When looking for a PPC company or consultant, lack of choice is definitely not an issue. On Google, the term “ppc company” alone will return millions of results. So how can you find the right company or consultant for your campaign when there are so many different kinds of PPC services, rates and approaches offered on the market?
First of all, many PPC companies and consultants will ask for a setup fee, a monthly flat fee and an additional monthly fee based on your budget. So what are you getting for your investment? Here are 10 questions to ask a PPC company or consultant before hiring them:
1. What am I getting for my setup fee?
Believe me, this is not just another way to hide fees in your deal. In most cases, you should be getting something back for your investment. For example, this part of your contract could include items such as:
- Initial consultation to learn more about the client, market, customers, competitors, products, services, etc. as well as results of previous PPC efforts.
- PPC account audit (if any) followed by recommendations.
- Establish initial objectives.
- Set up a monthly budget.
- Set up or re-arrange your PPC account.
- Keyword research and analysis.
- Optimize existing ads.
- Ad Copywriting.
- Install tracking code if necessary.
- Optimize time scheduling and geographic targets according to campaign objectives.
Note that none of the above refers to internal processing so as you can see, your PPC services provider will have to earn what you are being charged for.
2. What am I getting for my monthly rate?
In my opinion, this is an important part of a PPC management services agreement. It should include key elements such as performance reports, monitoring, keyword bidding, testing, ad copywriting and other campaign optimization basics but how many hours a week or month will your PPC company or consultant spend working on your account? Try to find out how long it will take to reach some of your initial objectives, how pro-active your services provider intends to be and what the turnaround time is for a special request. I’ve see many PPC companies that are happy cashing their monthly check after making minor updates that are not even affecting performances. A weekly $0.05 change on what seems to be a random list of keywords is NOT justifying the need for a PPC professional!
3. How many keywords should I be using?
Opinions may vary from one PPC consultant to another but personally, I believe this should be based on your website content. If only using a few landing pages, I would not recommend using a huge list of keywords. Many of them would end up not being relevant to your website content and your Quality Score would suffer from it. As an end result, you would end up with a higher cost per click (CPC) and lesser conversions for your investment. I would also limit my ad groups to a maximum of about 50 keywords so ask questions about it and see if the answers you are getting make sense.
4. Should I use brand keywords?
Unless you have a very well known company, keywords that are related to your brands should be cheap to bid on so why sending that traffic and potential revenue to a competitor? In addition, brand keywords usually provide a higher conversion rate while studies show that using brand keywords for both PPC and SEO campaigns can reinforce brand recognition and increase overall click-through rates (CTR). Your PPC services provider should monitor the performance of your brand keywords and make proper recommendations.
5. Will I have access to my PPC account?
Although most PPC companies and consultants would strongly object to having their client make changes on their own, you should ALWAYS have access to your account.
6. Besides PPC, do you offer other services?
While it is not the ultimate criteria, it can be in your advantage to deal with a service provider that can support you with other marketing initiatives as well. Asking questions about it is also a good opportunity to learn more about overall competency. PPC networks are consistently improving their system and general marketing experience is becoming more important than ever. Does the PPC consultant you are considering even know about marketing basics such as market segmentation?
7. Do you have experience with geo-targeting?
In my opinion, this is also a good question to find out if you are dealing with a knowledgeable PPC professional. Is their geo-targeting approach limited to keep ads from showing up in China?
8. What is the contract length?
Many companies will try to lock you in for the long term but why should you pay for a service you are not happy with? It would be wise to ask about contract length and conditions so you don’t get caught having to pay hundreds of dollars to break your contract if needed.
9. How do you manage negative keywords?
Negative keywords should be taken care of. If not, you could end up losing a lot of money on clicks that will never convert. Ask how often your negative keyword list would be updated and how negative keywords can be integrated into your keyword list.
10. How do you track PPC activities?
Although all PPC networks provide decent reporting capabilities, I would recommend using an external tracking system that can compile data from multiple systems under one account. Try using a system that will keep track of both PPC and SEO leads so you can compare their respective ROI. Most PPC companies and consultants have tracking systems they are used to work with but if possible, register your own account so if you are not satisfied with your business relation you don’t lose any data or reporting capabilities when moving on to another company.
Finally, I would suggest not associating high rates with quality services. As a PPC specialist, I have dealt with many big names in the industry and believe it or not, some of them have no clue what geo-targeting is about or will use hundreds of keywords in each ad group while running ads on the content network! When it comes to PPC marketing, high rates are more than often not justified so hopefully this article will help you pick the right PPC company or consultant for your particular project.