25 Mar 2016 - 3 mins read
Pay per click campaigns (PPC) are a good investment if they are well-devised and professionally managed. If you just randomly splash out on any old PPC without doing proper preparation, you could well end up making much less profit, and you may even come out at a loss.
Naturally, you will want to avoid any potential negative results, and maximise your positive returns. One of the best things you could do to assure this is to get a professional agency to help manage your campaign, which takes most of the work off your hands, but also requires more expense. Another option is to hire somebody directly as an employee or freelancer to help you manage your SEO and PPC campaigns, and this can be less expensive, while still giving you less direct involvement in the day-to-day running of the campaign.
The advantage of an agency is that they risk their reputation if they don't do an effective job for you. Even so, there are many thousands of seriously dodgy agencies out there, and more than a few of them have entirely manufactured reputations. You can tell if an agency is not the real deal when they talk only in buzzwords and never take the time to translate things into plain English for you. If your head is spinning after you finish talking with the salesman, it's a good sign that you should walk away from the deal.
The advantage of hiring somebody directly to work for you is that the cost will be lower, and you'll have a bit more direct influence over who is running the campaign and how. You do need to keep in mind that they are the expert, which is why you hired them. This means allowing them a bit of freedom to get on with the job, and respecting their decisions until they're proved wrong. The only disadvantage you may experience with this approach is that it can be more difficult to let go of a non-performing employee than an agency.
The final option is to manage things entirely by yourself. This is more difficult, requiring a solid investment of your time. You can't run a PPC campaign half-heartedly. For a start, you will need to choose which provider you will use for your campaign. Most people choose Google, but there are plenty of other options available.
One of the advantages of Google is that they have some good management tools to help you monitor the progress of your campaigns and they allow you to set the budget limits of the campaign in advance, so you don't have to worry about the cost blowing out of control. The disadvantage of Google is that they don't typically provide a lot of assistance and advice to novice campaign managers, and leave a lot of the required learning entirely up to you.
Once you have selected a provider, you need to determine a list of key phrases people might type while searching for your services. Google provides a free keyword analysis tool to help with that. The final step after researching and setting up your campaign is monitoring its success. You want to be certain that most of the clicks you are getting are returning positive conversions, and if they are not, you need to revise your campaign and try again.
Don't despair if you're not seeing an instant return on your investment. PPC is a very imprecise science, and you need to allow for a certain amount of trial and error before you finally hit on the right formula.
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