How to Start a PPC Agency: Ultimate Guide

How to Start a PPC Agency: Ultimate Guide
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: November 30, 2023

Every website occasionally needs help boosting its traffic, and that's where the PPC strategy comes into the spotlight. Well-targeted and well-designed PPC campaigns can increase brand awareness by up to 80% and generate a return on investment (ROI) five times larger than the initial ad investment.

The compelling benefits of PPC caused a high demand for this advertising model, making it a profitable business solution. However, before creating a website and offering your PPC services, you must develop a plan to increase your chances of thriving in a dynamic world of PPC advertising. This article explains how to start a PPC agency: it explores the nine essential steps to transform your vision into a successful reality.

Step #1: Research Your Market

Researching the market lets you gain insights into the industry, target audience, competition, and potential opportunities. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Industry analysis: You must understand PPC technologies and strategies to stay up to date with the latest trends and position your agency effectively.
  • Target audience: Identify your ideal clients and understand their needs, pain points, and preferences. Research their industries, demographics, and online behavior. Determine which niches have a high demand for PPC services and align your agency's offerings accordingly.
  • Competitor analysis: Study your competitors to gain insights into their strengths and weaknesses. Identify their services, pricing models, unique selling points, and target markets. Analyze their website design, content, and PPC advertising strategies. This analysis will help you identify gaps in your competitor’s approach and the market and let you find ways to differentiate yourself.
  • Pricing and business models: Research different pricing models PPC agencies use. Understand how they charge clients, such as hourly rates, fixed project fees, or a percentage of ad spend. Determine the standard pricing range in your market and develop a pricing strategy that aligns with your agency's value proposition and financial goals.
  • Local regulations and legal considerations: Familiarize yourself with privacy laws, advertising guidelines, data protection regulations, and licensing or certification requirements. Compliance with legal and ethical standards is crucial for running a reputable and trustworthy agency.
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

Step #2: Create a Business Plan

A well-crafted business plan is a roadmap for your agency's success. It should outline the following key elements:

  • Agency overview: Create a concise summary of your agency, including its vision, key objectives, and unique value proposition. Explain the services you will offer, your target market, and your competitive advantage. Clearly define your agency's goals and the problem you aim to solve for your clients.
  • Market analysis: Present the findings from the previous step: market trends, needs, and potential opportunities. Highlight the target market segments you plan to serve and explain how your agency will position itself to attract clients.
  • Services and pricing: Outline your services and define your pricing structure, including the rates, packages, or payment models.
  • Marketing strategy: Describe how you will promote your agency to attract clients. Outline the channels and tactics you will use to reach them. Explain how you will generate leads, acquire clients, and build long-term relationships.
  • Operational plan: Define the organizational structure, roles, and responsibilities of team members. Discuss the technology and tools you will use for PPC campaigns, analytics, and client communication.
  • Financial projections: Include revenue expectations, expenses, and profitability analysis in your economic forecast. Include details about your startup costs, such as equipment, software, marketing, and staffing for the first few years of operation. Use realistic assumptions based on your market research and industry benchmarks.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: Identify potential risks and challenges your agency may face, such as client churn or changes in the PPC industry. Explain how you plan to mitigate or overcome them.
  • Key milestones timeline: Develop a timeline that outlines the key milestones and tasks for launching your agency to help you stay organized and track your progress. Set deadlines for registering the business, building a website, hiring staff, and acquiring clients.

Step #3: Build A Brand

Branding helps differentiate your agency and build trust with potential clients. Here are the critical steps for successful branding:

  • Define your brand values, mission statement, and attributes that set your agency apart.
  • Choose a compelling and unique brand name, as well as visual elements - logo, color scheme, typography, and imagery.
  • Build a professional website that showcases your agency's services, expertise, and portfolio, and optimize it for user experience and search engines.
  • Consider the personality and tone of voice you want your brand to reflect, aligning them with your target audience and the image you want to project.
  • Ensure that all branding elements are consistently applied across all touchpoints, including your website, social media profiles, advertising campaigns, and client communications.

Building a brand is an ongoing process, but it pays off. Monitor your online reputation to build trust and credibility in your PPC agency’s expertise and services. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews and testimonials and respond promptly to both positive and negative feedback or inquiries.

Step #4: Get Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising Certification

Google’s and Microsoft’s certifications validate your expertise in managing PPC advertising campaigns on these popular platforms, instill confidence in clients, and enhance your agency's credibility. Here's how you can get certified for both platforms:

Google Ads Certification

This certification shows that Google recognizes you as an expert in online advertising. It is also one of the three requirements to become a partner or a Premium partner.

Create a Google Skillshop account to access free Google Ads assessments necessary to get certified. Currently, there are eleven Google Ads certifications available:

  • Google Ads Search
  • Google Ads Display
  • Google Ads Video
  • Shopping ads
  • Google Ads Apps
  • Google Ads Measurement
  • Google Ads Search Professional
  • Google Ads Display Professional
  • Google Ads Video Professional
  • Google Ads Creative
  • Grow Offline Sales

Decide which Google Ads certification assessments you want to take. When ready, schedule and take the certification exams through the Google Skillshop platform. Exams last 75 minutes; you must score 80% or greater to pass. If you fail, you can retake the assessment 24 hours later. Google Ads certifications remain valid for one year, after which you’ll have to renew them.

Microsoft Advertising Certification

Microsoft offers three free certifications that allow you to develop your advertising skills, validate your competency, and provide you with certification badges, shareable on social media:

  • Search Advertising Learning Path
  • Native & Display Advertising Learning Path
  • Shopping Advertising Learning Path

Decide which Microsoft Advertising certifications you want to pursue. Prepare for the exams using the courses on the Microsoft Advertising platform. Complete the exam with an 80% or more score to pass and claim your Credly badge. Renew a certification yearly to stay updated.

Step #5: Define Your Services

Evaluate your skills, knowledge, and experience in PPC advertising and identify the areas where you excel and have a competitive advantage. PPC advertising types include paid search advertising, display advertising, social media advertising, remarketing, price comparison website advertising, and affiliate marketing.

Market research will help you identify the services in high demand or the ones your competitors do not adequately address. Consider the specific industries or niches you want to target and tailor your services to meet their unique requirements.

Highlight the unique aspects of your services that differentiate you from competitors - your expertise, industry knowledge, or any specialized approaches. Communicate how your services will benefit clients and help them achieve their goals.

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Step #6: Create a Contract Template

A contract outlines the terms and conditions of your client engagements, protects both parties and ensures a clear understanding of expectations. Consult with a lawyer or legal professional experienced in contract law to ensure your contract template complies with applicable laws and regulations. It should comprise the following elements:

  • Parties and contact information
  • Scope of services
  • Payment terms
  • Duration and termination
  • Intellectual property
  • Confidentiality clause
  • Limitation of liability
  • Dispute resolution

A contract template will provide a framework, but you must customize each contract to suit the specific engagement and client requirements.

Step #7: Create a List of Prospects

Building a high-quality prospect list — potential clients who can benefit from your PPC services — helps you focus your marketing efforts. To identify your prospects:

  • Define your target audience: Consider industry, company size, geographic location, target market, and budget to get the most qualified leads.
  • Conduct market research: Explore industry directories, professional networks, business listings, and online platforms relevant to your target market. Use industry forums and social media platforms to identify companies that align with your agency's services.
  • Referrals and networking: Leverage your professional network and seek referrals from colleagues, friends, or existing clients. Attending industry events, conferences, and local business networking groups can connect you with potential prospects.
  • Competitor analysis: Study your competitors' client base and identify their clients who may be a good fit for your agency. Target prospects looking for alternative or specialized services that your agency can provide.

Step #8: Reach Out with a Compelling Pitch

Contact your prospects with a compelling pitch. Tailor personalized outreach to each candidate to demonstrate that you have done your research. Reference details about their business to show your genuine interest and understanding. Create an attention-grabbing subject line for your email that highlights the value you can provide.

Introduce your agency briefly and state the purpose of your outreach, highlighting the benefits of PPC advertising and how it can help their business achieve specific goals. Explain how your agency's services can address their pain points, improve online visibility, increase conversions, or complete other desired outcomes. Showcase your agency's expertise, experience, and any relevant results. Include a clear and bold call to action (CTA) highlighting the next step prospects should take, such as scheduling a consultation or requesting a proposal.

Step #9: Schedule an Official Meeting at the Start of The Project

An official or “kick-off” meeting is crucial for establishing clear communication, aligning expectations, and ensuring a successful collaboration. During this meeting, you can cover all important factors - PPC campaign objectives, target audience, budget, timeline, reporting, communication channels, meeting schedules, and reporting formats.

After the meeting, send a follow-up email with all key discussion points, decisions, and action items, and you’re ready to launch the PPC campaign.

How to Start a PPC Agency: Final Thoughts

Starting a PPC agency can be profitable, given the consistent demand for PPC advertising services. However, don’t make a rookie mistake by jumping into creating a website and seeking clients without a well-thought-out plan. By following the steps suggested in our guide - conducting market research, defining your services, creating a brand, and obtaining relevant certifications - you can position your PPC agency as a credible and competitive partner to anyone seeking PPC services.

How to Start a PPC Agency FAQs

1. What is the role of the PPC agency?

PPC agencies create and manage pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for their clients to achieve various business goals: increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and ultimately boost revenue.

2. How to start a PPC agency?

To start a PPC agency, follow the steps suggested in this guide:

  • Research your market
  • Create a business plan
  • Build a brand
  • Get Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising Certification
  • Define your services
  • Create contract template
  • Create a list of prospects
  • Reach out with a compelling pitch
  • Schedule an official meeting at the start of the project
  • Launch your first PPC campaign!

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