An Expert inEverything or Nothing?

Pay Per Click (PPC) Concept.I’ve made a choice to focus on paid search management. That’s pretty much all I do all day – manage paid search campaigns. Even so, my clients inevitably ask me what else I can do for them. I get this from new prospects a lot too – people who need help launching paid search, or managing an existing paid search campaign, tend to need other things. Here’s an example of a typical conversation.

Prospect: “We need help with our Google Analytics setup. Do you do this?”

Me: “I can link Analytics to Adwords for you, and I can set up custom reports and analyze the data or help you set up a goal, but no, I can’t do the actual setup. I’m not an Analytics expert.”

Prospect: “Oh…okay. Well, we also need help with our content marketing strategy. Do you do this?”

Me: “As it pertains to the landing pages, ad copy and overall web site experience – yes, I can help you. But I’m not an expert in putting a comprehensive content strategy together, because this generally means coming up with brand new collateral, feeding it into things like social media and offline marketing channels, and understanding what kind of venues there are for promoting that content (think PR and content sharing).”

Prospect: “Oh…well, we need to completely redesign and relaunch our web site. Do you do this?

Me: (supressing the devil on my shoulder that’s chanting, “you’re leaving money on the table, dumbass!”) No, I don’t do that. But I can refer you to a great agency…”

Propsect: “Oh…so…just paid search then?”

Me: “Pretty much.”

Prospect: Awkward silence followed by…”What was the name of that agency?”

Look, I admit it sounds very narrow minded to ONLY focus on paid search. But the world of Adwords and (to a lesser extent) Bing and Yahoo is a complicated world which bleeds into an ever-expanding online marketing space. You should hire a digital marketing strategist to help you with all of the above: Content strategy, social media planning, google analytics setup (especially goal-setting) and let’s not forget web site development. You should hire me to create, launch, manage and optimize your paid search campaign.

A good digital marketing strategist won’t know how to do everything. But they will have one key skill – the gift of oversight. They will look down from ten thousand feet up and pluck people like me from the ether and put us in charge of the thing we’re good at. In my case, that means a laser focus on paid search. I can look at an Adwords campaign and point out five things you’re doing wrong (or five opportunities for making it better – half full/half empty). There are a lot of buttons and knobs in the Adwords self-serve interface. It’s my job to know what they all do.

That doesn’t mean a PPC, or SEO or Social Media expert isn’t good at seeing the big picture and can’t do other things. They SHOULD be good at working with other people, and understanding how their piece of the puzzle fits in with the overall big picture. Landing page design is a good example of this. I can create a seamlessly wonderful paid search campaign for you, but if your landing page doesn’t know what it’s doing, then the campaign will fail. If your web site is slow, or confusing, or just plain bad – then ALL your online media is going to fail.

Online tactics tend to bleed into each other. If you’re doing social media marketing, you have to understand the benefit of content. If you’re good at paid search, you have to understand the benefit of a search-engine friendly landing page (give people what they’re looking for). If you’re good at managing budgets and optimizing campaigns for paid search, then chances are you understand and can manage paid social such as Facebook and LinkedIn advertising.

Adwords, in particular, lends itself well to online marketing tactics as a whole. You can build display campaigns and target them in multiple ways (and I have). You can launch YouTube video campaigns (in-video advertising, promoted videos, keyword campaigns on YouTube, etc.) – and I have. You can create audiences and do some powerful remarketing right within Adwords – and I have. You can set up shopping feeds, promote your ads locally, focus on a mobile strategy which is becoming more and more important – all within Adwords. So this is why I’ve chosen to become an expert in this ONE tactic. Many of my clients spend 90% or more of their media dollars on paid search. That deserves an expert who is focused and very knowledgeable.

It’s annoying to deal with multiple vendors. I get that. That’s why agencies exist. But even agencies – the good ones – have resources within their corporate umbrella (or people they outsource to – like me) who manage all the moving parts of your campaign. If you find your digital strategist – the one who can look down on everything and see how it all fits together – you’re in a good place.

But a word of advice – be cautious of anyone who says they can do it all. If they’re experts in social, PPC, SEO, content and web design and Analytics setup…if the word GURU comes out of their mouth without a trace of irony, then run away. Run very fast, because chances are they’re only telling you what you want to hear.

Businessman making an agreement with devil


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