What Makes A Great PPC Agency

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with another great question set titled “What Makes A Great Pay-Per-Click Agency.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you ensure that your agency and employees are keeping up to the date on the latest features and trends?

  • Follow #ppcchat. – Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
  • “Share what you know” is a key mantra that we take seriously! (almost as much as our email management). – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • An hour of study/day & one blog post per week minimum. – Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
  • Passion got them hired in the first place. And if I don’t get excited at least once a week running from office to office going “did you see that” It’s a down week. – Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
  • Weekly lunch & learns and 30 minutes a day reading blogs and participating in twitter chats and sharing with the team! – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • Have someone own training. Plan it, schedule it, follow up on it. It’s too easy to fall back on your exisiting knowledge. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Share, share & share some more. The amount of discussion we have around new features and product lines is awesome. – Steve George (@Sjorge3442)
  • We hold weekly meetings centered around new features, trends and strategies. Also block off 30min/day to catch up on articles. – Davis Baker (@davisbaker)
  • Regular ridicule. And a “sharing is caring” policy. I send out links to decks of my top picks after a conference also. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • Following all the big names in PPC on Twitter and of course, joining PPCChat! – Evan Cummins (@cummins_evan)
  • We have weekly meetings where we can go over new features and discuss/collaborate and train on them. – Garrett McGregor (@mcgregor212)
  • Teaching often sharpens the skills, so at Fidelitas, we encourage everyone to contribute to the blog. Huge/multiple benefits. – David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
  • Regular reading, monthly PPC team discussion & monthly agency discussion on how web, PPC, SEO & social affect each other. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Blogging everyday helps your employees keep up to date and research features. – Matt Umbro
  • Weekly team strategy huddles are conveniently timed directly before weekly happy hour. Participation skyrockets. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • We also have weekly PPC team meetings, and bi-weekly company meetings to cover more broader digital topics, not just PPC. – Francis Shovlin
  • Constant blog reading, Twitter chats, open conversations with coworkers, conferences or workshops, so much more. – Joe Martinez
  • Making sure individuals are working on different things, so when we all get together during happy hour we can share learnings. – Orlando Valencia (@OValencia_3)
  • Twitter is extremely helpful, as I follow PPC peeps and leaders, I get a lot of insights and info there. – Garrett McGregor
  • Hopefully people work in a place where education is encouraged. Unfortunately there are many agencies out there that don’t. – Joe Martinez
  • We have a great company culture that encourages taking the time to learn as well as taking care of our clients. – Sarah Holder (@SarahAHolder)
  • Regularly updating via blogs, webinars, but also help each other out! Send around articles, test results, etc u find most useful. – Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
  • With teammates that are newer to PPC it helps to let them explore and learn instead of jumping in to correct too soon. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • We have weekly, company-wide “Tuesday Talks” where a team member presents. I shared FB Audience Insights 2day. – Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)

Q2: What do you believe the ideal structure to be in an agency in terms of positions (i.e.: AMs, project managers, etc)? Why?

  • Communication structure should be flat as possible. Other structure can be hierearchical. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
    • Agreed. I personally prefer not going through an AM. Less chance for anything to get lost in translation. – Joe Martinez
      • A very useful distinction. Big mistake to talk about one when you mean the other. – Richard Fergie
  • I believe the ideal structure should be somewhat flexible. Some clients require different skill sets and amount of team members. – Gil Hong
  • No ideal structure. Play to your team’s strengths. My team has client facing roles and support staff behind the scenes. – Mark Irvine
  • AMs are client facing, and everyone else reports what’s been done and future strategies. SOMEtimes team members talk to clients. – David Prochaska
  • There needs to be structure & promotional path that aligned to the size of the agency. Titles & Promotions based on experience. – Christi Olson
  • A somewhat fluid structure is key. If less experienced team members aren’t empowered, you’re likely to miss out on innovative POVs. – Joe Levinthal (@joelevinthal)
  • Our structure depends on the size & complexity of the acct. Most analysts work directly with clients, large accounts have an AM. – Andrew Miller
  • The lens approach where associates are focused on the hands on aspects of each acct and AMs and managers have a broader scope. – Sarah Holder
  • It would depend per client, but ideally you’d want a clear structure in order to operate smoothly. – Orlando Valencia
  • I believe the struggle of too many cooks in the kitchen is real. New POVs are good as long as work is getting done efficiently. – Evan Cummins
  • Completely depends on size and scope of agency. Different agency scope demands different things. – Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
  • One point of contact for client. Gets schizophrenic otherwise. When analyzing, one project owner, but possibly many hands. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Client facing role w/support team in background. Both take development of skills & multiple POCs leaves margin for error. – Kim Thomas

Q3: What makes your agency stand out against all others? Why?

  • Despite an obnoxious answer that I could give, Tech + creativity is what we center ourselves on. – Steve Hammer
  • Owning up to your work is something seldom seen. Shows commitment to the client in taking things personal. – Gil Hong
  • Half of all the fees go directly to people doing the work. More motivated employees who are paid better = happy everyone! – Aaron Levy
  • Our spirit of collaboration is amzing. Everyone is always willing to give guidance and lend a pair of eyes. – Sarah Holder
  • Broader mkt experience & knowing where we can kick ass & when we are not the best fit & acting accordingly. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • We 90% focus on PPC so I think that’s a big advantage – not trying to sell many solutions. – Matt Umbro
  • Creative enough to find new options and strat, tech enough to measure complexity and scale. – Steve Hammer
  • I believe, the most crucial differentiator is the Client satisfaction after on boarding them. Clear reporting. – Shiva Teja (@ShivaTeja1707)
  • No interns. Only experienced PPCers. Along with a network or partners who can help in other needs. – Joe Martinez
  • Care about your client’s customers more than they do. – Francis Shovlin
  • Our analytics and focus exclusivity on PPC. Our team is small but is comprised of people with heavy quant background. – Mark Parent (@parentmark)
  • Personally, no matter what the agency says or how it differentiates itself, it all comes down to the passion of the employees. – Matt Umbro
    • While I think that’s true, it’s so easy for even crappy agencies to say. – Steve Hammer
    • Passion is great, but if it is not backed by skills & smarts, it is not worth all that much, IMO. – Julie Bacchini
      • Exactly, unfortunately clients don’t know until they’ve signed on. – Matt Umbro
  • More seriously; terrifying for agency owners that the only thing making their business unique walks out the door daily. – Richard Fergie
  • Being able to adapt and help companies grow regardless of industry is key for any PPC agency. – Evan Cummins
    • Agreed! Adaptation is a MUST for a fast-paced industry like digital marketing. – Erika Schmidt
  • We are all about putting clients first, while also making sure the team is collaborative, innovative, and having fun. – Erika Schmidt
  • Our values include “helpfulness” & “joy”. If we grow & begins to hurt culture or current clients (bandwidth), we pull back. – Kim Thomas
  • We take things personally. We consider ourselves more of an extension of our clients mktg team, than an agency partner. – Steve George
  • Having an account specific team managing the relationship is important. Combined with the analyst in front of them quarterly. – Tyler Juhola (@Tyler_Juhola)
  • I think an agency has to have at least a bit of knowledge of SEO, code and especially Social and other marketing environments. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • We also have a culture that encourages community engagement. Many of our team speak at conferences, teach at schools, etc. – Sarah Holder
  • Care about the clients success, don’t just try to drive bigger budgets to get the fee’s up. Clients success = my success. – Orlando Valencia
  • We’re a full service agency, so can integrate PPC into the larger digital marketing picture, design graphic ads ourselves, etc. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • I’m going with “Thought Leadership” and the way it translates into our work through strategies and tools. – Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)

Q4: How does your agency recruit top talent, both entry-level and experience professionals and does your agency actively recruit talent right out of college?

  • Referrals are important since they add context to standard resume and linkedin profile. Extensive interviewing helps too! – Gil Hong
  • Recruiters, though some of best talent comes from referrals – & cultivating our own talent through helping others develop skills. – Kim Thomas
  • Don’t burn bridges in this industry. I’ve hired more than a few of my past coworkers, vendors, and clients. – Mark Irvine
    • So true! Such a small industry. You never know who will end up being your boss or your client. – Kim Thomas
  • For entry level, I look for 3 things: Organized (explain how), creative (give examples) & likes working w/ numbers (stare em down). – Tyler Juhola
  • People I know are the best source. About to start teaching a continuing ed class too. – Steve Hammer
  • Maintain a great network of other PPC pros. No other industry is as helpful to each other as we are. – Julie Bacchini
  • Really, getting the top talent in your company has been becoming increasingly about who you know. Referrals are a large part. – Evan Cummins
  • Referrals. Stay close to ex-team members who parted ways mutually. Work with local colleges (teach, intern, etc.) – Francis Shovlin
  • Used to post online job ads for entry positions. When my time got eaten up by other responsibilities used agencies begrudgingly. – James Hume
  • Finding top experienced talent is HARD. The problem w/ PPC is that it’s niche and a lot of people learn babysitting than opt. – Erika Schmidt
  • Also culture fit!! This is necessary. Wasted a lot of time and money on people who don’t fit and leave after a couple months. – Tyler Juhola
  • Recommendations from fellow PPC marketers in the area always great. We’re lucky to work in a easy to network community. – Joe Martinez
  • We’ve gotten away from recruiting straight out of college. Small agency here feels like it makes it harder to take on training. – Kurt Henninger
  • Students who’ve participated in Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) have been killer entry-levels. – Francis Shovlin
  • Yes, we will get those eager to learn out of college into associate positions – get them experience, moving up through the team. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
  • Tapping into our team’s networks and creating a culture that attracts driven & happy people. – Alex Turbett (@alexonbass)
  • Love hiring college grads, great at analyzing data (excel class) & busy work that needs to be done during the training months. – Tyler Juhola
  • Yes! Actively recruit college interns to train and develop. They will feed your employee pipeline! – Christi Olson
  • We look mostly for innate traits, like passion, curiosity, desire to learn, analytical thinking, strategic, creativity & comm. – Erika Schmidt
  • College grads also are fountains of references, with friends graduating soon or looking for work. – Josh Kelson
  • Don’t be afraid to go nontraditional either. Moms looking to re-enter work or do PT can be fantastic finds. – Julie Bacchini

Q5: How important is having a great company culture/comradery to you? Why? (I’m talking also about company events like quarterly parties, happy hours, etc)

  • Who wants to work with jerks and people you don’t trust? – Francis Shovlin
  • Culture is very important. Enjoying where I work and who I work with will keep me there longer than the pay. – Josh Kelson
  • Extremely important. I see these people during the week more than my wife and kids. If we can’t get along, it won’t work. – Joe Martinez
  • Couldn’t be more important. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit culture, they’ll leave and you’ve wasted time and money. – Tyler Juhola
  • It’s very important! While $ is a great motivator, culture and camaraderie will help colleagues thrive in the long run. – Gil Hong
  • It’s more than friendship. It’s approach. There are things that can’t be taught (curiosity) that are essential culture. – Steve Hammer
  • As crazy as it sounds, people don’t want to work where they are treated poorly and aren’t valued, so pretty important. – Evan Cummins
  • Maybe it’s just me, but as I get older I’m not as concerned with company culture as I am the company being the right fit for me. And by company culture I mean being friends with people at work, going out after hours, etc. – Matt Umbro
  • One person on your team who doesn’t fit has the potential to bring you all down. – Tyler Juhola
  • One of the biggest factors. I can think of times it’s pushed me to look & times it’s pushed me to pass up bigger opportunities. – Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
  • An agency or team must be able to function as a unit. How that is achieved can vary, but the state of harmony cannot. – Julie Bacchini
  • Culture outweighs most skills. Our industry changes so fast, skills are taught/learned yearly any way. – Steve George
  • SUPER IMPORTANT! Work shouldn’t have to be a job, it can be a place to have fun & grow. A happy team makes for smooth sailing. – Erika Schmidt
  • Very! United teams also keep “lazy peers” away as they would not feel at home amongst people who love what they do. – Roxana Hassel
  • Culture is very important. If you hire / promote someone who doesn’t mesh with culture the company can go south quickly. – Christi Olson
  • Your teammates should be looking forward to team meetings. You spend way too much time with these people not to. – Tyler Juhola
  • You spend more time with team members than family & friends. Y’all need to get along to be motivated. – Francis Shovlin
  • Events are great to help bond our team, but I think the people are really what makes the difference in our culture. – Sarah Holder
  • I went from always going out together to an org that is more exp.older & not go out. Don’t see much diff in work morale. – Doug Thomas
  • Cultures can get too clubby. Saw this at a former company. If you didn’t have a liver of steel you didn’t fit in. – Steve Hammer
  • It’s a balance. Everyone likes working with good people, but if you don’t enjoy what you do/how you’re compensated, it’s a wash. – Justin Roberts (@phillyjrob)
  • Culture also means work life balance. A company that squeezes life out=no good. Ski days balanced with hard work = good. – Josh Kelson

PPCChat Sponsored by

CallRail is a call tracking platform that brings enterprise-level call analytics to businesses and agencies. CallRail makes it easy to track which marketing sources and keywords make your phone ring. We provide call tracking, recording, and analytics for PPC, SEO, web, and offline marketing campaigns. With CallRail, you can create tracking phone numbers instantly, get reports in real time, and increase your advertising ROI by learning which campaigns and keywords deliver valuable phone leads.

CallRail

Resources

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Alex Turbett (@alexonbass)
• Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
• Davis Baker (@davisbaker)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Evan Cummins (@cummins_evan)
• Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
• Garrett McGregor (@mcgregor212)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• Jason Stinnett (@JasonStinnett)
• Joe Levinthal (@joelevinthal)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Justin Roberts (@phillyjrob)
• Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
• Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Mark Parent (@parentmark)
• Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
• Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
• Orlando Valencia (@OValencia_3)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
• Sarah Holder (@SarahAHolder)
• Shiva Teja (@ShivaTeja1707)
• Steve George (@Sjorge3442)
• Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Tyler Juhola (@Tyler_Juhola)



 

What Makes a Great Streamcap? This Guy!

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sponsored By

Recent Tweets

  • A5: In general, FB is still a black box, similar to how Google and Bing were years ago - people don't fully realize impact it has ,
  • Q5: If you aren't using Facebook Ads, why not? ,
  • Time for Q5 ,
  • There are just so many targeting options and abilities to hit people you won't get on Google and Bing ,
  • A4: At this point, if you want to expand your audience, you have to be using FB ,


I am speaking at SMX East
PPCChat.co was rated one of the Best PPC Blogs by Boost CTR