PPC Advice for Small Business Budgets

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August 22, 2012
Daniel Vaczi Daniel Vaczi

PPC advertisingPay per click campaigns have the potential to generate strong returns for your business. With a small marketing budget, you can easily find new customers who are interested in your service or product. You can even jump in with a minimal financial risk – start with a test, move forward with what’s working, and quickly stop what isn’t. Commit to starting, and in less than a day, you’ll be up and running.

If you aren’t careful with your strategy, however, it’s just as easy to lose money. How do you know that you’re not overpaying for your keywords? How do you know whether you’re reaching the most profitable audience possible? Are your advertising operations running as efficiently as possible? Are you losing money without realizing it?

Your small businesses can’t afford to waste any marketing dollars. Every penny spent needs to generate a return. Otherwise, you’re literally throwing money down the drain – even if it’s just a couple hundred dollars. When you scale your campaigns, that number can get much bigger.

Whether you’re an experienced marketer or first-time pay per click advertiser, be sure to follow these suggestions for the most profitable campaigns possible.

Pay attention to your campaign structures

You might be starting out with a few keywords, but over time, your campaigns will start to grow. If you don’t plan your campaign structures and goals upfront, your marketing initiatives can easily become spaghetti at the wall. 

Make sure that you clearly plan which keyword goes where so that you keep control over your goals. For instance, you may want to geotarget customers for one set of keywords but not the other. You might want to try different sets of keywords to target varying phases of the buy cycle. The way that you structure your campaigns should guide the metrics that you want to measure. 

Think in terms of themes and goals, not technical jargon

Online advertising is a very technical discipline, and you’ll likely encounter confusing terms that can be difficult to grasp at first. Instead of getting bogged down by the next-best-thing in bid optimization, focus on timeless objectives like customer acquisition, visitor retention, lead generation, and sales conversions. PPC is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Focus on your goals, and you’ll learn what you need to get there. Don’t let the industry intimidate you, but keep in mind that there is always room for improvement.

Know your networks, and think of them separately

Within Google, you have a range of ad serving options. Treat each network separately – search, display, content, and syndicated search partner networks support different business objectives.

Think about your campaigns from a user experience perspective in terms of where the ads are shown and how they look. If you buy clicks from everywhere, you’ll lose money. Make sure your ads are in the right place with the right message. 

On a similar note, keep an eye out for networks beyond Google. There are hundreds of ad networks and exchanges that sell a range of packages for small businesses – by all means, the market is much bigger than Google, and you may find strong returns elsewhere. Be creative with your budget. It doesn't hurt to run experiments and compare the results.

Pay attention to your match types

With paid search marketing, ads are triggered by user keyword queries. There are four match types that control when ads show up.

  1. Broad matches will trigger your ads on synonyms, related searches, and variations.

  2. With phrase matching, your ads show up when people search for a keyword or relevant expression.

  3. Exact match is the most specific, which means that ads only show up for users searching for specific keywords.

  4. Negative matching can be used to filter out user searches that are irrelevant.

Make sure that your match types align well with the traffic types that you want to attract. Especially if you’re using broad and phrase matching, refine your campaigns by filtering keywords and expressions for which you don’t want traffic. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting money on mismatched clicks that are unlikely to convert into a sale.

Be True to Your Brand

Remember that even with online advertising, customer experience is your top priority. Be straightforward, stay relevant, and only reach out to the geographic areas that your company is willing and able to serve. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting valuable click-money that would be better spent towards a potential conversion. 



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