How to build a competitive advantage for your agency with PPC marketing

It’s fair to say the pay-per-click (PPC) marketing space is saturated. Clients looking for paid ad support have a vast number of agencies to choose from.

In fact, googling ‘PPC marketing agencies UK’ serves up 5.8 million results. Granted, not all of those results will be agency websites. But it shows just how much content and competition exists online in this space.

It’s clear that in order to stand out and dominate in such a crowded market, you need to offer prospective clients something unique.

How your agency can stand out with PPC marketing

Think about it. The one thing any client wants to see from their marketing agency is a return on their investment. At the outset, they place a significant amount of trust (and budget) in you to deliver a greater pipeline of leads and sales.

With that in mind, every agency should ask themselves these two questions:

  1. Are we capturing every lead and sale in our reports?
  2. Are we demonstrating that true value to our clients?

To prove the ROI they provide to clients, most agencies will focus on the elements that are easy to track – for example, online conversions and click-throughs.

Crucially, though, this approach misses leads and sales that have come from offline channels, such as the phone or direct mail campaigns.

It means clients only get half the picture when it comes to their investment in you. And it means you won’t be getting fair credit for your hard work.

More worryingly, though, your clients may start to look elsewhere if they don’t see the results they’d hoped for.

Proving the value of every PPC campaign

To demonstrate the true value of every campaign, marketing agencies need data on the entire customer journey. By tracking calls from your PPC activity as well as clicks, you can see the full picture of your PPC campaign responses. In fact, you can get granular detail on all touch-points and experiences, from start to finish – capturing every interaction and the links in between.

This kind of data is essential to PPC marketing. You get rich customer journey insights that far out-strip whatever your competitor agencies can provide. Plus, you can push all this multi-channel data into your clients’ CRM, bid management, and data analytics dashboards to make reporting easy.

Suddenly, you can differentiate your PPC services in a meaningful multichannel way that underlines your value. But more importantly: you can fine-tune PPC campaigns like no-one else.

Focus on the metrics and channels that matter

Over-reliance on click-through results creates a blind-spot. Letting the machines do the counting saves you money – but you could be missing important nuances around human interaction.

While some products and services sell online in a direct way, others do not. If what’s being offered is expensive, complex, or personal, then the prospect is much more likely to call and convert over the phone. They may click on your ad, go to your client’s website, complete a contact form; then ask a few questions via a live chat session two days later, before finally calling up.

If you’re representing a service business, your goal is to get people to call you on the phone (so that you can explain details of the service). Like your web form fills, you need to determine if these calls came from your PPC campaign. Most sales teams would agree that tapping into leads over the phone brings about the highest source of conversion.

Agencies that choose not to track calls can be missing up to 80% of inbound leads related to their PPC activities.

In our experience, agencies that choose not to track calls can be missing up to 80% of inbound leads related to their PPC activities. Your clients’ inbound sales team may like to think they did all the work, but your original PPC campaign did a heroic amount of heavy-lifting. And you deserve the credit for triggering the call to them in the first place.

So, how do you ensure your PPC services are setting you apart from the competition and bringing you the credit you deserve?

The answer is in your analysis and reporting. You need to wow your clients with a true picture of campaign performance. And you need to show them that the results you deliver are critical to their marketing success.

Making PPC keywords work harder for you

With full visibility enabled, another level of detail opens up to you as you start to pore over fresh data that attributes the value of specific keywords.

You can start to see keywords that deliver clicks but nothing more, because the trail goes dead. Then you can spot keywords that ultimately result in sales. All guesswork is removed.

From this, you can shift your spend from one to the other and make smarter bid decisions. In some instances, the change can have dramatic results – with conversions increasing by up to 80%. You can get far more from your client’s budget and start to pull away from competitors in your field.

How other agencies do it

It’s clear that for a strong competitive advantage, you need to go much, much deeper with your campaign data.

Marketing agency Bamboo Nine did this by tapping into data from call tracking software, ultimately helping to improve their client retention rate – by as much as 98%.

For the team at Bamboo Nine, measuring online conversions from their campaigns was easy. What they wanted to do better was measure and attribute their offline conversions as well.

“Ultimately, we wanted to better implement our online and offline data and use it intelligently to make sure our campaigns yield the best results for clients,” says Chris Rivera, Bamboo Nine’s campaign director.

Knowing which keywords are driving visits to clients’ websites, and most importantly, which keywords are driving calls and enquiries was key for this.

In Bamboo Nine’s case, the solution involved linking up Mediahawk – using its call tracking API – with the agency’s bid management platform. This allowed keyword data from phone calls to be streamed in for reporting and analysis.

The result? Bamboo Nine is now able to focus campaigns and PPC spend on the best-performing keywords, ensuring that their clients’ advertising budgets are used most effectively.

Read the full Bamboo Nine case study >

It’s a similar story for paid search and SEO agency, Receptional. They recognised that clients’ phone calls were causing a blind spot in their campaign reporting.

In fact, they’d known for a while they weren’t getting the complete picture of sales associated with their marketing efforts.

“Now, using call tracking, we’re able to see which marketing methods are generating calls, then we prioritise our spending accordingly,” says Justin Deaville, Managing Director at Receptional. “For one client, we were able to generate five times as many calls – without increasing ad spend. You can imagine how happy the client was.”

“Now, using call tracking, we’re able to see which marketing methods are generating calls, then we prioritise our spending accordingly,” says Justin Deaville, Managing Director at Receptional. “For one client, we were able to generate five times as many calls – without increasing ad spend. You can imagine how happy the client was.”

Read the full Receptional case study >

Maximising paid media performance – your next step

With the right approach, you can get a holistic value of your ad clicks, campaigns, ad groups and keywords – and then maximise the ROI for your clients. In a nutshell, using PPC call tracking will help you make this a whole lot easier:

  • Tracking sources – get the source of the call and trace where the customer found them.
  • Split testing – assign different numbers for different places on each split test landing page and see which drives more conversion.
  • Call data – campaign planning e.g. number of calls, peak time you receive most calls, length of calls etc.
  • Keyword data – tells you which keywords triggered your PPC ad so you can adjust your bidding and go after keywords that give you conversions.
  • Overall campaign performance – Since you have data on how your conversions are happening, you can always improve your marketing campaign ROI.

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About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

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