Step By Step Guide to Finding and Selecting a B2B PPC Agency
PPC advertisers invested over $10 billion in 2017 and $106.5 billion in 2019. Search advertising is projected to reach $132 billion by 2022.
It will equate to more than 92 miles or 148 km tall tower of money if $100 bills are stacked on top of each other.
Global PPC ads are increasing every day, leading to tremendous growth in the paid advertising industry.
So, for all those who think PPC is a waste of money and SEO is the only thing that works, this can be an eye-opener.
It’s akin to pump-priming, where you invest in paid advertising when you have little or no organic search presence. It’s also useful when you want to reach out to a larger audience.
Businesses also take it as a classic “spend money to make money” tactic. PPC or paid advertising helps you see quick results and helps you boost brand awareness, and build email lists.
A PPC agency should know everything about your business and consumer buying behavior. An agency’s job is not easy, and they burn the midnight oil experimenting, evaluating, and tweaking campaigns to help their clients achieve their objectives.
This article will provide you with insights into finding the right agency for your PPC campaigns. First, let’s discuss the prerequisites of a successful campaign.
The Prerequisites of a Successful PPC Campaign
Before we discuss the nitty-gritty of choosing the right PPC agency for your campaigns, do your homework and set your campaign goals. Define your sales targets, assess the lifetime value, and justify the agency pricing accordingly. You shouldn’t pay more than the lifetime value of a customer to the agency. So, let’s dive in and see how to do the homework.
Set SMART Goals for Your PPC Campaign
However, you must know your goals to reap the benefits of paid advertising offers. SMART goals ensure a successful paid advertising campaign. They will also help you run your campaign smoothly, removing the potential red flags.
Here are the SMART goals explained:
- Specific: Your goals should be clear and well-defined to run successful campaigns. Vague goals will translate into ambiguous results.
- Measurable: Your campaign goals should be measurable. It’s necessary to assess and scale the performance of a campaign.
- Achievable: The campaign objectives shouldn’t be unattainable. The best results come when you have realistic and achievable goals tied to a timeframe.
- Realistic: Setting unrealistically high goals is not a good practice as it leads to negative sentiments when not achieved. Furthermore, setting up realistic goals and achieving them triggers a chain of successful events that lifts your morale and encourages you to achieve even more significant accomplishments.
- Timely: Make sure your goals are attached to a timeframe. In the absence of a timeline, you can’t set milestones.
The magic lies in planning as it helps you achieve more in less time, and that’s the chief idea behind setting SMART goals. So, create SMART goals for each of your PPC accounts. You can also try goal tiers.
Make sure that the agency you approach can share PPC campaign benchmarks for your industry. You can adjust those benchmarks with your goals.
Use the Right Keywords to Find an Agency
How do you search for a PPC agency? Do you use keywords like — “Best B2B PPC Agency” or something similar to that?
Before you start searching the web this way, keep your goals right in front of you. Make sure these goals are specific and clear.
Most businesses have goals that we can categorize into this three major types:
- Boost brand awareness
- Increase site traffic
- Generate leads
Achieving sales targets is one of the most common PPC campaign objectives these days. So write down the specific sales targets along with the time frame to drive the maximum output from your campaigns.
For example, your sales target for the year is $600 000 per year. It means you should achieve a sales target of $40,000 per month. Suppose you would like to reach 25% of your sales through PPC campaigns. It means you should earn $10,000 of sales per month through PPC. If the cost of your product is $500, you need to sell 20 products to achieve your sales target.
When you are ready with these calculations, share them with your agency.
Assess the Lifetime Value Of a Customer
To see the true worth of a PPC agency, assess the lifetime value. You can figure out these numbers and share them with your agency to check if they can achieve it.
Always remember – a little bit of bargain and negotiations, in the beginning, can prevent a lot of hassle afterward. They should have a clear idea about your expectations from paid campaigns so that everyone is on the same page and there is no expectation mismatch.
At a deeper level, your goals may look like the following:
- Attracting more qualified leads to your sales funnel
- Boosting sales of a specific product or type of products
- Increasing the traffic on a landing page
- Building brand awareness
The idea is to reach a well-thought-out contract between you and your PPC agency.
However, you should be too concerned about it initially, as you can discuss the specific metrics and KPIs with your PPC agency afterward.
How to Assess Your PPC Agency?
After defining your specific goals, it is time to assess your B2B PPC agency. It is a common misconception that all PPC agencies are equal. They have their unique strengths, and they specialize in different things.
The aim is not to pit one against the other, but you should know what you are looking for.
These characteristics are essential to identifying the right agency for your needs. Here are some of the characteristics you should look for:
1. Data-Driven, Analytics, and Result-Oriented
Most business owners are enthusiastic about PPC as it ties revenue generated to ad-spend directly. So, an agency’s success depends mainly on its ability to use data and analytics.
It’s crucial to know how to use data to explore fresh ideas and find ways to improve ROI on your paid campaigns. Data-driven agencies use their existing knowledge and learned information about your target market to run highly successful campaigns.
Don’t forget to ask the basic questions such as:
- The tools they use to measure critical PPC metrics
- Do they share data and campaign results with the clients?
- Will they provide independent access to analytics and reports?
- Details of the entire analytics report they offer
2. Armed With Data Assets Gathered From First-Party Data Sources and Strategic Partnerships
First-party data becomes extremely important to gather insights about consumer behavior and crucial campaign metrics. The agencies collect this data with time and experience. Smart agencies know how to use this database to understand consumer buying behavior and predict campaign outcomes. Some agencies may also allow you to tap into the vast first-party data they have from their previous clients. It will help you in developing an effective strategy.
Apart from that, social media and leading search platforms that they partner with also provide new changes and updates. It is the first-hand information that you can use, and hence it’s advantageous to use this in-depth insight in your campaigns.
3. Knowledge of Local Search
The trend of local searches using mobile phones is getting prominence, and more than 82% of mobile users use search engines like Google to find nearby businesses. “Near me” is the most popular search term when people are looking to eat out, try shopping, contact healthcare and other services.
An interesting study reveals that 76% of those local searches end up in an in-store visit by the searcher on the same day.
Source: Think With Google
Getting featured in local searches and inviting local traffic is crucial for your business. So, choose an agency with expertise in local search, and it’s applicable for both paid and organic marketing.
Since agencies don’t publish such information on their websites, it’s imperative to ask such questions directly.
During your interaction with their sales team, you may ask questions like:
- What’s your approach to local paid search objectives?
- Can you share an example of your local PPC work?
- How do you use, promote and measure location-based keywords?
- Is it OK to use bid modifiers for location-specific queries?
4. Core Capabilities of Mobile Optimization
Mobile devices are getting more popular than ever. Over half of the search ad clicks come through these portable devices; designing creatives and writing copy for mobile devices has become extremely crucial.
It’s crucial as most of us are proficient in designing ad creatives and writing lengthy copy for desktops. It needs to be mobile-focused now as we need shorter and more powerful messages and creatives that are suitable for mobile devices.
However, mobile optimization goes beyond copy and ad creatives. You also need to understand the changing social algorithms. While you can’t expect this information on their website, you can very well ask them about it directly.
5. Expert in Different PPC Channels
Every industry and niche has its own favorite PPC channels, and it entirely depends on its target audience and end goals. Some agencies have expertise in paid search campaigns, while some excel at every aspect of social media campaigns, from consulting to designing and managing them. Each campaign is different, and so is each PPC agency.
So first, figure out what kind of a PPC agency you need. It includes PPC channels as well.
If you need help with design and ad copy, too, go for a completely hands-off PPC project. In that case, you should find an agency that also does the design and copy in-house.
You should discuss all these things in your first meeting, so there is no surprise afterward. As far as expectations are concerned, both parties should be on the same page.
6. Strong Keyword Research Skills
It’s the most underrated but the most crucial skill for a PPC agency. It’s recommended, therefore, that the agency you hire uses commercial-intent (transactional) keywords. Keywords like “Buy iPad Air Now” or “Is MailChimp GDPR compliant?” are the keywords with a high level of buyer intent.
Apart from conversion and sales, there can be numerous objectives of a PPC campaign. Building email lists, growing brand awareness, driving traffic to a specific landing page, and adding more leads into your sales funnel can be some of these objectives.
Your PPC agency must understand the different purposes of the campaign and how to achieve them using advanced keyword research.
Again, you need to do some investigation to know their proficiency level in working with different keywords. Questions probing their modus operandi and how they find the keywords to target and the keyword research tools they use can do the trick. You can also ask questions about their keyword strategy.
7. Well-Versed in All Things Digital Marketing
PPC advertising is a subset of the superset of a broader digital marketing strategy.
A competitive PPC agency must, therefore, also be familiar with other streams of digital marketing. You can’t run effective marketing campaigns just by running PPC ads alone.
Sometimes, you need to create a powerful and engaging landing page, while you may also need to create an ebook, a white paper, or a cheat sheet to be used as a lead magnet.
For this, you must have competitive content marketing and web designing teams. Digital marketing involves a big picture, and you need to arrange the bits and pieces to achieve your bigger goals.
8. Easy Interface, Single Dashboard, and Automated Report Generation
Some leading agencies, especially the white label services, allow you to manage your PPC campaigns from a single dashboard, making things quite transparent and easy to understand and analyze.
Hiring a white label PPC service will save you from the hassles of finding the right agency and sharing your first-party data and campaign objectives with them. White label services have seasoned and well-rounded PPC professionals with rich experience and expertise in driving results from Google Ads campaigns.
For example, DashClicks’ Google Ads integration allows you to manage your PPC campaigns from a beautiful single dashboard. It also offers granular level reporting for campaigns and ad sets for better analysis and decision making. It allows you to analyze multiple data sets to figure out the best-performing campaigns and ad sets.
In-depth Instant White Label Reports
Now, you can get the crucial KPIs with the click of a button with the DashClicks’ InstaReports feature. The beautiful reports generated by the tool provide you with data in the most understandable format, where you can easily find the top-performing metrics within seconds. There is no need to go in for tedious manual reporting and data-digging. InstaReports provides you the analysis and snapshots integrated into a single hub.
Since PPC campaigns are crucial to your success as a business, hiring white label services can be a game-changer for you.
To get free access to the dashboard and see how it works, open the Google Ads Fulfillment Service page and click on the “Try Now for Free” button on the top right corner.
Things to Remember Before You Start Working With a PPC Agency
Now that you have zeroed in on your PPC agency, it’s time to go into your new partnership.
But, before you decide to kickstart your project with your agency, you need to discuss and assess a few more things.
1. What is Your Budget?
Your budget is the next most important thing you should assess after the selection of the agency. You should know how much cost per acquisition you can afford. That simply means the money you can toss to acquire one paying customer.
To understand this, let’s discuss the typical pricing structure of an agency.
- Pay Per Lead
Pay per lead is performance-based pricing. You may think that it’s an ideal pricing structure as you don’t have to pay a single penny if your agency cannot produce results.
However, it has a flip side, too. The agency’s income depends on the number of leads they generate. So, the focus shifts on quantity away from quality resulting in low-quality leads that are not ready to buy.
It can’t be a good deal for you.
Your sales team will have a tough time converting those poor leads. So, if your agency offers this pricing model, communicate to your agency what you would consider a qualified lead.
- Flat Monthly Rate
It is the most common pricing model, where you pay a flat monthly charge for the services offered by your agency, so overall, it’s a feasible pricing structure.
- Percentage of Ad Spend
When you choose this model, your agency charges you as per your total advertising spend. It’s highly transparent and incentive-oriented, but it also has a flip side. The agency may want you to spend more instead of reducing the ad spend, which is a core objective of paid advertising.
So, it’s better to discuss these things beforehand to make sure that you and your agency are on the same page about the metrics you want to track. To steer clear from the delusion created by the jargon, focus on two major metrics, i.e., cost per acquisition and ROAS (return on ad spend).
You can also go for a hybrid model, i.e., a combination of two pricing structures. It allows you to combine a flat monthly rate with a percentage of ad spend.
As it’s obvious, no pricing model is flawless, but with a better understanding of these, you’ll be able to decide which pricing structure will suit you the best and will also remain in your budget.
2. Set Well-Defined and Measurable Goals and Share Your Expectations With the Agency
We have already discussed it in the beginning. Your expectations are crucial in your relationship with your agency, as most contracts meet a dead-end when the expectations are not met.
So, share your goals with your agency and attach a timeframe to them. The most competitive agencies develop a strategy based on your expectations, and it becomes a win-win situation for both parties.
If you haven’t penned down your plan, objectives, and expectations, conduct a brainstorming session with your team and do it. Don’t forget to communicate the outcomes of your meeting with your agency.
3. Share Data From Past Campaigns
Collect the first-party data you have from your previous agency partnerships or campaigns. Make sure that the data is clean and is well-presented.
Share this data with your agency.
It is the best way to help them learn the various aspects of the campaign – including your target audience’s behaviors – and what worked and what tanked.
This practice will make things easier for your agency, and they won’t have to start from scratch.
4. Ask For One Point Of Contact
Having a point of contact is incredibly useful in an agency partnership to avoid confusion and to-and-fro. It minimizes wasted time and miscommunications with people moving in circles.
It’s good to have an entire team working on the project, but there should be a dedicated person to handle communications. It would make things transparent and quicker.
A. You’ll get prompt answers
B. If someone is absent or on leave, you can leave the message for them, or else the most closely related person would answer you on their behalf
C. No need to chase different people for different tasks
D. Minimum wasted time
5. Be Ready to Act-On Agency’s Advice and Suggestions
You should immediately act on the advice of a PPC agency if they ask you to revamp or improve your home page or landing page. They are the experts, who know their job, so never ignore their suggestions or advice. If your sales or conversion is being affected due to a poorly designed landing page, you should improve it as soon as possible.
Or, if they want you to change the headline, slogan, CTA, or ad copy, it’s time to hire a good copywriter and do it.
And last but not least, don’t hesitate to ask the questions you need to ask. Even if you have a long list of “stupid” questions, ask them anyway. It’s their job to answer them and satisfy you. Yes, there can be a problem if you don’t ask questions.
How to Find the Right PPC Agency?
With the increasing landscape of digital marketing, there is no shortage of PPC agencies. Agencies are growing like mushrooms all over the world. So, choosing the right one from hundreds of agencies becomes extremely difficult.
As a thumb rule, you should start finding the PPC agencies with expertise in your industry or niche. It’s crucial to achieve the best results.
Prepare a list of your expectations and requirements with your next B2B PPC agency before you even start your hunt.
You can compare them on the parameters such as their areas of specialization, pricing, and why they are the best fit for you. And before taking a final decision, consider the negative aspects as well, if any. If there’s a red flag, skip the agency.
Keep on rejecting the options that don’t match what you need.
Now, it’s time to shortlist at least five or six agencies and have a telephonic conversation with them. Ask as many questions as you can, and simultaneously, let the agency understand your needs.
Make notes of the essential aspects of your conversation so that you can compare them afterward.
Remember, the result of your digital marketing campaigns will depend on your strategy, website, business practices, and expertise, along with your choice of an agency.
So, choosing the best agency is no less critical when it comes to the craft of conversion. It requires the best graphics, ad copies, and compelling landing pages design, especially for conversion.
Regardless of how good your products or services are, you can’t generate more leads if they are not adequately marketed. Since you’re aware of these tips and tricks, you can easily choose the best PPC agency to change the game for you.