A message FROM an Ecommerce PPC Agency.
Yep, we’re an ecommerce PPC agency and we’ve compiled a list of all the things to watch out for when choosing an ECOMMERCE PPC AGENCY.
A bit silly isn’t it?
Of course with a post like this, written by someone like us, would just tell you all the reasons why you should choose us.
Well, in this post, we’re going to go through all the sneaky things agencies do to grab your cash and how you can avoid them.
A good PPC agency is a partner with their client and fosters a long-term healthy relationship. These points here are all from talking with our own clients who had worked with terrible agencies.
Some of these we’ve actually changed our own operations to meet because we saw so many clients having a difficult time with other agencies and we knew we had to change our product to meet the market’s needs.
Anyway, let’s get into it.
This is the first and most important thing that you need to explore and get an answer on ASAP. Does the agency have results and can they back them up?
You don’t want to work with a PPC agency who has not yet proven themselves in the industry. If you do, you’ll just be wasting time and so much money.
One way you can check if an agency is actually making good results is by checking on their website and seeing some successful case studies with their previous or current clients.
You can also refer to some of the testimonials given to them from their roster of happy and long term customers.
You may also ask them directly of their successful data-led stories to back up their claims that they are experienced and skilled with PPC advertising.
With so many PPC agencies in the market today, it is hard to find the one that you can trust. Moreover, you will encounter great salespeople who sounded like subject matter experts wherein they are only a year or two old in the industry. Beware of these kinds of agencies. That is why you need to do a little research and background checks on which one is actually bringing good results.
Look for an experienced company with several years in PPC advertising. There are a lot of digital marketing agencies out there who specialise in many forms of online marketing and PPC advertising could be one of them.
PPC advertising can be complex. You would want to work with a PPC agency who only specialises in PPC advertising especially with focus on eCommerce. This way you know that the agency is only focused on your niche and is already an expert in that industry. Working with this kind of agency will help you easily get the results that you want.
3. Pricing & pricing structure
Before closing a deal with a PPC agency, you should know first the price and pricing structure that will fit your budget and your marketing goals.
You also need to have an idea of what you can spend on paid ads each month. If you are not sure about this, you can always ask the PPC agency if your intended ad spend budget is reasonable. Does it seem low or are you spending on the wrong channel? If not, ask them what they would recommend for a company of your size.
The other thing you need to consider is how agencies charge. Flat monthly rate or percentage of monthly ad spend are the industry pricing standards, which might look something like this:
Whilst the above pricing structure is very transparent, you will notice that the agency is less focused on netting you the best ROI and more interested in increasing your ad spend.
In other cases, there are agencies who charge based on performance. This means clients will pay only after the agency gets them results. This may sound good and ideal. But in this case, there is a risk that the agency will only focus on trying to get you the most leads at the lowest price – so they can charge you for a long list of unqualified prospects. That can cost you a lot.
You need to be wise in choosing an agency based on their pricing and pricing structure. An agency who picks a pricing structure over another doesn’t mean they are a bad company or that you should go another direction.
4. Contract length
Contracts are created to protect you and the agency. But it does not mean that an agency can lock you in for a long-haul, say 12 months. If an agency wants you for a long-haul, it should provide value to their services and give you good results and performance. Their performance will speak for themselves and encourage you to continue working with them.
The only agencies that do long-term contracts are those agencies who are afraid to lose clients because they are not producing good results. Look for a PPC agency who goes month to month and allows you to leave anytime you want.
That is why a monthly contract is recommended. If a client is not satisfied with the service of the agency, then the client is free to change.
Communication between agency and client is very important. That is why when looking for an agency you need to set your expectations when it comes to communication.
Some things to consider:
- Do you get meetings?
- How often will you meet or have a phone conversation to discuss the account?
- Do you get to talk with the person actually in the account and leading the strategy?
- Or do you have some account manager in between you and the people doing the work?
- How can you contact your account manager/customer service?
- What’s the timezone like?
- How long does it take them to respond to emails and messages?
- What is the typical turnaround time for requested changes?
- How often will you receive a report?
On the other hand, you may not require daily updates or constant emails from them. But you still want to make sure to get in touch and receive regular progress reports about your account.
Moreover, you also would want to know who controls the account. This is to protect you in case your accounts get hostage by the agency. It sounds crazy, but it happens especially if you plan to move to a different company.
6. Team members
Two heads are always better than one, three are better than two, and so on. When looking for a PPC agency, choose the one that has several people who are certified to work on your account. This way, there are enough people to oversee your account and to keep the creative juices flowing.
Working with a freelancer or a one-person agency can have its advantage. They can be cheaper and you will only be communicating with one person. However, since you are working with just one person, you’ll be restricted, big time, in terms of the brains on your account.
You also need to trust that they have their own personal-management system setup for making sure they spend enough time in the account, that they’re doing the right things.
With a one-man-show, you’ll need to make sure you keep them accountable, to an extent. If you’re not keeping an eye on the account and results then they can get lazy and there’s no one else for them to answer to.
7. Alignment of goals
Before hiring an agency, you need to set goals. What do you want to achieve by hiring an agency?
Key Commerce work with eCommerce stores and most of our prospects’ and clients’ goals are increasing conversion rates and generating brand awareness.
That is why we create campaigns that will complement the goals of our clients. We create Google PPC ads that will link customers from the SERP results to landing pages, social media posts, and blog content that match the ad. This is the reason why PPC should be taken as one part of a holistic marketing strategy.
Here’s a breakdown of vanity metrics versus KPIs. You’ll want to make sure you work with an agency that measures results that directly correlate with growth.
Building on that, you may want to seek out an agency that works within a specific niche.
We work exclusively with e-commerce clients and we just do paid advertising. From where we stand, that singular focus means we know the ins and outs of this one niche, and we can really help our customers grow.
That means identifying opportunities to increase conversions, target different customer segments, and so on–we’re not going to bother with metrics like time spent on websites or page views, as they likely don’t tie directly to our customers’ goals.
8. Are they results-focused?
When choosing an agency, assess the team that will handle your account. Is the team responsible for your account focused on actual results? Or are they just doing campaigns for the sake of it?
The agency should be able to give you concrete plans on how they can actually provide you results. In line with this, they should give you weekly or monthly reports to track progress.
Moreover, conversion rates, CTR, quality scores and average positions are important metrics to track, but these things are useless if they are not giving you actual results like an increase in your sales or new set of customers buying your products.
A good agency that is results-focused is also a problem solver. If they find an issue or problem in your PPC campaigns, they know how to address it. They should be able to make a proper analysis of the AdWords reports, change their management tools, and refer to market insights among others.
9. Manual Vs Autopilot
Using software to set your Google Ads account in autopilot mode is great. But if an agency that you are paying is the one using it, then it is not. There is no sense in paying an agency $500-$10,000 a month if they will only use software to manage your account. Why don’t you just buy the software for around $50 to $100 and run it yourself? Right?
Moreover, not all PPC software works best especially when it comes to eCommerce.
So in choosing an agency, ask them if they will run your account using a software or there will be a team who will manually manage it. And you better go with the one who answers the latter.
With PPC advertising, it is easy to change or manipulate results and performance. A low or bad Google campaign performance will reflect on the work of the agency. That is why there are some agencies that will manipulate your monthly reports just so you can keep working with them. Working with these kinds of agencies will hurt your business.
To make sure that you are dealing with a transparent agency, check your Google Ads history. Google Ads allow you to see any changes that have been made into your accounts. Make sure to check this regularly to ensure that nothing shady is happening to your account.
An agency should also be willing to remotely share their screen to see how things work. You need to be part of the process and share your input with them. After all, no one knows your business better than you.
With so many opportunities in PPC advertising, agencies and freelancers offering this kind of service have started to increase. With so many in the market today, it is hard to find one that you can trust. That is why we highly recommend asking a lot of questions. Ask them about the cost, strategy, communication expectations, reporting, transparency, experience, customer relations, among others.
You can use the above factors to get started.
If you are looking for a PPC agency to help you with your eCommerce store, you may get in touch with Key Commerce. We will be happy to answer all your questions about PPC advertising or address all the factors discussed above or whatever else that comes up your mind.