There’s no shortage of PPC marketing experts today who promise to bring in big results for your business. But in the new and constantly shifting world of online advertising, those claims can suddenly evaporate due to abrupt changes in the industry — expertise with the current Google Ads (AdWords) ranking algorithm becomes less valuable when Google changes its formula, after all.

For small-to-medium-sized businesses looking to sign up with a PPC marketing agency, there’s a great deal of comfort in knowing that your partner is a seasoned expert in their field with years of experience under their belt. When you’re going all-in on digital marketing, you don’t want a new recruit at your side; you want a battle-hardened veteran.

SalesX, a digital marketing agency based in the Bay-area tech hub of San Mateo, California, is one such expert in the field of online advertising. Founded in early 2010, just as the modern digital advertising world was taking shape, SalesX has risen to become an award-winning leader in their field by using the best available technology to plan and implement some truly forward-thinking marketing strategies.

And SalesX doesn’t just talk the talk — they also deliver superior results for their clients. In one case, they were able to leverage CallRail’s advanced call tracking tech to cut a client’s cost per lead by a staggering 90 percent.

To learn how to maximize your Google Ads ROI like a PPC pro, check out our webinar on the third-party analytics solutions that give marketers a decisive edge over the competition.

Finding the best tech stack and tools for PPC marketing

“Our secret sauce is not exactly a big secret, because anyone who reads our website can find it out,” Joe Khoei says with a chuckle. Khoei is the founder and CEO of SalesX, and the chief evangelist for the company’s digital-first approach to boosting their clients’ marketing efforts.

“We’re at the top of the pack when it comes to using Google Ads scripts — we have our own custom library of Ads scripts, from when we started doing this about 5 years ago,” he explains. Ads scripting involves snippets of JavaScript programming that can automatically adjust your PPC bids, in order to ensure you’re always getting the best price and the best return based on the available data.

Khoei continues: “We made this strategic decision when we brought [Ads creator] Frederick Vallaeys on board as our chief technology officer, and that’s why he’s still with us on our board of directors. That really helped us in rolling out all kinds of really cutting-edge scripts, which gave us an edge that we continue to enjoy today.”

Another area where SalesX has consistently been out in front of their competitors is their adoption of Bing Ads as part of the menu of options they present to clients. While it may not yet be as popular as its competitor Ads, Khoei and his team have seen real value in Bing Ads for businesses who are willing to go against the mainstream and try something different.

“For one thing, they usually cost a lot less than a comparable ad buy with Google,” Khoei says. “We’ve found that they make a great complement to most digital campaigns, and can deliver solid results for less money. We’re interested to see how things develop with Bing Ads, and we’re going to continue to recommend them to our clients.”

But most of SalesX’s clients don’t rely on PPC marketing alone — calls are also a crucial element of their strategy.

“We started using CallRail about 5 years ago, way before call tracking became quite as buzzy as it is today,” says SalesX SEM Manager Emmanuel McCoy. “For us, the technology was a critical part of our mission, because we want to be able to accurately track all sources of contact for our clients. And we found that for most of our clients, they were tracking form fills and web sessions and everything else, but not calls.”

The ability to track calls with pinpoint accuracy while also dynamically swapping in tracking numbers on their clients’ websites quickly proved invaluable for SalesX. And incorporating their CallRail analytics into their internal marketing database hasn’t just helped them improve their clients’ marketing efforts — they’ve also been able to streamline their operation and automate processes that would otherwise be tedious and time-consuming.

“The CallRail API is very robust, so we’ve been able to automate most of this process and we don’t need an army of people doing manual data-entry,” Khoei says. “Of course, there’s still a layer of human input at the very top of the decision-making process — we don’t want a fully automated system, because we’ve seen too many instances where fully automated ad buys can make terrible decisions.”

“Internally we call it the ‘Iron Man System‘ here, because it’s the latest and greatest technology, but still with a human at the core making the important decisions and tough calls.”

Call tracking for PPC and SEO makes the difference

As the SalesX team continued to hone their use of CallRail over the years, they found plenty of features that have made a big impact for both them and their clients.

“One feature that we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of is call routing, which lets us automatically route incoming calls based on things like the channel they’re calling from, or the time of day,” McCoy says. “With so many of our clients working in a franchise where they might be managing dozens or hundreds of numbers each, having this routing in place is a huge boost to efficiency, and saves them a lot of time.”

CallRail’s ease-of-use has also yielded big dividends for SalesX, particularly when it comes to the simplicity of setting up new tracking numbers, or porting old ones.

One client was using a different call tracking service when they joined up with SalesX, and they were hesitant to make the switch to CallRail; their current provider was clunky and cumbersome to use, and they were afraid they’d encounter similar problems making the transition to CallRail.

“Even simple stuff like requesting a new tracking number for a digital campaign was about a 16-step process,” McCoy explains. “This client had more than 1,000 numbers already in place, so it took some convincing to get them to switch to CallRail. But once they did, the difference was night-and-day for them: That cumbersome, 16-step process was replaced with a simple bit of JavaScript.”

He adds: “They were obviously thrilled, because we had just saved them potentially hundreds or thousands of work hours.”

And SalesX has found that experiences like this are actually the rule, rather than the exception: New clients are often quick to make the jump to CallRail after seeing just how easy it is to use.

“We often don’t have to pitch CallRail that hard to our clients, because when they see how simple it is to install and how easy it is to use, along with all the customization options, the platform kind of pitches itself,” McCoy says. “And CallRail is always adding new updates, which creates a lot of confidence in your users that we’ve made the right choice investing in a platform that will continue to grow and improve.”

Data-driven marketing achieves exceptional outcomes

SalesX prides themselves on consistently delivering great results for their clients. But for Khoei, McCoy, and the rest of the SalesX team, they’ll always remember one case in particular that illustrates how the value of their services intersects with the power of call tracking technology.

“We have a client in the debt-relief business, and they were spending about $100,000 a month on print ads, which was a pretty big spend for a business of their size,” Khoei explains. “They wanted to test out digital, so when they signed up with us, they thought that their ideal customers were big ones who had a high debt load, because then you’d get the best fees and commissions for assisting them, compared to a smaller customer.”

So SalesX conducted a complete, top-to-bottom audit of the company’s marketing efforts and sales funnel, and then deployed their patented combo of PPC sharpshooting with advanced call tracking. What they found surprised both them and the client: The high-debt-load demographic they were originally targeting was far more expensive to market to (and had a conversion rate far lower than) the customers who carried moderate to low levels of debt.

Armed with this full-spectrum view of their client’s marketing data, SalesX was able to deliver truly eye-popping results: Savings of more than 90 percent on the cost of bringing in a new lead. “When they started with us, their Cost Per Click was about $7, and their Cost Per Lead was around $700,” Khoei says. “After about a year of working with us, their Cost Per Click was about $25, but their Cost Per Lead was now at $60, with a conversion rate of about 35 percent.”

“That’s what a sharpshooter’s job is: You need to hit your target, and hit it effectively. And in order to do that, you need to know how your leads are finding you, and you need to know which ones are most likely to convert. For us, call tracking is an essential part of that equation.”

5 PPC Marketing tips from the pros:

  1. Clearly define your goals and intended outcomes. Setting definable and measurable goals is foundational to PPC optimization. Take the time to determine your number-one priority: More traffic? More leads? More conversions?
  2. When starting out, focus on the best-performing keywords. Initially, once you’ve determined which of your bids and keywords are performing best, focus your efforts on them. By making even minor changes to your bidding and placement strategy, you’ll quickly get a sense of what works and what doesn’t for your PPC optimization strategy.
  3. As you grow, create a ‘negative keyword’ list. Then, establish a list of negative (read: irrelevant) PPC keywords. This will save your business loads of money as you ensure that your ads aren’t served alongside irrelevant search queries.
  4. Take advantage of ad extensions. Ad extension features, like call extensions, will allow you to get even more bang for your buck out of your PPC budget.
  5. A/B test your PPC ads. The golden rule of digital marketing: Test, test, and test some more. Experiment with different bids and ad copy to see which versions perform best, and then double down.

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