Have you ever had a client ask why they need you to manage their ad campaigns instead of just doing it themselves?
It’s not hard to go into the Google Ad Manager and launch an ad campaign. If you’ve never done it before, don’t be intimidated by the ad manager.
The hard part is all the other stuff that requires web design, copywriting, and email marketing skills – which is exactly why your clients need you to manage their campaigns for them.
So, if you ever get questioned about why your client needs your monthly marketing plan instead of just doing their own ads, here’s what I say.
Give Them The Big Picture
There is so much more to an effective ad campaign than just the ads. Here are some of the key points that I’ll mention to my clients so that they understand the full scope of what they are getting into. Of course, I want them to work with me, but even if they choose not to hire me, they at least need to know the stuff we’re about to unpack so they don’t blow their ad budget with horrible results.
Effective audience targeting is one of the keys to getting a good ROI on an ad campaign. I normally develop at least three audience definitions and test which audience attracts the highest conversions.
For example, if you’re targeting lawn care business owners, then I might create three campaigns with the following audience targeting strategies:
- Keywords lawn care owners search for online
- Products lawn care owners use
- Resources like websites, books, podcasts, and the names of authors and influencers in the lawn care space
Layered on top of all of those audiences are other demographics like the age and geographical location of the client’s ideal customers.
Headlines and Copy
Crafting compelling headlines and copy isn’t as simple as slapping words onto a screen. It’s about creating variations, A/B testing, and refining. Just changing one word in a headline can sometimes increase conversions by up to 50%.
For me, an ad group represents the combination of one audience and one specific offer. For each ad group, I usually create three ad variations. The ads in the ad group only vary by one component. On Facebook, the primary element I test is the ad image. On Google, the primary element is the headline.
I let the ads run for a week or so and then start turning off the ads that are underperforming. Normally, I’m looking for at least a 1% click-through rate.
Clients often think they just need to send traffic to their homepage. Running paid traffic to a generic page on a website like the homepage is a great way to go broke. The only exception to this is if the homepage is designed as a landing page. Most of the time, each ad group deserves its own landing page, tailored and optimized for the audience it targets. This isn’t just web design; it’s web design with a marketing mindset.
The landing pages need to be consistent with the copy in the ads and will usually repeat some of the same copy from the ad as part of the copy on the landing page. That means if you change the ad copy, you also need to change the landing page. This is going to require web design skills that your client probably doesn’t have.
And then comes the analytics. Google Analytics is the industry standard. I personally like Clicky because it’s easy to set up and incredibly intuitive. But regardless of the tool, each link needs unique UTM parameters for precise tracking. UTM parameters are tracked automatically by Google Analytics and Clicky. UTM parameters allow you to see exactly which link, ad, ad group, and campaign is brining you the best results.
So, if you change an ad, you also need to create a new set of UTM parameters for that ad. It’s unlikely that your client has any idea what UTM parameters are and certainly wouldn’t know how to set this up.
Call to Action Optimization
It’s not just about getting clicks; it’s about what happens after. I aim for a minimum 10% conversion on my CTAs. If I’m not hitting that, I’ll start tweaking headlines or even reimagining the CTA entirely. Sometimes, just a small change to the wording of the CTA can make a huge difference in the conversion rate. Other times, I just need to think of a better offer that is more valuable in order to get people to take action. Either way, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing. Optimizing your calls to action is a process that needs your constant attention.
Lead Nurturing Sequences
Let’s not forget the follow-up. Good email marketing is an art in itself, and it ties back into your landing pages, calls to action, and the type of ad campaign you’re running.
What Types of Ad Campaigns are There?
Not every ad campaign is designed for direct sales. There are three types of ad campaigns that I use and each campaign has a different goal.
Direct Sales Campaign
These ads drive traffic to a landing page where the call-to-action is designed to get people to buy something now – or at least call in for a quote or an estimate. The goal of these campaigns is to get paying clients. The problem is that these campaigns are the lowest converting because most people don’t buy things the first time they discover your offer. They usually need to think about it for a minute.
Therefore, we use other types of ad campaigns to warm people up so that when they see our direct sales ads, it is NOT the first time they’re seeing our offer.
These ads focus on getting people to opt-in to an email list for something educational, with automated email drip campaigns designed to turn those leads into paying customers.
These ads are designed to build an audience of people who have shown interest in your product or service. These campaigns are not intended to create conversions. They are intended to create warm audiences for the purpose of retargeting them with either a lead or sales campaign in the future.
How Should You Bill for Monthly Ad Management?
When it comes to pricing your ad management services, I think it’s best to charge flat rates. I don’t like charging as a percentage of ad spend. In fact, I think if an ad manager is basing their rates as a percentage of ad spend, it is a red flag that they aren’t planning to run the ad campaign the way I’d want it to be run. If you’re running ads like we’re talking about here, your work load is inversely proportional to the ad spend.
In the beginning you’re running with as low of an ad budget as you can so that you can test and optimize your campaigns. Once you’ve got it dialed in, you crank up the ad spend but you don’t touch the campaigns because they’re working and you don’t want to mess them up.
So, for me, it works out a lot better to charge a flat rate to make sure I’m getting paid for the work I’m doing regardless of the ad spend. Depending on the complexity of the campaign and whether it’s local or national, prices can range from $500 to $10,000 per month for the management of these campaigns (not including ad spend).
Warning: Be careful about taking on projects that are too large. I’d be nervous if more than 30% of my revenue was coming from any one client.
Think about your capacity and calculate your revenue if you were 100% booked. That will probably be about $150,000/year if you’re working alone. When you do the math, that means you probably don’t want to take on any projects that are over about $4,000/month unless you plan to hire help. It’s not good to be in a situation where your entire business is kept alive by a single client. You never want to lose a client, but if you do, you don’t want it to sink your whole business.