PPC Agency Tricks: 3 Ways They Try to Fool You

If you've ever considered using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to generate leads for your business, you likely know it has the potential to be a reliable source of high quality prospects.

Unfortunately, because fresh leads are so important to a business—the lifeblood for new revenue—obtaining or retaining new leads can make a business vulnerable to lead gen sweet talk from overzealous or even unscrupulous agencies.

Although the vast majority of agencies have great integrity in their interaction with prospective clients, some will say just about anything to get your business. In the area of PPC advertising, there are particular misrepresentations that are commonly used… because they touch on an area of vulnerability. Beware of these three less than honest lines PPC agencies might use to try to get your business.

Lie #1 – PPC Advertising Is Guaranteed to Work for Any Business

You know the old expression, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat everything as if it were a nail.” The whole goal of this shady tactic is to sell you what they’ve got… even if it isn’t best for your business.

As much as I see the value of pay-per-click advertising day in and day out for many of our clients, it isn’t necessarily the right lead gen solution for every business.

For example, some companies do not have the profit margin in their product/service to generate a positive ROI. When we run our calculator projections on the likely outcomes for a campaign, it becomes clear very quickly if the ROI doesn’t work.

Why would you sell a business this service if it won’t be profitable for them?

Good Method, Wrong Platform

Here’s a related issue: Sometimes PPC will work on some platforms, but not others.

For example, if it is determined that there aren’t enough people searching for the types of solutions you offer, then the Google search engine is NOT the best place to do PPC. In fact, it can be a colossal waste of money.

Instead, LinkedIn or Facebook or banner ads on websites are more advisable.

Watch out if a PPC agency does only one or two platforms. Guess what they will always recommend?

Yep, we are back to that hammer & nail quote again.

The Wisdom of Diversification

Finally, as good as PPC might be for your business, you don’t want to put all your lead generation eggs in one basket.

Just like your investments, wisdom dictates that you limit your exposure. No matter how good one investment (or lead source) is, it is always best to have a diversified portfolio. Who knows if what’s working today will work tomorrow.

All things being equal, it is best to have an agency operate like your partner, helping you think through all your lead generation options, and to diversify sources if possible.

Lie #2 – Exaggerated Expectations of Results

This one touches on a point of great vulnerability for most businesses—their insatiable hunger for more leads. Who doesn’t want to hear the promise that you can get 2x, 3x or more leads than you are getting today?

Well, for that matter, who doesn’t want to hear the promise of losing 20 pounds in 30 days… without having to do anything different?

But, you can’t guarantee either.

Let me be clear—getting significantly more leads is entirely possible. We’ve seen this with a number of our clients. However, you can’t be 100% certain of the exact level of improvement. Plus, the good results rarely come as quickly as promised. It typically takes 3-6 months before you start seeing some truly notable numbers.

Lie #3 – Detecting a “Problem” with Your Current PPC Campaign

Those companies who are currently running PPC campaigns are also vulnerable to deception. This tactic touches on the fear of not getting as many leads as you could at the best cost possible.

This lie is a particular favorite of those companies that cold call or email you, feigning concern for your company.

“Mr. Jones, we noticed that one of the settings in your campaign was not set up properly to maximize your lead flow. This is a common mistake we see from other agencies. We believe with some modest adjustments, you can expect to double your lead levels. Would you like to receive twice as many leads as you are getting now?”

For these agencies, this is a classic case of positioning their company as the one who truly cares, looking out for your best interest (and being the most competent), while making your existing agency look clueless (they are costing you leads you could be getting!).

But, here’s the problem: how would this other agency know what your campaign settings are? They don’t have access to your account.


PPC Reality You Can Stand On

Here’s the bottom line when it comes to PPC promises: Beware of agencies that overpromise, make unrealistic claims or tell you things they can’t possibly know.

The reality is…

  • PPC isn’t advisable for all businesses.
  • One PPC platform isn’t advisable for all businesses.
  • The time it takes to maximize a PPC campaign is 3-6 months… not 30 days.

When you are ready to talk to a PPC agency, here are a list of crucial questions you need to ask, and things to look for before making your choice.


Patrick McDaniel | Paid Search & Social Strategist
About the Author
Patrick McDaniel, Paid Search & Social Strategist

Patrick McDaniel is PMG’s Paid Search and Social Strategist. He likes figuring out how people work – in between facts and figures on organic search rankings, lead gen and engagement techniques, you’ll find hints of psychology and buying behavior in his writing. He loves helping readers understand how to reach and connect with their best prospects!