Google would have you believe that anyone with a Google Partner badge is going to give you quality AdWords Management. You would assume from their partner page that you’ll have proactive and knowledgeable managers working on your account as long as they have a badge on their website. I’m here to tell you that you should use the Google Partner status as your initial filter for choosing AdWords management but that you should probably inquire about some more important aspects of how the individual or agency operates. South Bay Search Marketing practices the following as a matter of company ethos but you may find some utility in the concepts regardless of whether or not you sign up with us; you should use these concepts to guide your entire online marketing strategy and choices.
Your AdWords manager fees should be based on realistic expectations. The rate which a Google Partner charges should reflect 3 things: hourly work to be done, performance, and foundational value in the campaigns. As an AdWords management agency we have built upon years of experience and knowledge with custom tools, reporting, and indicators which help us better notify and manage both the online campaigns but our clients as well. We want to spend as much time as needed in your account…no more…no less. Most clients have a fixed AdWords budget that reflects their cash flow or other needs and once we get campaigns dialed in so that they consistently deliver leads at a profitable ROI then it’d be foolish of us (or any other manager) to make changes in an account just for the sake of “putting in the hours”. Incremental changes based on further reporting and analytics can still be implemented but gone are the days where you can expect huge ROI from AdWords; the online ppc landscape has become just too competitive and expensive.
While major changes and tweaks may not need to be done eventually (hopefully as soon as possible) that doesn’t mean your account manager should be paid differently. As a company we price ourselves at a rate which reflects our initial grind which hopefully results in many months of continued management. You, the client, are then paying for the performance results that we’ve earned through many hours of hard work (either in your account specifically or in those that we’ve learned from in the past). You’re still making, we believe, as good of a ROI on our campaigns as you can hope to expect anywhere else and that is the foundational value that a Google Partner should bring to the table. When you shop around you should have a sense of the type of experience the vendor can apply to your business whether or not they’ve had your specific business in their portfolio previously. Additionally, when you use quality managers you should get a sense of structural integrity of your account so that you can review the data in a way that makes sense and tells a story for your business.
Your Google Adwords Partner should have a personality. What’s one of the best things any business can offer its clients? Feeling like you share their needs and wants. Personality builds trust between a service and a client. For AdWords and internet marketing in general there is a huge opportunity for distrust because of anonymity online and the technicality of computers. Most small business owners don’t understand html, api, h1 tags, and so on. Then the idea that you’re working with simply a voice or “text” chat that you never get to physically see or touch results in inherent anonymity that is often abused by scammers. If we understand that distrust is ripe in internet relationships then we need to be sensitive to the fact that ppc marketing also throws in the concept that a client (you) trusts a stranger (us) to spend your valuable cash! We need to be very aware that our clients trust us to make wise money decisions on their behalf and are paying us to do so. The best remedy for this distrust is personality.
An AdWords Partner should be available in many different mediums; chat, phone, web-meetings, and in person if possible. Furthermore, we should have a 1:1 relationship with the client & their account. That is why South Bay Search Marketing has always done best when our sales team is our management team. If you get John on the line he gives you his pitch…his personality. Then when John starts working on your account you get that approach and his specific attention on the phone when you have a question. A simple Google Partner badge needs to be pinned onto a company with personality to ensure long and healthy accounts and relationships.
Lastly, a Google Partner should also be flexible to your business needs. The internet changes so often that the companies that act as portals to your business for your clients sometimes change quite a bit as well. Google, for example, has added and taken away features from advertisers on AdWords in spurts of time that sometimes only last a day. It is not uncommon to be working in an account only to have the dashboard notify you that you need to refresh because it has been updated…several times. The newest, latest, and greatest may not be for you. A Google Partner should evaluate the toolsets available and apply only those that will make the most of your limited budget. Furthermore, we pride ourselves (and your vendor should as well) on being willing to accommodate a client’s need outside of their agreement form scope of work. We may, for example, find out that you really need some Google Places updates to support our ads. You may ask us to integrate Analytics ourselves and change the site a bit to your needs. Your Google Partner should be able to accommodate most of these needs and if not, recommend vendors that can. In relation to the first two items above, your Google AdWords Partner should be able to give you an honest assessment of any additional costs (if any) to accommodate these needs. If we’re a Google Partner then we’re yours as well. You should feel free to ask and free to expect a reasonable effort on the part of your management to fulfill your request.
In summary, the Google Partner badge is just a representation of satisfying some of Google’s basic standards. Your needs go well beyond those that Google measures and you should be able to choose a Google Partner that meets and exceeds the standards of obtaining the badge.