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Local PPC (pay pr click) campaigns - Rip off or great ROI?

Category: Search Engine Optimization & Pay Per Click Published on Feb 21

It always seems like small business owners are late to catch on to certain types of marketing and PPC or Pay pr click is no exception to that. Granted many small business owner have been using 3rd party services to manage their PPC, but never fully understood its full potential. So is local PPC a rip off or is the greatest thing for small business owners that want to market since the direct mail piece?


Lately I have been talking to more and more small business owners that have heard of PPC campaigns and the reviews are mixed. I hear anything from “people just get ripped off” to “it had become a cornerstone in our marketing”. Now being the curious cat I always have been I started thinking about why the reviews were so mixed. To no surprise, it was pretty obvious when I started doing some digging into small businesses and how they have gone about setting up PPC campaigns.  

Here is the short version of what I found out from talking to some business owners. The people that were the unhappy with their PPC were normally business owners that had been paying a 3rd party to run their campaigns. Meaning that they had hired a company to setup their keywords and they then got a bill from that company instead of getting the bill directly from where the ads are being posted. The most common responses were that the prices pr click were way to high, and they were getting all kinds of call from people in other states. Unfortunately what is probably happening here is that the 3rd party is adding on a fee to every click. So every click that you would normally pay $1 for you are now paying $2 for because you have to pay the middle man his cut.  

Another common reason for overpaying seemed to be that the business owner tried setting up the campaign themselves without doing any research or having an understanding of how it works. For the most part this led to paying for many keywords that they did not see any business from, or their keywords were too broad to be fully effective. Pair that with only running a single ad with their keywords and the results were, well to be honest, horrible!

What about the happy campers? That was a little more fun to research, because when people have something good to say it usually means they did something right. To me it is always more enjoyable to hear those stories than it is to hear the horror stories like many other business owners had told me. So what were these happy PPC campaigners doing that the other ones did not?

It was simple, in fact it was so simple that is was almost a given. 9 out of every 10 small business owners that I talked to that were happy, had paid a company to setup their PPC account. They did this based on a flat fee and then hand over the account to them so the business owner could login to their account at any given time to see what was going on instead of relying on information from a 3rd party. The other 10% of people that setup their own campaign had done their homework before setting it up. In many cases these people bought books or programs that explain how PPC works and how to setup it up properly.  

Now one thing that did surprise me when looking into all of this, were the numbers and the amounts of money that changed hands. The unhappy people were spending on average 70% more for their entire campaign and setup than the people that hired a company or did their homework before setting it up. This included paying up to $1,400 for someone to setup their campaign over trying to do it themselves, or spending as little as $50 on the educational material. In essence, the people who did their homework or hired someone that knows how to setup an effective PPC campaign, were able to get more advertising for their money and see a higher ROI than the unhappy ones. No wonder the reviews were mixed, but once again it came down to the human element and lack of understanding of the tool available. I believe that most people would not try to put a nail in a wall using a screwdriver and then complain the tool didn´t work right. Yet for some reason, when it came to PPC campaigns that was exactly the case, were they blamed the tool when it was being used the wrong way. There is no doubt about it, when a PPC campaign is setup correctly and things are done right, it can become the cornerstone of your marketing, and to top it off, then it can be the most cost efficient one small business owners will ever do.