*Updated May 2023

What Is a PPC consultant and do I need one?

How can I generate more traffic?

We hear this question all the time! Every good business with a quality product or service wants to get the word out to the people they know will LOVE what they have to offer, but the online landscape keeps shifting and it feels like a full time job staying up to date with what is working in online marketing.

The good news is you don't have to go it alone. We've been helping companies grow and we can help you too! Below, we'll cover some topics you'll find beneficial as well as some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked. This will give you a general understanding of how things currently work before partnering with an agency or hiring a PPC consultant.

In this article you will learn:

It all begins with a search!

"Google it!"

How many times do we say that to someone who's searching for the best restaurant, store, or auto repair shop? Online search engines have essentially replaced the phone book and have become our chosen method of finding info, products, services...almost anything. For most people, Google is their browser’s homepage.

What does this mean for businesses looking to drive sales or traffic to their website? It means as people are turning to search engines for information, more companies are being introduced to the world of PPC marketing now more than ever. It means online digital advertising is now a necessary part of any marketing strategy. PPC can’t be ignored, so let’s talk through the most common questions and some things you should know.

What does PPC stand for?

PPC is an acronym for Pay-Per-Click. This is a type of “pay for performance” digital advertising you can use to promote your company, product, or service. Rather than paying a fee for an advertising campaign or a billboard, you pay every time your ad is clicked, generally. In some instances, you can pay for impressions (when your ad is shown to someone).

Why is PPC important?

One thing every company has in common is they need customers. In order to attract these customers, companies must do some type of marketing and advertising. There are many different options available and choosing the right one can be difficult. Some companies do well with billboards, some utilize guerilla marketing (unconventional marketing methods), and others grow quickly in their area with laser focused, local advertising campaigns. If online or digital marketing is a part of your marketing strategy, PPC can be one of the best options you can choose.

someone searching on google

Since the days of pulling out the phone book are gone and the world has gone digital, PPC is one of the most effective marketing strategies to make sure relevant customers are finding you. One of the most common types of PPC is search ads. These allow you to engage someone at the exact moment they’re looking for your product or service. Rather than promoting your company to the masses, you can promote your products to those actively searching for them and engage your target market while spending your budget wisely.

If your company is running an advertising campaign online, you’re most likely participating in PPC on some level, and it’s important you understand how it works. Even if you’re using a PPC consulting service, a basic understanding is necessary.

People are doing more online now than ever before. There’s no slowing in sight. As a result, more and more companies are shifting their marketing online. PPC is now a must-have tool in your marketing strategy. If you haven’t taken advantage of this before, there’s no better time to start than today.

What are the types of PPC?

One of the most common types of Pay-Per-Click advertising is search ads. These are ads on search engines like Google or Bing. This is the one we’ll spend the most time talking about here. We’ve all seen them on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) when we search for something. They are placed above and below the organic search results. You’ll see something that identifies it as an ad. It’s often subtle, but it’s there.

an organic search result on google

Here’s a fun fact: 45% of people don’t recognize the difference between a paid ad and the organic search results.

Display ads are graphic or banner ads. We’ve all seen them on the side when we’re scrolling through a blog or website. In fact, if you’re reading this on a desktop, you’ll see an example on your right ?. Google’s display network reaches more than 90% of the web, worldwide. So, if you want to create brand awareness or visibility, your ads can be seen almost anywhere. Think of these as digital billboards that are seen all over the web.

Social ads are the ads we see on social media networks. These can be one image, multiple images, or even videos. Social ads are becoming more and more popular amongst small businesses. In fact, Facebook reported that 95% of their total ad revenue comes from small businesses. Social ads can be great for selling products or generating leads, even growing brand awareness and engagement.

Other common types of PPC include video ads and shopping ads, and new ones are being created all the time.

How effective is PPC?

In general, PPC can be very effective in driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, creating more exposure, and increasing sales. But let’s start at the beginning of the process. If you’re trying to create a larger customer base and you’re considering paid advertising as an option, where do you want to advertise?

why should my company use ppc?

A notorious bank robber, Willie Sutton, was once asked why he kept robbing banks. His response was, “That’s where they keep the money.”

So when someone asks, “Should my company use PPC?” or “Why is PPC important?” the answer is simple...that’s where the customers are. Everyone uses search engines, and they’re all looking for something. If you have something to offer, you want to be where people search for your product, when they’re looking for it.

Considering there are between 40 and 60 billion searches on Google every month, just in the US alone, search engine marketing is an ocean of opportunity for any business. There are so many searches that are relevant to your company, so it’s a great place to start.

Google reported that companies averaged $8 of revenue for every $1 spent on Google ads in 2022. Obviously, some companies saw much greater returns! If you can put $1 dollar in and get $8 out, the real question is, “How much money can you put in?”, right?

Is PPC part of SEO?

PPC and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are very different tools. As it relates to search ads, they play together, so to speak. SEO does affect your PPC ad campaigns, but unless you develop hidden or specific landing pages, your PPC ads do not affect your SEO rankings. If you do create extra landing pages, be sure you don’t cannibalize, or overuse, the keywords you’re ranking on other pages. This happens when two pages are fighting each other to rank the same phrase or keywords.

The goal is the same: Drive quality leads to your website so customers convert, whether that’s through making a purchase, signing up for your subscription service, scheduling an appointment, or some other action you deem important.

Your PPC campaign can produce immediate results, while your search engine optimization efforts take time. SEO is more of a long game. Your placement in organic search results is determined by a number of factors and it can take time to move from whatever spot you’re showing up on the SERP (Search Engine Page Results) up the list toward spot one. If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to SEO, click here.

Paid search ads, on the other hand, don’t take any time at all to begin producing. Once your ads are submitted and approved, they’ll start being displayed to searchers right away. You immediately have an opportunity to show up on search results at the top. Since the top spot claims 35% of the clicks, you can begin generating more sales right away.

sales statistic quote

Is PPC expensive?

Expensive is a matter of perspective and results. If you run a small business with a very limited marketing budget, your objective will most likely be to drive leads and sales. If the average CPC (Cost-Per-Click) in your industry is high, it can seem very expensive. However, if your ads are converting and you’re generating the right profit from those leads or sales, PPC is not expensive. If you run a multinational brand, you may choose to use PPC ads for brand awareness, especially on social media. Your budget and objective is different from the small business, so “expensive” and “results” are defined differently.

But let’s be honest, it all comes down to profit. If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense. Whether you’re running a small business or a multinational brand, the ultimate goal is profitable revenue. If any marketing tool you’re using isn’t creating profit, it’s expensive. But, if any tool you use creates the right profit, “Is this expensive?” is no longer the question.

someone looking at budgets

What is a good PPC budget?

We get asked this all the time, and I wish the answer was as simple as a “dollar amount” question, but it’s not. You have to decide what a good budget is, and it can be as simple as deciding how profitable you want your ads to be. Getting to the budget number though, requires a little more to answer that question.

If you don’t commit to a big enough budget to make your ads profitable, it’s not a good budget. You have to determine where your break even point is, and then decide what level of profit you want out of your ads. Once you figure this out, you can determine what your PPC budget should be. The number you land on isn’t the final answer though. You’ll spend time adjusting the budget and how much you spend on specific keywords as your ads account acquires more experience, aka data.

What are the disadvantages of PPC?

If you’re a small business owner, there’s no doubt that you wear multiple hats and there’s no shortage of struggling to find time to work “on your business” instead of “in your business.” If this is you, you’re already at a disadvantage if you want to tackle PPC yourself.

Creating and managing profit-making campaigns is time consuming. With PPC campaigns you cannot have the mindset of “set it and forget it.” Time must be spent monitoring and optimizing your account, copy testing, refining your bidding strategy, working toward better quality scores, and improving the efficiency of your campaigns. It’s crucial that you commit to spending the time necessary if you want good results.

You also need the right skill set. Let me say this, I believe anyone can learn anything at any time, and it’s important that we are constantly learning and growing. My wife and I tell our kiddos all the time, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” It’s a mantra we live and work by. Even the team we work with here at Fortibus is constantly learning and growing. It’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to excel in life. Ok, there,I’m stepping off my soapbox.

growth must be intentional

That said, learning how to set up, run, and make your campaigns successful is no small task. Sure, Google has recommendations, but unless you learn how to work in tandem with the machine to make your ads produce, you’ll only get so far. I’ve talked with so many people who find themselves frustrated and stop running ads because they feel like they’re wasting money. They miss out on using a powerful tool that can help them grow their business because they don’t know what to do.

I’m reading a book right now by Dan Sullivan called Who Not How. He talks about asking yourself the question “Who can do this for me?” (Do you see it in the title?) If you’re strapped for time and either don’t know how to build and run ads, or you don’t have the time and money to learn, ask yourself that question, "Who can do this for me?" The answer is simple. Find a good PPC consultant, or a good marketing team, that can produce the results you’re looking for so you can focus on what you’re good at and the other aspects of your business that require your attention.

What is a PPC Consultant?

A good PPC consultant can help you with all of your PPC accounts. They are trained and have the experience and expertise needed to help you avoid making critical mistakes that can cost you time and money. You need someone with specialized knowledge who can help you with strategy, target the right keywords, monitor your campaign’s performance, keep your ads updated, and drive you results.

Do I need a PPC Consultant?

Yes. Yes, you do. This can be a strategic partnership that can unlock new sales and profit and help you take your company to the next level. Working with a PPC consultant can help you stay on track to reach your goals instead of blindly throwing money at ads with no purpose. If you’re not careful, your ads will eat up your marketing budget and leave you nowhere near your end goals.

don't blindly throw away money on your ads

Partnering with a PPC consultant takes the responsibility for account setup, campaign strategy, monitoring results, and monthly reporting off your plate. If you’re going to hire someone or an agency to build and manage your PPC accounts, you don’t need to know the details of how to do everything, but you should know enough to hold someone accountable. This is true in any endeavor. If you’re one of those people that struggle to let go and delegate, stop it. You don’t need to control everything. That’s why you always hire someone better than you. I’ll stop here and leave that soap box alone.

Let someone else handle the ongoing management. They will work through all the details of landing page optimization, work toward a lower CPC (Cost-Per-Click), and determine keyword selection, the use of negative keywords, defining the target audience, setting up conversion tracking, and all the other details that help create effective paid campaigns.

Hiring the right PPC consultant makes all the difference, so make sure you ask questions. Be very clear and upfront about your expectations. And if you believe they can help you get the results you want, hire them.

How much should I pay for PPC management?

Keep in mind, when you hire a PPC specialist, you’re not just paying for hands. You’re paying for time, knowledge, and experience. Just like the budget question, there is no straight answer here. Most of the time, PPC companies will charge in one of two ways, a percentage of monthly ad spend or a flat rate. On occasion, you’ll find someone who will create a sophisticated pay for performance option with goals and bonuses built in when milestones or revenue levels are achieved.

engaged business and client relationship

Each of these has pros and cons. As an example, let’s suppose your marketing agency charges 20% of your monthly ad spend as their fee. If your budget is $10K/mo, the marketing company will keep $2K/mo and spend $8K/mo as your PPC advertising budget. This can be a great option if you’re working with a very small budget, say $1,000/mo. Of course, if you’re working with a 6 figure monthly budget, you may grit your teeth at 20%.

On the other hand, some specialists and companies charge a flat rate. Most of the time, this rate changes with your monthly advertising budget. Using the same example of $10K/mo, you may be charged $1,200/mo, while the remaining $8,800 is used as your ad budget. This can be less than ideal if you have a small budget, say $1,500/mo. You may find some companies will charge you a smaller fee if you have a smaller budget, but not always.

Ultimately, it comes down to the right person or company. If you take the time and are intentional about finding the right person or team to work with and they can produce results for you, you’ll win. Once you begin to see an ROI (return on investment) of $5 for every $1 you put in, it’s no longer about the “cost” of the ads. If you’re putting in $20K/mo and seeing a return of $100K/mo in revenue, you’re now asking yourself, “How much money can I put in?” Meanwhile, your PPC specialist should be asking themselves, “How can I get that to 6 to 1?”

PPC can be daunting and challenging if you’re trying to do this on your own. The good news is you don’t have to. We help companies like yours every day add new tools and help them generate new and higher levels of profit. If you need a team to partner with that has a track record of getting results and can help you reach your business objectives, let’s start a conversation.

Editor's note: This article has been updated for statistical accuracy. March 2023.

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