I'll never forget the first AdWords account that I lost. It happened when I was working for a small agency in Salt Lake City that couldn't get enough AdWords clients to satisfy my deep thirst for optimizing ad spend. When I left that agency to start adMind, they were kind enough to white label my services and let me start out with a couple of their clients. The total spend was around $12,000 per month and I was pumped.
Our initial agreement was that I would receive $500/month to spend about 2 hours per day managing the largest spending account. For the non-math geniuses out there that's 40 hours per month and equals $12.50 per hour...not sustainable to start and grow a business. But hey, it was better than $0/hr.
As I began increasing my time spent hunting down and acquiring new clients, existing accounts slowly collected dust. 2 hours per day turned into 2 hours per week which turned into 2 hours every other week which turned into 2 hours per month just to build reports. Not a bad ROI at that point…$250/hr.
One day I got a phone call from my old agency owner who said he just got a call from the client - and they were pissed. Their account was severely under spending and the end they were experiencing a lack of business. I quickly opened the account to verify and saw that for the past six weeks they were only spending about 50% of their daily budget. I told him that their CPA was lower than ever and that they were generating the same number of conversions they always have. Needless to say, he didn't care because the client is always right.
He told me he was switching over all of his white labeled spend to another agency that had “tons of employees” and “managed about $300,000 a month in spend.” I couldn't fathom managing that much alone. If $12,000 took me nearly 40 hours a month to effectively manage then how many people would I need to employ to achieve my goal of $1 million dollars in managed AdWords spend per month?
Fast forward 2 years to May 2016. I’ve grown my adMind team to five people...but none of them are AdWords account managers. My partner Mike Query is our lead developer and manages two Junior Developers. My cousin Trevor Whittingham is our jack of all trades and master of everything creative. We manage over 45 active AdWords accounts and with nearly $1 million dollars a month in ad spend… and we haven’t lost an AdWords client (that we didn’t want to lose :) in over 9 months.
So what's the secret to becoming a one-man AdWords Army? Automation. If you want to manage large volumes of spend without employing teams of people then you need to become an expert at every automation tool that Google has offer. Bidding strategies, scripts, dynamic ads, alerts, shared budgets, automated rules, that’s all just the beginning. You can essentially program an AdWords account to check the same things that you would check on a daily basis and make the same adjustments that you would make if you were in the account yourself. This not only provides more efficient management, but helps your clients spend their hard earned advertising dollars on advertising, not high management fees.
Now, there's still plenty of grunt work outside the in-account tasks when managing $1,000,000 in AdWords spend every month, but that's a story for another post.
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