Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this business?
I started the business in 2005 after having prospected this sector as part of a private equity firm investing in larger technology businesses. I think in private equity the value added is sometimes questionable, so I really wanted to build a business where the value proposition is clear and irrefutable, delivered through smart technology and automation.
What is your “Pay-per-Sale” offering at Perfect Storm Media?
Our core proposition is running Adwords accounts on a “performance” basis; that means, either we fully pay for the Google spend and the customer only pays us on a “Pay-per-Sale” or commission basis, or we manage Adwords campaign on a management basis, where our fee is calculated based on performance improvements in the spend to revenue ratio.
In order to accomplish that, we take on the risk of all of the steps needed to achieve success, so often times we’ll take on that work if the client account is large enough, or we’ll offer those services on top of what we do with Adwords.
What does your technology actually do?
Our core technology is a highly-automated campaign management/bidding machine for complex Adwords campaigns, including Google Shopping feed creation, high-volume automated ad creation for “long-tail” search queries, and lead/phone/sales tracking through CRM systems or eCommerce platforms such as Shopify. For example, we will track phone call and email leads into the CRM systems and import those back into Google so that we bid on only those search terms that have resulted in actual sales. There is an increasing need for an algorithmic approach to campaign management due to the number of features and targeting methods within Adwords.
What are some of the practical skills entrepreneurs need to be successful in the “Google Economy”. I.e. driving business leads and sales via Google searches and tools.
Most importantly, entrepreneurs need to have knowledge of the user experience online, either themselves or have a trusted lieutenant who “owns” it. The website is today’s storefront along with the display shelves - can your customers navigate your “store” to find and what they are looking for, or “ask for assistance” by calling you or getting in touch via email or a web form? I suggest spending a lot of time buying, interacting with, and using websites, mobile sites, and apps, particularly the most popular ones such as Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Google and related tools such as Google Maps. Most entrepreneurs can succeed online simply by mimicking functionality that is already standard due to its wide distribution by the major players. Keeping up with changes over time is critical to staying in the game.
What does the human infrastructure look like for AdWords success?
There are a number of different skills required to make customer acquisition via Google work. The people don’t individually require a lot of time, so much of this can be outsourced or managed part-time. The skill set includes:
1) an all-around front-end web developer who can handle a wide variety implementations and relatively simple integrations. If you do not have a full-time position for such, then I recommend getting a freelancer who is available when you need. Get people who are curious and willing to learn.
2) a strong graphic designer who can comment/edit designs
3) Search Engine Optimisation strategic advisor (for SEO, or non-paid Google searches) who can guide strategy and comment on improvements (onsite SEO)
4) a Social Media manager who can regularly update social media accounts, including Google My Business and deal with customer reviews (offsite SEO)
5) an Adwords manager/agency if you are running Adwords. Unless the account is very large, it’s unlikely to be done well in-house
6) Google Analytics know-how to pick up on insights - this just requires some curiosity and willingness to learn
How do I know if Adwords relevant to my business?
There are some simple rules to ask yourself:
Do your direct competitors use Adwords? If so then probably yes
Are you a business to consumer (B2C) business, then probably yes
Are you selling to small businesses, then probably yes
If you are selling only to medium/larger businesses, then it depends. Are your search queries “unique” to your target customers, meaning they are not used by other adjacent industries or smaller customers? If so then probably yes; if there is overlap then probably not.
What is the most interesting part of your work?
I love seeing the end-to-end process of business owners building their businesses using an efficient Adwords/SEO channel to grow profitably. Entrepreneurs can quickly marshall multiple functions within the business to drive growth and results, usually more effectively than larger companies and I love to be part of making this happen. The iterative process of optimising user experience and Adwords campaigns to drive sales is very effective when done correctly. This results in some great, long-term relationships that I really enjoy.
What is a Google Premier Partner and how did you become one?
Google danced around with offering services directly to customers, but now they only do that for very small companies getting started, so I would not suggest following up any offers from them to “start an account” as this generally won’t be sufficient to generate success without the conversion related edits required. For any customers up and running, Google recommends using a “Google Partner” agency to work with, who are vetted according to growth, staff certifications, and quality of accounts by Google and offered support such as access to new technology feature Beta tests as well as troubleshooting support and access to specialist knowhow. The top 5% of Google Partner agencies are Google Premier Partners and PSM was awarded the distinction in 2016.
Where is the Google Economy going?
What I sometimes say is [laughs] “If we’re nice to the machines now, they’ll be merciful to us when they take over!”
Google continues to innovate successfully and give away some great free tools for businesses to use and I do believe they will remain an integral part of the sales process. The Adwords system keeps fragmenting; for example, into Shopping ads, traditional text ads, and remarketing ads that follow users around as they surf.
Google is aware that customer return on investment drives revenue for them so they are innovating by getting closer to individual business needs. You can continue to see a competitive advantage using Google tools, as new opportunities are constantly arising as the system changes to stay ahead of the competition.
How has EO helped you get you where you are?
EO has been great in so many ways; forum in particular. But the area where it’s been most helpful is our own marketing/sales/messaging strategy. EO’ers tend to be experts in marketing and sales and I’ve learned a lot about communication of proposition and also how businesses are using software tools to automate the sales and marketing process; for example smartly using lead tracking/CRM/social media to stay in touch with customers and prospects.