This article is for people who are considering Google Adwords management as an option for their business. If you have got this far I will assume that you have already made the decision to outsource this part of your business, this is mainly a guide for you to ensure you are asking the right questions of your agency.
Just as with every industry, you will come across companies who are very talented and hard working, but there is also a fair share of people who either don’t know what they are doing but will claim they do, or are just convincing people they work hard, when really there is very little effort put in on their part.
My aim here is to ensure after reading this, that you can hire someone excellent.
Question Number 1: Can you show me client feedback or 2 references from happy customers?
This one is universal across business in general and many respected authors suggest that when entering into business with someone, you ask for some type of reference or feedback.
From an Adwords managers perspective, unless they are completely new to it, they will have dealt with many other businesses before you. It is not unreasonable therefore to ask for previous customer feedback.
On the web these days, there are many companies offering review services and it should be very easy for any reputable company to provide this for you. If they can’t provide at least two people who are happy with the work they have done, they may not be the company you want to go with!
Question Number 2: How long have you been offering PPC Management?
Although this particular one is not exactly bullet proof, there is a learning curve required to be proficient in Google Adwords.
If the individual or company in question is new, it is likely they will be making mistakes as they learn, just as all people do.
Unless price is a significant issue, ideally you would like someone who has experience on their side so these mistakes are kept to a minimum.
Past a certain point though this number becomes more about how much they keep up to date with the most recent changes e.g. someone with 10 years experience vs 11 years experience will not make a great deal of difference, but leads us onto our next point…
Question Number 3: Do you keep up to date with the most recent features offered by Adwords?
Things in this industry change pretty quickly! I have learnt this through necessity, Google is under pressure from competitors from all angles who are looking to take their mantle as the most prominent place to look for information and for business to find their customers.
Googles Response? Constant innovation, always looking for new and improved ways to find more customers via different means.
More and more laser targeted to ensure advertisers get the best return and consumers have the best experience.
The other reason to stay ahead of the curve is, it is not where most people live. Meaning that if Google introduce something new on Adwords, potential customers have never seen it before (higher likeliness of conversion) and other businesses that compete with you are most likely not there yet.
This little principle is a must have for your potential Adwords manager and is actually missed by most.
Question Number 4: How do you measure the success of the campaign?
In my opinion this should not even have to be a question! Unfortunately it is very necessary. I have encountered many customers who have had experiences with agencies who do not measure the success of a campaign in either leads or sales.
It is very easy to get clicks to a website or improve click through rate. What you want as a business owner is enquiries with the end result at some stage to be a sale.
If agencies or freelancers are unable to deliver this, they will often try and measure it some other way to show they are doing good work.
If you are willing to accept this, you are likely to get sub par results and your business will have slower growth than necessary. It is also very common to state that when you are not getting sales or enquiries, that you have bought some kind of “brand awareness” – this is commonly used when the results are not good and should not be tolerated.
If you are working for a company which has a substantial brand following then perhaps it may be true. Most small businesses however need advertising which is spent efficiently, that produces a return which they can quantify and do more of if the results are positive.
By Measuring the success of the campaign this way, you may even scare off people who are not confident in their own abilities to manage your ppc account.
Question Number 5: Do you Price based on Ad Spend?
It is common practice at a certain amount of ad spend to have a management fee that is based on a percentage of your google spend.
It is important to know this in advance. If you are unaware of this, you may well have difficulty down the road when you want to increase the spend of your campaign and also find out that your management fee will go up.
Most reasonable companies will provide an option for you of either a fee which is reasonable enough regardless of how much is spent, or will be a percentage of spend as when the amount of spend goes up, work also does.
It is important to know this in advance to avoid lower cost providers that as soon as you want to increase activity, it is at an unreasonable or unprofitable amount.
Also if you have a contract term, there is no way to get out of it without paying a higher amount…
Question Number 6: Is there a minimum Contract Term?
There is obviously reasons for or against for signing a contract which states that you will do business with each other for a certain period of time.
There is no way for me to know your particular circumstance, but one thing which is very important is knowing exactly what you are signing up for if you do sign a contract for Adwords management. Part of this is how long do you have to pay for and what exactly do these costs cover?
I would like to go into the details and examples of how you might benefit from a long term contract or one which has no minimum at all, but it is unique so what is right for you may not be right for someone else, the key here is to be informed, so you have no surprises in the future.
Question Number 7: What is your bidding strategy?
You need to be moderately confident in your understanding of PPC to pull meaning from this, but most good companies will have a normal bidding strategy they tend to default to.
If the person you are speaking to does not understand the question or does not really have one, it likely means they don’t have much of a “strategy”.
My own tends to be manual and highly geared towards visitor behaviour, with the priority being conversions and then secondary on website behaviour (time on site/pages visited).
Question Number 8: Do you provide reporting and do you charge extra for it?
This is a very interesting point to discuss as it is very important to know how your account is getting on, what are the trends and how much does it cost to provide you with the results you are getting (among other things).
That being said, I have worked in agencies that spend more time on reporting than they do working on the account itself.
It is nice to get reports informing you of how things are going, but it is not as important as the account itself. You need to know that if you are getting weekly detailed reporting from your agency, they are most likely doing it for others as well.
They will probably be overworked and working to particular deadlines. All the time they are creating reports for you, they are not working on your Adwords account.
In short, be informed, but know that the priority is not the reports themselves but your Adwords account – be sure you are getting your monies worth for the right things.
Otherwise those reports will begin to trend in a very negative direction due to the neglect of your account!
Question 9: Are you able to help me with on site changes?
The job of a marketer really should be about getting you new customers. As much as most emphasis is spent on the Adwords account itself, on site changes make a huge difference to the amount of people that are converted from visitors to customers.
Your Agency needs to know the fundamentals which lead people to convert on websites.
Most PPC professionals wouldn’t tend to implement the changes themselves as if you specialise in something, it tends to mean you are an expert in one area and even if you are able to make website changes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should, as the time is best spent elsewhere.
You should however be able to explain or recommend changes to test which are likely to improve conversion rate. There is the media that your visitors come from and the activity they take when they are on your site, they are both vitally important.
Question 10: Are you likely to get on with the people you will be working with?
Working with people is not always easy! The results that you get from the campaign are also a massive factor, so even if the people you choose are not that pleasant, you may want to put up with them if they deliver great results!
This is just a reminder that as you will be working with your PPC team on an ongoing basis and the relationship you have with them is important. Are they the type of people you are likely to get on with?
Adwords Management Conclusion
By following this guide and implementing the above information, you are likely to be the most prepared business when picking an agency to look after your Adwords account I have ever come across!
Some other factors which are not mentioned above are price (for ROI) and what happens if your results are not as expected.
These are important and some sort of contingency plan if things do not go your way is always handy to have as a back up.
Download a free audio book on 7 things you must know before hiring anyone for ppc at this link
About the author
Thomas Green is a Certified Adwords Professional and specialises in direct response marketing. He has over 6 years PPC experience and has a straight forward approach to what works and what doesn’t!