Have you ever met a compulsive DIY’er (Do It Yourself’er)? You know the type. They get so intent on saving a penny that they can spend dollars to do it.

Image of DIY car repair

Sure, some DIY activities are worth it. You own an auto repair shop so there’s no use paying another mechanic to fix your car! DIY. You used to be a professional painter? Then save a buck and paint your own house! DIY. There are definitely activities which allow you to save money if you are able to put the time and make up for the difference in your budget.

Image of car headlights

*image source: http://cheezburger.com/7635036672

On the other hand, there is nearly always a reason for a professional in every industry. Professionals are generally more skilled than a DIY’er in a specific area, or have better equipment, or are more qualified, or more knowledgeable, and sometimes just a learned process that saves time.

The problem is, that we love to do things ourselves, even if it’s not always in our best interest. Does the following scenario sound familiar to a DIY’er like yourself?

Home Oil Changes FTW (Not)

I used to think I would become independently wealthy with the savings added up from the oil changes I did myself. Just think, if I get my oil changed every 4-5 months, I will save roughly $100-125 per year! Now, I just have to take the time to actually do it and work through these 15 simple steps:

1) …ok, where did I put those car ramps…
2) …and let’s see, which was the right-sized socket for that stupid oil plug (metric or standard?)…
3) …and now to find a bucket big enough…
4) …can’t quite get the filter off… oh crap, here it all comes!…
5) …cleans up oil spill…
6) …oh shoot, I didn’t buy the right filter…
7) …*drives back to store in different car since now all oil is now sitting in a bucket below first car*…
8) …pours in new oil, “4 or 5 quarts in this model?”…
9) …hunts down car manual…
10) …pours in correct amount of new oil…
11) … drives car off ramp and parks it…
12) … “now what to do with this old oil? Can’t throw it away…”
13) … pours old oil into 5 qu bucket and sets next to 27 other old oil buckets in garage…
14) …walks back into the house 2 hours later proud of having saved $35 by taking time off of normal work or family time to do so…
15) BONUS STEP: every 3-4 oil changes, insert: *forgets to put plug back on before pouring in new oil* just to keep things interesting.

It’s sad and funny because it’s true. Maybe you are better than me at changing oil, but the truth still stands that there are times when you should go with a professional even if the numbers look like they will initially be saving you money by doing it yourself.

The DIY PPC Question…It’s Coming For You

So what does this have to do with PPC? Well, being a Small Agency Owner, I get out and do a fair amount of prospecting myself. I deal mostly with small businesses (SMBs) in discussing PPC Marketing options, and I hear the same thing nearly every time:

“Why would I pay an agency to do something I can do? Adwords tells me they will give me phone support (for a limited period of time at the beginning) and there are lots of articles online about how to do PPC Marketing. Why would I pay you to do it?”

This is a great question. We will look at this specifically, but first I have 3 thoughts:

First of all, I have argued elsewhere (read my Open Letter to Google from a PPC Agency) that the PPC Search Engines marketing strategy pushing “how easy it is for anyone to do it” is actually hurting themselves.

Second, if you own or work for a major PPC Agency dealing with bigger clients and corporate America, you may be tempted to check out here. However, for some of the reasons I outline in the above article link, I would suggest you listen closely because I believe this faulty view of PPC will eventually affect your bottom dollar as well. The more the Search Engines allow poor PPC advertising practices the worse the results will be, the less relevant everything will be, and the more people in general will become disenchanted with SERP ads.

Third, in speaking of DIY, I am not referring to In-House professionals. I am referring to a business owner, manager, or general advertising individual who is hoping to save a few bucks by throwing some money at PPC as he/she focuses elsewhere on the majority of their non-PPC responsibilities.

So now that you’ve made it through the longest blogpost introduction ever… here are 4 reasons I believe a DIY strategy will do more to hurt a company than hiring a dedicated PPC agency or full-time in-house professional. I have written this as if directly to a SMB owner or marketing manager.

You can only be awesome at a limited number of things.

You can only be an expert at so many things, and your expertise is your business (not PPC). Please hear me, as a successful entrepreneur you are already awesome. You don’t need to show us your awesomeness in PPC because you’ve already beaten the odds in your own industry. You rock at selling widgets, house cleaning, or whatever it is you do.

It’s not a problem to realize that you don’t have the time or expertise to rock at everything. I could never do your job and know all that you do. In that same way, understand the intricacies that go into PPC and have respect for for that time and effort, just like in your industry.

I recently told a prospect something like this during a meeting. “If you asked me to go down into your factory and put together this widget you make, I could probably slop together something, but could never do it as well as you guys make it. That doesn’t mean I’m stupid, it’s just not my area of expertise.”

The subtleties make all the difference in the world.

PPC (like any specialty field) consists of subtle, easy-to-miss aspects that can often be the difference between loss and gain in an account. Any PPC agency you talk to likely has many examples of this in new account audits.

Perhaps your campaign geo-targeting was not set correctly so your US campaigns are accruing cost from visits all over the world.

Perhaps it’s a faulty keyword match type strategy that has your ads showing to completely unrelated keywords from your target audience.

Perhaps it’s a failure to understand the intricate policies of Google Shopping that has your feed disapproved with little explanation.

Perhaps it’s the overuse of Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ads so they appear that they are showing like so:

Image of DKI ads

*images from this excellent Wordstream Ebay article.

Whatever it is (just like in any industry), what separates the professional from the amateur is not an inability to create an account and run a campaign… it is the understanding of the intricate subtleties that stops the bleeding and takes advantage of the true possibilities of PPC Advertising.

There is such a difference between knowing what setting to click, and knowing WHY that is the correct setting to click.

Your time is more valuable running your business.

This is similar to number 1, but involves the time dynamic. Please hear me, I’m not saying you’re not good enough to learn PPC or to become an expert in PPC. I’m saying you as an SMB owner or manager have a ton of other things on your plate. Things that only you can do, or only you can do well. It is likely that the time you would spend learning to effectively manage PPC would take you substantially away from those important responsibilities. Just like any other industry, PPC involves a level of knowledge to produce great results.

A business owner or manager must ask themselves, do I have the time to learn PPC well and manage it moving forward in addition to juggling my current responsibilities? You may actually be losing money as a company by refusing to hire a dedicated PPC Agency or in-house individual if you are shirking other responsibilities in order to handle PPC.

Image of juggling balls

You may end up spending more in the long-run by trying it yourself first.

There’s a reason I entitled this post DIY: Destroy-It-Yourself. Let’s go back to the mechanic illustration. I bought a used Honda Odyssey last year. A few months after purchasing, I started having weird electrical issues, until finally the battery began draining every time the car sat. I jumped it, ran it over to the mechanic… and he promptly found an aftermarket alarm/self-start mess of wires cobbled together in the van’s system. Someone probably thought, “eh, it’s not Honda standard, but I can just throw it in there.” Unfortunately in this illustration, the next guy (me) was the one who ended up paying more to have the DIY effort fixed… but you get the idea.

When something is not done right, it often ends up costing significantly more money than would have in the first place if done correctly. I’m sure we all have stories along this line we could sheepishly tell.

The same holds true for PPC. Before looking at potentially throwing hundreds or thousands of dollars down the drain, consider having it handled by a good agency or in-house professional from the beginning. Ensure your account is setup correctly, tracking is implemented, and many of the common-beginner-mistakes that sap account cost are avoided from the beginning. I would go out on a limb to say that all agencies could tell you stories of saving loads of cash after only about 10 minutes of an account audit by noting various beginner mistakes. Avoid those same mistakes and hire a professional from the beginning!

What about you, would you add anything to this list, or would you argue any of the points? What are some other reasons you think a business should ignore the “DIY” mentality and hire a professional PPC agency or in-house professional from the beginning? I look forward to hearing from you!