If you’ve already got, or are thinking about signing up, more than a thousand SMB customers onto a paid search product, you will have considered using a platform rather than dealing manually with the search engines’ advertising systems.

PPC advertising is one of the easiest products for digital salespeople to sell – it is universally applicable to SMBs and is a product they need all year round. The brand dominance of Google means that it is hard to find a customer who doesn’t want to feature on AdWords. However, it is also one of the lowest margin products on the market, with a high media spend which must be reported transparently to the customer.

Maximising the efficiency of the product is absolutely critical. A low cost onboarding, effective automation of day to day bidding and budget management, and managing amendments by exception all ensure that selling PPC to businesses with lower budgets can still be profitable and deliver returns for the customers. Choosing the right platform makes all the difference.

Customer Objectives

At first glance, paid search products may all seem to be the same, but the outcomes that you promise to your customers as a result of taking part in paid search may well be different from your competitors.

Thinking about your customer base, are they looking for:

  • Clicks
  • Calls
  • Leads of other sorts – form fills, sign-ups
  • E-commerce transactions?

Have you made commitments to your customers about where their traffic will come from? There can be advantages to sticking within the Google ecosystem, particularly for those organisations rewarded by Google in line with their partner program. If so, you may work with Google exclusively, or have a fixed spend amount per month with Google.

To deliver the best ROI for customers, it is generally better to use all available traffic sources, and optimise the budget automatically on a customer by customer basis, depending on the returns they are getting from each platform. With the success of Windows 10, and the Microsoft Surface devices, Bing has had a resurgence in market share in Northern Europe, and this traffic converts well for SMBs.

For businesses which own and operate popular sites on the internet, paid search can be a very effective way of supplementing this traffic. Using a platform which can integrate your own traffic sources means that, at an individual customer level, delivery promises can be met, customer churn can be reduced, and product margins can be optimised.

Features and Functionality

This always seems to be where every paid search platform RFP starts, but is it really the most important element?

Take a look at your customer base and the PPC features they currently utilise on a regular basis. You will find that 95% of the customers are using only the most basic features of the system, and are still getting the results they need.

The features which are most critical are those which support the sales story for your customers. If you have a big e-commerce customer base, then Google Shopping is a must. If you are focused on lead delivery, then the flexibility to refine your approach to your audience, such as day parting and retargeting will be ideal.

The very latest bells and whistles available in Google AdWords will always be appealing, but using a platform that allows you to sync in real time with AdWords, means that you will always be able to satisfy the needs of those few customers who need or want those features by going into AdWords directly and applying them there.

Ease of Deployment

This is usually the final consideration in platform selection, but is arguably the most important. Migration of PPC customers from one platform to another is a very challenging task, normally due to time and system constraints from internal IT departments.

Deployment of a paid search product isn’t just a technology question. This is illustrated in the stages of the PPC Product:

  1. Sale – Look for a platform which gets involved during the sale, by providing a sales tool which supports your salespeople to give accurate estimates.
  2. Onboarding – This doesn’t have to be a separate step if the sales tool works well and is integrated simply with your order systems. Look for order integration experts at the platform company.
  3. Reporting – An intuitive reporting platform can remove the need for time-consuming monthly customer calls and visits.
  4. Optimisation – Make sure you can see at a glance whether each campaign is meeting its stated objectives, and take action. Look for a platform which uses automation and AI in this area, to reap efficiency benefits.

Think carefully about who will perform each of these stages of the process. Remember that this is what will make or break the profitability of this product. What are the strengths of your business — they might be delivering the end to end product and operation, but if your focus is on excellence in sales, then think about selecting a platform which provides and expert operational team as well as the technology.

Making the Right Platform Choice

Whether you are looking at selling PPC for the first time or migrating your paid search customers to a platform which can provide you with better results, the team at Spotzer can assist.

With offices in Amsterdam, Melbourne, Manila and Denver, we are here to discuss and resolve your business’ paid search needs.