

Use retargeting to save yourself a ton of money

PPC can be expensive, they are ways to cut down the cost, but it still can be butt clenching pricey.

A well run campaign can expect between 2-3% sales ratios from their first interaction with your business, but what about the other 97%?

Although you may be thinking, “Wow, I have to spend yet more money on retargeting”. Remember that the cost of retargeting is significantly less expensive as standard advertising so you are very much losing money, in the grand scheme of things, if you are not doing it.  Take the plunge and be serious about retargeting when you do PPC.

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of your visitors after they leave your website.

For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.

5

Don’t fall for thequalified PPC expert line

If you ever had fake id as a child then unfortunately obtaining a qualification as a google certified PPC expert is a bit like that.

There are ways to fake the test and cheat the system and many people who are qualified may not off taken the path most enlightened to get it.

The only way of really making sure you find the right PPC expert for you is to ask for references from your PPC expert.

Experience is so much more beneficial that a qualification, so you can make great savings by finding a freelancer who has worked on multiples campaigns for an agency or indeed an agency that has a great reputation as a deliverer of PPC.

However, as mentioned before.  Be patient and get those recommendations first.

6

Play the man not the ball

There is growing change in how some PPC marketing is done, in the sense that companies tend to play the man not the ball and choose to investigate what the competition in doing on PPC before they spend a penny on advertising.

playthemannotball

For example, if you are selling “oak cabinets” online and you realise that by reducing your cost by a couple of pounds makes you the cheapest in PPC.

Instead of advertising straight away with your current price, you look at the competition and reduce your prices accordingly.

Companies have been very successful by just dropping their prices ever so slightly and saving so much more money through wasted clicks for customers trying to find “the best deal”.

Companies like www.mozenda.com allow businesses to constantly keep on track off their competitors pricing for their products.  By using these tools you can work with your PPC team and sales team to lower your prices that delivers the best ROI for your business.

What a low cost PPC Agency might miss that you need

Firstly, if you are a low cost PPC agency then you are probably working with clients that are relatively awkward, have no interest in how it works, have a rather basic looking website and just want to see results.

I just want to stress that low cost PPC companies have an almost impossible task as they are only allowed to do one of the two most important things in order to get results:

  • They are allowed to advertise your business on Google Adwords, write catchy headings, manage your budget and link the appropriate keywords to the appropriate page on your website.
  • They are not allowed to change your page to best fit the keywords they are trying market, focus on improving your on page conversions and ultimately sales online or charge you anything extra that you might need because you have chosen them based on price.

So what happens?  Well you could get incredibly lucky as your business is strong enough to make the sales regardless OR the visitor clicks on your website, get confused, leave and you ultimately stop PPC, claiming that it is a waste of money.

So if you are going to choose a PPC Agency on a budget then make sure that you realise the potential pitfalls that can happen if you are not willing to change your pages.

Speak with your PPC Company and ask.  They will probably be very relieved to hear you say it and will be more than happy to help.

How much would you expect to pay for a good PPC agency?

The average would be between £450-800 for the PPC (adwords) set up fee and they will ask for between 12-15% of the total management of your monthly budget if you spend over £2,000 a month.

Some companies actually choose to spend less than a £1,000 a month and accept a fee of £400 a month in management.

This type of fee structure is far too high for competitive items with low margins and you will end up paying more in the long run as the PPC company is not able to generate enough data to make improvements to your campaign.

An example:  If you were training for a half marathon and you decided to start training a year before by running every week for 2 hours, by the time the marathon arrived you would be quite fit and be able to set a good time.

However, if you decided to start training 3 months before the marathon and did 4 hours a week, by the time the marathon arrived you would probably be fitter (although the first couple of weeks training would have been terrible) and you would have saved yourself about 52 hours of running.

A PPC campaign on a budget is a bit like that.

If you are too scared to go through the pain then you end up wasting time and possibly getting a worse result.

The heavyweight champion is http://www.periscopix.co.uk/, however they are a little pricey.