PPC marketing is now a standard marketing procedure for most businesses searching for new customers who want their products and services. Yet there are still some small businesses that are hesitant to take advantage of this incredible marketing tool. Indeed, it can be a tricky marketing strategy. First-time PPC marketers often underestimate the time it takes to develop a strategy, the budget required, and the work it takes to see real returns. But when set up intuitively, and optimized on a regular basis, PPC is the best method of driving the most qualified clicks and calls to your business, hands-down.

For small businesses, PPC can be competitive and expensive, which is why many struggles to break through. Especially when they are competing with bigger companies with sophisticated digital marketing departments and huge budgets. The good news is it IS possible for small businesses to compete with larger, established companies for clicks. Being a little bit smarter and nimble will make all the difference.

Here are my top tips for PPC success:

1. Do your keyword research.

The point of PPC is to get potential new customers to discover your business.

But you can’t do that without the right keywords. Keyword research is so important because it’s directly tied to how much a small business will spend on PPC advertising. Every time a searcher clicks on your ad, you are charged a small fee. All those small fees start to add up, so you want to make sure that the keywords you are bidding on are super relevant to your product or service. Poor keyword choice will rip through your limited online marketing budget so fast your head will spin!

Many small businesses will just use their instincts and choose keywords that they think are relevant. But trusting your gut isn’t in your best interest here. The smart way to find the best keyword list is to use an online tool that will assist your research—something like Google’s Keyword Planner.

If you don’t put in the time researching the smartest keywords to bid on, then one of the following horrors will occur:

  • Blow your budget on keywords that are too competitive.
  • You will get clicks but no conversions because you are bringing the wrong people in with irrelevant keywords.
  • Nothing will happen because nobody searches for your products or services because the keywords you bought are wrong.

The key is to find keywords that fit your budget + have high search volume + are super relevant to the product or service you are trying to sell (especially ones that reveal intent to purchase like “golf carts for sale” or “where to buy organic vitamins”, those are my favorite). That’s the winning keyword formula for PPC regardless if youre a small operation or on the Fortune 500.

2. You Must Be Organized

This might not sound like your idea of a good time, but good housekeeping in your Google AdWords account is another secret to success. All successful campaigns have one thing in common—an organized structure.

The first question to ask yourself is ‘what are my goals?’ The answer to that question will help you select your campaign type. Determine your PPC marketing goals:

Do you want…

New customers to find my brand/product when they search?

Then a search network campaign is what you need.

To build brand awareness for your business?

Then you need a display network campaign.

To have people call your business?

Then you need a call-only campaign.

To bring people back to your site and keep your service on their mind?

Then choose a remarketing campaign.

All of the above? Call me. No joke, that’s a lot of work for any business owner.

Your campaigns are the foundation of your structure. You will probably only have a few campaigns, which is fine. The less you have, the more manageable it will be. Start small and only expand when it makes sense to. You could have a campaign for each type of vitamin (vitamin c, turmeric, men’s health, prenatal) if you were a vitamin company, for example. You have to decide what makes sense for your small business.

Then, within your campaigns, you will have your ad groups. Ad groups should be formed based on themes of keywords. For example, all keywords that relate to men’s health could go into one ad group (ie. men’s multivitamins, men’s vitamin sale online, best men’s health supplements, where to buy men’s vitamins, etc.). Again, keep your ad groups to a minimum when you are starting. You don’t need more than 6-8 ads within each campaign. Try to limit the number of keywords per ad group to 10 to 20 per ad group. The keywords will be the trigger for the PPC ads that will appear in searches containing those words.

TIP: Target niche geographies with your keywords that your competitors might overlooke.g. “vitamin stores in Parkland”.

TURBO TIP: Select keywords that show purchase intent. This means that customers are searching with words that show they are ready to buy. e.g. “golf cart sale near me”

3. Build Ad Copy That Attracts the Right Click

Ad copy is the actual text that you’ll write for your ads that will attract people to click on it. Search engines like Google are looking to show high quality ads, whose text says something closely related to the actual search in the search engine. So if you own a plant nursery in Miami and your keyword is “Where to buy banana trees in Miami,” a good headline for your ad could be: “Are You Looking to Buy Banana Trees in Miami?” Because the headline is relevant to the keyword and the query, it will be considered a more high-quality ad result in the eyes of the search engine.

But of course, it’s a little more complex than that and there are many techniques to writing good ad copy. SMX West recently had a session about crafting successful ad copy that included the following tips:

  • Create scarcity with terms like “Only 3 Days Left” or “2 Items Left in Stock”
  • Address pain points like “Same day furnace repair”
  • Be empathetic like “Tired of doing laundry?”
  • State your value proposition clearly like “Free delivery”
  • Use site links and ad extensions to stand out from competitors (more on that in a future post)
  • Don’t try to be overly creative and colorful with language, most importantly be clear

4. Use Landing Pages

Once you have caught the attention of people with your ad and then click on it, you want to make sure that you direct them to a landing page that specifically relates to what they just clicked on – and that they take action. Many small businesses make the mistake of sending traffic to their website homepage, but this isn’t the best tactic to convert visitors. Too many distractions! Instead, you need to design landing pages that reflect the keywords from the PPC ad, show the product or service solution that your new visitors were searching for, and have a prominent, clear call to action like “Call Now” or “Buy Now” – whatever it is you want them to do.

You should also think about offering something that they can’t refuse. Strong offers deliver value to your new visitors and tempt them to click on your call to action. With a compelling offer, your conversions can increase dramatically. Want conversions to take off? Try one of these offers on your landing page.

  • Offer a free trial period for a service
  • Offer a discount on the cost of products
  • Offer a free gift with purchase
  • Offer a discount code with newsletter signup

Don’t Be Afraid of PPC!

The winners at the PPC game are marketers who continually refine their set-up. Ongoing management and maintenance of your PPC campaigns will yield increasingly better and better results. You need to keep testing and learn new strategies to outsmart your competitors and get those clicks coming in. Google has made it increasingly difficult to drive traffic organically (non-sponsored), and advertisers will need to adjust their strategies and marketing dollars to remain competitive.

Of course, many small businesses don’t have the time or expertise to run tests on the successes and failures of their PPC campaigns. More and more small businesses are taking cues from their big brothers and sisters and leaving PPC management to the pros. If you’re a small business owner and want to take it on yourself though, follow the winning strategies above to get started on the right foot. And if you are struggling with getting PPC to work for you, sign up for my free consultation. Give me 30 minutes and I can demonstrate how PPC works as well as –

  • show you what keywords potential customers are using to search for what you offer;
  • what the search volume is in your market;
  • what your competitors are spending;
  • which keywords your competitors are buying.

Go forth and prosper!
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