The world of digital marketing offers amazing opportunities for businesses of all sizes to reach new audiences with their products and services. It’s also an incredible opportunity for experienced marketing professionals to branch out on their own and launch their own agencies and consultancies.
However, as any marketer or agency professional could tell you, it’s ferocious out there, and the pressure of not only taking care of existing clients but also trying to find new business is brutal. Even skilled, experienced marketers need help, as Stuart Atkins of Atkins Marketing Solutions discovered while growing his agency.
How It All Got Started
Stuart Atkins, founder of Atkins Marketing Solutions, knows more than a thing or two about marketing. The author of two books – Winning the Battle for Attention: Internet Marketing for Small Business and Small Business Marketing: A Guide for Survival, Growth, and Success – Stuart also teaches marketing at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics in Fullerton, California. A seasoned 20-year marketing veteran with corporate heavyweights such as Toshiba America and Kingston Technology, Stuart founded his agency in 2008 and never looked back.
“After going through a layoff in 2007, I reinvented myself and Atkins Marketing Solutions was created,” Stuart says. “I started teaching part-time. We help businesses audit their marketing, tell their story, and find their customers. Our marketing services cover PPC, product management and naming, branding, website usability and content development, email marketing, and WordPress website development. Our PPC business is growing and becoming more of a niche service offering for our clients.”
Despite his considerable marketing experience, the pressures of running a full-service marketing agency soon became apparent: a need for greater focus, in less time, with fewer resources. Stuart knew he needed help, and so began searching for a partner that would help him deliver greater ROI to his clients and grow his business.
That’s when Stuart discovered WordStream’s software, and started using it to grow his agency and better serve his clients. Here are a few ways that Stuart has improved his PPC campaigns since he signed on as a WordStream customer.
Working Smarter, Not Harder
Stuart says he first heard about WordStream while evaluating tools that could help him handle his increasing workload and take on more ambitious projects.
“I needed a PPC management tool to help me navigate more volume and complexity in my agency accounts,” Stuart explains. “I also realized that taking on more PPC clients requires increased time efficiency. I started the dialog with WordStream at Constant Contact’s annual OneCon conference. I was really interested, but did not sign up yet.”
It wasn’t until later that Stuart realized how WordStream could fit into his existing workflow and allow him to take on more ambitious projects and client work.
“A few months later a large high-tech potential client heard me speak on PPC and requested a proposal,” Stuart says. “At the time, I did not have the needed management tools and support to handle this account. I then started searching for the right tool. I called the leading PPC management companies and one of the world’s largest enterprise PPC management companies actually recommended WordStream for handling multiple small- to medium-sized PPC accounts. I was convinced. I signed on and only wished I had done so earlier.”
Stuart began to see the results of working with WordStream almost immediately. WordStream quickly became part of Stuart’s wider approach to PPC strategy, and allowed him to give his clients the focus they deserved while saving him valuable time – all without disrupting Stuart’s preferred PPC management workflow.
“For new accounts, I first look at negative keyword queries to help filter any unwanted spend,” Stuart explains. “I then check keyword performance seeking a balance of both clicks and CTR, then optimize my bidding. I usually bid aggressively to ensure clients appear in position 1-3 for both mobile and desktop, especially since Google removed sidebar ads recently.”
Improving Lead Intelligence with Call Tracking
For both Stuart’s own agency and for many of his clients, calls are an incredibly important lead type. When he started using Call Tracking, a feature that allows users to listen to, record, and track incoming phone calls generated from PPC ads, he was able to secure new business for his agency and provide greater insights into his clients’ performance. This is intelligence that has proven extraordinarily popular with Stuart’s clients.
“The call recordings reinforce to clients my agency value,” Stuart says. “Plus, you know the keywords that generated the call. That’s invaluable. In fact, the Call Tracking feature helps me close new clients. They love the idea. As for the reporting tool, it saves me time and documents more value to my clients. Call Tracking reinforces ROI in their advertising and PPC management spend. It also gives them a window into the world of live customer engagement.”
Stuart found that, in addition to the tools, functionality, and workflow improvements offered by WordStream Advisor, his relationship with his Customer Success Representative was invaluable to maximizing the potential of WordStream.
“My Customer Success Rep has been fantastic,” Stuart says. “I did all the basic training but he opened my eyes to the details that mattered. There is no substitute for live interaction regarding the actual data coming in from a client account. In fact, the WordStream support team has been fantastic overall.”
Two Great Tools that Work Great Together
When it comes to AdWords, Stuart says, WordStream can be a valuable tool to any agency, but added that his previous experience and WordStream’s tools has been a winning combination for him and his agency.
“PPC is both an art and a science,” Stuart explains. “WordStream adds another dimension to the AdWords management platform. In fact, they both work well together as I still also use Google management platform in conjunction with WordStream. This management dimension is critical for success if one wishes to bring out the full potential of a PPC campaign. WordStream works best if you know and understand Google AdWords. Having a grasp of the fundamental nuances of PPC structure and design enhances WordStream’s tools all the more.”
Stuart’s agency may be small – “We are an army of two employees right now,” he says – but working with WordStream has helped him provide greater value to his clients and succeed in an incredibly competitive market, both of which are a recipe for further growth.
“WordStream helps me close and keep new clients,” Stuart says. “It has given me the confidence to know I can handle more and higher-end clients. Even though I’m fairly new to WordStream, it has opened my eyes to dream much bigger PPC dreams as an agency and consultant. It has shown me what’s possible and now has me thinking with much more scale and PPC client growth in mind.”