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PPC skeptics: Are you one of these 6 types?

You may have your reasons for being unsure about paid search advertising, but columnist Pauline Jakober hopes to rid you of your skepticism.

There are still a great many businesses that aren’t advertising online — or at least not diverting healthy budgets to it. In fact, one survey showed that small businesses are only spending 3 percent of their total ad budgets on Web ads.

I’ve talked to a lot of companies over the years and found some of them to be apprehensive about pay per click. They typically fall into one of six categories when it comes to how they feel about PPC.

If you or someone you know is leery about PPC, read on to find out if any of the following types resonate with you. Maybe you’ll uncover some new perspective that might change your mind.

Skeptic No. 1: The Popular Kid

If you’re this type of PPC skeptic, you’ve built your business on outbound marketing, face-to-face interactions and handshakes. Your business is typically in good condition — so good that you’re actually not looking for any other form of marketing or advertising.

But someone who thought you should explore PPC may have referred you to an agency, and you’re unsure about it from the outset. You might call the agency and listen to what they have to say, but you’re not ready to budge.

I encountered a company like this once that touted the best reputation in town and a healthy business. They had been referred to my agency and wanted to know why they should even consider us.

No surprise, they didn’t sign up at that time. One year later, we got a phone call. Their company was nowhere to be found in the Google search results, and it was starting to hurt their business.

Being the popular kid in town is great — until it’s not the case anymore. There are always new businesses coming into your market, and some of those businesses are investing in their online presence.

And keep in mind that four out of five people surveyed used search engines to conduct local searches.

The early adopters of online advertising in your sector will eventually surpass you when you have no presence at all, and they will reap the benefits of PPC like traffic and conversions.

Skeptic No. 2: The Thrifty One

If you can’t imagine spending even $500 a month on PPC, you might be The Thrifty One. If you’re thrifty when it comes to your PPC ad spend, you might not be getting the full benefits of it.

Here’s something I often say: You shouldn’t spend any money — not one cent — on PPC if it’s not making you money. When managed the right way, PPC should never feel expensive, because it’s bringing in revenue.

In fact, being flexible with your budget can help the right PPC manager bring in more conversions. They may not ever use the max end of your budget, but the flexibility allows them to help you compete in the search results.

One client of ours couldn’t fathom spending $1,000 a month when they started with us. In the beginning, it was a bit slow, and there were times when they almost stopped doing PPC altogether. But we encouraged them to stick with it.

Five years later, this same client is spending $250,000 annually on PPC. And that’s because PPC is bringing in revenue.

While that ad spend may seem like a lot of money, it doesn’t feel like a lot when the PPC is bringing in a nice chunk of money to your business.

Skeptic No. 3: The Scaredy-Cat

If you’re just plain scared of PPC because you’ve heard horror stories about how it can go awry, you may be fearful to take the first step, and you’re not alone.

Yes, there have been horrible experiences with badly managed PPC (like crowdsourcing your PPC for $300 a month — don’t do that), but with some due diligence, you should be able to find a PPC manager you trust.

Of course, if you’re just dipping your toes in the water, you may not know where to start when evaluating PPC agencies.

Here are a few resources for you:

  • Choosing a PPC agency: 10 questions to ask
  • How to choose the best PPC agency
  • What to expect when you hire a PPC agency

The bottom line is this: Any time you do something new, it’s scary — whether it’s starting a PPC campaign or riding a bike. But if you don’t give it a fair shake, you’ll never know. As a new channel to your business, PPC is really no different from trying any other marketing or advertising investment.

Skeptic No. 4: The Organic Devotee

Over the years, there have been businesses that do so well in the organic search channel that they just don’t believe in spending money on pay per click. Does this sound like you?

Maybe for years, you held strong on Page 1 of Google’s search results, and then one day, it just went away.

The truth is that it’s dangerous to depend on only one channel. There are, of course, arguments both for and against the relationship between SEO and PPC in the SERPs (and now, with the new ad layout in Google, some say organic search may be losing ground).

I’ve had PPC clients that only depend on paid search for bringing in traffic, and I’ve always told them not to do that, either. At any time, something could change online and impact the way the search results display, and with all your eggs in one basket, you could end up with egg on your face.

Skeptic No. 5: The Cynic

Have you hired multiple agencies in the past with no luck? If so, you may be experiencing a bit of cynicism around PPC. These types of folks typically doubt that any new agency can make a difference or even do their job right. Still, you may not have given up on advertising online.

To add a bit of perspective from the PPC manager’s viewpoint, these prospects can be a little intimidating because we don’t know if it was the past agencies or the client that was the issue.

We’ve worked with folks like this who mean well but end up emailing us every day to point out that they searched for a keyword and didn’t see their ad. If you’re this type of person, there’s really no gaining your trust until you’re good and ready — and it’s been earned.

Luckily, when everyone has the tenacity to stick with it, you usually get over the humps and start to build a trusting and lasting relationship. That’s also usually around the time you start seeing results from PPC.

For this type of skeptic, I recommend starting smaller with the agency to see how it goes. There are usually things PPC professionals can do to make an impact on your current PPC account (like reorganizing the account structure), and this allows you to test the working relationship as well.

Skeptic No. 6: The Small Business

Small businesses range in all sizes, and if you’re a smaller business and only have a few employees (or maybe you’re a “solopreneur”), you might not think that online advertising is for you.

You may not be able to hire an agency with $500 a month (including management fees), but there are ways to make your more modest budget work for you:

  • Consider hiring a PPC consultant for some training or to audit your account and provide next steps.
  • Limit your ads just to the locations that you do business in; take advantage of ad delivery andad scheduling options; and consider a method referred to as “tiered bidding.”

We work with a lot of small businesses that have nice monthly budgets in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. But they didn’t start at that level — they worked up to that over the years.

Yes, it can feel like a huge investment now, but as I’ve pointed out in this article, you have to spend money to make money.

From skepticism to enthusiasm

Most clients that I’ve worked with over the years who have started out as skeptics have changed their tune once they stick with PPC for a while.

The key is finding a PPC partner you can trust, being open to the suggestions they give you and being a little flexible with your budget so that you can be set up for success.




by Pauline Jakober