As an online marketing agency we love learning from the best… And that is why we have spoken to Sean Quadlin, Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing and blogger at PPCHero. They are the best at what they do, and working in a market as competitive and updated as the American one is not an easy task. Sean has been «breathing and living PPC» for years and his posts are incredibly useful. Instead of keeping their secrets to themselves, he tells us how to successfully manage PPC campaigns in a very passionate interview.
We have all account managers at Hanapin Marketing contribute to the blog once they feel ready to do so. We currently have nine full-time writers (along with weekly guest posters).
How many blog posts have been published on PPChero so far?
We have published 2,146 posts since we got started in March of 2007 (which is a number that will go up pretty much daily). We also have ten Ultimate Guides to specific areas of PPC that aren’t counted as regular blog posts.
What’s the most searched topic?
Remarketing is our most search topic.
And the most read post?
Our most read post is one of those Ultimate Guides that I mentioned. It is the Ultimate Guide to AdWords Quality Score.
PPCHERO was born in 2007 to “educate the world on the finer skills and basic techniques of successful pay per click management”. How do you do it?
I like to think of the blog as a continuation of what we do on a daily basis as account managers at Hanapin. We think about tactics we use on a daily basis and talk about how to make them better. Or we’ll ask questions that we have about PPC and find out the answers. We try to be topical, interesting and useful. Everything is intended to make our readers and ourselves better at what we do.
How do you decide the topics and who gets to write everything?
Topics come from a variety of sources. Industry news from the engines, case studies from tactics we’ve used recently, how to’s about different features, reader submissions, office conversations. I said before it’s a continuation of the work we do on a daily basis, and there’s always something new to talk about.
All account managers at Hanapin get to write on the blog. Once they’ve been with us for six months we’lll add them into the blog rotation and then they’re a part of the team. We also take submissions from other people in the industry and want to contribute as PPC Hero Allies.
Have you ever had problems because a colleague wanted to write the very same post you did? How did you manage the whole thing?
We run into that problem a lot around here, but there’s never been any bad blood or anything like that. We actually use a simple Google Doc to keep track of potential ideas that. If someone likes a topic, they can go in there and claim it. If someone else has that same idea, we can refer to the document to see who claimed it first.
Why do you believe in sharing info so much? Aren’t you afraid of being copied by other agencies or your competitors?
We believe in sharing so much because we want the industry to be better as a whole. The more success people have with PPC, the more they’ll like PPC and the more potential we can have as an agency. We’re not afraid of being copied by anyone else because tactics are always changing and best practices are always evolving. There’s no secret method to winning at PPC – but there is an approach that can be successful applied in any situation. We hope to be able to display our way of thinking through the blog, and a way of thinking is definitely harder to co-opt than some specific tactic.
Do you think that you’ll ever run out of topics to write about?
I honestly don’t. As long as there’s PPC there will be something to say about it. We can (and do) talk about the same things we’ve talked about before, but there’s always something new or different from when we talked about it the first time.
What is that you find so exciting about PPC?
I find two things exciting about PPC – it’s super measurable and it’s always changing. I love being able to show people how much we were able to grow their business. And I also think it’s exciting that PPC has the potentially to be something completely different than what it had been (as we saw recently with Enhanced Campaigns). Even if it’s just something small, Google and Bing are releasing new features all the time and it takes a high level of engagement to keep up with everything.
Do you think PPC is underrated by marketing professionals?
I’m not the best person to answer this question, as I pretty much live and breathe PPC. As a result I only talk to people that care about PPC, and that’s not a great sample of marketing professionals. I hope those other marketers like us, but I can’t say with certainty how they feel.
To all those who state that PPC doesn’t work, what would you tell them?
I wouldn’t have anything specific to tell them, but I would have a whole bunch of questions. What were your goals? What was your targeting? How long was your test? What results can you show me? I really believe that PPC can work for most anyone, but you have the have the right mentality. I’m not going to tell someone that it’s impossible to run a five-minute mile because I couldn’t do it (talk about a bad sample size!). I’m going to find out what training it takes to run a five-minute mile and see if I can do it for myself.
How’s the PPC Market in the US? Do you think it’ll ever get to be like that in Europe?
I think my PPC bias definitely skews my answer, but it seems like it’s going great from my perspective. It is, of course, highly dependent on the search engines and their market shares, so the US industry is very focused on Google, as I imagine it is within Europe as well. There’s always a lag time with new releases from the US to Europe, but whenever I talk with European PPC pros we’re definitely using the same language. I think they’ve been pretty similar in my (admittedly limited) experience.
Which is the most valuable “must-have” for every PPC Agency?
I think this gets back to what I mentioned above about why we don’t mind sharing tips with other professionals. Success in PPC is all about having the right mentality. It’s about being able to ask (and hopefully answer) the right questions. No matter how many tools or tactics are at your disposal you’re not going to succeed long term if you don’t have an overarching approach to what we do.
How much of your time do you invest in researching and creating new techniques to set-up or to improve PPC strategies?
At Hanapin we have a monthly training day that centers on new or improving techniques. We dedicate one full day per month to staying on top of the industry and its constant changes. On top of that, we’re always trying to improve our standard processes. I may spend an hour doing account maintenance, but during that hour I’m trying to make it so the next time I do that activity it will be a few seconds more efficient. We’re always trying to improve.
In your opinion what will be the future of the PPC Market?
I think the future of PPC is as ever-expanding as the Internet. People are finding new ways to stay connected all the time, and at some point the people creating all of that cool technology have to monetize it. We’re seeing it now with mobile devices, and I’m sure we’ll see PPC evolve as platforms for content continue to evolve. We all now that at some point Google Glass is going to have one of our little ads in there. And the next Google Glass is surely going to have its own ad that we can take advantage of.
This interview follows the ones we did some months ago to Movistar’s Social Media Team, and also to the community managers at spanish website TodoStartups. Who would you like us to interview us next?