If you’re a business owner or head of your company’s marketing department, you’ve probably been approached at some point by someone aggressively trying to sell you their digital marketing services. They typically call you out of the blue, offer huge promises, and don’t take “no” for an answer.
Listening to just one of these sales pitches could be enough to turn you off Google AdWords and other digital advertising for good. But the thing is, you need to be advertising online. We’re living in a pay-to-play world, and refusing to advertise on Google, Facebook, and other platforms is essentially the same as refusing to reach your potential customers.
With so many companies and individuals out there offering PPC services, how are you supposed to pick a good one?
The bad news here is that there are a lot of shady companies that are trying to take your money without really caring about your return. The good news is that there are plenty of reputable companies who use ethical business practices and sincerely want to help you grow. As a starting point, you can find an agency that meets the rigid requirements for the Google Premier Partner program.
To help you avoid the bad boys of digital advertising, here are a four myths, warning signs, and outright lies spread by advertising companies:
1. Google Gives Us Special Discounts
Some companies claim that Google gives them special bulk discounts because they spend so much on AdWords. This means cheaper clicks for you, which should ultimately equate to more leads and a lower CPA.
This is just an outright lie. Regardless of whether a company is a Google Partner, a Premier Partner, or just someone doing PPC in their basement, everyone is paying the same rates. Google doesn’t give anyone discounts for ads.
It’s worth mentioning here that a good PPC company can drive down your cost per click, but they’ll do it by optimizing your ads and your landing pages. That’s certainly a way of saving you money. But they won’t do it by getting some mysterious and exclusive discount from Google.
2. We Guarantee You the Top Spot
This is one of the most pervasive lies in the digital marketing world. It’s true for both SEO and PPC. So many agencies guarantee that they can get you to the top. While they might have the skills to achieve a top ranking, they can’t ever guarantee it because they aren’t in control of the algorithms or another company’s budget or content.
It’s true that AdWords is the best way to earn the top spot in Google, but it’s not a guarantee. It takes a lot of hard work, the right strategy, and the right budget. If your competitor is going to routinely throw three times as much money at AdWords as you, then no agency can guarantee you’ll beat them 100% of the time. Guarantees in PPC are meaningless. Any eligible ad can win on any given search query (with the right Max CPC and Quality Score, of course).
3. We Work for Google
No agency or individual selling you advertising services actually works for Google. All Google Partners, Premier Partners, and other advertisers are third parties. None of them get paychecks from Google (unless they are using AdSense, but that’s a completely different animal). None of them get special kickbacks (other than occasional prizes like a Google Partner fridge or a cool hipster bike).
If they don’t have an @google.com email address, they aren’t from Google. If their website isn’t google.com, they aren’t from Google. If they’re calling you trying to sell you unsolicited AdWords services, they aren’t from Google. Don’t trust anyone who includes “we work for Google” in their sales pitch.
4. We Don’t Have Any Management Fees
Whoever came up with this one must think businesses are really naive. The claim here is that they don’t charge you anything for running your AdWords campaign. They set up the campaigns, they pay Google directly, they give you a very limited report, and then you pay them back. These are also often the same companies that claim they get special discounts from Google, which allows them to run your campaign without charging a management fee. They make some vague statement about rolling it all together and expect you not to ask questions.
As a business owner, you should realize none of this makes sense. They are a business, just like you. They need to make money. They can’t make money by not charging you money for their services. Therefore, they must be making money or they wouldn’t be in business. So how do they do it? It’s simple. They lie. They inflate the numbers. They bill you $10,000 at the end of the month for Google AdWords spend, but you actually only spent $6,000 on ads. They pocketed the rest. But don’t worry, that wasn’t a management fee or anything like that.
We’ve seen a lot of clients get burned by this. These companies leave their clients in the dark about the entire campaign. They ultimately spend a lot more and get a lot less when they go with these companies that “don’t charge fees.”
According to Google’s guidelines, third-party advertisers are required to share the cost and performance of advertising campaigns. If the agency you are working with is paying for AdWords and then billing you later, make sure you see actual receipts from Google so you know how much you are paying. We highly recommend an arrangement where you pay Google directly for ad spend and pay your agency separately for management fees. This is the only guaranteed way to know where your dollars are going.
Don’t fall victim to the many lies, half-truths, and myths that digital advertising companies use in their sales pitches. Make sure you do your research. It’s best to trust a Google Premier Partner with all your advertising needs. But even Google Premier Partners have been known to do some of the above, so you can’t rely on the badge alone.