August 15, 2018 | Sarah Danks
Questions to Ask When Hiring a PPC Company
Pay-per-click advertising — colloquially known as PPC — is an effective way to get in front of your ideal audience, whether your monthly budget is vast or limited. Unlike search engine optimization (an important aspect of organic online marketing, though very different), PPC can get quick results. As soon as the campaign goes live, you can start receiving clicks.
Plus, every click is measurable, and you can start or stop PPC campaigns at any time. Last but not least: the beautiful thing is you only pay when people click on your ads.
So you’ve decided to hire a PPC agency, but you’ve got some homework to do. Namely, you need to be sure the company you choose is a good fit — both in terms of personality and qualifications. Before you shake hands and start a partnership, you’ll need to learn some vital information.
Here’s a quick list of questions you should ask the agency you’re thinking of hiring to manage your PPC marketing dollars.
Why should I hire this company?
What sets them apart? Do they even have an answer to this? Many companies can’t answer this simple question.
- what’s your experience?
- how many years in business?
- do you know my industry?
- what kind of success stories do you have?
- what about campaigns that didn’t work out?
Here’s another question to ask them: what if PPC isn’t right for me? How they answer that question will determine whether or not they’re just out to make money from anyone. The thing is, pay-per-click might not work for you.
Another shoot-off question here is, “how will you learn what you need to know about my business goals?” If a PPC company isn’t willing to sit down with you for an evaluation of your objectives, budget, expectations and timeline, how on earth will they manage the campaign once it’s up and running?
The entire point of a PPC campaign is to garner you quality leads — in order to do that, we need to understand WHAT kind of lead you want, and work backwards from there to ascertain the best strategy to net those for you.
What’s their process with pay-per-click accounts?
When you ask this question, you don’t want to hear about all the technical mumbo-jumbo: “we do extensive keyword research with XYZ tools to get the best list possible, we specialize in the Google AdWords platform, we’re continually adjusting our keyword bids and monitoring negative keywords to get you optimum results, and yadda yadda yadda.”
What you want to find out here is how they’ll approach paid search for your specific business. Marketing is the heart and essence of what a PPC company needs to be doing for you, but first they need to understand YOU.
- how do you begin creating a new account?
- how do you lay out a strategy?
- am I involved in this process at all?
What you want to hear them say is, “First and foremost, we want to understand your business, your services, and the ideal leads you want.”
The keywords, the ads and all the campaign management that need to happen must be driven by a clear understanding of your marketing goals.
How will they manage my campaign?
Most importantly, WHO manages my PPC campaign?
Some huge companies have a myriad of employees, sure…
…but each PPC manager could be working on hundreds of accounts — so how many minutes of the week will they dedicate to YOUR campaign?
- who will be working on my account?
- who will I speak with when I call/email with questions?
- how often will I be able to chat with someone regarding my campaign?
- are you certified?
You want to know the person working on your account will be dedicating the proper amount of time and attention to detail to ensure your marketing dollars are working effectively…
…and that they’re qualified to do so.
How do they handle reporting?
It shouldn’t happen in this day and age, but you can be sure it does: PPC marketers create campaigns, launch and run them…
…and they’re not properly tracking results.
If they’re not tracking conversions correctly, all their efforts are for naught, since they won’t be able to make decisions on how to improve the campaign. Basically they’ll be shooting from the hip and you can be sure your hard-earned marketing dollars will be falling through the cracks.
- what kinds of reports do you use?
- how often will I be receiving them?
- what are you measuring?
- is management automated?
- examples of reports?
- can I have access to the dashboard?
This last question is important; no marketing company should ever tell you you can’t have access to YOUR account. Complete transparency is important — after all, it’s your money and your business success on the line.
What’s their specialty?
No one’s a specialist in everything. Any marketing agency that claims to know it all about it all, is feeding you a line of BS.
Hint: beware of “full service” advertising agencies. They might know about — and have clients that pay them for — branding, public relations, email marketing, “media buying,” online marketing and a plethora of other services, but they’re not experts in all of it.
In fact, the problem with agencies like that is, they’re stretched so thin with trying to manage all those different types of marketing that your PPC account won’t receive the attention it deserves — nor do agencies like that often have a marketer that specializes in pay-per-click.
You can make an argument for or against paid search companies that specialize in one type of clientele — e.g., attorneys — or the ones that work with a wide range of industries.
- do you only work with a certain type of industry/client?
- what makes you specialized enough for my niche?
That’s up to you, but it boils down to hiring a company that specializes in lead generation. After all, that’s what your business revolves around, so be sure this agency knows how to get the leads you need.
If any PPC agency says they focus on getting you clicks — instead of qualified leads — run the other way, and fast.
Do they offer design/development?
You might not have this in your mind when you’re first searching for a PPC agency, but landing pages are an important aspect of a paid search campaign. Without a dedicated landing page for visitors to consume the most pertinent information regarding their search, you’re just spraying-and-praying.
And, to have landing pages built specifically for your campaign you need an agency that knows how to build them.
- can you design your own landing pages?
- how do you create them?
- how easy is it to make changes to my landing pages?
Even if a company is using a third-party platform to build out custom landing pages, at least they need to have the ability to create them themselves, and not hire out to have someone else doing it.
Do they seem like a good fit?
“At the end of the day,” you need to be able to communicate effectively with a marketing person — so if the person you’re trying to hire is talking way over your head with unintelligible jargon or treating you as if you’re a moron…
…move on to the next candidate.
This is your money, your business, and ultimately your success. Make sure the company handling all that is one with which you feel comfortable — not just in their qualifications, but in the way they treat and talk to you.
Do your research when deciding on a paid search company!
Hiring a PPC company to handle your marketing budget can be a stressful decision. But it doesn’t have to be if you’re armed with the right knowledge. Be sure to do your research and ask the important questions to weed out the ones that aren’t qualified, otherwise you’ll have to watch out for the warning signs of bad agencies.
From there it’s ultimately up to you to determine whether or not a pay-per-click agency is a good fit for you and your business goals.