If you are in need of an AdWords freelancer, I certainly hope you consider me. I’ve been in the industry since 2012, and I’ve helped many happy clients find success through AdWords.
However, if it turns out that I’m not the right fit for your business, I still want you to end up in good hands. So I decided to write up a quick guide to hiring an AdWords freelancer.
If you’ve ever wondered “This person says they can help me with my AdWords – are they legit?”, then this guide is for you. Enjoy!
A fair rate for Adwords freelancing is around $100-$150 per hour. Expensive I know, but a good freelancer will save you from wasting a lot of money in ineffective ad spend.
While some freelancers charge per hour, others charge a flat rate per project. You can get a rough sense of how fair a price is by estimating the number of hours it will require for them to do your project. It does not take three hours to add five keywords, so if someone wants $450 to set up a five-keyword account, they’re ripping you off. But it could reasonably take someone three hours (or more) to add 100 keywords to an account, especially when you factor in ad creation, keyword research, client communication, etc. So $450+ is reasonable for 100 keywords.
For ongoing management, your monthly management fee should normally be no more than 15-30% of your monthly ad spend. So if you are spending $1000 per month on ads, you should be spending at most $300 per month on management. Partially this is because of the hourly rate (there shouldn’t be more than an hour or two of work that needs to be done on a small account each month) and partially this is because of diminishing returns (after the first hour or two of management each month, you’ll get more results from spending another $100 in buying ads than $100 in paying for management.)
If your account is pretty small ($1000 per month or less), you will probably be fine without frequent optimizations, especially once the account has been running for a few months. Ask your freelancer if they are willing to check up on your account every other month or once a quarter.
Keep in mind that these prices are just a rule of thumb. In some cases, you might find a great freelancer that charges less than this. You might also find a great freelancer that is completely justified in charging a higher rate, because they have impeccable credentials. However, if you find a freelancer that is charging significantly more or less than the $100 – $150 range, you should do a little more digging to make sure that they’re not inexperienced or ripping you off.
A good freelancer should be able to tell you their experience. They should be able to tell you how long they’ve been working in Adwords, what client industries they’ve worked for, what the largest monthly spend they’ve managed is, etc. They should be able to tell you where their experience in Adwords came from – are they self-taught (bad) or did they work at a reputable agency or in the marketing department of a reputable company (good). Bonus points if the freelancer has a Linkedin or some kind of verifiable experience. Anyone can make a slick-looking website and claim to have a ton of experience, so it’s great if they can point you to credentials that are hard to fake.
They should also be able to tell you in detail about previous clients. Although they might not name the specific client, they should be able to describe in detail the client’s industry, the client’s needs, the client’s budget, what their strategy was for the client’s account, and what kind of results they got. For instance, “My most recent account was an online retailer that sold specialty jewelry. They were spending about a thousand dollars per month, and they wanted to get more sales without increasing their ad spend. I added more keywords to target specific kinds of jewelry, and this allowed us to get more impressions and therefore get the same number of clicks and sales at a lower cost per click.”
The important thing here is that they can articulate the strategy that they used in a way that makes sense to you. Anyone can say “I doubled my client’s profits”, but not everyone can explain how they did it.
Also, be suspicious of cold-callers. Most marketing agencies that use cold-calling rely on their clients having little knowledge of online marketing, so they typically provide a low-quality service since they figure you won’t know the difference. You’re much better off finding a freelancer by doing your own research.
A good freelancer should be able to answer these questions intelligently without getting flustered and without needing to prepare beforehand. I’ve given some examples of answers that might make sense, but it matters less that they match my answer and it matters more that their answer sounds intelligent and knowledgeable. These are basic Adwords Strategy 101 questions – if someone can’t answer them, they shouldn’t be taking your money.
Q: What is your match type strategy?
A: Modified broad match with a lower bid to expand our reach, exact match with a higher bid to focus in on searches that we know will convert. If a query matches to modified broad match and converts well, create an exact match keyword to target that query.
Q: If I wanted to raise my click-through rate, what are some things I could do?
A: Add negative keywords for queries that have low CTR, change match type from broad to exact, edit ad text, raise bid to reach higher position, add sitelinks and other ad extensions.
Q: If I wanted to get more clicks without increasing my monthly budget, what are some things I could do?
A: Improve ad text to improve click through rate (which increases quality score, which lowers cost per click.) Add new keywords that have less competition.
Q: How will I know if Adwords is successful for me?
A: Profit. The revenue brought in by Adwords sales will be greater than the cost of ad spend + cost of Adwords management + costs of goods sold/services provided. Conversion tracking will allow us to estimate the revenue brought in by AdWords.
Even the best freelancer can’t promise you results, since there are a lot of factors that are outside of their control (competition, quality of your website, etc.)
However, a good freelancer should be able to define success for you and be able to show you if you are being successful or not.
And success always equals profit. More traffic is not success, because clicks that don’t convert are just wasted money. So a good freelancer should work with you to estimate the value of a conversion, track the conversions you are getting from Adwords, and show you clearly how much money you are making (or losing) with Adwords.
For instance, let’s say the average new customer earns you $100 (after costs). A good freelancer should be able to show you “Hey, for every $50 we spend on Adwords (including my fees), we bring in one customer, and therefore Adwords is profitable” or “Hey, this month every new customer cost us $150 to acquire, and so we should maybe change our Adwords strategy.” Information about traffic, click-through rate, etc, is interesting, but the only thing that ultimately matters is whether or not Adwords is profitable for you.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions, or if you’d like to hire me yourself, feel free to get in touch. Good luck, and happy hunting as you find the AdWords freelancer that is right for you!