The beauty of search engine marketing (SEM) is that you can attract website visitors for pennies (literally). Remember the days when all you could afford was a late-night television commercial on a no-name station? Fortunately, you now have the Internet to bring you higher yield options. Even $100 is enough of a budget to develop one focused campaign. With very little upfront investment, you can reach the high quality audiences that are most relevant to your small business. If you’re thinking of launching a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, here is how to make the most out of your limited budget.
1. Test, Test, Test
Google AdWords requires very little to get started. The best approach is to just jump in – if you over think your strategy, you’ll never know when or where to start. Continually test your campaigns (keyword sets, promotional offers, geo-targeting options, etc.) to see what sticks, and get as much data as you can. Start small, identify results, and scale up when you see something that works.
Make sure that you focus on both your advertising copy and landing pages. After all, marketing means more than just bringing prospects to your sites. Your goal should be to find relevant prospects who will take action.
2. Be Relevant
Especially when you’re working with a low budget, you need to keep your PPC advertising funnel as efficient as possible. For that reason, it’s important that you only create ads that are most relevant to your marketing and sales objectives. Think about it. Would you rather pay $1,000 for 10,000 visitors at a 98% bounce rate, or would you rather pay $1,000 to attract 100 prospects who yield $5,000 in sales. In the PPC world, relevancy is key for promoting efficiency. Remember that higher inbound traffic is not always better for your sales objectives.
3. Waste Nothing
It’s okay to fail. Losing $400 most likely won’t hurt your bottom line. But even if you don’t see the results that you want, make the most out of your effort. Study the data and learn from your mistakes. The next time around, you’ll be empowered to make an informed decision. Especially in the PPC world, every failure is one step closer to success.
4. Be Highly Focused
Especially when making the most out of a low budget, focus is key. Actively use negative keywords to filter out traffic that may be irrelevant to your sales goals. Rather than using broad match on your keywords, use phrase and exact match features to attract fewer but more relevant visitors. If you’re reaching out to a local market, make sure to leverage geo-targeting options to reach the right customers for your brand.
5. Watch & Closely Moderate the Ad Network Features You’re Using
It’s hard to imagine that even one check box can make a world of a difference. Use day parting options to target prospects at the hours of the day that they’re most likely to convert. Consider removing your ads from the Google display network and only target ads to search – this step tends to improve advertising efficiency, especially for low budget CPCs. Do your best to learn what every feature means. Making this commitment and upfront time investment will help in the long run.
6. Be Data Driven
Leverage the data you collect to find the best equilibrium points within your limited budget. Is it in your best interest to attract high traffic volume at low CPCs or low traffic volume at high CPCs? Make sure to test both options to maximize your advertising efficiency. Use long-tail keywords instead of higher cost, generic key terms – this strategy will help drive extremely relevant traffic to your brand.
Final Thoughts: Trust Your Gut & Chase the Big Picture
With PPC campaigns, it’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of chasing pennies. Don’t do that – focus on the end goal and big picture. Don’t waste your time chasing the minutiae – use your gut to react to what you’re learning, and make the judgment calls based on data to produce the best results.