Many companies have attempted to develop their own paid search strategies… and just as many have gone running to a pay-per-click (PPC) agency with their tail between their legs. It’s a humbling experience, but a valuable one. Even though the marketing materials on the Internet make it sound easy to implement your own PPC strategy in no time, the reality is that many businesses struggle to make it work. That’s not a sign of weakness — it’s simply a fact that it’s very hard for a company of any size to focus on their core operations while launching a marketing plan at the same time.
PPC agencies exist for this exact scenario. When done right, a PPC agency can help your business to attract new customers and stay on top of trends. Above all else, though, a good PPC agency will keep up with ever-changing search engine algorithms — hidden rules that govern the search engines which can literally make or break the profitability of a business. Needless to say, you want to stay on the right side of these algorithms.
It’s never easy to let an outsider into your operation, especially as a small business. With that in mind, here’s what you can expect when you work with a pay-per-click agency.
Lots of Promises
Marketing agencies come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. But there’s one thing all marketing agencies have in common — they’ll promise you the world right off the bat. Regardless of your budget, your size or your needs, you’ll hear all about how this agency can get you to the top of the Google search results in no time, or increase your sales on Amazon, or drastically boost whatever metric you’re trying to improve.
Since you’re going to get the same pitch from everyone, it’s best to put those boasts to the side and focus on the smaller things. What results has this agency gotten for similar businesses? What other projects have they worked on? And it’s not just about business results, either. Do you feel comfortable working with this group? Do you notice any personality traits that may become red flags? Do you get a bad vibe in any way from the agency?
These factors are just as important as the actual paid search ads. If it’s a bad fit, cut your losses immediately and look for someone else.
Additional Work on Your End
Once you’ve found an agency you’re happy with, it’s time to get to work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean sitting back and relaxing while the agency takes care of everything. The agency may have some big ideas for what they can do for your company, but only if you handle your end of the bargain.
What does that entail? It depends on the agency and the scope of the project. At a minimum, you can expect to update your landing pages. These will be the first pages people see after clicking the PPC ad placed by your agency, so expect the agency to have some say regarding how those pages look and feel. This may also lead to a bigger discussion about the entire customer experience on your site, and things can quickly snowball, especially if your current website is below modern standards.
All of this is to say that improving your paid search results isn’t as simple as tasking an agency to take care of everything. You’ll also have to do your fair share, and sometimes that share becomes a drastic overhaul of your entire customer-facing communications. Your business, however, will be better for your efforts.
A New Perspective on SEO
Paid search and SEO have been tied at the hip for as long as both concepts have existed. Without an in-depth knowledge of SEO, it’s impossible to incorporate paid search to its fullest potential. Your PPC agency should also be well-versed in SEO. If nothing else, they’ll at least be able to tell you which keywords you should be targeting. While it may be up to you to incorporate those keywords into your website copy and meta tags, you’re still getting valuable insight into what keywords can help you to climb the search engine rankings and boost your overall profile.
Yes, the SEO changes brought about by your agency will take time to implement. But much like updating your landing pages, this is another step along the way to success. It’s also a reflection of just how knowledgeable your agency is. If the agency you’re working with doesn’t know about SEO, that’s a major sign that this isn’t a company with which you should be working.
A Long-Term Strategy
The marketers that simply act based on the articles they read on the Internet don’t truly know when they can expect to see results. They’re just throwing strategies at the wall and seeing what sticks. However, a PPC agency has been through this before and can give you an idea of what to expect — both in terms of immediate gains and long-term marketing health.
Everyone wants to see results immediately, and a good PPC agency will help you to see a boost in conversion rates and revenues sooner rather than later. But a good agency also knows that the needs of businesses change, and they certainly know that marketing trends and tactics change frequently.
Your PPC agency should be able to work with you through the ups and downs of your business, during your peak seasons and the lulls. The agency must be the rock you can rely on at all times. And yet, there may be a time when you feel that you don’t need the rock anymore and that you’d like to bring your PPC marketing back in-house. PPC agencies can help you transition back into an internal operation, or even to another agency. Again, these are factors to consider when you first look for a partner. If it doesn’t sound like they’re willing to work with you on any of these points, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
For a move that’s intended to make the lives of your employees easier, bringing a PPC agency on board can seem like a lot of work. That’s why it’s important to remember that all of this work is done with one goal in mind — to make your marketing the best it can possibly be. Much like stepping on the scale after a long time, it can be quite shocking to discover the areas where your marketing is lacking. But by putting in the work, you’ll quickly see your fortunes change. Picking the right PPC agency is the first step on that journey. If you’d like some assistance in identifying what you want from a pay-per-click agency, drop us a line.