With the turn of the century and expansion of the world wide web as we know it, the possibilities of PPC for small businesses are virtually limitless. Websites are being created right and left – each with a specific purpose. With the rapid growth of the internet and digital advances in the last few years – there became a need for a filing system of sorts. Otherwise, how would anyone be able to find anything on the world wide web with millions and millions of options?
Users, businesses, and search engines alike needed something that could easily sift through everything and provide exactly what people are searching for. All within seconds. Google created just that.
Then after solving that problem, they saw an opportunity for business owners to advertise their businesses in search results. All this has come to be known as PPC advertising. And it is especially useful for small businesses trying to compete with their larger counterparts.
Through this article, we not only want to highlight the importance of PPC for small businesses but also provide some small business PPC ideas that will help you grow your business.
What started off as a research project, turned out to be the bearer of all things “online search.” It may not have been the first search engine of its time, but today Google controls more than 85% of search traffic online. The other 15% being controlled by Bing and Yahoo among other smaller players.
For today’s purpose, this blog post automatically refers to PPC as a representation of Google’s pay-per-click online advertising model as it is known by skilled marketers.
The availability of such an advertising platform has changed how users consume information and how brands conduct business today. The market has seen a complete shift from shoppers in physical stores to the ones going online first to search for their favorite products.
What Exactly Does Small Business PPC Mean?
Pay-per-click advertising is a way for business owners to bid on keywords that are related to their industry or audience interest(s). Businesses bid to show their ads as a result generated when a particular keyword is searched by a user.
For example, say I was to learn how to bake a cake. The first thing I do is go online and search “how to bake a cake” on Google. Within seconds, Google shows me a list filled with millions of pages having that keyword. All arranged by algorithms based on my location, relevance, my intent, etc. Above all these results are 2-3 paid placements that are ranked by the highest bidder for that keyword.
Small business PPC is all about taking advantage of this trajectory of search results when your potential customer searches for a related keyword. Brands bid more to rank higher in search results but Google only charges you when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website. Hence the name pay-per-click (PPC).
That brings us to the next popular question…
What Are the Benefits of PPC for Small Businesses?
As a small business, it is a top priority for you to increase your brand awareness. To do this you have to put effort into creating the perfect website that customers love. The most important element of this endeavor is to become discoverable among your target customers. PPC for small businesses helps achieve just that.
No longer do you need thousands of dollars every month just to be visible to your customers. With the help of PPC advertising you can target your ads to users searching for specific search terms related to your products/services.
Using the above example of baking a cake, bakery shop owners can place their ads in search results that answer particular queries related to their business or industry.
Benefits of PPC for Small Businesses
Whether you are a large company or a neighborhood store. PPC has leveled the playing field for advertisers at all levels. From national banks who can target potential customers looking for financial services to local cafes targeting local residents to try their new products. The benefits of PPC are many.
Ease of Creating and Managing
Google’s has made the process of online advertising a little easier with the many features their platform offers. A handful of other companies have followed suit with a similar pay-per-click interface.
From account creation to creating ads, the summarized steps along the way make Google Ads a fairly user friendly platform – even for a first time user. Imagine what value a trained professional can bring to the table when it comes to using this tool for small business PPC.
Pay Only when Your Ad is Clicked
When you think of the digital advertising options available today, you want the one that will make you the most money. PPC can definitely make you money, and it can do it quick!
It offers the ability to set up and launch a campaign within a matter of a few minutes. Instantly pause and optimize whenever you want. You can make money within the first 24 hours of creating your ad if people who click decide to convert.
On top of your ad being timely, it’s also budget friendly. PPC means pay-per-click as we discussed before. Which means you literally only pay when your ad is clicked. It can be shown to hundreds of people for free, but unless they click – you don’t pay. You are not charged just for appearing in search results.
Instead Google will charge you only when someone sees your ad and clicks on the link on the ad to visit your web page. Because you are only paying for users who are interested enough to click on your ad, small business PPC is well liked by many small business owners. Moreover there are features that help you set daily budgets and a maximum dollar figure you are willing to spend per click.
Beat the Competition
There are numerous competitive advantages when it comes to PPC for small businesses. The one that is most important is when it comes to showing your ads for a competitor’s business.
Say for example, you own a neighborhood rental car service. As a business owner, you know Enterprise Car Rental is most popularly searched by customers. Using PPC advertising lets you bid for such competitive keywords. And if your win the bidding auction, Google will show your ad when that particular keyword is searched regardless of what the intent was.
Lyft uses the same technique to try to capture some of Uber’s potential customers. They have ads running that appear in search results for their direct competitor. I simply searched “Uber” and even though I got search results for Uber, I also got search results for Lyft.
Isn’t that spectacular? Taking your competition head on like this is a bold move. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It most definitely does! But we suggest you work with PPC professionals when choosing to tackle a more advanced method of PPC for small businesses.
Deep Targeting Options
PPC for small businesses also offers deep targeting options. Business owners can target specific locations, demographics, and keywords. Gone are the days of mass advertising with generic options generating less than mediocre results.
With PPC, your targeting can be extremely detailed. With the help of audience targeting options, business owners can target only specific Keywords that are related to their business. For example, if I am car wash owner, I don’t want to show my ads to people who are interested in buying pizza and vice versa. Through Keyword targeting, PPC gives you the targeting option of showing your ads only for the selected keywords and only to the interested people.
Google and other small business PPC providers have incorporate the ability for advertisers to automate some of their basic functions like setting budgets, pausing campaigns after they cross a certain daily spend or even not showing ads for particular words. This saves a lot of time for the busy business owners whose time might be well spent somewhere else.
Sure, there are some tasks in PPC for small businesses that require a keen eye for detail and need to be monitored constantly to achieve the best result. But this set and forget feature for some of the basic tasks sure saves a lot of time and effort.
Making your First Small Business PPC Plan? Start with this.
Whether you are making your first small business PPC plan or just want to refine it. This is a great place to start either way. The below points will help you get started on how to make a splash in your PPC marketing plan. Above all, how to think strategically about small business PPC.
Step 1: Keyword Research
As we know gone are the days when consumers discovered a new product on a store shelf or in a sales catalogue. The advancements in digital technologies have made it possible for users to search for a product and purchase it with just a click of a button while on the go or at home.
For this reason, it is important for businesses to understand what keywords their customers are using to search for their products/services online. So they can properly bid on search queries and keywords closely related to their products/services. There are many tools that help with this, including Google’s own Keyword Research tool that tells you exactly what your customers are searching for.
But there are some things that are left best to experts when you have little time as a business owner. We at LYFE Marketing want you to focus on things that matter the most to you: running your business smoothly. Which is why our dedicated team constantly works on your business. We use complex analytical tools to monitor popular search terms and changing trends in your industry.
Step 2: Write Engaging Copy
As a smart business owner, you have to come to terms with the fact that your brand is not going to be on an overnight success train. Nor are your writers going to be Shakespearean level crowd pullers that will turn your brand into a sensation.
You need to partner with content creators and creative experts to build a reputation as such for your brand. As someone rightly said, there is never uninteresting copy, there are only uninterested readers. And it is our job to create ad copies that are both appealing and engaging enough for viewers to take the next step.
This is ever so relevant when it comes to drafting ad copy for small business PPC. You want your ads to grab people’s attention first so that they are encouraged to click on your ad to learn more and make a purchase. You only have a couple lines and approximately 60 characters to do this in, so you have to make it count!
Step 3: Monitor Campaigns & Optimize for Best Results
What we love about PPC for small businesses is the fact that we can monitor the campaigns instantly and switch out what is not working. This is especially true when it comes to PPC for small businesses who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend each month.
Even with a limited budget, you can target specific keywords and show your ads to the target audience that matters. Spend your money where it matters most. Because these things are done in real time, you can instantly know which campaigns are not performing and pause them to avoid wasting ad dollars on keywords that may not be converting.
These are the three basic steps that you need to follow in order to add value to your small business PPC campaign. Next, we want to highlight 10 easy ideas for PPC for small businesses that will help you up your game and get more bang for your buck.
10 Easy Ideas to Win the Small Business PPC Battle
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you have a limited budget to spend on PPC advertising. Or you’re extremely busy, so efficiently maintaining the health of your campaigns can be difficult. Which is why we have put some effort into briefly summarizing 10 of our top small business PPC ideas that will help save you time and money.
1) Look at Search Term Reports
This is a great feature in the PPC advertising platform that lets you see the exact search terms people are typing when your ad shows.
Not only that, you can reverse engineer to see exactly how popular some search queries are. And if they are not part of your PPC plan, go ahead add them right away!
This is often a forgotten tool and can be extremely beneficial for small business PPC advertising.
2) Schedule Ads
As a business owner of a small to medium enterprise, we understand that you probably are the jack of all trades. From marketing to sales pitches and operations. You wear different hats all day. With the lack of a large team to support you, your ads can sometimes be a waste of ad spend if they are not monitored.
One such example is if you are a restaurant or a business that gets traffic only during certain hours of the day. Be sure to use the ad scheduling feature that lets you pause your ads during certain times of the day when you know your customers aren’t often searching for your products/services. This is also another way to save money on ad spend.
3) Add Negative Keywords
Talking about search terms, this section even lets you add particular search queries as a negative keyword. Meaning you can instruct Google not to show your ad when a particular keyword is searched by users.
A recent example that comes to mind is when we helped a local gym save thousands of dollars when he came on board to better manage his PPC advertising campaigns. Our team studied his account and quickly realized that his ads were showing up for search terms relating to “home fitness.” This is not what his business is about. And he was certainly wasting precious marketing dollars behind something which didn’t make sense to his business.
The first thing we did was add “home” to the list of negative keywords. This prevented his ads from being shown whenever “home” was included in the search query. This instantly saved him close to a $1,000 and prevented uninterested consumers from seeing his ads.
The below image is the list of some of the most common negative keywords that pull up your ads in irrelevant search queries.
4) Increase Bids of Converting Keywords
PPC for small businesses offers detailed segmenting and targeting to reach more interested users. Which also means you can see exactly which keywords are converting people for your business.
We love helping our clients sort these high performing keywords. Knowing these keywords helps us better optimize ads for greater results.
It is important to keep an eye out on those keywords that are bringing you the most sales. And if you can increase bids on those specific keywords, it will help you rank higher and outbid your competitors.
5) Split Testing
When we talked about the flexibility that small business PPC brings to your marketing arsenal, we meant it! Here’s some more detail about it…
Another great way to leverage the platform’s user friendly techniques is by running experiments alongside the actual campaigns that you have already set up.
Google will split your budget and run the experimental ads alongside your other performing ads to show you which one performs best. You can take this data and then decided to implement the changes or just delete them. We find this feature particularly useful when we want to test different ad creatives to a similar target audience.
6) Create Dynamic Search Ads
This is a feature that is very helpful if you haven’t hired a small business PPC creative mastermind to monitor your PPC ads and avoid ad fatigue. Google’s Dynamic Search Ads feature in the ad creation tool let’s algorithms do most of the work for you. Kinda like a “smart ad”. Google scours your website for the most commonly used keywords and matches them to consumer search queries. Google uses an algorithm to then show users the best landing page that aligns with what they are searching for.
7) Take Advantage of Google Analytics
Google does a good job offering free tools to business owners and advertisers to see data related to their business online. Whether it is PPC or website visitors. Google offers more than just PPC for small businesses. By inserting codes on your website, you can easily link your website to Google Analytics.
Here you can gather enough data about your website visitors to make informed business decisions about your advertising. Think most popular locations, most pages visited, time on site, etc. This information will help you create better ads that interest users.
8) Retarget Website Visitors
Once you set up your infrastructure to tag everyone who visited your website, Google lets you retarget them with display ads to further convince them to purchase from you.
This, in particular, is our favorite feature of PPC for small businesses. And if done right, it can bring in massive growth in sales.
9) Monitor your Percentage of Online Search Impressions
A few clicks into the platform, you can see what percentage of online impressions your campaigns are receiving or missing out on. This is a neat little feature that can be your friend when you want to make sure your ads are shown the most number of times for certain keywords. Depending on what you find, you can either choose to increase your bids or improve ads to increase ad relevance and aim to get a higher impression percentage.
10) Look at Your Quality Score Frequently
Quality score is a measure of how well your ad and landing page can provide a solution to a user’s search inquiry. Ads with a low quality score will cost you more per click and will not perform as well as ads with a higher quality score.
There are a number of ways to improve your quality score. One trick is using the keyword in the ad copy itself. Small business PPC doesn’t have to be hard. And surely doesn’t have to be costly.
Small Business PPC Should Be Part of Your Marketing Plan
Google provides the opportunity for small businesses to thrive using its PPC platform. But it’s also a race to the top and to see which businesses can provide the best advertising experience. Luckily you have our experts at LYFE Marketing on your side to help you dominate your competition.
Even though Google makes frequent changes and advancements, our team continuously stays up to date so we can provide you with the best services possible – and help you save time and money.
Our team understands what it takes to win this PPC battle and outbid competitors so that your brand shows on top every time. Whether you own a local gym or an ecommerce business. We can help scale your business to new heights in this PPC game and work with you to achieve the best results. Contact us today to learn more about our small business PPC services and get started growing your business online.