23 Questions HVAC Companies Must Ask Their Google Ads Agency
Hiring a Google Ads agency for your HVAC business can be a daunting task.
Consider this fact, over 90% of HVAC companies lose money with Google Ads and it has nothing to do with the platform itself.
The agency you hire matters, a lot.
A good agency can take your business to the next level. Whereas a bad agency can smoke your advertising budget like a cheap cigar.
It’s critical to choose the right marketing agency carefully and that’s what we’re going to cover in this guide.
I’ll show you how to ask the right questions and what sort of responses you should be on the lookout for.
So if you’re thinking about hiring a Google Ads agency for your HVAC business, I have 23 critical interview questions that can help you make the right choice.
I’ve worded the questions from the perspective of the client (yourself).
Treat these questions like you would an interview for a new service technician or office manager. You’re trying to get a feel for the applicant, and asking the right questions is critical.
Finally, you don’t need to ask all of these questions, but I’ll explain why each is important so that you can decide if a question is relevant to your situation.
There is a wide variety of marketing agencies, consultants, and freelancers out there.
Some are great, but most aren’t.
Here’s what I can say: a great marketing agency will never charge low prices.
To do good work, just like you, they need good people.
And good people don’t work for cheap.
You ever hear the old saying.. pay peanuts, get monkeys?
Well unless you want to hire a troop of baboons to do your marketing I’d be careful and avoid cheap marketing agencies.
If you’re hunting for a discount, chances are you’ll end up with an agency that cuts corners and neglects the important details. Discounted pricing is often a sign that the agency has difficulty making sales so they are forced to price low to bring in work.
Beware cheap agencies. Period.
That being said, a high price doesn’t guarantee quality work either.
So ask the right questions at the beginning of the relationship and you should avoid any hiring mistakes.
Here’s the thing.. Most people sit back and wait to be pitched by the selection of agencies they’ve reached out to. Few take the initiative to put the agency on the spot and ask some tough questions.
A competent agency won’t shy away from these questions and they’ll have a solid answer for each one of them.
When it comes down to it, the success of your Google Ad campaign starts with you.
Hire the right agency and success will follow, but take the lazy route and you’ll likely suffer for it.
As long as you ask the right questions and pay attention to the answers (I’ll show you how) you should be able to find a Google Ads agency that makes a positive impact on your business.
Ready to go?
Let’s dive in.
1. Are Google Ads right for my business?
You might believe that Google Ads are right for your HVAC business but how can you be certain?
Have you looked at the keyword options, search volume, competition, and investment level for a campaign? Do the numbers make sense financially? Will you be able to recover your investment and turn a profit? Do you know how to calculate return on investment?
This is an absolutely critical interview question.
You MUST get this out of the way and have a satisfactory explanation before it’s worth your time to proceed with the interview.
You don’t want to work with an agency that’s willing to take on anybody and everybody as a client. This is a HUGE red flag.
Having an agency say:
“No, this isn’t right for you right now.”
..is obviously not in the agencies best interests from a sales standpoint.
But this is how you know you’re talking to someone that puts the client’s interests before their own.
2. How many leads will this generate?
Lead flow on a weekly or monthly basis depends on a large number of factors.
Size of your service area, demographics, seasonality, offer, ad spend, competition etc.
Nailing down an exact number is almost impossible.
If the agency has experience running campaigns in your service area they might be able to give you a ballpark figure.
My point is, be careful when an agency promises a specific number of leads. No one can predict the future, so don’t fall prey to this sales tactic.
An honest agency will say:
“We aren’t 100% sure, but here’s our estimate based on X, Y, and Z.”
While this is never going to be 100% accurate it will be close enough to help you make an educated decision.
Steer clear of agencies that promise a specific number of leads.
3. Have you worked with a company like ours before?
Experience will always count for something and the more relevant the experience the better.
Let me explain.
It’s popular these days for agencies to “niche down” and service only one type of client.
This is exactly what we do at HVAC Engines. We only run Google Ads campaigns for HVAC businesses. That’s literally all we do. No web design, no SEO, no Facebook ads. Just PPC.
This gives us a unique advantage when it comes to performance.
We can take the lessons learned from one client campaign and apply it to all the others. This gives us a huge leg up when it comes to performance.
The sacrifice? We have to turn away a lot of potential clients in other industries because it doesn’t fit what we do.
The key takeaway here is that a niche specialized agency is great BUT you need to verify that by asking to see their results with past clients.
4. How long will this process take?
A Google Ads campaign can be up and running in as little as a couple hours.
You can be generating phone calls and new leads the same day you sign on with an agency.
That’s the great part about paid ads, they work fast!
It will take a few weeks beyond that to tighten things up and turn your campaign into a highly tuned lead generation machine.
You’re going to want to ensure you get the maximum return for your investment, so this means fine-tuning metrics like cost-per-click, impressions, and cost-per-conversion.
These things take time because you need to look at the data that comes back before you can make any changes.
In closing, you’ll see leads come in very quickly but prepare to spend a little bit more for them at the outset, while the fine-tuning takes place.
You should have a pretty clear picture of the future by the end of the first 60 days.
5. Do you work with any of our competitors?
This is an easy one.
The answer should be NO. Period.
As an agency you can’t run ads for two competing companies in the same service area, it’s a major conflict of interest.
Ask your agency if you get exclusivity over your service area.
If they say yes, you’re good to go.
6. What will the end result look like?
Happy, long-lasting relationships usually come down to the management of expectations.
If you are crystal clear on what the other person expects from the relationship and are honest and forthright with your expectations, you can set the groundwork for a long, happy relationship.
It’s hard to work together when you aren’t sure what your other half really wants or expect of you. This is why it’s crucial to get your expectations out in the open and never assume that they are known.
It’s the same way with business.
If you can set the groundwork with your agency, and get an agreement in place, you’re going to avoid a lot of headaches.
Far too many clients enter into deals on a handshake, with unanswered questions, and wonder why the campaign failed.
It’s one thing to have an agency say “We don’t do contracts.”
It’s another to refuse to put some parameters down on paper.
It doesn’t matter if it’s written on a series of bar napkins in crayon, just get it in writing and make sure you and your agency agree on all points.
7. How much will this cost?
This one is also pretty straight forward.
Once you’ve had a chance to talk, and the agency has determined they can help you, and what it will take, it shouldn’t be difficult to come up with a price.
Be wary of agencies that are cagey about pricing discussions early in the sales process. They’re just trying to warm you up before dropping the price tag on you. This behavior doesn’t exactly indicate confidence.
As I mentioned at the outset of this guide, a good marketing agency will never be cheap.
Good agencies know their worth and aren’t afraid to charge for it. Be prepared to start at $1,500/month to manage the campaign and allow for an additional $100/day for ad spend. Anything less and you won’t have the horsepower to compete.
In closing, stay away from cheap, and you’ll thank me later.
8. Will we own what you create?
This is something very few clients consider when they hire an agency.
When it comes to Google Ads, the major assets will be your Google Ads account (and it contents) and your landing pages.
Both will likely be created by your agency from scratch.
This is essentially intellectual property, and you need to be clear who owns it if the relationship comes to an end.
Some agencies don’t mind giving away all their work, others prefer to “lease” their intellectual property to the client for the duration of the campaign.
It really depends on how they have their operation set up.
One way isn’t better than the other, just be clear about what you own before you get started.
9. Do you guarantee your work?
This is a double-edged sword but wielded properly it can be your best friend.
Some agencies offer a money back guarantee because it closes sales fast, some because it makes their offer more competitive, and others do it for no other reason than that they are 100% certain they can deliver.
But this is where confidence can easily be misinterpreted as competence.
A guarantee can signal confidence, but it can also be a sign of desperation.
Competent AND confident agencies that have a long history of results won’t shy away from offering a guarantee.
It’s a risk they’re willing to take. A smart risk that’s been mitigated by experience.
When it comes down to it, you’re investing what can be tens of thousands of dollars so wouldn’t a guarantee be nice?
Just be sure it’s coming from a place of competence before you say yes.
10. What happens if we terminate the contract?
This is a great question that is often overlooked.
You might want to terminate a contract for many reasons and not all of them are negative.
Maybe the campaign went so well you got more leads than you need and don’t wish to spend any more money on ads? Or maybe it’s time for a change?
Whatever the reason you need to know what happens if you decide to split.
Will the agency lock you in until the end of the agreement and keep invoicing you? Will they sell your leads to someone else? Or will they let you walk, in an amicable fashion and bid you good luck?
Be direct with this question and get a solid answer before moving forward.
11. What sort of return on investment can we expect?
ROI or return on investment is calculated when you compare your average cost-per-acquisition or CPA (aka what it costs to acquire a paying customer) to your sales for that period in time.
Ultimately, CPA is a team effort between agency and client.
The agency works to get the lowest possible cost-per-lead (CPL) and the client needs to sell those leads at a high rate to keep CPA down.
If both do their job, the ROI will be high.
If one drops the ball, the ROI won’t be as great.
Agencies can’t control a clients sales process, all they can do is ensure a consistent flow of leads at the right price. When it comes to ROI, the rest is up to the client.
A better question is “what kind of cost-per-lead can we expect”?
That’s something an agency has more control over and with that information you’ll be able to make a more accurate ROI forecast.
12. Can you share some success stories?
The greatest predictor of success is past performance.
Make sure you ask to see some examples of where they have succeeded and got the kind of results that you are looking for.
You’re looking for live demonstrations, case studies, testimonials, or anything of that sort.
A successful agency will be glad to share their success stories with you and do a little bragging. It makes them look great and smoothes over the new client relationship by assuaging fears and proving their skills.
So the next time you sit down with a marketing agency say “show me the results!”
13. Are you investing in Google Ads yourselves?
Is the agency happy to take your money and spend it on an advertising strategy they won’t spend their own money on?
I mean they’re a Google Ads agency after all right?
Agencies will generate leads from a wide variety of channels and PPC should be a major lead source for them. The best way to tell if they’re investing in their own PPC is to ask to see their ads.
Best case scenario, you’re talking to them because you already saw one of their ads and it made you click.
If they aren’t investing in PPC ask them why!
14. Will you build landing pages for my campaign?
This is an absolute must.
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make with a PPC campaign is running traffic to the homepage of a website.
It’s lazy and ineffective, and a shocking number of advertisers are guilty of this.
A good agency will build custom landing pages for each of your services. Not only does this improve your number of conversions it will reduce cost-per-lead as well.
A great landing page will have an eye-catching headline, concise description, relevant imagery, descriptive video, a tracking phone number, some social proof, and a clearly defined CTA with opt-in.
Do you want your customers to fill out a form first? Or call you straight away?
You’ll have to share how you like to run your sales process with your agency and they should be able to accommodate just about anything.
15. Do you provide call tracking?
Tracking is everything if you don’t track you can’t measure performance, attribute returns, or budget for your next campaign cycle.
If you are not tracking phone calls as well as keywords then you are missing 50% of the conversion story.
Your agency must be tracking phone calls to have a clearer picture.
Call tracking is cheap and easy to set up and shouldn’t be an issue for any agency to implement into a landing page.
Tell your agency:
“No call tracking? No deal!”
16. Are you a Google certified partner agency?
Sounds basic but you have to ask, don’t just take their word for it.
You wouldn’t use a Doctor or a Lawyer that didn’t have a relevant professional qualification, would you? Don’t trust your hard earned money to companies that claim to be professional but lack the required certifications.
The relevant certification you’re looking for is one in search ads. If they aren’t certified in that it should be treated as suspect.
That said, don’t treat this as an end all be all of credibility. An agency with a couple hours on their hands can take the exam and get certified no problem.
Remember, there are bad doctors and lawyers out there that rest on the laurels of their prestigious certifications, so use your better judgment here.
17. Are you a one-man-band?
There’s nothing wrong with a “one man band” but they do have to play more than one instrument.
Your account should be managed by a dedicated account manager who lives and breathes PPC and it’s best practices.
Not only are two heads better than one but three heads are better than two. Shared experience equals rapid learning and growth.
Account managers sharing what’s working across multiple campaigns is key.
If they are a one-man operation ask them how many accounts they’re managing. If it’s more than 15 they’re going to be stretched pretty thin.
Something to keep in mind.
18. What do you include in your reporting?
Remember the whole setting expectations thing we went over?
This is one of those points I touched on.
You need to be clear on what the reporting includes BEFORE getting into bed with an agency.
Reporting can be very individual and is rarely the same from agency to agency.
You don’t want to get too much information. A ten-page report with obscure metrics and marketing jargon probably isn’t going to help you. If anything it will just be confusing.
Here’s a great rule of thumb. Stay on top of a few key performance indicators (KPI’s) and ask for a weekly or monthly update. I’d want to know about total leads, cost per lead, cost per click, and total impressions. With this information, you can calculate the cost per acquisition which will allow you to quickly calculate return on investment for the week or month.
Keep it simple and focus on what counts.
Anything less and you have poor visibility into the campaign’s progress, any more and you’ll be swimming in technical details that aren’t all that important.
In the end, if your phone is ringing consistently you don’t need to worry about a thing.
19. Will my campaign be outsourced?
This is a lot more common than you’d think, especially with bargain agencies charging prices that are too good to be true.
Agencies will establish a relationship, sell the work, then ship the delivery off to another agency usually overseas in a foreign country that has cheap labor.
If you’re after the best result possible make sure your agency isn’t white labeling or outsourcing the campaign to another service provider.
If they’re the real deal they’ll want to retain control over the results and farming the work out won’t be acceptable to them.
20. Will you be available to answer my questions?
Again, another critical “setting expectations” type of question.
Ask them if they’ll be available to answer questions, how often, and by what channel. If you’re more comfortable communicating via the phone you need to be sure they’re willing to take your calls, because some aren’t.
This doesn’t mean you should be on the phone with your agency on a daily basis but you need to know if you can reach out and get a question answered in a timely, satisfactory manner.
If you wish to keep it more low key and let the experts work that’s great, and recommended if I’m being honest.
Just don’t be afraid to ask and set the record straight for what’s an acceptable rate and style of communication.
21. Will you make any changes to our website?
This is highly unlikely.
Your agency should be creating custom landing pages and possibly an alternate URL to host those landing pages.
This means they won’t need access to your website or have to change any of its content.
At HVAC Engines we use Instapage to create custom landing pages. Using these tools makes it fast and easy to get your campaign up and running and we don’t need to make any changes to your website.
22. Are you a jack of all trades?
If the result matters then you need to hire a specialist that’s going to nail it for you.
Beware the jack of all trades and master of none. If you want a specific outcome you need to hire for it and that means engaging a specialist.
An agency that offers a laundry list of other marketing services isn’t offering them because they’re good at them, they’re doing it for the extra revenue and the “advantage” of being a one-stop shop.
Stay away from agencies that offer a ton of other loosely related services. Clients can get caught up in the hype and go with an agency that bundles their Google Ads with web design, social media management, and other services thinking they’re getting an advantage or a deal.
If you need to get more leads then you need an expert marketer that only focuses on that service.
23. Why should we choose you over the competition?
This is a rather open-ended question but a fair one nonetheless.
Make them work for your business and see what sort of answer they give you!
Do they REALLY want to make this relationship happen?
What sets them apart and why?
They should be trying to WOW you here.
The type of answer you accept is going to lean on personal preference and expectations so only accept an answer that feels right to you.
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