Here are some good questions to ask.
How do you pick the keywords?
A good PPC management company will pick the keywords that are very specific to your product. The keyword must not be too generic. The more generic the less likely the searcher is close to a buying decision. As an example a person who types the phrase “Sporting Goods” does not yet know what he is looking for. Where a person who types “Soccer Ball” is looking for something specific and is closer to a buying decision. Picking the right phrases can focus your campaign on buyers and not shoppers. The goal should be to find the customers and not just a high volume of traffic. Many of the tools used to generate keywords have parameters that determine if the keyword will generate buyers or visitors.
How do you generate the ad copy?
This is what determines the traffic you get. A good PPC manager will ask you questions like where do your customers come from? What are your strong points? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? The ad is a filter to try and find the people who care about the things that are your company’s strengths. A good PPC company knows the search engines rules about what acceptable ad copy is and what is not. For example the search engines do not like an ad that makes claims like number one, best, top etc. Another word to be careful with is “Free”. The search engines look at the content to make sure it is backed up by the site.
How will the campaign performance be judged?
If the response is visits then you should be concerned. What should be the criteria is phone calls, web forms submitted, emails or any other lead parameters. If the management method is by a human, then ask how often the campaign will be evaluated. The really good companies use a computer based optimization that operates 24 hours a day. With the wrong criteria being judged then you could spend lots of money on keywords that generate lots of traffic but not the leads the company needs.
The bottom line is you need a PPC management company that is looking out for you and gives you a good ROI.