We like to say PPC advertising is part art, part science.
That’s because our decades of combined industry experience tells us that the best, most successful strategies pair best practices and cutting-edge tools with a human touch.
The right PPC marketing strategy can increase your visibility in search results, amp up your qualified leads, craft tailored landing pages, and bring a significant boost to your ROI.
The wrong agency, on the other hand, can lead to wasted ad spend, mismatched priorities, and dwindling returns.
Whether you’re just getting started with search ads or are looking to amplify the marketing efforts of your in-house team, partnering with an agency for your PPC advertising could be just what your business needs to rise through the rankings. Here’s what you need to know to establish a partnership set up to stand the test of time.
What is PPC?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s cover the basics. As you may or may not know, PPC stands for pay-per-click, also known as paid search. This form of digital advertising is all about leveraging search engines and their respective algorithms to have your brand’s ads surface in the paid section of a search engine results page (or SERP).
What is a PPC agency?
A PPC agency is a company that helps brands improve their pay-per-click marketing efforts by creating, launching, monitoring, and optimizing paid search ads and campaigns across one or more platforms.
PPC ad types include:
- Google search ads
- Paid ads on other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.)
- Shopping ads
- Display ads
- Amazon ads
- Video ads
- Paid social media ads
What does a PPC agency do?
A PPC marketing agency works to help other companies strategize, build, manage, and optimize their paid search efforts. In general, these agencies work with their clients to come up with a strong, customized PPC plan that includes elements like action-oriented ad copy and thoughtful landing pages, resulting in campaigns that speak directly to your target audience — their needs, wants, and pain points.
Let’s dig deeper into that part about optimizing. Here at HawkSEM, we don’t believe in a hands-off, “set it and forget it” philosophy. That doesn’t work for our clients, so it doesn’t work for us. Rather, we like to walk through our plans for your PPC program with you, so you have a clear understanding of what we plan to execute, how we plan to do it, and why.
For starters, a successful PPC agency should work to better understand your various audience personas — what their demographics are, what they like to do, where they typically reside, and more. They will likely also conduct keyword research to uncover the terms and phrases people use most often to find you, your products, or your services.
The best ones go the extra mile to check out what your competitors are doing as well, helping you win back market share and maximize profitability in the process. All of this data, research, and other info helps them create PPC campaigns that are poised to have you surface at the top of the SERP.
Once a PPC strategy is implemented and put into play, a good agency will then create a plan to A/B test, analyze performance data, then modify accordingly for the best results. Though each agency is different,
HawkSEM’s PPC deliverables include (but are not limited to):
- Campaign strategy & execution
- Campaign restructuring & build-outs
- Keyword research & development
- Remarketing, display, & YouTube campaigns
- Shopping & feed management
- Amazon advertising
- Ad copy creation
- A/B testing
- Conversion & ROI tracking setup
When Honda Motor Co. was looking for a data-driven agency to help amplify their digital footprint, they partnered with HawkSEM. We worked with them to revamp keyword targets, craft optimized landing pages, and create audience-targeted campaigns. As a result, we increased their traffic by a whopping 200% while cutting their cost per conversion by a third.
Results From Our Clients
Conversions up 7x
Increased enrollment and filled seats in our sleep
Increased e-commerce conversion rates two fold
3x lead volume
30% increase in conversions
Doubled holiday sales
Why should you partner with a PPC agency?
There are plenty of reasons to partner with a PPC agency for your paid search efforts.
With a PPC agency, you get the benefit of working with industry pros who have experience in the digital marketing space. They know what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to waste time (or budget) on initiatives that aren’t slated to bring about the return on investment that you deserve. This frees you up so you have more time to focus on other professional tasks, while knowing your accounts are in good hands.
The digital marketing space is constantly evolving, with buzzy new platforms, updated best practices, and just-rolled-out ad types cropping up all the time. Because of all these changes, it can be hard to stay in the loop with the latest tips and trends on top of your day-to-day tasks and to dos.
With a PPC agency like HawkSEM, you can feel confident that the team you’re working with is up to date on the latest and greatest developments that can impact your digital marketing strategy and keep your program on the cutting edge.
But the main benefit of working with a PPC agency is the peace of mind you’ll get knowing your marketing campaigns are set up for success. When you trust in the experts you’re working with, you have more time to work on all the other initiatives and plans you have on your plate, or simply achieve a better life-work balance. (That’s reason enough to pass the baton, if you ask us.)
Meet The Team
Get to know our team of experts before you commit. We’ll chat about who we are, ways we can help, and how we do things differently.
What should you look for in a PPC agency?
When you’re beginning your search of the top PPC agencies to choose which one to partner with, the prospect can seem overwhelming. Of course, these agencies vary by size, region, specialty, pricing, and more. The one you choose will depend on a handful of factors, including your budget, needs, and business goals.
For starters, you need to determine what you’re looking for from an agency by creating a list of goals and objectives. This is also a good time to decide if you want to work with a team that’s zeroed-in on just paid search marketing, or a more full-service digital marketing agency.
What does a full-service PPC agency offer?
As mentioned above, there are PPC agencies, then there are search engine marketing (SEM) agencies that offer a handful of search advertising strategies along with PPC services.
The upside to working with a full-service agency is that you’ll have access to a team that also has a wider range of experience in tactics that can help you scale, such as:
- Social media marketing (creating effective organic posts on the top social media platforms)
- Paid media (creating campaigns for LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.)
- Amazon Ads
- Website design
- Remarketing and retargeting
- Content marketing
- Specific industry expertise (such as SaaS or e-commerce)
- Shopping ads & feed management
- Email marketing
- Performance display
- Landing pages for lead generation and increased conversion rates
- Search engine optimization (SEO) for organic rankings and brand awareness
Communication is another key factor that can make or break your professional partnership with a PPC company. Ask about how the agency’s team members communicate with clients and what you should expect.
Some agencies will let you lead the way and state your preferences, whether that’s monthly calls, weekly status emails, or something more. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark about how your budget is being spent and how your PPC ads are performing. Speaking of budget, having a ballpark idea of what you can spend will be helpful when researching agencies. It’s OK if you don’t have an exact figure or you’re just starting out with digital marketing services.
The right PPC management agency can tell you how realistic your goals are in terms of your budget, and give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to your return on investment (ROI). Plus, different agencies have different pricing structures, so it’s good to know how they operate in terms of billing, fees, and payment (more on that below).
It helps to prepare questions in advance to ask these agencies during the consultation stage to ensure you find the right fit and have a clear understanding of what success will look like to them.
Ask about the marketing team’s Google Ads (formerly Adwords) experts:
- Will you be working with a junior or more seasoned manager?
- What’s their process for creating effective ads?
- How do they make the most of bidding strategies?
- How do they stay on top of the latest settings, updates, and features?
- Are they also familiar with Bing and other non-Google search engines?
- What are their testing and optimizing philosophies?
The ConversionIQTM System
Our smart way of marketing to drive more revenue.
ConversionIQ is our proprietary methodology built to drive actionable insights, full-funnel attribution and high-quality conversions that continuously improve your bottom line.
We might be biased here, but the fact is that there are many benefits for working with an all-remote agency. Namely, these agencies aren’t limited to only hiring employees in their area, you’re more likely to work with a team that has the flexibility to work around your schedule, and you’ll be paired with self-motivated pros who have fine-tuned their time management. Just saying!
What are the PPC agency pricing models?
PPC agency fee structures aren’t one size fits all. Different agencies with different focuses, sizes, and scopes may offer different payment options. Most often, you can expect one of three models: a flat monthly fee, a percentage of the ad spend, or a hybrid approach.
Each pricing model has its benefits and drawbacks. Make sure to have a clear understanding of exactly what services you’re paying for and whether or not you may need to pay for or hire additional resources or tools down the line. Also, don’t be afraid to ask about any potentially “hidden” fees.
Speaking of ad spend, we helped Beverly Hills-based furnishings brand Grayson Living see nearly 6 times their return on ad spend (ROAS) in just three years, and nearly tripled their e-commerce sales after one year.
How to choose a PPC agency
- Once you know what you’re looking for from an agency and you’ve determined your ultimate goals, expectations, and budget, you can begin to narrow down the options you’ve gathered from your research and exploratory conversations.
- See which ones aligned with your needs, your allotted budget, and desired communication style.
- While it’s great to be prepared when you’re shopping around for an agency, don’t ignore your gut. If you notice a red flag or just have a feeling that something is off during the interview process, that could be a sign that the partnership won’t work out in the long run. You don’t want to waste your time with a business that looks good on paper but you didn’t have a good feeling about for one reason or another.
- You want to feel confident in the people you trust with your paid search efforts – that means feel comfortable communicating with them and providing honest feedback.
- It’s also wise to check out online reviews, case studies, and other proof points from third-parties that have worked with the agency before.
- Once you feel good about the agency you’ve selected, make sure all your questions have been answered before signing on the dotted line. This way, the team can hit that ground running once they have a clear plan, access to your accounts, and a strong understanding of your goals and expectations.
- Particularly, it’s good to be clear about who will be responsible for what when it comes to your program: Who will be responsible for creating the ad copy and optimizing landing pages, for example? Will the agency be recommending changes or actually implementing these themselves?
Here’s what Columbia Virtual Academy Senior Software Engineer Doug Killmer had to say about partnering with us:
Best practices for working with a PPC agency
In the beginning, it’s wise to get organized so you can be prepared to hand over materials, logins, and access to other helpful platforms you use for paid search ads (if you have an existing program in place). It’ll also help if you can share metrics or other data from past ads campaigns for reference, whether they were successful or not.
From there, you and the advertising agency can come up with an action plan and a recurring schedule for how you’ll touch base moving forward. Often, this looks like a mix of status calls, email updates, and intermittent reports, depending on the size and scope of your strategy.
The agency you partner with my also want to run a website audit. These audits look at the overall “health” of your website through factors like page speed, broken links, and responsiveness. Not only do these things affect how you show up on the SERP, but site issues can negatively affect your PPC efforts.
After all, you can have the greatest paid search ad, but if someone lands on your website and has a bad user experience, they’re still more likely to bounce before taking that next desired action. If your agency brings up site issues they’ve found through an audit, it’s a good idea to take care of those before launching a new campaign, if possible.
If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, try to consolidate them into one email or mention them in batches during the next scheduled phone call, rather than pinging the team over and over when an idea comes to you. This way, you’re likely to get a more efficient, thorough response rather than a bunch of back-and-forth missives. Plus, you’ll be less likely to have your messages get lost or buried in an inbox.
Ideally, you chose this agency because you trust in their skills and expertise. With that in mind, it’ll benefit your company to be open if the agency suggests pivoting, or modifying your existing efforts. We get it, change is scary! But PPC experts have seen what works and what doesn’t, and they want to do everything in their power to help you reach your digital advertising goals.
Transparency is key for a partnership like this. If you’re seeing different metrics than what your agency is reporting, or if you feel like you’re not getting the results or communication you were promised, speak up! At the end of the day, humans are what powers agencies and businesses — no one is perfect, and sometimes staffing shake-ups or unexpected hiccups arise. But your agency works for you and should want to ensure you’re a happy customer.
The bottom line
Whether you’re a small business, a global enterprise, or somewhere in between, partnering with a PPC agency to help your online marketing get to the next level is a multi-step decision. It involves time, research, and having a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in the partnership.
HawkSEM is in the top 3% of agencies in the world according to Google’s Premier Partners network.
Not only that, but our exclusive ConversionIQ marketing technology is built to drive actionable insights, full-funnel attribution and high-quality conversions to tackle pain points and continuously improve your bottom line.
When you find the right fit and align on your plan, you can expect to see significant growth and ROI from your paid search campaigns.
Taking the time to suss out what your needs and goals are can help you more easily match with a marketing company that will work in tandem with you to turn those goals into reality.
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