Pros and Cons: When to Outsource Your PPC Marketing

by Deborah Ager on November 19, 2009

Pay attention graphic

At a certain point, every business owner using search marketing will need to decide if their PPC (pay per click) marketing program is bringing in enough revenue to justify the use of an agency.

What is your spend?
So far, I’ve never come across an agency that doesn’t require a minimum spend. If you aren’t spending $10,000 a month, then most agencies won’t accept you as a client. For better or worse, they require a minimum spend on your part so they can make money on their part.

As a micro-business or solopreneur, I’d be concerned that I’d fall to the bottom of the stack at an agency if my spend only reached $5,000.

If I worked in a large corporation with a $50,000/month spend, then I’d feel better about using an agency to help me manage the program.

What is your pain point?
I’ve worked on campaigns that spent anywhere between $600 to $70,000 per month on PPC. In each instance, the pain point was reporting. If the agencies provide reporting at all, they often do not provide reporting that the client finds useful. The agency may not fully understand the client’s business or may provide only part of the picture in the reporting since they can’t access sales data.

This doesn’t mean they are bad people or you should not use them. However you should think carefully about how important the reporting is to you, how badly you need it, and whether you can have programmers in-house who can create reports you want.

To all you would-be entrepreneurs or agencies who want an edge, companies are often in dire need of good reporting on their PPC.

How complicated is your PPC to manage?
In the book Now, Discover Your Strengths the authors point out people and companies waste time on “overcoming weaknesses.” If you decide to manage your own PPC, ask yourself if this is a weak area you are trying to overcome or a strong area for you that you are making even better. I’m happy to run my own PPC campaigns – I’ve run campaigns for a long time and took the Google Certification test – since it’s a strong area for me. However, I will leave the accounting and taxes to someone else.

Everyone will have a different answer to this question and have a different idea about how willing they are to do it. Consider the question as you shop for agencies.

What are you willing to do?
We’ve heard the story many times about the actor who signs over control of his assets to a business manager and then the business manager makes a mistake or worse – disappears.

The lesson in that story is: observe closely.

Specifically – pay attention. Even if you hire an agency, they are humans like you and can make mistakes like you. You always have to pay attention to the numbers and most importantly to revenue. Be sure to have a weekly meeting — with short phone calls between meetings — to keep track of the numbers, issues, and problems that need correction.

(Image Pay Attention by Cracked Moon, Creative Commons)

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Guest contributor Deborah Ager is an online marketer, consultant, and speaker. Visit her blog and sign up to get free online marketing tips at http//:www.clickwisdom.com. Follow her on Twitter, too!

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