In-House PPC Blog Series: Michael Henderson from

Hey! I’m Mike Henderson, Digital Marketing Director at where I manage our paid search and other online marketing initiatives. I started at in October 2013. Prior to coming on, I was fresh out of college working at a small ad agency. I was hesitant to make the move to in-house, but like most people who have considered making the switch I couldn’t help but wonder how focusing my skills on a single brand could benefit a company.

surety bonds logo prides itself on providing business owners with a fast, reliable service to get a surety bond. Put simply, surety bonds are agreements to follow the laws and regulations in a given industry and most commonly required when getting licensed with a government entity. If you’ve ever heard of a company claim they are “licensed and bonded”, we do the latter.

When I arrived at, my sole responsibility was to increase leads for our sales team through paid search. While the goal of generating more business opportunities has stayed the same throughout my tenure, the responsibilities have expanded to multiple areas of online marketing. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned making the transition as a modern day PPCer from agency to brand.

Stay Flexible

One of the biggest things I’ve learned as an in-house PPCer is flexibility. As a member of an in-house marketing staff, roles typically don’t fit into neat little descriptions. There’s so much to do and limited resources in which to do it, so you have to be adaptable and juggle multiple projects at once. This means working on projects you’re comfortable with, and others you aren’t.

When joining an in-house team you should expect, and be open to, learning on the fly. The right mindset will not only make you a better marketer, but you’ll soon realize the skills you’ve learned would have taken much longer to gather elsewhere. My first 3 months at SuretyBonds were pretty standard for a paid search specialist working on a new account. Like any good PPCer, I audited the account, found the obvious holes and fixed them up. Soon, I took over managing our remarketing efforts as well as monitoring our SEO and web analytics. At this point, my responsibilities still fit in a pretty nice bucket; managing all our paid marketing, all our search marketing, and using Google Analytics to make sure those channels are working effectively.


After about a year, we decided it was time to update our website and begin A/B testing. This became my responsibility as well. In preparation for site testing, I took a 3-month coding class to learn the ins and outs of building websites. Here I learned HTML, CSS and basic JavaScript, but the most rewarding outcome was a better understanding of what our developers do. This allowed me to communicate with our developers in their language, speeding up the redesign and testing process.

Learn The Business

Recently we’ve brought on a few more full-time marketing personnel and the jobs are a bit more segmented. Now, my role revolves more around strategy and connecting our marketing efforts to business objectives. In order to reach this point, I needed to get a better handle on the vision of the company.

On the in-house side, there are usually free lines of communication between the paid search specialist and the head honchos. For instance, I can get in touch with our CEO/CMO virtually anytime of the day. This has done wonders in not only my understanding of, but running a business as a whole. With a clearer picture of where our leadership is steering the ship, my optimizations are completely tailored to business needs and back end data. This is a realm that is still hard to come by in online marketing and adds incredible value to your work.


Being an in-house PPCer involves a lot more than being an in-house PPCer. You’re not only adapting to changes in the paid search space; you’re also preparing for changes in other online marketing channels as well as your own company or industry. Joining a small in-house marketing team has provided me a wealth of marketing experience and business-savvy I’ll use in the rest of my marketing career.

michael henderson suretybondsMike Henderson has been the Digital Marketing Director for for 3 years focusing on PPC, SEO, CRO and web analytics to increase online lead generation. He has a passion for digital marketing and helping build and grow businesses online. In his free time, Mike enjoys golfing, drinking craft beers and whiskey, and hanging out with friends and family.

Follow Michael on Twitter @innuHendo