Question 1: “Can you help me?”

A ‘quack’ is a doctor who prescribes without diagnosing. A PPC manager who tries to sell his services without first knowing what you want is a ‘PPC quack’.

If you’re looking for someone to improve the profits from your PPC account, an ethical Adwords manager will first want to look at your account. After all, how can he say he can improve it if he doesn’t know how it’s performing right now? And how can he estimate the increased profit he expects to generate for you?

Question 2: “How much will you charge, and how did you arrive at that number?”

In the PPC world, there are two basic charging models: (a) a % of ad spend, (b) a flat fee. Let’s look at these:

% of spend

Advertising legend, David Ogilvy, said:

“Experience has taught me that advertisers get the best results when they pay their agency a flat fee. It is unrealistic to expect your agency to be impartial when its vested interest lies wholly in the direction of increasing your commissionable advertising.”

In any non-professionally managed PPC account, 20% of the money is probably being spent on keywords that are losing money.

The best thing is to either block these keywords, or to reduce the bids.

If your PPC manager is being paid % of spend, then for him to spend time eliminating that wasted 20% is not only work where he doesn’t get paid, it’s work where he reduces his overall pay by 20%.

So what’s good for you (reduced waste) is bad for him. That’s called a “conflict of interest”.

Flat fee

This is how I work, because I think it’s more ethical. It gives me a reason to cut wasted spend, and to reduce bids where a lower ad position would be more profitable.

Flat fees vary depending on the size of the account. That makes sense. Imagine an account that’s generating £200,000 in net sales a year – spending a day trying to squeeze out an extra 1% makes sense because that’s £2,000 extra profit.

But, if the account is only generating a return of £20,000 a year, the extra 1% is only £200. So one day = 1% doesn’t make sense.

So the flat fee should be large enough to pay for the manager to do the things that’ll produce a good ROI for the business owner. (Another reason why the PPC should diagnose before offering his services.)

Question 3: “How will you decide how much to bid?”

PPC is about buying customers at a profit.

So, how much you can afford to bid is based on (a) how much a conversion is worth to you, and (b) your conversion rate.

Maximum allowable cost per click = visitor value = value of a conversion x conversion rate.

Any PPC manager worth his salt will ask you about the value of a conversion and your conversion rate. Otherwise, how does he decide on your bid prices?

Beware any PPC manager who doesn’t show an interest in these things. They could easily bid way too high and burn through your money.

And doubly beware a PPC manager who tells you your ad needs to be at the top of the page. Yes, the ads at the top left get 10-20 times the clicks of the ads on the right, but that’s no use to you if you’re losing money on every click.

Question 4: “What am I going to get for my money?”

This breaks down to 2 things:

(1) How much time is going to be spent managing the account?
(2) What are they actually going to do?

‘Normal PPC work’ includes finding keywords, optimising bids, optimising product feeds, adding negative keywords, ad testing, optimising account structure.

With my own approach, I’d also include marketing strategy, improving offers, conversion rate optimisation, improving the back end of the business (repeat sales to customers).

To find out more, read about my Adwords Multiplier Method.

Before you hire someone, you should have a pretty good idea of what you will and won’t get for your money.

Question 5: “Who is going to be doing the work?”

How much PPC experience does the person have? What’s their marketing background? How much copywriting expertise? After all, ad writing is copywriting. Writing landing pages is copywriting.

If you’re talking to an agency, which person within the agency will be doing the work?

Do you really want your account to be managed by the agency trainee? Mastering Adwords is a process that takes time and involves learning from mistakes. Do you want your business to foot the bill for that education? Do you want those mistakes to be made with your ads and your money?

My Answers To These Questions

Here are my answers to these questions:

I’ve been managing PPC campaigns since 2006.

My first job in marketing was in 1994 for company that’s listed in the FT100. I’ve worked as a marketing consultant; website, ad and direct mail copywriter; marketing strategist; conversion rate optimiser… but my bread-and-butter for the last 14 years has been PPC and increasing website conversion. During that time, I’ve managed over 150 different accounts. (Some for many years.)

Just some of the markets where I’ve managed PPC accounts:

  • Ecommerce – high-end and low-end
  • Lead generation – both B2C and B2B
  • Financial services
  • Professional services
  • Software
  • Travel
  • Local trades
  • Wholesaling
  • Health and beauty
  • Marketing services
  • Design – web design and print
  • Entertainment
  • Home products
  • Building
  • Animals – products and training
  • Foods and drinks

My point is that I’m an experienced full-time marketer. I’m not a web designer who does PPC occasionally as another service to sell to clients… or an ex-SEO who got blown out the water by Google’s algorithm changes and is now re-branding himself as a PPC expert.

My fees are based on an hourly rate of £45 per hour. I think that’s a fair rate for skilled work done by someone with over a dozen year’s experience.

My clients pay different amounts, depending on how much of my time they would benefit from.

For clients with large budgets, I recommend more of my time because – as I said earlier on this page – it’s worth investing a few hours to squeeze every extra 1% ROI out of the campaign. (Either by cutting cost or by increasing response.)

How would I increase your PPC profits? Firstly, I don’t know if I can. That’s why I offer a free PPC audit. These audits are manual reviews where I go through your account looking for opportunities for you to increase your PPC profits.

If you have a well-managed account that has little room for obvious improvement, I’ll tell you.

If there are opportunities for significant improvement, I’ll tell you what those are and how I’d approach it.

To get started, drop me an email and ask for an audit.


P.S. Here’s a bonus question you should ask: “Will I be able to log into the account?

This is important because some PPC agencies want to control the account. That way, you don’t get to see what they’re doing. And, if you want to stop using them, you’ll have to start again from scratch.

Good for them. Bad for you.

Others – including me – want you to have access to the account. That way, we’re building an asset for your business – one that YOU own and that you can use to profitably bring in customers.

Why would I care if you’re looking over my shoulder if I have nothing to hide? I actually WANT you to see what’s happening, because if I’m doing good work, you’ll value it more if you can see it.