Have you ever discovered your biggest competitor at the top of a Google search result and thought: why can’t that be us?
Well, perhaps it can.
With an intelligent AdWords campaign, you can knock your rivals off the top of the search results and scoop up all that lucrative customer traffic for yourself.
Of course, achieving that isn’t easy; otherwise, everyone would do it. But there is a simple shortcut. And that’s using an experienced AdWords agency who can help you win that sought-after placement.
Doing that means finding a good, reliable agency that will deliver results. So before you sign an ad contract with an agency, check out our ultimate guide to finding the best AdWords agency for your business so you can hire a pay per click company with confidence.
Google Ads: A Must for Business Growth?
Before you seek an AdWords agency, it’s worth being honest about whether it’s the right strategy for your business. Online marketing is changing rapidly, and what used to work is not necessarily the right choice today.
For a start, consider the emergence of new social media marketing opportunities like Tiktok. These young platforms give businesses fresh and unique ways of promoting their products.
Nevertheless, even with the wealth of online marketing platforms open to business, Google AdWords is still phenomenally popular. Let’s explore some of the key benefits.
Benefits of Google AdWords
According to Aquisio, in 2019, search marketing ads were the most popular form of PPC advertising, with 80% of businesses opting to use AdWords.
It’s easy to understand why. Google still has a significant market share for worldwide online search activity. So when you use AdWords, you’re tapping into an almost unlimited amount of potential customers for your business.
Even if you start advertising with a small budget, there is no limit to how much you can expand your audience as your budget increases. How many other platforms can offer that sort of growth potential?
AdWords gives you control over traffic levels that is almost impossible to achieve with organic or search traffic alone.
Trying to reach the top of organic search results is always at the mercy of algorithm changes and competition that tends to stay hot on your heels.
AdWords looks professional. It is there if you want to strike out with your brand. If you are a new business, getting your ad appearing right at the top of Google can give you an immediate air of authority in your niche.
When it comes to cost, Google AdWords might not be as cheap as in the past, but that is true of all online advertising, as competition for ad space increases.
However, with an average cost per click of $2.69 according to Wordstream, it is still a cost effective way of generating new business to any website, whatever your niche.
The reality is, if you have a budget for paid online advertising, you need to give AdWords serious consideration, at least for a fair share of that budget, if not all.
Why Use an External Agency?
Getting any external agency in to support your business is always a difficult decision. On paper, agency fees are always higher than getting an employee to take on the work.
Of course, that’s just the raw expense you are comparing. To understand the actual cost, you need to figure out the return on investment. What ROI will you achieve when comparing an external agency to in-house marketing?
In-House Vs. External Agency
Is an external Google ads agency worth it? Learning how to optimize PPC campaigns take time and dedication. Achieving that level of knowledge in-house often requires a full-time marketer.
That is a considerable expense for small and mid-size companies.
You must also remember that with ad services, there is a significant design element involved. Few companies have an internal design team.
You need that type of skill-set to pull together a look for your ad that comes across as professional and eye-catching.
That also points to another issue with in-house ad teams. The clue is in the word teams. Creating an ad campaign is multi-disciplinary. Unless you have an entire team behind it, it isn’t something a single person can do.
What Makes a Good AdWords Agency?
There’s no one size fits all approach to finding an ad agency. So let’s move on to examining what factors you might need to consider before choosing an agency.
Experience matters when it comes to mastering AdWords.
Most agencies can boast one or two successful campaigns. But agencies that can demonstrate a consistent and long-established track record in delivering a positive ROI are the ones you should seek.
An experienced pay per click agency will have done similar ad campaigns. They will clearly understand the type of campaign that will work well for your business and niche.
If you are in a competitive environment, a highly experienced pay per click management company will be a great asset. They will help you create a campaign that performs better than other businesses in your niche.
When shortlisting ad agencies, find out what data they track on their campaigns and how they track that data.
This data is critical to a successful campaign. It will be your main feedback on what aspects of your campaign are working and which need altering.
Of course, there is bad tracking and good tracking, so dive deep into what data the agency examines on a campaign. Right at the top of the list must be Google Analytics, and this must include marketing tags.
Those marketing tags will tell you what people are doing when they click on your ad. Is your ad leading to people who browse or people who buy?
So when considering a potential agency, find out how they track data and, specifically, how they track conversations from the ad campaign to your ad goals.
Other Customer Results
Once you grasp the agency’s experience and the data they track, it’s an easy jump to start examining the agency’s results from past client campaigns.
What you are looking for here is not revenue, as that won’t indicate how successful the ad was. Most agencies will be reluctant to provide specifics on the costs of another client’s advertising campaign.
Instead, find out what type of ROI (return on investment) the agency has achieved for other businesses in the past.
ROI differs by industry, but as a baseline figure, a 4X return ($4 revenue for every $1 in ad spend) is a suitable benchmark to measure against your shortlisted agencies.
If the agency talks of significantly higher or lower ROIs, find out what industry the campaign was running in and how their result compared against the industry average.
We touched on the idea of PPC ad goals in the previous paragraph. Ad goals are the targets you set for your business when launching a new ad campaign. That might be target sales, new leads, or specific traffic numbers.
To establish an ad goal that aligns with your business needs, you must find an agency that will work with you strategically.
The agency must be knowledgeable enough not just to create a functional ad campaign. They must know how that campaign links back to your broader business goals, like growth, product launches, or even list building.
They must be confident in talking to you about your business strategy. And the agency must have a good grasp of your high-level business goals and how your ads will relate to them.
All good business partnerships involve strong relationships. An ad agency is no exception. You want a company that you trust, that delivers what you expect, and does so by emphasizing exceptional customer service.
Customer excellence will help you feel listened to, which will be important when looking for an agency.
Though you might defer to their expertise, you’ll want an ad campaign that reflects the type of company brand and image that you want to put across to the world.
To do that effectively, you need a relationship built on honesty, openness, and trust. You want to feel that a company listens and respects your opinion when creating that all-important ad campaign.
When it comes to customer service, something seldom mentioned but equally important is how your business and agency align with business culture.
Suppose you are a corporate and conservative business. In that case, you might feel uncomfortable with an edgy ad agency known for quirky and daring ad campaigns.
Likewise, suppose you are a business with a bold, youthful vibe. In that case, you need an agency that does more than run-of-the-mill ads and creates something that will get the attention of your target audience.
The best way to check culture fit is to chat with potential agencies and check out some of their other clients and previous campaigns.
If an agency boasts about stunning ad results but still doesn’t feel like a good cultural fit, they might not be your best choice. Even with a solid track record in advertising.
It’s not only the culture that will be relevant to choosing the perfect ad agency. Finding an agency with experience and knowledge of your industry and niche is critical to a profitable AdWords promotion.
Consider industry trends that might impact your ad campaign.
If you sell children’s educational products, you want your agency to grasp how those products fit within broader trends like homeschooling during COVID-19. That way, your ad campaign touches upon a relatable subject for parents.
Or perhaps you are in a price-sensitive market. It would be best if you had an agency that understands the importance of putting pricing and offers at the forefront of the marketing campaign.
There might be occasions where you prefer to opt for an agency because you like other ads they’ve done, and that is fine.
However, niche specialism is undeniably helpful in advertising because they know how to speak its audience’s language. The agency will know what angles to take with the campaign based on past successes.
A good AdWords agency will have the latest and best tools and technology for monitoring and optimizing their ad campaigns and their ad copy. Find out what they use before you sign on the dotted line.
Here are a few questions you can ask a prospective agency:
- What is your primary analytics tool?
- What tool do you use for reporting, and how do we access the reports?
- What tool do you use for keyword research?
- Do they use click fraud software (this is something of a trick question, as a good agency will know that Google already covers fraudulent clicks and no other software is needed)
- Do you use any tools to monitor competitors?
Don’t be afraid to ask these sorts of questions, even if you are unfamiliar with ad tools and software. A good, experienced AdWords agency will always readily answer your questions, and they’ll even be happy to give you a demo.
Pricing shouldn’t be your primary factor when deciding on an AdWords agency. It is wiser to go for the agency that will bring you the best return on your ad investment, rather than the agency with the lowest fees.
However, do make sure that you opt for an agency that offers transparent pricing. That way, you have a clear idea of what services you are getting for the fees.
If there are add-ons, find out whether there is any extra cost involved.
Bespoke reports are a common one. Most agencies will provide standard ad reporting, but find out about the price in advance if you need a custom search engine marketing report.
The trick to managing a good pay per click advertising campaign is excellent organizational skills. If you can, find out a little about how the agency builds, tests, and refines its campaigns.
Even small bits of attention to detail, such as how they name each ad group in a campaign, can tell you a lot. It can reveal how thorough and systematic the agency is in creating a successful and long-lasting ad promotion for its clients.
A transparent agency will demonstrate how they set up a campaign, monitor it, and report campaign results to clients. That lifts the lid on the type of performance and service you can expect when you sign up.
Did you know that Google has a training and certification scheme for aspiring ad managers?
By completing this training and gaining certification, ad agencies can prove their competency. And once complete, they can apply to Google to become a Google Certified Partner.
Google designed the Partner program to highlight accredited ad agencies that consistently operate within their recommended guidelines and advertising best practices.
A small few may also have the Google Premier Partner status. This status highlights extensive ad experience and a long-established relationship with Google.
Hiring a local team for Google Banner ad services is less important than it used to be since technology and business practices have made remote working the norm in the past few years.
However, there is nothing quite like speaking to a team face to face. And if you are a business with a solely local clientele (like car repairs or restaurants), you might find value in having a team you can speak to in person.
So if the locality is important to you, make sure you add that to your list when running your agency search. But don’t rule out the talent and expertise of remote ppc management companies.
As a customer, you don’t need to spend every day observing your agency at work.
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of how they are fine-tuning your ads. And you don’t need to view thousands of lines of data with little to interpret them.
You need a simple report that will tell you everything you need to know about how your ad is performing. You need to see if you are getting the results you expect and what the agency intends to improve to help you get there.
So your first step when considering a shortlist of agencies is to find out what reporting they provide as standard.
Find out how frequently you can expect these reports and whether they use reporting tools that you can access from your desktop in real-time.
What About Other Marketing Expertise?
More prominent agencies often cover a range of digital marketing skills that extend beyond managed Google AdWords services.
It’s worth keeping this in mind when looking for an agency in case you need support in other areas in the future, such as SEO, content marketing, and even email marketing. That can be a bonus, as you’ll have already established a relationship built on trust.
How to Find the Perfect Agency for Your Business
Now that you know what to look for in a digital marketing agency, it’s time to start your search. Here’s how to find the best Google AdWords and create your first ad campaign.
Starting Your Search
In the previous section, we looked at some factors you should consider before choosing an agency. You can use this as a starting point for your research.
Create a spreadsheet with a shortlist of agency names, and rate them from 1-10 for each of these factors. It isn’t foolproof, but it will help you narrow down your list to the agencies that might be a good fit.
If you can, get some personal recommendations for Google Display ads services. Online forms and Facebook groups are good starting points to find a reputable agency.
If another business sings the praises of an agency, that is a good sign they are worth examining more closely.
Decide on Your Priorities
Earlier in the article, we mentioned the importance of aligning your AdWords campaign with your broader business goals and strategy.
While having the support of an agency to guide you is essential, take the time before you engage an agency to decide what you want to get from advertising.
The clearer you are on your goals from the start, the easier it will be to find the best Google Adwords agency that will do as you expect.
Here are some prompts to get you thinking:
- More subscribers to your email list
- High quality telephone leads
- More traffic to your website
- A new product or service launch
- Brand awareness
- New business launch
- eCommerce sales
Once you know your priorities, write these down on paper and give them to prospective ad agencies. That way, you are both working toward the same goals, and there are no misassumptions.
Finally, try to make your goals measurable. The easier your goals are to measure, the more straightforward it will be to see if you are getting a good return on your ad investment.
Have an Informal Conversation
The best way to get to know an agency and size up their strengths (and weaknesses) is to set up an informal conversation with them. Go for a video call if you can.
Prepare in advance with a list of questions. These questions should be easy to craft once you know the type of agency qualities that are most important to you.
Remember, no agency is going to match you perfectly.
But use this time to discover a good, reputable agency with plenty of relevant experience. One that you feel you can form a strong working relationship with them. If you can do that, you are on the right track.
Communicate Your Expectations
Before you sign on the dotted line, it helps if you and the agency can establish your expectations. Do this in writing so that you are all on the same page.
This document should set out:
- You high-level business goals
- Your preferred ad strategy
- Your expected timescales
- Your budget
- Your reporting needs
You might want to add to this, depending on your needs. That is fine.
The most important thing to remember is that this is a document for both of you.
You can use it to measure the agency’s performance; they can use it to ensure they are meeting your needs.
Sign the Contract
Finally, when all parties are happy and in agreement, it’s time to sign on the dotted line.
The agency should have a contract covering their services, fees, and anything else that needs legal notes. Most agencies won’t start work on your ad until the contract is in place and signed by both parties.
Ad Agencies: A Long Term Relationship
Taking the time to find the perfect AdWords agency is worth it. After all, if the agency performs as you expect, this will be a long-term partnership.
We are ready to answer your questions about our AdWords capabilities. Contact us today to start that conversation, and let’s see how we can create an ad strategy that will help transform your business in 2021 and beyond.