How to Hire an AdWords Manager

Who Should You Hire as an AdWords Manager?

Google AdWordsUsing Google AdWords (often referred to as Pay Per Click or PPC) is not necessarily difficult, and is designed so that the average layperson can use it for their business.  Remember, this is where Google makes almost all of their money, so it’s in their best interest to create a system that most people can use and take advantage of.  However, this doesn’t mean that it’s in the business’s best interest to do it themselves.  

Remember that you know your business best. You spend at least 40 hours a week there, and know the ins and outs.  The same applies to Google AdWords.  SEO/SEM/PPC professionals spend all their time keeping up with Google trends, learning changes in the systems, going to conferences to learn more about best practices, and have significant experience.  They know how to navigate the system.

An AdWords professional that’s worth anything will also bring you a significant return on your investment.  They’ll know how to do the keyword research and write the ad copy that brings in more leads.  They know how to design your landing pages for greater chance of conversion (conversion optimization).  They can also decrease the amount that you need to bid per keyword by lowering your Quality Score (The measure that Google uses to determine the quality of your combined ad, landing page, and estimated clickthrough rate.  A high quality score means a lower bid to rank highly).

However, there are some AdWords managers that are absolutely terrible at what they do.  The trick is to avoid these groups at all costs.  So who do you hire?

What should you look for in an AdWords Manager?

Agency or Freelancer?  You can hire anyone from a full agency to a sole proprietor to a freelancer that works in their spare time.  You’re going to get what you pay for.  An agency is more expensive, but you’ll have a number of people across disciplines and high quality tools working on your account.  A freelancer will be much more cost effective, but will likely be doing a lot of work in their spare time.  There’s always a trade off.  One strong recommendation though – if you’re having someone provide other online marketing services for you, and they are qualified to handle AdWords, it’s almost always best to have the same person/agency handling both to avoid conflicts and create synergy.

Google Certified.  Some people say that this isn’t worth much.  That’s BS.  To become a certified Google Partner, you need to pass two exams, roughly 2 hours each.  There are guides, and people who know what they’re doing can pass them without a lot of difficulty, but even most professionals need to brush up first.  You also need to meet minimum ad spends with Google.  So, while the certification may not prove a whole lot, if someone is not certified it says a LOT about where they’re at.  If they can’t/won’t pass the exam and haven’t managed significant ad spend before, they’re not the person you want working on your account.  Make sure you have a Google Certified partner.

Trust.  You need to be able to trust who you’re working with.  If they won’t report to you or give you any access to your account, there’s a flag.  It is not hard to measure all contact forms through Google Analytics, and there are great call tracking systems that are inexpensive and can be used to specifically track calls generated through AdWords.

Transparency.  You should know how much is being spent on your actual campaign and how much is spent on management fees.  There are groups like Reach Local who are known to keep over 50% of your spend in management fees, spending less than 50% on actual AdWords (they also have an average of over 150 accounts being managed per account manager, so you’re not necessarily getting a lot of attention for that spend).  Any agency should be transparent about how much they’re actually spending on ads and what the fees are.  If not, it’s a big flag.

Account Personnel. Is there someone you can contact when you have changes, want to talk through strategy, or would just like an update?  Is there someone dedicated to your account?  Find out who it is ahead of time, and how many accounts they’re managing.  Make sure you’re not just a number in a vast sea of clients.

Finding the Right Fit

It’s important to make sure you find a good fit when hiring an AdWords manager.  Don’t just go with the first person you talk to that says they handle AdWords – or at least talk with them a couple of times first.  Make sure you’re comfortable with them, that you can trust them, and that they can prove they know their stuff.  Take your time.  Don’t jump in until you’re pretty sure you’re making a good decision (you can never be 100% sure, but you can get close).  If someone isn’t the best fit, keep looking until you find someone who is.  You work hard for your money.  Don’t spend it on someone who’s going to toss it out the window.

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