Adwords is increasingly difficult. Recent changes such as the introduction of Google Adwords Express have made it easier to get started with Google Adwords, but far more difficult to make Adwords work. This is because if you sign up to Adwords Express you lose a lot of control over your campaign. It is this control, the ability to alter your campaign settings and keywords to suit your particular business, that allows companies to seriously profit from Adwords – even in the face of stiff competition.
If you are thinking of hiring a Google Adwords consultant you need to be sure that the cost savings he/she will make is greater than their fee. Fees for an Adwords consultant range from around $50/hour to $300/hour, and it’s hard to know how much to spend. Too cheap and they may not improve your campaign at all – they may even make it worse. Too expensive and you’ll end up losing money on the fees. Don’t assume that a $300/hour consultant is going to be better than a $30/hour consultant either – pricing for consultancy is notoriously subjective. In short, you need to do your research and this means getting references before you hire anybody. DO NOT think that a Google certificate makes a consultant any good at Adwords. A Google Partner or Certified Adwords Professional badge means that they can get around the Adwords dashboard & they know the difference between phrase match and broad match – it does not mean that they are any good at making any money with Adwords. I may be biased here but I would always go for a consultant who has spent their own money on Adwords rather than someone who has had experience of managing spend for other companies.
Remember that many a PPC agency is paid commission as a percentage of spend rather than a flat fee. The best model would be a fee based on ROI, but this is unrealistic in most cases due to variables which can affect outcomes such as market changes, weather & seasonality. You are probably best to opt for a flat monthly fee for Adwords management rather than payment tied to spend – the latter often throws up a conflict of interest where the PPC agency/consultant is encouraged to spend more of your money to increase their own fee. Also, if you do go down the % route, consider your monthly spend. With a $1k/month spend, your PPC consultant will charge roughly $100 for the month. Think of how many clients he/she has to juggle in this scenario to make a viable business. For many small businesses a % of spend arrangement simply does not work for either party, for obvious reasons.
So should you hire a PPC consultant? My answer would be yes – a good consultant can save you time and money, and use Google Adwords to really transform your business. This seems to be counter-productive for me as a PPC consultant, but I would say that your best option is to hire one for a limited time, maybe 6 months, to really turn your account around and then you can give self-management a go once your campaigns are profitable. Beware of any kind of long-term contracts from PPC agencies as these can lock you into a bad relationship if you’re not careful.
I would welcome your thoughts/comments/questions below, and if you haven’t already got your free Google Adwords cheat sheet – what are you waiting for?
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