1 6 Questions to ask any Potential PPC Manager 1. Ask to talk directly to the person that will be managing your account. From my experience as an SEM professional, the most important question you can ask is "may I talk to the person who is actually going to manage my account". You may be surprised at the answer. I get a significant portion of my business from other SEO/SEM companies that do not have the resources to manage the PPC campaign(s) for their clients. Now, I am grateful for the business, I am certainly not complaining. But, you as a client should know who is actually managing your account. It is not uncommon for firms, especially the 'all in one shop' firms that do web development, SEO, and SEM, to subcontract out PPC work to others. Many times it is sub-contracted to folks that do PPC work as a part time job to make extra money. Is that who you really want designing and running your PPC campaign? I realize that many clients are uncomfortable asking this question, but you really need to ask and get an honest answer. I may save you a great deal of money and heartache over the life of your PPC campaign. A professional, qualified PPC management company should be happy to let you talk to your potential PPC manager. 2. Ask about their experience. OK, so now you have found the PPC Manager who will manage your account. You do not have to be a PPC expert to ask them a few questions that may give you a great deal of information. Assuming you have been in business for a while, you have developed a feel for when someone is attempting to 'feed you a line of bull'. That is all you are going to be looking for.
2 Start by asking them to describe their PPC management experience. You just want the basic information you would get in an interview. How many years, where they were working, etc. Again, you just want to get a general impression of the person. Move on to some questions that give you a feel for the person s business experience. For example "What kind of marketing experience do you have?". An excellent PPC manager needs to have an aptitude for marketing. PPC management is more than 'tweaking the dials' to get good click thru rates. A good PPC manager needs to be able to get inside the head of your customer and present the ads and keywords that get their attention. Ask them if they have any experience in the market that you are targeting. It's not necessary, but it can be a nice advantage. In the last part of the general questions, you should ask about your PPC manager s business experience and foundation. Are they really in business? Do they have an office, liability insurance, accessibility during business hours, backup coverage when the principal is away...those kind of questions. Remember, you are asking the person who is really doing the PPC management...not the sales guy or the company owner. 3. Ask them for a plan of attack for your campaign. OK, so you need a little information at this point to understand the answers. But this question is important, and I believe it directly relates to the next question about billing. Your PPC Manager should have a plan they can express to you. You do not need to know details, just that they have a plan and the general philosophy they will use to benefit your PPC campaign(s). As a PPC Manager myself, I would never answer this question without being able to look at the campaign. If a PPC Manager attempts to answer this question without looking at your campaign in detail, then they may just apply
3 the same solution to any problem. That will end up costing you money, so I would pick another firm. After a PPC Manager candidate looks at your account (you can grant them access thru Google AdWords if you do not already have a manager assigned to your account. Otherwise you will need to give them your sign on info.), they should be able to articulate to you in clear terms, the areas for improvement and their plan for improving the results in those areas. The key here is clear communication on the customer s level. If you can't really understand what your PPC Manager is proposing, you will never be able to know if he or she is hitting those goals. Whether starting a new campaign, or assuming the responsibility for managing an existing account, a PPC Campaign Manager will spend more of their time at the beginning of the contract and less time after the account is running smoothly and producing good results. That fact should be reflected in their plan. It also affects the pricing model, which we will talk about in the next section. 4. How will I be billed? There are many types of billing models in the PPC Management business. Some are based on percentage of spend, with 13-15% being the norm. Some are based on a flat rate per month, which is proposed by the PPC Management Company, and some are based on number of keywords (although frankly I don't know how that would possibly work). The flat rate system is gaining in popularity. It is simple and easy for the customer to budget. It does not increase if the campaign grows, but typically gets reset once a year. Be very careful of a 'discount' or inexpensive PPC Management solution. There are some things that can be outsourced to cheaper labor markets, but if your customers are in the US, PPC Management is not one of them. Remember,
4 communication between you and your PPC Manager is vital...and so is the communication between your PPC ads and your customer. There is a big penalty for miscommunication and it directly affects your revenue and bottomline. Your prospective PPC Manager may not be responsible for setting the billing amount, so that is why it is important for you to know the proposed campaign management plan and make sure the billing rate reflects the plan as much as possible. 5. What Time frame should I expect for improvements? This is really expectation setting for you and the Campaign Manager. PPC Campaign Management is an iterative process that requires information. Depending on your traffic volumes, it may take days or even weeks to get enough information to allow the manager to know if a change to the campaign has made a positive or negative impact. So there is not a 'right' answer to this question. However there are answers that should set off alarm bells. Unless there is a glaring error in your current campaign, you should be cautious if a PPC Manager promises huge improvements in a very short time frame (no matter what kind of miracle software they have!). The other answer that raises alarm bells concerns the PPC Manager that doesn't have a plan or corresponding timeframe. That answer implies that they are just going to babysit the account --and that costs you money. 6. How will you keep me up to date on my account?
5 Again, this is primarily for expectation setting. In my experience, the client really sets the communication level here. Some clients want a great deal of communication, and some we literally never hear from. As a client you are able to monitor the campaign as much as you want by logging into the account. And depending on your technical comfort level you can request reports directly from Google, Yahoo, and MSN. That actually brings up a very important point -- make sure you are able to access your account information! You should own the account, not the PPC Manager or their company. Do not sign up with a PPC Manager that wants exclusive control of the account...period! We typically suggest a phone call with the client every week or every other week. That keeps everyone abreast of the PPC Campaign progress and also provides the opportunity for the client to let the PPC Manager know about any changes in the market strategy, business plan, etc.
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