Pay-per-click advertising is seen as one of the most cost-effective and successful ways of generating traffic to a website. PPC marketers only ever pay for links that are clicked on by users and as a result are able to attract a targeted audience and greatly enhance sales with ads appearing in prominent positions within search engines and affiliates.
If you’re determined to get the most out of your online ad spending, hiring a pay-per-click consultant is the way forward and the options are plentiful: a simple search for “PPC Consultant” on Google returning over 6 million results. So, with such huge number of PPC companies out there, how do you find the right one for you? How do you tell the reputable PPC consultants from the online scammers, and how do you know what you are getting for your investment? Here are some questions you might want to ask a PPC consultant or company before hiring them.
How long have you been running PPC campaigns?
Some of the questions I am suggesting you ask here may seem forthright, but this is your money and your livelihood we are talking about, and you need to know that you are receiving the best service possible. So, how long have you been running campaigns? Experience matters a great deal in paid search and you do not want to be hiring a newbie or a jack-of-all-trades consultant. I’m not saying that either of these are bad necessarily, it’s just you need to see proven results from a PPC specialist and these can generally only come from a company with three or more years’ experience.
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Are you familiar with my industry?
This is not essential, but it definitely helps if a consultant has experience and a level of expertise within your industry. Most (reputable) PPC consultants will take the time to understand your business and your goals, but if they are already familiar with the tricks of the trade, it can make all the difference when running campaigns.
Are you Google AdWords Certified?
A great insight into the expertise of a company is whether they are a Google AdWords Certified Partner. Google AdWords is by far the biggest pay-per-click advertising service on the market and certification is a sign of a consultant’s commitment to their trade. A PPC company or consultant without Google certification may indicate that they are not generating a great deal of AdWords traffic, or simply do not deem it important enough – either way you’d have to question whether they are worth hiring.
What does my set-up fee include?
Most PPC consultants will ask for an up-front fee for set-up, a flat monthly fee for their work, and an on-going monthly fee based on your budget. Of course, you will want to know what you are getting for your money, and should start by inquiring about the set-up fee.
The overall price of the set-up fee will vary depending on the consultant and the size of your website, but you should expect it to include the following:
- Initial consultation (some consultants will offer this free of charge)
- Keyword research and analysis
- Campaign creation
- Ad group creation
- Ad copywriting
- Landing page selection
- Cost-per-click configuration
- Advanced aspect configuration (i.e. position preference and limiting ad display times)
- Conversion data analytics configuration
- Regular reports of changes to costs, keywords and advert text
What do my monthly fees include?
Your monthly fee should include the essentials such as keyword bidding, testing, ad copywriting, monitoring, and performance reporting; however, it should also cover the amount of hours that a consultant is putting into your campaigns. You PPC provider should be pro-active with your account and be able to provide quick turn over time when required. Make sure it is made clear to you what exactly the consultant intends to provide for this monthly fee. Random lists of keywords will not suffice!
How many keywords am I using?
The size of your website will be a good indicator of how many keywords you should be using. The smaller the number of landing pages, the lesser the number of keywords required. Using more keywords than is necessary will result in a higher cost-per-click and fewer conversions for the investment. As a rough guide, a small website should only require up to 60 keywords, up to 10 Ad groups, and up to 20 adverts, a medium-sized website, up to 100 keywords, 20 Ad groups and 40 adverts, and a large website up to 150 keywords, 30 Ad groups, and 100 adverts.
Ask the question about keywords and see if the answer is in the right ballpark.
How are negative keywords managed?
Negative keywords need to be regularly updated or else you could find yourself losing money on clicks that are irrelevant and unlikely to ever convert. In PPC, it pays to be negative and managing negative keyword lists will improve ROI. Ask how often keyword lists are updated and how they are managed in relation to positive keywords.
What is the length of the contract?
This is a very important question to ask because there a fair few PPC consultants out there that will try to tie you up in a long-term contract that could result in you paying hundreds of pounds to get out of if you are unhappy with the service. It is also worth enquiring about the conditions of the contract to ensure you are not locked in to a service with which you are dissatisfied.
When it comes to hiring a PPC consultant, remember that they are working for you and using your money. They should always be respectful and happy to answers all the above questions in an honest manner. If they can do this, they will certainly be worthy of the shortlist.