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Managing Pay-Per-Click Campaigns For Greater Profits

All online business owners need a steady flow of traffic and paying customers to their websites in order to keep the cash register ringing and profits flowing. Most webmasters struggle with exactly how to make that happen, until which time they discover pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through the search engines, utilizing the Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing programs.

As small business owners discover the powerful advantage of using PPC advertising, they tend to spend a lot of time learning the systems and figuring out how to use these top-tier search-marketing tools to gain an advantage over their competitors.

In the growth curve of any business, a day will come when the business owner realizes that his or her personal time is best spent taking care of other business processes. When this time comes, the business owner will seek out other people to manage his or her PPC advertising campaigns.

It is at this juncture when business owners will either hire an in-house marketing person, or they will employ a third-party PPC Management company to service their PPC advertising accounts. This is where most businesses using pay-per-click advertising start to go wrong.

In-House Marketing Staff

It is true that the business owner needs to get back to the tasks that will make his or her business a true success. Part of the growth cycle is to find people who can replicate certain business processes, freeing the business owner to focus on other more important areas like product or service fulfillment, customer service, sales, human resources management, strategic planning and financial management.

But, finding the right person or company to best represent the needs of the business, in regards to PPC Management, can frequently be a crap shoot at best.

Racing to the local university to find a recent marketing graduate to bring into the company often results in opening a can of worms. Most college grads, which leave college with a degree in marketing, leave school with a very general understanding of basic marketing principles, human psychology, consumer behavior, advertising and promotion concepts, business finance, organizational management and strategic planning.

Although most universities do a good job at preparing their students for an entry-level job in marketing, few give their students any hands-on training in specific advertising methods that will be used in the real world, let alone with the advertising methods that enable commerce to flow on the Internet.

Pulling a marketing person from another business is often as problematic as hiring a recent college graduate. Unless one hires from a company that has used PPC advertising for some time, one might find the new hire possesses the same lack of hands-on experience with PPC advertising methods as the college grad.

Don't get me wrong; marketing professionals are essential to the overall implementation of a business' marketing plan. The problem is that the process of managing pay-per-click advertising campaigns really requires someone with very specialized experience, skills and knowledge.

The Problem With Most PPC Management Companies

An alternative to hiring someone in house is to hire a professional PPC Management company. The problem with most PPC Management companies is the same problem most people have with ordinary marketing companies.

* First, typically there is that huge down payment to get the job started;

* Most marketing companies require an ironclad contract committing the buyer to a six-month or twelve-month service contract;

* Marketing service companies typically require huge monthly fees to maintain the contract (with most PPC Management companies, these fees frequently run in the range of 10%-20% of your monthly PPC spend);

* The worst part about the typical Marketing company and PPC Management company is that while they extract a high toll from their customers, these companies seldom if ever offer any kind of real guarantee of results for the work that they will do for you.

After being burned two or three times by Marketing or PPC Management companies, most businesses start shopping for performance-based service providers. Unfortunately, it is a buyer-beware market out there.

PPC Management companies frequently suggest that their services are "performance-based", but what they define as "performance-based" is often different from what you or I would define as truly "performance-based".

How to Identify a "True" Performance-Based PPC Management Provider

When you are spending thousands of dollars per month on your pay-per-click campaigns, there are certain things that you should be able to expect from any PPC Management provider, who is claiming to offer performance-based services. I will outline some of the questions you should ask here:

* How are your performance-based programs structured?

* How will you measure performance improvements?

* Will I have to pay any fees that are not directly linked to performance improvements?

* Will the compensation that I have to pay be in proportion to the results you achieve for me?

* Who will be working on my account? Is their compensation fixed or is it derived from the real performance improvements they make for my account?

* How are you going to help me bring additional net profit to my business?

* What other clients have you worked with, and what kind of successes have you achieved for them?

* How long will I be required to keep my commitment to your company, if you are not producing real measurable performance improvements?

* Do I have any recourse if you do not produce better results than I can accomplish on my own, without your help?

The problem within the PPC Management industry is that most management companies see themselves as advertising services companies. They often lack the in house skill that it takes to consistently produce significant performance improvements for client accounts. Their only recourse to stay financially viable is to offer fee-based services where client payment is guaranteed but clients' results are not.

But, when a marketing management company adopts a true "performance-based" stance and begins to see itself as a partner in its client's future, then the management company will have the appropriate incentives to take care of its client's businesses in the same manner that it would take care of its own.

Greg Jerum is a principal at Net Return Marketing, a company which delivers true "performance-based" PPC Management to its clients. Net Return Marketing's programs require little to no up front investment and the long-term compensation that a client pays is based directly on account performance. Whether you are just getting started with PPC advertising or spending $100K plus per month, Net Return Marketing could be the solution to your PPC management needs. Learn more at: www.netreturnmarketing.com/ppc-management.html

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