If managed correctly, per click advertising can be a highly effective way to drive business growth in a tough economy. It is tempting to reduce your marketing when your monthly numbers are down at or near all time lows, but instead focus on marketing smarter.
If you are not already familiar with PPC advertising do some searching and educate yourself on the basics. The future performance of your business may depend on it. If you are already familiar with it, you may be tempted to run, manage and optimize your own online marketing campaigns OR perhaps you convinced “Joe” your graphics guy to take on the project. For many of our clients, online advertising – and PPC in particular, is their number one lead generation strategy. If you knew that this might be the case for your business, would you assign it as a side job to an employee whose core focus is on something else? Of course not!
Yet an in-house specialist will generally run you about $10,000 per month after you factor in office equipment, software, benefits and salary. This might make sense for Fortune 1000 companies, but for smaller companies, it is usually cheaper and more effective to outsource it to a specialist. With everyone and their mother being a PPC specialist these days (and don’t get us started with SEO!), how do you find the best company for you? What types of questions should you be asking? What are some questions you should be asking and common red flags and things to avoid:
Determine how the PPC company gets paid.
Does their fee structure align their interests with yours? Here’s a great article that elaborates on this subject by Brad Geddes.
Red Flags: Any company that does not make clear which portion of your budget goes to the search engine (ad, etc.) and which portion goes into the management company’s pocket.
One company in particular, comprised of many former Yellow Page sales reps, is telling prospective clients that they receive a discount on clicks from Google because they buy so many clicks. This is absolutely NOT the case. If you have an AdWords account, contact Google yourself and ask them.
If you hear this from a sales rep, RUN – don’t walk to the nearest exit!
How experienced is the company?
For many companies, online marketing is proving to be more effective than any other advertising medium has ever been. The downside to this is that it is complex. Where there is complexity, there is money to be made. Look at the world of financial planners. Slick sales reps are a dime a dozen. Try and ask them questions during their presentation that uncover their true level of experience.
Red Flag: What you don’t want is a former Yellow Page sales rep OR a Yellow Page company managing your online advertising!
Sales reps and account managers at these companies know nothing about online advertising other than that right now it is an easy sell and a great place to make good commissions (at your expense).
Find out the level of reporting detail available.
You want as much transparency as possible, so that you can be confident that they are delivering the best possible performance for your money OR at least carrying out tests in a logical fashion.
Red Flag: Something is seriously wrong if you can’t see the individual keywords they are bidding on each month.
Some PPC management companies give you a report with so much fuzz in it that it is impossible to determine how good (or bad) they are doing – good for them – bad for you!
We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Enjoy this last month of summer…
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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“Our phones are ringing more and our guys are busier ever since we signed up with Blue Corona to handle our marketing. We look forward to our monthly updates and are excited to see the numbers each month of how we are doing. It is especially nice to see now when we are experiencing a lot of pressure from our competitors to try and take our customers. It’s nice to take these amazing numbers to our manager and show him that the money we have been spending is paying off. ”