How Kirk Williams Eliminated Delinquent Payments For His PPC Ad Agency With MoonClerk

Kirk Williams talks with us about how switching to MoonClerk as the payment system for his PPC ad agency, Zato, eliminated the issues he had with delinquent customers. 

Can you tell us a little about what Zato does?

ZATO is a PPC micro-agency that audits, builds, and optimizes Google and Microsoft Advertising campaigns for Ecommerce brands spending between $25K and $1M/month in ad spend. We also have a Small Budgets Program that is geared towards affordable human-led PPC management for businesses spending under $10k/month. I like to say that we care more about our clients’ growth than we do our own, as we strive to do great work in PPC and then go home in the evenings to our families. It’s my own personal attempt to battle the burn-out culture for which digital agencies are often known. 

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

We are a small agency (there’s just 5 of us), but we operate at a very high skill level in Google Ads so I rely on my team primarily to manage accounts while I run the business and provide strategic support on accounts as needed. I also manage 1 or 2 accounts myself so I can keep my PPC skills sharp! Otherwise, I’m a typical small business owner who does a little bit of everything, especially in terms of the primary marketing and sales for our company. 

How did you get started?

In 2011 I was working in-house at an ecommerce brand and began a side business to make a little extra cash (we lived in Louisville, KY at the time). I discovered it was quite enjoyable finding and managing a variety of different clients and went out on my own shortly after that. Over the years I collected a few team members along the way, but we’ve always tried to keep our core business objective at our forefront and never scale faster than our service quality could stand. 

What have been some key factors in growing your business?

I have a loud mouth online, and in some ways, attribute my success to Twitter. My objective in the early days was to share my knowledge on Twitter and would often spend hours helping others in tweet threads work through PPC issues. I also have a sense of humor so enjoyed making memes only PPC marketers would understand. This eventually led to opportunities for speaking at conferences (I have spoken around the world in cities such as Sydney, Dublin, Milan, London, New York, LA, Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis, and many others) as well as writing for well-known industry publications such as MarketingLand, the Microsoft Blog, the Shopify Retail Blog, Moz, and others. This led to the development of relationships through networking which has given us a fairly steady source of inbound leads. I think we’ve probably spent under $3,000 on actual advertising in total over the decade of our existence (not counting marketing expenses for conference travel and meals, however!), but with millions in business revenue over that period… so I’d say the inbound strategy has worked well for us!

What do you use MoonClerk for?

MoonClerk is how we process many of our client fees. PPC clients typically have two fee systems: they have to pay the Platform such as Google and they have to pay someone to manage their ad channel. We use Moonclerk to set up and process ZATO fees.

What problems did you have with your previous payment system?

My old system was me invoicing clients, and that involved a bit of work each month for me or someone else to calculate the fees and send an invoice. The main issue we ran up against with our old system, is that it was easy for clients to become accidentally delinquent. We rarely ever had someone never pay us, but it was common for payments to be “forgotten” for weeks. 

While we were able to keep up with the delinquent payments, it was a constant hassle, and would sometimes become a minor source of friction between us and our stressed-out clients who were business owners. 

What made you finally decide to use MoonClerk?

We actually first used MoonClerk for another small business my wife and I started and later sold - a local coworking space in Billings, MT. We wanted a seamless membership payment process, and at some point I realized it was such a good system that I should figure out how to incorporate it into my primary business.

What was your experience when getting started with MoonClerk?

Since MoonClerk is an automated billing system, our issues with overdue payments disappeared virtually overnight, with only a few card expiration issues popping up here and there. 

What specific feature do you like most about MoonClerk?

MoonClerk does what it’s supposed to do! That alone is incredibly valuable to a busy small business owner. Obviously the simple, automated payment processing is the core of Moonclerk for us, but we also really appreciate the easy-to-use UI in setting up payment forms.

We love the template options for the forms. We use a template as a base form for every new plan, and then we can rapidly change it up if there is a unique aspect to a new client. I also love the ability to easily change the plan if a client needs to change something up, adjust payment rates, set a new date for the payment to process on, or even run single manual charges if a client purchases a one-time service from us. It’s all very seamless, and the client portal easily allows them to change their card details and plan details on their end, as well.

How has MoonClerk helped your business

MoonClerk has so obviously simplified my invoicing workflow. So, it’s most specifically helped me. 

Would you recommend MoonClerk to others?

Absolutely, and I have before! When something “just works” and “does what it’s supposed to do”, like MoonClerk does, I’m a huge fan.