5 queries you should have for PPC agencies before you hire one….

by ED Ranissate, April 9, 2015

 

The sales are dipping and the CMO is breathing at your neck – your competitors are surging ahead and the business is getting tougher by the day. You have tried almost all the marketing techniques prescribed by the pundits, but the sales are still elusive. The writing is on the wall – ‘Show me the sales’.

Till now your business had thrived on the network of field agents and the few and far between referrals that you get from your modest organic and social media campaigns – these resources are available in-house and mostly act in a supporting role to the physical sales team. You make an emergency call to your marketing man-Friday, your buddy who is a chief analyst in a top agency and ask for a piece of his marketing brains.

“I will suggest you try Paid marketing for the next three months. My agency will be beyond your pocket, but I can refer you to some of the great guys in the industry”, – you get the sagely advice from your buddy.

The PPC ball gets rolling and you sit with your team to make this campaign a success – a resounding one.

Image credit: fastcompany.com

The question is whether you will consider your friend’s list as the final shortlisted candidates for campaign execution or will you do your own due diligence to bring more candidates on the table?

What criteria are you going to apply to get the best PPC agencies on the table?

Well a few simple questions over a SKYPE conf. call might just help you shortlist the most deserving candidates to run your campaign. These questions are very basic but give you an idea about the experience, methodology and the approach of the agency….

[1] What will be the first activity that you will perform on the campaign if the project is awarded to you?

 Expected response: We will perform a complete audit of the campaign. The idea will be to explore any low-hanging-fruits for quick and easy wins, identify money-wasters and at the same time spot the best performing segments.

[2] How are you going to set the initial budget for the campaign?

 Expected response: We will need to sit together to understand the pricing structure for your services / products. This is to understand the maximum CPA (cost per acquisition) that we can absorb. Based on these inputs we will recommend a soft launch for the next 2 / 3 weeks. This launch will help us get a feel of the conversions, CPAs, keyword trends and other aspects of consumer buying behavior. We will be using this intelligence to revise our budget for the next phase.
 

[3] What is the most successful campaign you have delivered and what did your team do to turn it around? Also, tell me about your failures and what could have been done better?

Your response: Raise the flag when somebody tells you that they had 100% success rate and that they do not recall a campaign which was a failure – even God makes mistakes. For successful campaigns, please ask for a campaign snapshot if possible to corroborate the claim.

 

[4] Do you have a strategy to bring conversions on non-branded keywords? Can you show me an example of a prior campaign?

Expected response:  Yes, I will share a snapshot of a few campaigns with you for successful campaign on non-branded keywords.

 

[5] What is your keyword strategy for different stages of the buying cycle? Can you give me a simple example?

Expected response: Yes, different keyword flavors are required for different stages of the buying cycle. Example:

  • Keyword = Mobile phones: Discovery phase
  • Keyword =  Samsung vs iPhone: Comparison phase
  • Keyword =  Samsung Galaxy best price: Buying phase

 

That’s it.

 If you have a PPC agency that talks on these lines and that demonstrates their communication skills and transparency, you have a probable candidate.

 

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