As a business owner, I often come across tasks or whole projects that I need to get done but am not capable of doing myself. Sometimes they are outside of my expertise, or I simply have no time to do them. Depending on the task, I have a choice: spend time learning how to do it (I often do!), delay its implementation, or hire someone to do it for me.
I’m sure your business is no different. As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate already and you face the same dilemmas I do. Learn to DIY, delay or hire a pro? Whatever the task at hand, getting the answer right is crucial.
Google Ads is a perfect example. Typically the need to hire a Google Ads specialist comes from a place of either busyness or lack of expertise, but it is often very much both. So if you find yourself running Google Ads but wondering if someone can do it better, this post is for you.
Doing Google Ads by yourself
So, this is how it typically goes in the small businesses I end up working with:
The DIY phase 🔨🧰
You decide to give Google Ads a go and learn to create campaigns by yourself. It’s quickly becoming painful. The “Smart” mode offers too little customization. The “Expert” interface is confusing and clunky. You don’t have the time to deep dive, so the work keeps getting delayed.
You do not have a dedicated marketing manager and you don’t want to delegate Google Ads to your team. They are in the same boat as you – busy with their work projects with little to no time to learn.
The What am I doing phase 😕
So you continue running Google Ads campaigns but they are… meh. You don’t get quality leads (or not many) and you don’t understand if the ads are actually helpful or just eating through your budget.
Time to read up on best practices and browse how-to guides! You tweak campaigns and try new options Google is throwing at you, still feeling like you’re just stumbling in the dark, occasionally in the right direction. Maybe.
Is it even worth it? phase ❓❗
You begin questioning your decision to run Google Ads at all! The payout is too little for what you put in. You know the ads could be improved, but you’re also wondering if there is a better way to spend your ad budget or test Google Ads differently. Have you spent all these ad dollars for nothing?
Do you recognize yourself in any of the above? If so, you could use some external Google Ads help! If only to help you decide whether to stick with it or try another way.
Mistakes may cost you
If you’re in it for the long haul, just spending your budget with zero results is the least of your worries. The worst thing that can happen is a lifetime ban from Google. Yes, a ban that would prevent you from advertising on Google Ads forever. A steep penalty for misusing Google Ads and breaking Google advertising policies.
There are plenty of businesses that are legal but not allowed to advertise on Google Ads. There are also restricted industries that may advertise with lots of limitations. If your business is in the latter, you have to be extra careful in following the rules.
Remember, if something goes wrong, account suspensions are for life. So once you’ve decided to hire a Google Ads consultant, you should do it sooner rather than later. To get the most value out of your ads, to save money, and yes, to avoid mistakes before it’s too late.
Hiring a Google Ads expert
Hiring a consultant for any project comes down to what your needs, budget, and risk tolerance levels are. Google Ads specialists are no different. It’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions before beginning your search:
What do you need?
No, really, who/what is it that you’re after?
- A deep-dive to evaluate your campaign and tell you how to change it for the better? ➡️ A campaign audit.
- Improvements to your landing page? ➡️ A copywriter with knowledge of Google Ads.
- A person to plan, create and manage Google Ads campaigns for you? ➡️ Turnkey, ongoing campaign management.
- A little bit of all of the above as a one-time project? ➡️ A Google Ads consulting package.
Answering this question will not only narrow your search but will help you explain your needs to the consultant you are interviewing.
How much are you willing to spend?
Money is a big subject, and your ad spend is not the only thing to consider here. Depending on how you answered the question above, your budget for a Google Ads consultant may vary.
Google Ads specialists structure their fees in many different ways. Ad budget is almost always separate from the consulting/managing fee. I’ve seen consultants charge a percentage of ad spend as their fee, but the most common is charging per project or hourly.
If you’re hiring a Google Ads manager on an ongoing basis, the fee will most likely be monthly, not counting your ad spend. Consider also that if your budget increases drastically, so may the management fee.
What will it take for you to trust someone you consider hiring?
No matter how you come across at someone who fits the bill of your project requirements, you won’t know if they are a good fit before you hire them. At some point, you will have to take a leap of faith. So what will it take to convince you?
Would it be a referral from a trusted member of your professional (or even personal) network? Glowing Google Reviews for an agency? Their extensive online presence and thought leadership on the subject of Google Ads and digital advertising?
You will most likely use a bit of all of the above plus interviewing the potential partner to see if there is a fit between what you’re after and what they can offer. You may end up talking to several people before hiring someone – and that’s fine!
Key things to look for
Okay, but where do you look for someone *good*? Simply Googling for a Google Ads specialist in your area is a good starting point to get a feel for who’s available. However, you will need to narrow down your search and narrow it down considerably.
The following points are important to keep in mind:
- You want to find someone who runs ads for your industry and knows your target market or niche. It’s key to minimizing the ad budget drain.
- If you cannot find an industry match for your specific niche, look for experience with specific types of campaigns that need running. Think Google Shopping vs YouTube ad campaigns.
- No matter what we marketers would like you to think, no one marketer can run all types of ad campaigns equally well for all industries. Talented generalists are rare! We all have our strong sides and tend to work best with industries we specialize in.
- Finally, a good ad specialist will turn you down if they can’t help or aren’t confident in delivering the best results for you. That’s good news! They care about their reputation and your wallet.
I love referring leads to trusted peers. It builds client confidence up even if we end up not working together. They know I respect them enough to be direct and honest, and they, in turn, get to work with someone who is a better fit. A win-win for all involved!
A step-by-step guide to hiring a consultant
While the process I’m about to describe is far from the only one, this is what my clients have shared has worked best for them:
- Outline your goals, requirements, timelines and budget for the project as we discussed above.
- Turn to your closest professional network – peers whose judgement and opinion you trust. Ask if they know or have worked with a Google Ads specialist in the past who may be a fit for your project.
- Your goal is to connect with someone who works with Google Ads projects in any capacity. They will be your way into the community of online ad specialists.
- During the initial conversation with them, ask about their past projects and experience. Talk in detail about your project to help them assess their suitability for it.
- If they are not a good fit, ask the lead to be referred to someone they think may help. That’s the key step in continuing your search fruitfully!
- Go on until you find someone! While it may sound like you can be stuck in this loop for a while, you may be surprised as to how fast you start talking to qualified people. The wonders of the internet ✨
Upwork and other freelancer sites
When thinking of hiring for a quick project, your first thought may be to turn to Upwork or a similar resource.
Platforms like Upwork can be extremely valuable to your business and save you tons of time. If you are looking for people to execute on specific tasks like creating graphics, surveys, even writing copy, Upwork could be a good place to look. I know several very, very good people who’ve had a lot of luck both hiring and getting hired there.
However, some jobs shouldn’t be outsourced to Upwork contractors. Big consulting projects on sensitive and complex business processes like Google Ads are, in my opinion, one of them. Just like DIYing, the cost of a bad hire could end up being potentially much, much higher than simply not getting good results.
Working with an external ad specialist
Finding someone PERFECT for your project is hard, just like any other hiring decision. How do you know someone is perfect for the job? Sadly, you can’t know 100% in advance: you need to start working with them to find out.
Here’s what I would suggest you and your hire both do to ensure you get the most out of the collaboration, short- or long-term.
Put appropriate safeguards in place
Signing a contract or a scope of work is a must! The document should include a termination clause in case your or their business circumstances change. It should outline the goals and the appropriate KPIs for the project and contain the next steps for when they are or aren’t met.
No such thing as overcommunication before the project starts! Please tell your new hire everything about what you expect, want and need out of the Google Ad campaign(s) they will be running. They, in turn, will inform you of what’s achievable and how. This will be instrumental in them designing the campaign in the most optimal way as well.
Allow expectations to be set
Allow them to set expectations for how the work will be carried out, including the frequency of updates, reports, and check-ins with you. This is the perfect time to outline your preferences as well.
It goes without saying, but once you agree on a work process, respect the boundaries established.
If you’ve got questions about the Google Ads platform itself, feel free to ask questions, within the limits of what you both agreed to. (Google Ads coaching is usually a service billed separately 😉)
Now that you’ve hired them…
Trust them to do the work! 💪