In relation to PPC management, small business owners typically go with the Do It Yourself option.
Most articles will tell you that you should never manage your own PPC account, tell you all the drawbacks of self-managed accounts, and push for their managed solution.
While it’s obvious that an account managed by a pro will perform better, that doesn't mean managing your own account will be a complete failure.
Benefits of PPC Self Management
There are many small businesses that perform self-management and have realized a good Return On Investment (ROI). This is because both Google and Bing have put in a great deal of effort to make it easier for small businesses to manage their own accounts.
For this article, I’ll be focusing on Google AdWords, as AdWords and Bing Ads are very similar.
First of all, they have plenty of tutorials and documentation to help you along the way. There are hundreds of articles ranging from AdWords setup and basics, up to more advanced topics like setting up campaign experiments.
To supplement this, even low budget accounts have access to an AdWords advisor if you have any questions. They’ll even call you every now and then to offer recommendations and give advice!
If you’re not sure how to set your bids, they have different automated bidding options to choose from. Some of these are -
- Maximize Clicks - Sets your bids to get as many clicks as possible
- Target Search Page Location - Sets your bids to give your site the best chance of appearing on the first page
- Maximize Conversions - Sets bids to get the most conversions
Another reason to choose self PPC management is the high cost of hiring an agency. It doesn't make to much sense to pay $500 dollars per month to manage a $500 account. It would be much better to put that money into the monthly budget, bringing it up to $1000. (Although realistically, if you have a $500 per month budget, you might not have $1000 to spend on PPC.)
With this said, if you’re going to manage your own account, you can’t “set it and forget it”. When PPC advertising first started, it was possible to set up your account, and then let it run without touching it. However, that’s no longer a good option. Some of the reasons for this are that-
- Google constantly adds new functionality to their software. Competitors who keep an eye on their accounts will take advantage of these new features, and use them to outperform you.
- Search trends change. While your main keywords will remain fairly consistent, you’ll need to change your bids or even keywords based on consumer trends.
- Competitors who test ad copy usually end up with better performing ads than you. Testing and experimentation is necessary to keep your PPC account performing well.
If you're going to manage your account, just remember, you have to manage it!
There may be a steep learning curve to setting up your own PPC account, but self-management is a perfectly viable option for small businesses. It’s an excellent way to supplement your existing self-managed advertising, and entirely possible to see some decent results.
Benefits of Hiring a PPC Manager
While it's possible to see good results from managing your own account, it goes without saying a professional can do it better. PPC advertising is quite complex and is constantly changing.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
- Albert Einstein
If you manage your own account, you’ll be responsible for maintaining the knowledge required to keep it performing well. Furthermore, it’s inevitable that you're going to make costly mistakes.
A professional will keep their knowledge up-to-date and has already made those mistakes. They’ll already know what direction your account should go in, and know full well what not to do. They know how to analyze your business, and decide what keywords, ad text, budget, and type of campaign to use that best aligns with your goals.
However, managing low-budget accounts ($1500 and under) can be very difficult. With such little funding, it can be hard for the average small business owner to manage their account. Most tutorials and even advice from Google focus on strategy and tactics for accounts with bigger budgets.
Unfortunately, what works on an account with a large budget, doesn't always work well with a small budget. Many owners find themselves spending their entire budget, and not getting any sales. A professional who works with small business PPC accounts will know how to optimize your account to make the most out of your budget.
You also need to keep in mind the amount of time you’ll free up to do other things. It takes a great deal of time to learn PPC while maintaining your knowledge and managing the account. All of that time could be better spent doing other productive things for your business.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that PPC management isn’t just about knowing how to use and set up the software, it’s also about your entire website. Even if your PPC account is optimized, your website might not be.
- Page speed plays a crucial role in converting customers
- The content on your website is just as important as the text in your ads
- Clear, well placed CTA’s need to be present
- The site needs to be mobile optimized
- Even the colors used on the site can affect conversions
- And the list goes on
A good PPC account manager is also knowledgeable about web development. They'll be able to recommend, test, and make changes to your website.
The downside is the cost of hiring another employee. Even hiring more cost-effective, outside help can be a bit too pricey. Most agencies won't even manage low budget accounts, and if they do, usually charge too much for the monthly management.
For this reason, freelancers are an excellent choice for small businesses. Without the overhead costs associated with maintaining an agency, they can offer management at a price you can afford.
With that said, it's always important to keep an eye on the future. If you have reasonable and well-founded projections of rapid, large-scale growth, it may be better to go with an agency. Although the management may cost as much as your budget, they'll be able to accommodate your business as it grows.
Either way, your business will benefit from PPC
Of course, you'll see a greater benefit from hiring a professional, and you'll have more time to operate your business. (Or have more free time after work). However, If you're willing to put in the work, self-managing your account can work well. It's possible to see a decent ROI and boost your online presence.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for a simpler way of getting into PPC advertising, check out AdWords Express. AdWords Express: The DIY Solution for Small Business SEM