When my partner and I started our PPC agency we had the goal of being as lean as possible. We sat down and ruthlessly wrote out a list of our must-have PPC management tools. We were dead set on being frugal to get this business off the ground. If the tool wasn’t vital, we didn’t need it. Something funny happened as we grew though. Once we had cash in the bank to invest in more tools and software we realized we didn’t need anything more than the six tools we were already using. As long as we had our main areas covered we were all set: competitive analysis, keyword research, call tracking, reporting, project management, and sales CRM. Below is a list of the only PPC management tools a freelancer PPC manager or agency needs to be successful in the pay per click industry.
When it comes to being successful at pay per click, keyword research is vital. While it’s not perfect and catches some flak from time to time, you can’t really beat the Google Keyword Planner for quick, effective research. The best part is the cost: free! Some honorable mentions are HitTail and Long Tail Pro. While I really like both of these tools, especially for SEO, I don’t consider them vital for PPC keyword research.
Who doesn’t want to spy on their competitors to see what they’re up to? Find out what ads they’re running, how much they’re spending and so much more. For all those good juicy details we absolutely love SpyFu. An honorable mention would be SEMRush.
Having the ability to track, record, analyze, and generally keep tabs on who's calling from your PPC ads is extremely important. In some PPC niches prospects will want to pick up the phone and call from your ad or landing page, having the ability to track those calls and the keywords that led to those calls is game changing for you. For this we use Call Fire. Some others you could use would be Call Rail, Twilio, or Analytic Call Tracking. We don’t use ACT but a handful our colleagues who specialize in pay per lead do and they swear by it.
One of the beautiful things about pay per click is that everything is trackable. Advertisers will know where 100 percent of their money is going, what’s working and what isn’t.
Being able to report this data back to your clients in a timely fashion is very important. We report weekly and for this we use Agency Analytics. A great alternative and a very close second choice for us would be Ninja Cat. If you offer white label services one of cool things about these tools is they allow for white label reporting and all sorts of other functionality.
Being able to keep track of projects, who's doing what, progress, keywords, landing pages, passwords, etc. is very important. For a while we were using good ole Excel to manage this and while good enough to get us started we needed something more robust. We chose Basecamp as our project management solution and couldn’t be happier. An honorable mention goes out to Trello, a very close second place for us and a solution we almost went with. It's free, too, which is nice!
Last but not least: CRM software. Choosing the right client management software was very important to us. We wanted something with a mobile app and that was fast, nibble, easy to learn and something very visual. For us we chose Pipedrive. An honorable mention goes to Hubspot CRM, a very slick and robust solution which is also free!
So that wraps up by quick list of the top PPC management tools anyone serious about pay per click needs in their arsenal. Did I miss your favorite tool? Do you have better suggestions? Tell me about it in the comments section.