Paid search (PPC) plays a vital part in the marketing function of many businesses, so when appointing a new agency – whether that is replacing the incumbent or finding one for the first time – you invest a significant amount of time in finding and appointing the right agency for you.
So when you’ve finally made that decision and begun working together, how do you get the best out of them?
Key Account Manager, Dan Marshall, has outlined some of the key things to consider when trying to achieve PPC perfection.
When you appoint an agency, you typically do that based on their skills and accreditations relating to PPC, so you’d hope that they would be experts in their field. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them an expert in yours.
It is always valuable in any kick off meeting for you to give them an overview of your business; introduce them to your products and service (get technical – it’s interesting and might give them campaign ideas), tell them your brand story, talk them through your processes and show them how you work.
The more an agency knows about your business and your products and services the easier they will find it to add value to your account.
Set goals and objectives
It seems obvious to say this, but many businesses will be pushing budget through an AdWords account blindly with no set KPIs.
Any agency worth their value will insist upon this and ensure that some kind of objectives are defined early on because if they’re not, then what’s the point?
PPC is so flexible with what it can achieve so you need to think about the purpose of the account, what are you looking to get out of it?
- Brand exposure
- Lead generation
- Event sign ups
- Content downloads
Once you decide on the purpose, which could be any of the above or multiples of them, then you will be able to decide which metrics are most important to. Do you want to focus on increasing the volume of sales/leads? Do you want to achieve a certain return on investment (ROI)? Or do you want to achieve a set cost per acquisition (CPA)?
It is essential that you define these at an early stage with your agencies involvement, if you don’t how are you going to know whether the partnership is working?
Agree on a reporting structure
Once you’ve identified your goals you need to agree how you are going to report on them and how frequently.
As standard you should get at the very least a monthly reporting highlights key trends and performance within your account. Depending on the size of your account you may need a weekly update and if your account is spending more than six figures a month you might even need a daily report.
An agency will always have a standard reporting template to work from, but over time that should become more and more bespoke based around your objectives and the data that is important to you.
As a Key Account Manager at Click Consult, reporting is one of the most important things that I do; it is imperative that you agree on this with your agency.
Ok, so it may be one of the biggest clichés in business, but communication is so important in any client-agency relationship and this could not be truer than when working on PPC.
If you think about it, PPC is real time and will have a direct effect on your site’s performance in everything from sessions through to cold hard cash! So if something changes, or something breaks or needs updating you need to have clear lines of communication to let each other know.
There’s so many essentials that you need to be communicating, such as:
- Stock levels
- Lead quality
- Site changes
A communication strategy should be agreed between you and your Account Manager and it should be based around what works for you as a client. Like reporting you should always agree upon a monthly catch up, be that a call or a meeting, at the very least and then dependant on the size of your accounts and your needs you may want to have a weekly call too.
The key thing to remember with PPC is that things can change and be changed within minutes, so you need to ensure all parties are aware of any changes or development to make sure that you capitalise on them.
It’s easy to sit back, relax and leave the agency to do everything, and if they are good at what they do you’ll get some success. However, the more you give to the agency, the more you teach them about your business and the more you work together the better the results are going to be.
There are many things that you can do to collaborate with your PPC agency and get better results, for example:
The more data and insight that you can share with your agency the more likely they are to come up with ideas and ways to improve performance. For instance, sharing profitability data will help them to understand where you make the most margin, therefore allowing them to capitalise on relevant key terms.
Share ownership of tasks
This is more likely to come into play if you have a large Ad Spend, but it can be really valuable to get involved in managing aspects of the account and working together on testing new concepts.
It is really important to feedback on things, whether that be new builds your PPC agency creates or just letting them know what the quality of leads generated has been like, this can all be digested, analysed and then taken forward to optimise and improve your account.
When looking for ways to grow your account don’t rely solely on your agency, if you have any ideas that you think could work well for the business let them know. You might not be as knowledgeable on PPC as they are, but challenge them to take your ideas and make them work for the account.
You should view the agency as a partner and an extension of your own marketing team, that way they can really understand your business and really push to achieve great results.
You will have no doubt invested a significant amount of time in identifying and screening prospective agencies to identify your new partner, so once you’ve done that and their working on your account you need to trust them.
You need to be confident in your agency and you need to reflect that by taking on board their recommendations and allowing them to implement their best practise and ideas within your account. If you are partnering with an established agency that have been in operation for a number of years you should be able to have confidence in the fact they are an expert in their field.
As paid search is such a key marketing channel with the ability to peak and trough and the drop of a pin it is essential that everyone is focused on getting the best performance that is possible. It is therefore essential that you get the best out of the PPC agency that you are working with and you can achieve that by following the steps outlined in this blog;
- Teach them
- Set goals and objectives
- Agree on a reporting structure
If you are open and honest with your agency at the beginning of the relationship and both parties really invest the time into the areas identified above, then there is no reason why your account won’t achieve fantastic things.
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