Terms of Service is a generally recognized way of explaining what the prospect can expect if they chose to do business with a company. Because we would have no formal contract, I prefer the term MOU or Memorandum of Understanding.
The purpose of this document is to promote good communications and properly set expectations. It is not a marketing document so you might be surprised by my frankness. Actually, I hope you find it refreshing. It is a reflection of the confidence I have built up over the years of knowing what works and what doesn’t. What results in a happy client and how to avoid problems.
I have a unique business model and it isn’t right for everyone. I get that. But it works for enough clients that I have a constant backlog of work and people seek me out from around the world. If you have not already done so, you must read the page titled Are we a good fit?
Because we will have no formal contract, you may cancel my service whenever you like, for any reason, and the unused consulting fee will be returned without question. I believe this minimizes your risk, gives you more flexibility and insures that I continually deliver value.
If you have questions about anything in this document, please don’t hesitate to ask. I don’t want you to send me any money until you are ready. I’d also like you to confirm you have read this document and are comfortable, before I begin work.
By now, you have probably come to realize that Google AdWords is deceptively simple, yet devilishly complex. Many business owners or managers enter this marketing channel with no idea what they are getting into and when it doesn’t go the way they expect, they look for others to hold accountable for their expectations, whether that’s Google, a consultant or an agency.
This document is my attempt to be as honest and up-front as I can about what you can expect from me, what I expect of you and how the process will unfold. This is a “living document” and it can change at any time without notice. If you decide to retain my services and you have questions along the way, chances are I will be referring you back to this document. So please take the time to read and understand my business model now, before we begin. We will both be better off for it.
Are you comfortable knowing…
- You are ultimately responsible for the success of your AdWords performance. Much the same as you are responsible for your overall health, not your doctor. I know AdWords and the mindset of visitors from search and display advertising. You understand your market, your prospect and your product or service. You also control the offers, landing page, website, budget, profit margin and have the final say for what we actually work on. It is a collaborative effort. I expect you to regularly review the performance of your account and alert me to any issues or concerns you may encounter. I do not monitor your account 24/7 and I am not perfect. This is an iterative process. There will be advances and setbacks.
- You are hiring me to take you through a process, with no guarantee of additional leads, revenue or profits. I know that may not be what you want to hear. But the results will come if we execute the process correctly and certain conditions are met, such as having enough margin in your product, your website does what it needs to do and we have the ability to effectively measure performance. See my blog post titled PPC essentials. What you are getting is someone with fifteen years of PPC experience that you pay for by the hour, that you can turn on and off at will. I am essentially your employee and you can fire me anytime you like if you are not satisfied with my work. You are not hiring me to make your AdWords campaign perform to your expectations. You are hiring me to help you optimize your AdWords account. Some AdWords account cannot be made profitable.
- My solution is not your least expensive option. However, it can be your best value if you are a good fit for my business model. See my article titled Are we a good fit. You might feel that my rate of $100/hr is expensive. However, there are other consultants who charge as much as $1,000/hr and they use fundamentally the same process I do. The difference is, they write books, travel the speaking circuit and work strictly by referral.
- You can’t improve what you can’t measure. My process is based on having meaningful, accurate and statistically significant account history, conversion tracking and analytic data to work with, as well as properly implemented tracking code on your website (Google conversion tracking and Google Analytics). If there is insufficient historical data in your account, it means we either need to build relevant data through testing, which takes time and money or we will be forced to make decisions based on intuition, which will limit our ability to optimize your AdWords account to its full potential. See my article titled Conversion tracking.
- You will likely spend more money on my services in the first few months, than you will be spending on a new PPC campaign click charges. That is the nature of the process. It’s not uncommon for it to take more than 10 hours of my time before we implement a single new ad group. Sometimes we need to spend more time laying the foundation, collecting and analyzing data. See my page titled How much will it cost.
- Just because you pay me by the hour does not give you the right to my tools, work products or a detailed accounting of my time. While I offer tremendous flexibility when it comes to crafting a relationship that works for you, I will not be micro-managed. Remember that I am the expert and you are hiring me to take you through a process. If you hire me, you agree to use my process, which includes granting me access through My Client Center, giving me administrative access to your Google Analytics account, using conversion tracking and goals to monitor performance and other tools provided by Google for the purpose of account optimization. You also agree to provide the assistance of a competent web developer for the purpose of implementing the aforementioned tracking codes on your website.
- I will not sign any documents that limit my ability to work in the future, such as a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or non-compete. On the other hand, I do offer a lot of information in terms of what I do, how I do it and the results we can expect. I am also willing to coach or train you or your staff if you so desire. I am essentially offering to give you my intellectual property that took me years to develop.
The realities of PPC
- 80% of all PPC campaigns lose money! Of those, 30% will never be profitable without significant changes to the landing page, website or the offer. Some of them can never be profitable because AdWords is too expensive and there isn’t enough margin in the product to support PPC advertising. See my article titled The PPC cost model.
- Most novice PPC advertisers are surprised to learn what it takes to develop and fine-tune a successful AdWords campaign. After spending untold hours of their own time and knowing that they have wasted thousands of dollars, they turn to a professional because they think they have missed some simple nuance. They think a professional has some sophisticated tool or crystal ball that will magically produce a profitable campaign in a matter of a couple of hours. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Unless you decide to stop working with me for some reason, you should expect to spend a minimum of $2,000 – $3,000 for the engagement. I have some clients who have spent less and many spend considerably more. It just depends on how complex your account is and how much interaction we have.
- If you don’t have an action on your website a visitor can take (within 30 days) that indicates they are a qualified prospect, you will be missing out on the most valuable aspect of PPC advertising, conversion tracking. If your most desired response is a phone call, see my article titled Telephone conversions. There is a reason Google AdWords is called a direct-response advertising tool.
- Most people only think of using AdWords for search engine advertising. However, Google’s display network is actually the largest advertising network on the internet. But the way you build and maintain a display network campaign is very different and considerably more time-consuming than search. See my article titled Display network advertising. Many novice advertisers aren’t even aware they have been showing their ads on the display network!
What you can expect when working with me
- Once your payment has been confirmed, I generally begin working on your account that day. I typically take a minimum of 3 hours setting up my internal systems to bring you on as a client, analyzing your account in more detail, running reports, reviewing your website and taking a look at your competition. This can vary greatly, depending on the size of the account.
- If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, I will ask you to create one. If you have an account, I will need to verify it is “linked” to your AdWords account.
- You should expect me to very quickly focus on conversion tracking. If it has not been implemented, we will discuss what your options are. If it is implemented, I will want to verify that it; 1) is working properly, 2) represents actions a qualified prospect would take within 30 days of visiting your website, 3) the action is a meaningful part of the engagement process, 4) captures enough statistically significant data to manage the campaign and that all the conversion actions have the same relative value to your business.
- In order for me to effectively advertise your business, I need to understand your business. Therefore, I must have direct access to someone who understands your products and services, your business objectives, your industry, your market and your competition. It simply isn’t reasonable that I can efficiently understand these things by simply reading the content on your website, brochures or other documentation you feel would be a substitute for real personal interaction.
- In order to properly implement the tools we need to measure performance and optimize your account, you must have a web developer who is skilled in Google Analytics and implementing website code; HTML, JAVA script, etc. If you don’t have a good relationship with your web developer, if they don’t have the necessary skills to implement the code or easily create new pages, it can really bog things down. That means it will take longer and cost more. I can say with complete confidence that the success you envision will require a lot more than just the mechanics of Google AdWords.
- Once the foundation has been laid, I usually recommend working on a small segment of your account, typically a single ad group so you can see how the process works. However, sometimes that isn’t possible because of how your account is structured.
- It’s normal to expect that I will pause what I’m doing while I’m waiting for you to make a decision or have work done to your website.
- When we enter the Development phase, please do not allow anyone but me to make any changes to the campaign(s) I am managing. I will be following a proven process and if someone else makes any modifications, it will only create confusion and almost surely have a negative effect on performance. At the appropriate time, I will inform you what actions you can perform and those you should not attempt. Please resist the urge to try and improve the campaign without checking with me first.
- If we reach a stage in the process where I encounter a relatively tedious, time-consuming task, I may ask if you would like me to do the work or if you would like me to coach you on how to do the work yourself.
- The amount of time I spend each month is completely up to you, but the amount of time I spend will determine how quickly we reach your goals. I generally work on a client’s account anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours at a time. Therefore, as we approach the end of the retainer period, I will be asking you to authorize payment for the next ten hours of consulting ($1,000). This insures that I will be able to complete the next segment of the project without having to stop in the middle.
- If you stop communicating with me, I stop working. If you fail to pay an invoice in a timely manner, I stop working and you run the risk of paying whatever it takes for me to get back up to speed. The tactics I use are quite complex and I simply can’t turn on and off without some review.
- Because my business model is based on a collaborative relationship, I tend to provide clients with a lot of relevant information in the form of custom email correspondence and relevant website content. Why do I do this? Because if I don’t, you might not take the actions I am recommending or have the patience that is required to reach your objective. Most of my clients, especially the ones who have become successful at PPC, understand and appreciate this. Those who don’t typically have unrealistic expectations and simply want someone else to hold accountable for their online success.
- I have over fifteen years of experience as a Google AdWords consultant, but I am not perfect. Far from it in fact. I won’t be able to answer every question on demand and some topics will require research, including email and / or telephone dialog with Google. It’s not unusual for it to take an hour or more for me to compose a detailed message, especially when it involves data collection, analysis, graphic images or interaction with Google. Any reference to the amount of time something will take is purely an estimate. I don’t make any guarantees or commit to any specific deliverables.
- It is not reasonable for me to stop what I’m doing to ask for your “authorization” for me to perform a given task. You should assume that I am working toward what I believe are your objectives. Your financial liability does not extend beyond any advance you have paid. However, you should expect that I will often work in blocks of time that last for several hours, depending on the task at hand. You can stop at any time, but you are liable for any work I perform up to that point.
- Any time I spend thinking about your account, is time I’m not working for another client or on my own business. It is all billable time. I keep a journal of the time I spend on your account, but I don’t keep a detailed record of all the tasks I perform. Instead I rely on the natural dialog that goes with the process (phone calls, emails, references to my website content, etc.) to communicate what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what we should expect. If all of this information does not answer the question “what have I been doing”, I’ll be happy to discuss it with you further. However, it will be at my regular consulting rate. Please do not wait until the advance has been depleted to ask.
I hope you have found this to be helpful and informative.
Thank you for your business. I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.
To your success.