You have an annual revenue growth target and...it's big
You have a budget and...it feels too small.
You likely burned a few ounces of midnight oil and woke up before the sun to get your current numbers.
To hit your new growth target you need more hours in a day or...help.
Get this decision right and you’ll be a rockstar on your team. Get it wrong and - well - the sun also rises tomorrow.
Should you go with a pay-per-click (PPC) agency or Growth Experts?
Since both will promise to make all your growth dreams come true, you should compare them in 3 different ways:
- Solution offered
- What you like to do and what you're good at
Are you only looking to grow in paid social or search ads?
If so, a PPC agency can be the way to go because they do one thing and only one thing...paid traffic. If they are good at their job you can almost guarantee you will get traffic.
The question is how much traffic and how much will it cost you (we’ll answer that down below)?
One way to find out if they’re a good PPC agency is to ask them if they know how to set up and manage Alpha and Beta campaigns. If they don’t know that, you might be dealing with a PPC agency that doesn’t know how to grow your business effectively or efficiently.
If you saw your revenue goal and thought, ”We’re going to need to grow in paid ads, email, and convert site visitors to customers at a higher rate” than a PPC agency alone isn’t going to cut it.
Growth experts can help in almost any of your primary digital growth channels.
The best part about getting a total solution is the positive feedback loop it creates from having everyone on the same page because they are all on the same team.
When they drive paid traffic, the traffic converts at a higher rate, and upsell cross-sell via email now your customer acquisition costs are going down and lifetime value is going up.
What PPC agencies will say is they are better because they’re focused on one thing.
Maybe that’s true.
It’s true the best basketball players in the world only play professional basketball.
Basketball is the only team sport I play...and let’s just say I’m not banking my retirement on the only sport I play.
Your Growth Budget
The source of all of your solutions and problems to growth.
PPC agencies are usually clear in the way they bill. They generally take between 10 - 20% of your ad spend.
For example, if you spend $40k this month in ads they will likely bill you something around $5 - $7k. This means your total costs associated with ads is going to be $45k - $47k.
During slower months it means you’ll be spending less money, and during busier months you’ll be spending more.
There are 3 disadvantages to taking a percentage of your ad spend:
- Just because they are spending more money doesn’t mean your business is getting more value - in other words, it’s in their interest to spend your money on ads regardless of how they perform.
- Your budget is less predictable - your January spend might be 25% of your December spend
- If one of your campaigns is a homerun your ad costs are going over the fence too
What’s the alternative to paying a percentage of your ad spend?
A flat month-to-month fee.
If you're the type of marketer who wants to know in advance how much everything is going to cost this is the better option. A busy month is going to cost you the same as a normal month.
Find the perfect ad campaign and decide to spend more...same monthly cost.
Find the perfect landing page...same monthly cost.
Find the perfect email...same monthly cost.
Agencies who bill on a percentage of spend are going to say the problem with flat-rate billing is you pay the same even during a slow month.
This means you can focus on trying new ideas with your Owned traffic like website tests and email.
What are you good at and what do you like?
This is likely the most important piece of the puzzle.
Do you like managing multiple projects with multiple vendors or do you like the feeling of having a one-stop-shop that has everything spelled out for you?
The way to think about this is span vs coordination. (Hat tip to Seth Godin)
Coordination benefits you because you can work with highly customized teams.
Coordination costs you because you have to make sure the work is on-scope, on-budget, and on-time for different teams.
Also, you’ll likely be a different priority, and get different levels of service, for each of the vendors.
Span costs you because there is someone out there who has 15 years of experience working with businesses your size, in your industry, on your technology platform, and are from your hometown. They know you and the market.
Span benefits you by having a single source that answers all your questions and understands how everything fits together.
Need an answer about ads? One source.
Need an answer about email? One source.
Need an answer about website testing? One source.
So who do should you partner with?
A PPC Agency could be a better fit if:
- You are okay with up and down budgeting
- You want to work with highly niched vendors and are willing to screen a lot of vendors to find them
- You like managing and coordinating projects between vendors
Growth Experts could be a better fit for you if:
- You like to know what you’re going to spend this month and the next one
- You like working with a vendor that sees how your ads, website optimizations, and email campaigns fit together
- You want to have one source to get answers and actions from
It’s been said that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
You should now have a better idea of how to choose your partner.