For business owners weighing up the plunge into PPC this has got to be the question. After all, there are countless articles out there to guide you through the process (we publish enough of them ourselves) and AdWords even offers you phone support – so what more could you possibly need?
Well that’s precisely what we’re looking at today: everything you need to make a success of PPC without calling in the pros. If you can tick all of these off the list then you may well be able to make a go of solo PPC.
Basic know-how (at least)
Before you dive into AdWords or the much larger realm of PPC you’ll need at least some basic knowledge. Your money is on the line from day one so you don’t want to start the learning curve from nothing. More importantly, poor performance stays with your AdWords account, making it more expensive and difficult to achieve results in the future, so study up before you get into the nitty-gritty.
What are the basics? Well, you really want to know your way around the following:
- PPC terminology
- Campaign settings (all of them)
- Keywords (including long-tail and negatives)
- Account Score and Quality Score
- Bidding strategies
- Landing pages
- The latest features
That may look like a lot, but we haven’t even mentioned segmentation, targeting, remarketing or a whole bunch of other essentials you’ll need to learn. Don’t let this put you off (seriously, this is only the beginning), but be prepared to invest the time it takes to get enough of the basics under your belt so you can feel comfortable putting your money on the line.
Time (and lots of it)
You may have figured this one out from the first point we covered, but time is the biggest commodity you’ll need for DIY PPC. Even for paid search pros this is a time consuming art and you’ll have to dedicate many more hours as a newcomer to the trade – probably a lot more than you’re thinking too.
Even for PPC pros this is a time consuming art and you’ll have to dedicate many more hours as a newcomer
When business owners come to us after delving into PPC themselves it’s normally down to one of two reasons: their budget has vanished in front of their eyes or they simply can’t find the time to do it – quite often both, but more commonly the second.
So what makes DIY AdWords so time consuming?
- Learning the basics
- Then learning beyond the basics
- New AdWords features
- Setting up and maintaining multiple campaigns
- Constant research (audience, keywords, competitors, etc.)
- Analytics, measuring performance
- Testing improvements
- Adjusting campaign settings
We could keep reeling off the list of reasons PPC is time consuming (but it would take too long!) so be sure you can dedicate the time it takes to make PPC profitable on your own.
Budget to waste
This one might sound crazy, but if you’re taking the DIY route with PPC you need to be prepared to lose some money in the early days. Of course, the aim is to make it all back and plenty more, once you become a pay-per-click master, but you’ll need some extra capitol to get you through the initial learning curve.
The aim is to make it all back and plenty more, once you become a pay-per-click master, but you’ll need some extra capitol to get you through the initial learning curve
This is why it’s so important you learn as much as possible before you put any money on the line, as this will cut your losses. Sadly, there’s only so much you can learn from theory though, and you’ll need to hone your skills by getting your hands dirty sooner or later. Once again, the more time you can dedicate to improving your performance early on, the sooner you’ll get to experience the joys of PPC profits.
The patience of a PPC advertiser
Saints have got nothing on PPC advertisers when it comes to patience – or faith for that matter. Years of experience allow you to be bold and confident enough to get results without your heart skipping beats – even if they aren’t instant. Sadly, you won’t have this advantage to begin with and you’ll probably need to supplement this with even more patience.
Experience allows you to be bold and confident, even if they aren’t instant. You’ll need to supplement this with even more patience
It’s important you realise things won’t work out right away, that you will make mistakes (probably a lot of them) and lose some money along the way. More to the point, you need to understand and be okay with it, because you can’t expect to make things happen over night.
Making the call between agencies and going solo
Our aim today isn’t to put anyone off taking the solo approach to PPC – we’re not going to tell you paid advertising is too difficult, that AdWords is too complicated or that you can’t make it without an expert on board.
It’s not a question of can or can’t; of course you can make PPC work yourself if you have the time, patience and dedication to pull it off. The real question is whether it’s worth doing it yourself or not. If you have a dedicated marketing team in your workforce then it makes sense to have them master the art of paid advertising – either by learning the ropes from an agency or going solo from day one.
It’s not a question of whether you can or can’t… the real question is whether it’s worth doing it yourself
For most business owners this isn’t the case and time is short enough as it is. In this situation it makes little sense to venture into paid advertising on your own, because you simply don’t have the time to make it pay off. The good news is the cost of hiring an agency isn’t really a factor, because PPC pays for itself, and more, once you get it right.
So don’t let the cost of hiring an agency put you off, any more than the prospect of learning PPC for yourself. Simply ask yourself what’s more valuable, having paid advertising expertise yourself, or making PPC profitable from the get-go.