New! Local SEM Competitive Intelligence
Discover Your Competitor’s PPC Keywords & Ad Copy
Enter your #1 competitor's URL

5 Key Lessons from Running a Search Marketing Agency for 5 Years

Media CaptainHave you ever noticed in sports, when a player is in a “contract year,” meaning he’ll be a free agent on the open market for the following season, they tend to perform extremely well or crumble under the pressure?

The reason is because the athlete knows that his or her performance will dictate their value on the open market and how much their next contract will be worth.

For a search marketing agency, each and every day has a similar feeling to a contract year for an athlete. Performance is critical in order to build a long lasting relationship with clients. The more points you score (or conversions in our case) the happier your fan base will be.

Our company, The Media Captain, has a strong focus on paid advertising and search engine optimization. I started the company in 2010 and quickly realized that in order to succeed in this industry, you have to prove that your services provide a solid return on investment for each and every client.

There have been many valuable lessons learned along the journey of running a search agency. Below are five key lessons I’ve absorbed over the past five years that I feel are important enough to share.

#1: Always set realistic expectations

When a company hires a search marketing agency, since the campaign is digitally focused, there are expectations for lightning quick results. It’s the agencies responsibility to provide the client with realistic expectations and not to over promise and under deliver.

For pay-per-click advertising, after a stellar strategy is devised, the results can be more instantaneous. When it comes to search engine optimization, it can often times take six-months to reap the benefits of a solid campaign. Providing the client with realistic expectations is an absolute must!

#2: Conduct multiple strategy sessions

Until you completely understand a client along with their target demographic, sales cycle, and expected cost per acquisition, it’s tough to launch a successful PPC campaign. Conducting multiple strategy sessions is crucial for the client and the agency to get on the same page.

When working with a Columbus apartment community, we quickly realized that there were more conversions taking place when people searched for suburb related keywords, like “Polaris Apartments” “Mason Apartments” and “Grove City Apartments” opposed to a more generic term, like “Columbus Apartments.”

Our strategy sessions helped our agency devise this plan of action, get on the same page as our client, and generate more leads for one of the largest developers in the Midwest!

#3: Design stellar creative

When more than 50% of visitors bounce immediately when they land on your website from a PPC campaign, if you’re not remarketing to the traffic that dropped off, this is a lost opportunity.

Our agency quickly learned the importance of having a graphic designer in-house to compliment all of our clients PPC campaigns. We are constantly updating and improving the creative of display and video remarketing advertisements so our clients can generate the lowest possible cost per acquisition.

We were able to create an awesome display campaign for Score One Sports, which increased their brand awareness and lowered cost per acquisition! Having great creative for the display networks and social channels is a must!

#4: Be prepared for peaks and valleys

Being immersed in Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Google Webmaster is a necessity for all search agencies. When you spend so much time analyzing data and your performance is graded off results, it’s important to learn not to get too high or too low.

Search marketing agencies will have great days and other days that you wish you could forget about. If you’re following a strategy and doing everything in the best interest to generate leads and conversions for your client, you can’t lose sleep over missed opportunities.

Wayne Gretzky was famously quoted as saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Agencies can’t be afraid to take shots, even if you don’t score each and every time.

#5: Be sure to have fun

Every day that I wake up, I’m excited to go into the office knowing that we have the expertise to help businesses bring in new leads through our skillset in digital marketing.

People working in the paid search industry should be thankful that they are in an field that is in such great demand where they can help businesses from all over the world.

How cool is it that if you are located in Arizona, you can help a lawyer in New York  generate more leads through PPC by optimizing a campaign at a coffee shop?

Make sure you’re having a blast in this constantly changing field!

When asked about their profession, the majority of professional athletes will respond saying that they love their job. The same can be said for running a search agency. Even though there are high-pressured projects and the field is fast paced, I wouldn’t change job positions with anyone. (LeBron James might be the exception).


Jason ParksJason Parks is the owner of The Media Captain, a Digital Marketing Agency based out of Columbus, Ohio, that offers online advertising, SEO, social media, web development, and video production services.