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Red Flag

Pay Per Click Red Flags

I’m just payin’ some bills with these ads

One of the sure fire ways to get on the first page of Google is to pay for it.  Google AdWords (or Pay Per Click) program can have some very good results, and it can be a money pit.  Learning to navigate the waters of Google AdWords is something most small business owners don’t have the time for, or just don’t have an interest in.  Many of these small businesses are left with no choice but to trust someone to run their AdWords campaigns for them.  While there are many good AdWords companies out there, there are also many more bad ones.

How do you distinguish the good from the bad?  It’s tough, but these red flags should help.  If someone approaches you, and 2 or more of these red flags pop up – DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM!  It will cost you a lot of money, and you will NOT get a return on your investment.

  1. Markup
    • Companies are required to share Actual AdWords Click Cost – but most of them only show you a report with the Price they charged you for the click.
    • Ask the representative point blank “what is your companies markup for managing my AdWords Campain?”  If they won’t tell you, run!
  2. Lack of Access
    • Ask if you will be given access to your Adwords Account – and all the information it contains.  The fact is, any AdWords account manager can authorize any email address to have “read only” access to the Adwords account.  If a company will not provide you with this access, you should not do business with them.
    • One of the tactics companies will use to divert your attention away from this point is to tell you that they provide “custom reports.”  They might say that you will get “proprietary reports”.  What these reports (or report access) really are is a summary of some of the information that is available to you.   In their version of your reports, you will never see things like Bounce Rate, Time on Sight, New vs Returning visitor and many other valuable bits of information.
  3. Lack of information
    • Restricting your access to available analytics information is a BIG RED FLAG.  Ask yourself, why would a company not want you to see all available information?
  4. Promising you top postion
    • The top position is not always the one that provides the best return on investment.  Their are a lot of things that go into determining who get’s that number 1 position in the ad’s section of Google.  One of which is your bid.  If a company promises you the #1 position, they are just bidding super high to buy it.  The problem with this is that your R.O.I. from this high bid will most likely be negative.  If someone promises you the number one position – kick them out of your office.
  5. Letting you sign up with too small of a budget
    • First – the budget recommendation that these companies give you INCLUDES THEIR MARKUP on the clicks.
    • Second – Let’s say they tell you that to “Dominate” your type of business, you need to spend $2,000 per month, to “Compete” you need to spend $1,500 per month and to just “Show up” you need to spend $1,000 per month.  You say “I only have $600 per month.” – if they are willing to take your money anyways – run.  You will just be flushing $600 per month down the toilet.  For more info on why this is, see my post “Why a small AdWords budget is a waste
  6. Long Contracts
    • I hate contracts with a service like AdWords.  Sure, in order to dial in an AdWords account, it takes a few months worth of data – but if you are in a popular category (plumbers, electricians, hardwood flooring etc) a good AdWords Account Manager should already have an idea on what types of ads work, how much they cost, where to put them etc.  They can also do a lot of research on the industry before launching your campaign.
    • My motto is “people don’t mind giving me money, if I’m making them money”  Good campaigns should make you money, but if something were to come up for you and you needed to pause your campaign, why would I not let you?
    • Pausing an AdWords Campaign (and re-starting it) is as simple as clicking a button.  Why would a company not let you pause and resume it at your discretion.  After all, IT’S YOUR ACCOUNT!   The only reason I can think of is because THEIR REVENUE IS TIED TO YOUR SPEND, hence the contract.

In the beginning of this post I stated that if 2 or more of these red flags pop up – Do NOT do business with them.  After reviewing this list – I would say that if ANY of these AdWords Red Flags pop up – do not do business with them.  Shop around – you will find someone that will not have any of these red flags.

I hope you found this information helpful.  Feel free to let me know in the comments below if I left any “Red Flags” off the list.

Shameless plug: 

I charge a flat 20% markup, give you full access to your account, and do not have minimum term contracts.

100% transparency – 100% of the time.

P.S. - (if you think I wrote this JUST to get business - check out my "Bashing the Competition" page, then decide)