There’s something on mind that’s been pissing me off about a meeting I had a while ago with a PPC management firm.

I had been hired by a national law group spending about $50k a month in PPC. Why wasn’t I handling their campaigns? That’s what I asked.

Actually, we did finally get together. But they had signed a monster two year contract with a Boston-based PPC management firm that wouldn’t let them out of it.

Before I get into what I discovered about their techniques, let me give you a nickel’s worth of free advice: DO NOT be suckered into signing any long-term contract with a PPC management firm.

PPC management firmNow I know what you’re thinking. Their offer ads discounts commissions on adspend as well perhaps even additional price reductions on stuff like graphic design and video production.

Having held the position of Senior Account Executive for a national advertising agency for nearly a decade, I can assure you all media packages suck. Especially ones offered by PPC management firm sales reps.

Here’s the top three reasons why…

PPC Management Firm Commission Chaos

You’ve probably seen this one often: monthly minimum fees.

When I handled more than fifty clients in my former agency gig, I was bombarded every single day by reps offering long-term deals with minimums added in. If you’re not spending $50k, your account gets less attention based on the commissions (or lack thereof) your PPC management firm earns from you.

It’s a crappy way to do business.

I’ve managed accounts ranging between $2000 to $150k a month. There’s no difference between what you’re spending provided there’s a proven format including…

  1. Bona fide keyword research
  2. A/B testing
  3. Video landing pages (view what my PPC management firm does with video)

If you’re on a tight budget, think more about targeting peak periods of the month instead of stretching your budget across a longer period.

PPC Management Firm Contract Lock Down

DO NOT sign a multi-year agreement.

They’re designed to trap you into working with a PPC management firm who may not even be qualified to manage your stuff.

Locking in a commission discount may appear like a good deal. But this a metric-oriented business. If your conversions begin to tank, guess what? You’re still stuck working with the dopes who have your feet legally tied to their antics.

Should you ever go for the gusto? Yes and no. If you’re offered six month commission discount that turns heads, counter offer for a three month commitment. If they’re that good and willing to give you a deal, there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t keep giving them the business.

Contracts are more about scooping up consistent commissions. At least that’s the way I see them. I’m not very big into cuffing clients to deals that increase their blood pressure. Instead, I look for good clients who want to partner together. We both make money and that’s always a recipe for success.

redtapeDopey Account Managers & Gatekeepers

Don’t you just hating sifting through the madness of trying to reach someone accountable?

So many firms have layers of gatekeepers. Are all of them conspiring to forward your call into voicemail? No. However, there’s a lack of genuine communication some companies hide behind. In my own business, my clients have my cell. They know if I’m away from my desk (email, chat, yadda), they can call or text me if there’s disaster looming in their campaigns.

Do I offer 24/7 support? No. But if something comes up, while I’m kicking back watching the Red Sox, you can be damn sure I’m here to handle it.

I once interviewed a small agency to handle an account that was not working well for me. It happens sometimes. So I had agreed to help find another PPC management firm in the transition. After a few voicemails, nothing. When I did finally speak with someone with a brain, they told me the sales rep I had emailed needed to speak with the assigned PPC manager. What the hell does that even mean?

To me it means you’re dealing with a PPC management firm that has a plethora of infrastructure. Almost always it comes with lots of clients in front of you.

Some shops can handle 245 clients well and do it with class. Although when you’re burning through your daily adspend, it can be frazzling watching the phone waiting for a call back (if they haven’t ditched out early for a long weekend).

These three mistakes are easily avoidable. It’s your money right? There are many good PPC management firm options out there but ones that have your best interests in mind aren’t always easy to find.