Google Adwords is a fantastic online marketing platform that supports pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns for small businesses. Anyone can place their ads on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) by bidding on their preferred keywords. With Google leading the search engine market at 90.1% share, Google Adwords has become an important business tool.
A low marketing budget allocation makes competing in the market a huge challenge. Google Adwords helps increase your site’s traffic, and you only get charged each time a user clicks on your ad. However, it can be expensive if you do not know how to optimize it.
Several options are available to you for optimizing your ads and making it easier on your pocket. These options include bidding strategies, keyword optimization, and targeting options.
Check out these Google Adwords tips for small businesses to optimize pay per click marketing campaigns.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign is an effective strategy for promoting your brand and boosting your business’s search results ranking. But you can’t just launch a PPC campaign – it needs proper planning.
Your Google Adwords campaign must begin with an objective setting. Your PPC objectives, which should align with your business goals, set the stage for your Adwords campaign. They determine your campaign’s strategy, action plans, milestones, and success factors.
PPC objectives may be short-term or long-term, depending on the coverage of your marketing campaigns. Each objective must indicate what you intend to achieve by implementing your campaign.
You may have several PPC objectives for your small business, but you might have to run different marketing campaigns for each objective.
Be clear on your PPC objectives because these will determine your budget and how you should use it. Below are some examples of well-written PPC objectives.
- Increase click-through rate (CTR) by 10% by Q2 of 2022.
- Reduce cost per acquisition by 2%
- Increase lead-to-customer conversion by 8%
- Increase sales by 5% from 2021.
You are given a monthly marketing budget. How much of that should you spend daily? How much of that budget should go to your PPC campaign?
To determine your PPC ads budget, you need to determine how much a new customer’s average worth is in revenue. Also, you need to know how much profit you will earn from acquiring a new customer. To illustrate:
- A new customer is expected to bring in a revenue of about $300.
- You earn a profit of $100 from acquiring that new customer.
You get two important indicators out of these two pieces of information. One, your return on ad spend (ROAS) is 3:1. For every dollar you spend on Google Ads, you must earn $3 to break even your marketing campaign. Two, your cost per acquisition (CPA) is $100 — the amount you can spend to acquire a new customer without losing money.
My tip for small businesses is that you allocate twice the CPA for every keyword you are bidding on at the start. Given our example above, that would be $100 x 2= $200 per keyword. So if you are looking at 15 keywords to use for the month, your monthly budget should be $200 x 15 = $3000.
Typically, a small business allocates a budget of $2,500 — $7,500 per month.
Suppose your monthly budget is $3000. You wouldn’t want to spend that all on Google Adwords in one go or during the first half of the month. The wise thing to do is to allocate a daily budget. To compute for your daily budget:
Daily Budget = Monthly PPC budget /Number of Days in a Month
The number of days per month will depend on how you’d like to publish your PPC ads. It could be when your business is not operating or only when you are open for business.
So in our example, let us assume we have a 28-day month. Your daily budget would be:
Daily Budget = $3000/28 days = $107
My tip for small businesses is that you stick to your daily budget. Changing your Google Adwords budget negatively impacts your account’s performance. That’s because Google will have to adjust how they show your ads.
There are two traps small businesses usually fall into:
- Reaching for the top spot on the ad page
- Achieving the targets on the first try
Being the top ad on the page is important, but it’s not the sole driver of your business. All the more so if you are working on a tight budget.
Do not expect to achieve the results you were aiming for on your first try. You’ll just end up frustrated.
Choosing the right keywords is an exercise of trial and error. It may take some time and several trials before you hit the spot, but don’t let that get you down.
Google Adwords is perfect for exploring what will work for you, so you don’t get to overspend on ads that don’t deliver.
Make good use of your budget to run an effective Google Ads campaign.
There are several ways with which to address this. Here are some of my Google Adwords tips for small businesses trying to run their accounts.
Account structure refers to how you organize your campaigns and keywords. Better to start as a small business to keep all the data well organized from the start. Each campaign should have several tightly relevant ad groups, with each ad group having a list of 2 keywords match types – phrase and match – or your Google Ads.
The more systematic your account is, the easier it will be to run and optimize in the following weeks and months . A better structure – comprising similar ad groups – will help you quickly identify the winners and the losers.
You may narrow your search by adding your small business’s location. This approach is ideal if your business coverage is limited to specific geographical areas.
Time targeting or dayparting means showing your ads during specific times and days and turning them off the rest of the week. It could also mean displaying your Google Ads campaigns only during certain days of the week. The technique targets leads and customers when your target market is more likely to convert . You can also schedule them during your business days and hours to ensure someone can answer customer inquiries.
I have seen this technique substantially increasing their ad click-through rate (CTR) even for small businesses with a small budget. Eventually, it will also reduce the cost per acquisition (CPA) to run more profitably.
Google Adwords has three keyword match types:
- Broad Match Type– Your ads may appear on searches related to your keyword without necessarily containing the keyword term e.g. synonyms. Google Ads has this as the default match type. Aside from increasing your site traffic, your broad match allows you to find new search terms you had never thought about.
Screenshot from Google Ads Help
- Phrase Match Type– When you set up your Google Ads to this match type, your campaign may appear on searches that contain terms before or after the keyword you are trying to target. You will have fewer searches than with broad match, which shows only your ads on searches, including your product or service. However, you will retain more control over the terms that trigger your ads, thus, lowering spend.
Screenshot from Google Ads Help
- Exact Match Type — Your ads appear on searches that contain the same term or the same intent as your keyword. It reaches the fewest searches than the broad and phrase match, but it gives you the most control over what searches trigger your adsI have experienced higher CPCs for this type of match type so never forget to test different match types for the different campaigns.
A broad match may give you more impressions, but an exact match gives you more control. My tip for small businesses is to strive to balance the reach and relevance of your ads to run cost-efficient but highly converting campaigns.
Long-tail keywords are longer, very specific terms with relatively low search volumes. However, the people they attract are focused and committed to purchasing your product or service. Since they are characterized by low competition, the cost per click is generally lower.
For example, let’s imagine you are a small car dealership business. If you use the keyword “used car,” how many other used car sellers are there? How many ads will there be bidding on the same term? Suppose they are directed to your site. How much (paid) traffic will you need in your website to eventually convert a qualified lead?
On the other hand, if you use “used ford ranger in rodeo drive,” you weed out searchers who are still at the top of the funnel (i.e. people browsing around with low intent to purchase or share their contact details) and not avoid stiff competition.
Tip #6: Consider the mobile language
Small businesses cannot ignore the rising popularity of mobile as a means to purchase. Consider these two Google adwords tips:
- Use of abbreviations and short messages. With the small screen of mobile devices, users tend to shorten what they type into the search bar.
- Use of voice search. Google reports that about 20% of mobile inquiries are done through voice search. Users use full sentences instead of keywords when searching for something.
Look for keywords that will satisfy both text and voice search and avoid complicated language.
This step is crucial to your Google Adwords campaign because it determines where your ad should be positioned. The amount you bid will also influence your ROI.
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of sticking to your daily budget. Your daily budget should guide you on how much to bid for a keyword. However, that applies to businesses that have a restrictive budget.
As a small business, If you have a reasonable budget allocation for your Google Adword campaign, you may use the following formula to calculate your maximum bid when using manual bidding:
Revenue or Customer’s Lifetime Value (CLV) x Conversion Rate
Customer lifetime value is the average income a typical customer can bring to your business for as long as they remain your customer. It does not equate to the initial purchase.
However, winning the bid does not guarantee landing in the top spot. Your quality score will have to be factored in to determine your ad position.
Remember not to bid too low because your campaign will not get any impressions.
My tip for small businesses is to start with automated bidding. I always start using the automated “maximize conversions” bidding. This strategy helps me optimize for the right goal (i.e. conversions), and collect the right data to optimize the account.
Spend your budget on keywords that matter instead of spending them on several that do not yield positive results. Most of the time less is more. As a small business with a reduced budget, target a limited number of keywords and collect sufficient statistically significant data before deciding to try new keywords.
Google AdWords lets you choose the device types to display your ads on. Some of my smaller business clients think that mobile is not good when they do not see revenue coming from this device. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Below are the reasons for targeting your mobile separately:
- Call function. Since Google Ads allows telephone numbers, mobile users can easily click and call your business. You may not see revenue in the Google Ads account, but a phone call could easily turn a lead into a long-term customer.
- Small screen size. I have seen many who do not optimize their ads for mobile. Sometimes it is better to run ads for mobile separately. This is because mobile can often only show around 2 headlines, making it crucial for your business to get the headline copy right. .
- Better conversion. Yes, you heard that right. People using their mobile to search for a product or service are highly likely to buy immediately. Perhaps not with mobile, because they switched to desktop to finalize the purchase. Based on a study, 50% of mobile users who searched on their smartphone visited the store within one day.
Manual bidding can be a tedious process. Use Smart Bidding and Responsive Search Ads to adjust bids for you. It saves you money by automatically reducing your bid when the user doesn’t meet the criteria to become a possible customer. The automation also recognizes opportunities and increases your bid when your ad has the best chance of winning. Ideally, your account should have some data before switching to automated bidding. However, I must admit I have experienced good performance with automated bidding from the start even for smaller business accounts.
You have set your objectives, built a structure just like the pros and have made a bid for your ad positioning. Ensure that everything you need to launch your Google Adwords campaign has been curated and properly set up. Nothing beats a marketing campaign that is carefully planned, well-structured, and highly relevant.
Now comes the exciting part — implementing your plans and getting people to visit your website. This section has great Google Adwords tips for small businesses to attract the right customers.
Google Adwords gives you the option to input words that are irrelevant to you. Otherwise, searchers will only be disappointed to see that you are not what they are looking for. And you will be paying for every useless click. You may check your search terms report to determine what irrelevant searches led people to your site.
Do not direct people to your homepage. Instead, Lead them to your relevant landing page.
Searchers click on your with certain expectations, e.g. more information on your product or service, more about a specific product, etc.. When they reach the landing page and don’t see what they’re looking for, they leave your site. You do not want that happening.
Design your landing pages to convert your site’s traffic to customers. Aim for user-friendly, relevant, and transparent content. Ensure that each visit to your landing page will be a pleasant experience. Here’s how:
- Focus on a single offer per landing page. Do not confuse your visitors by cramming too many offers on a single landing page.
- Be consistent with your ad. If your ad promised a promo, be sure to feature the same promo on your landing page.
- Highlight the call to action (CTA) button. Be clear on what you want your site visitor to do. You want to convert each visit to a sale, so position your CTAs strategically.
- Make it mobile-friendly. More than 80% of internet users use their mobile devices to search, with Google responsible for 90% of web search traffic from mobile devices. Given those stats, you wouldn’t want to let the opportunity slip you by, right?
You may take the call-only campaign route if your budget is too restrictive for a landing page. But nowadays small and big businesses can build a decent landing page yourself, or with a developer for less than £100. And believe me, a bad landing page will cost you much more than investing some budget in a decent looking one.
Suppose your Google Ads campaign succeeded in generating good traffic to your site. The next step is to convert your visitors into leads. Below are three CTA examples:
- Sign up for a monthly newsletter
- Create an online account
- Enroll in a webinar
Another tip that works wonders for small and big businesses to capture Google Ads traffic data is to use Gravitec. This awesome tool allows you to easily send browser push notifications to all your subscribers. Their pop up is simple and highly appealing, which makes conversion more likely than the standard newsletter.
When leads use a form, clicking on a CTA button will lead them to an online form that asks for key information. Limit questions to only three, so you don’t intimidate them.
It is not easy to get a lead, so when a visitor fills out your online form, reach out quickly and build a positive business relationship with them. Secure the information they share with you.
Ad extensions are bits of information about your business you can add to show on your ad. It may be one or a combination of your business phone number, address, prices, or promos to boost your campaign.
Ad extensions are free to use so that you should add all possible extensions to your ad. These extensions do not only provide the appeal; it also affirms the legitimacy of your business. Aside from increasing your number of clicks, it also encourages people to interact more with your brand. Below are the more common types of extensions:
- Sitelinks. It allows you to add links that lead people to a specific page of your website e.g. FAQ, contact us, pricing, etc.
- Callouts. It is where you include short, specific promo statements usually written in bullet form, e.g., “Free Delivery.”
- Image extensions. This is a recent feature that allows advertisers to complement their text ads with a visual.
- Call extensions. You can allow people to call you directly by clicking on the phone number shown on the ad before they enter the website. This works well for lead gen campaigns targeting older age groups.
- Structured Snippets. You may include additional features of your product or service in your ad. See the highlighted portion in the example below.
Working on a tight budget for your PPC campaign will only get you a limited number of campaigns so you have to make each of your ads count.
Start by creating ad groups with one to 3 strongly associated keywords per group to create a more specific ad copy. Ideally, your keyword must be used 2 to 3 times throughout your ad.
Place them in the URL slug, headline, and description. There are no hard and fast rules on your keyword placement, but be sure to identify what works for your target market.
Be specific with your ad copy. Nobody wants to deal with a business that seems to be vague and generic. Grab your market’s attention by pointing out your relevance to their needs.
If you are looking to lose weight, the ad copy tells you what the advertiser is promoting, how it will address your weight issue, and how long it will take them to address it.
Using the right ad extensions, such as sitelinks, will expand the space taken by your ad, which will certainly increase your Click Through Rate.
Photo from hootsuite.com
Do not forget a CTA. The whole purpose of your ad is to drive readers to take the intended action. So, no matter how nicely written your ad copy is, it won’t mean anything until you get readers clicking on your CTA.
Use words that motivate people to action. Be brief and specific. Use second-person pronouns (you and your) to create a better impact.
Google automatically triggers these dynamic search ads (DSA). Since these ads do not consider your keywords, your campaign may become irrelevant, wasting resources that go to invalid clicks.
However, DSAs also offer several benefits, which are often overlooked by marketing people.
Efficiency: Planning your keywords and getting them on ads and landing pages consume too much time and effort. With DSA, Google Adwords takes care of selecting your keywords and generating headlines for your campaign.
Relevance: Adwords account for users’ searches relevant to your page and generates headlines based on a mix of keywords from the search and your landing page. The approach personalizes your headlines and is likely to scale up your quality score and CTR and reduce customer acquisition costs.
Additionally, Adwords will consistently update your ad copy to add or fine-tune its content, giving you a fresh and relevant ad.
Performance control: Performance control is not just about getting the desired number of clicks but also managing the costs. To do that, you need to strike a balance between writing excellent ad copies and improving your targeting capabilities. You may have the most appealing copy but if it does not reach its target market, it won’t mean anything. Through DSA, you get to display your ads based on several targeting options — all pages of your website, a new addition to a page feed, or specific pages with titles within the URL.
Wider reach: DSAs enable you to reach people and places that your typical campaign can’t seem to get to.
Google Display Network (GDN) allows you to show your ads on different internet sites and provides you with the flexibility of choosing the type of content you want in your ads.
Although it is good for creating brand awareness for your business, do not expect them to push your conversion rate. They are a great way to stay present in your prospective customers’ minds. This is a great adwords tip for small businesses that need to start generating some traffic to test the level of user engagement.
Tip #17: Test headlines and messages
Mind your headlines. Your headlines should contain what your target searchers are looking for. Therefore, consider what makes them click your ad. Highlight what makes you unique from the competition. And whether you are a big or a small business using adwords, remember: test, test, test.
The more clicks your ad gets, the higher the chances of conversion: the higher your CTR, the lower your CPC, and the higher your quality score.
Test which headlines work best. Be creative but informative to gain attention.
In my experience, most big and small eCommerce stores will benefit more from a shopping campaign than from an ad campaign. Let Google know what products you want to showcase. Optimize your product pages e.g. headlines, description, variants, prices, etc.. Upload your product list to the Google Merchant Center. Choosing smart or standard will yield different results. Following a planned strategy will ensure that your products will display for relevant searches.
Search ads are placed on search results. Display network ads are displayed with webpage content. Google offers to target display networks by default when you run search campaigns. I always recommend switching them off. Unlike search ads – where you see the search terms that users type before entering your site – you do not have visibility on what is actually happening in that area of the account. Instead, if you are a small business just getting started with Google Ads I recommend starting using display ads in a separate campaign.
You need to keep your campaigns on track, which is why you should frequently review each campaign. You have implemented your campaigns, and you need to know if they serve their purpose. Check your campaigns regularly (every 2-4 days), so you can quickly respond if there are any issues.
Expect to find some challenges . You can lessen their impact by constantly monitoring your ads, measuring performance, and adjusting. Develop the habit of monitoring your campaigns. As a pay-per-click consultant, I always meet my clients on a weekly or bi-weekly meeting at least to discuss progress and brainstorm new ideas together.
Keep note of your metrics, e.g., CTR, to identify which ad is working. And make sure that you are still within your budget.
A speedy reaction is crucial in amending non-performing campaigns so that you can make better use of your budget. But apart from that, you need to know how to resolve them.
Below are some Google Adwords tips for small businesses on monitoring and rectifying campaign issues.
Data is essential to making informed decisions on optimizing your Google Adwords business account. Tracking is an essential step in managing your account.
Link your account to Google Analytics for convenience in tracking all your site’s traffic sources and get further insights into your target audience.
Keep track of new phrases that drive users to enter and engage with your site. Pay special attention to the low CPC terms that bring you conversion. Create new ad groups targeting those terms. Remember to keep tightly relevant ad groups.
For instance, do not add a “hotel in Manchester ” keyword inside your “Hotels in London” ad group. In this case you could create campaigns by location. Keep everything relevant and organized.
This is my top-of-the-list Google Adwords tip for small businesses. Monitor your spending on your keywords. Determine the number of leads and the revenue each keyword generates.
Identify those that do not produce the desired results. It doesn’t matter if they are popular searches or if they bring many conversions; if you cannot optimize them to the point where they become profitable, they will drain your budget.
As you start monitoring your Google Ads campaigns, you will find data about how people’s search habits influence your ads.
Knowing what entices the clicks and what does not will allow you to refine your ads and keywords.
If you are a small business with a small budget you will have to wait for around 30 to 60 days to make decisions that impact the whole account.
Start small by adjusting your negative keywords list, ads and building new ad groups.
Measure several metrics to gauge your campaign’s performance effectively. Not only can you quickly identify what needs tweaking, but you can also strategize better on how to tweak different strategies.
Do not just focus on conversions and analyze how people interact with your website e.g. the number of pages they visit, the number of add to carts, time spent, etc.
You should monitor any metric that gets you closer to your goal – i.e. conversion
Check your CTR or conversion rate to identify ads that are not doing as well as they should. Pull out those ads, so you do not waste your budget on them.
Similarly, keywords that don’t drive the expected results are a waste of PPC ad budget.
Monitor your ongoing ads and keywords and remove those that do not bring in the results.
Search terms are the words people input in the Google Search bar before they see your ad.
They can be highly profitable for small businesses running Adwords campaigns. Keep a tab on search terms with high volume and high conversion rates. Consider building new ad groups with the most promising terms.
Additionally, watch out for search terms you do not want to appear for, and add them as negative keywords.
Check search terms regularly to update your keyword list and optimize your budget spend.
You get access to relevant data as you monitor your campaign’s progress. Adjust your budget allocation to prioritize campaigns with high returns.
Create new campaigns for top-performing search terms, and switch off bad (ad) performers.
Whatever is left of the budget for small businesses may be allocated to those with low impressions and but good potential.
Always run multiple variations of your ads. You may have at least two ad variations for desktop and another two for mobile. Determine which version earns the most number of clicks, highest conversion rate, and biggest revenue.
When an ad meets your business requirements, you may experiment with minor adjustments in the copy, to enhance the results.
Text ads are going away as of June 2022. This means you should start testing responsive ads before they are your only option.
A critical Google Adwords tip for small businesses is to start testing as soon as possible the quality of your responsive ads up now that text ads are going away. Do not just follow what Google recommends. Strike a balance between what Google accepts and what the user wants to see in the ad.
Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG) are extremely focused on your target customers. It is a marketing approach that will get the best quality score in my opinion. SKAGs improved some of my Google Adwords small business CTRs by as much as 28%.
Suppose you are running a bakeshop. Instead of using various cake types as your in the same ad group, try organizing them into different ad groups. For instance, use a dedicated ad group for the “sugar-free cakes” keyword, and another ad group for the “chocolate cake” keyword.
Highlight the keyword in your headline and description and include it in your landing page to ensure a high quality score.
From your data, identify a medium-traffic, low-competition keyword and determine if it is the right intent of the search. Use this keyword for your SKAG.
A related Google Ads setup you could also try for your small business’s campaign is STAG (Single Theme Ad Groups).
The setup process for STAG is similar to SKAG, but the STAG ad groups are fewer. In STAG, instead of creating one ad group per keyword, you make one ad group per theme and bring together keywords under that theme. STAG ad groups also focus primarily on the searcher’s intent rather than on the keywords themselves.
Let’s go back to our bakeshop example. If your bakeshop designs cakes for special occasions, you could create ad groups organized around those occasions and bring your cake keywords into each group.
So your “sugar-free cakes” and “chocolate cake” keywords could now be in ad groups named “birthday cake” and “mother’s day cake,” for example.
These would match searches for birthday cake chocolate, sugar-free birthday cake, mother’s day cake chocolate, sugar-free mother’s day cake, and so on.
Must you choose between SKAG and STAG? Not necessarily. In fact, my Google Adwords tip for your small business would be to combine the strengths of both setups in your campaign.
For example, you can create a STAG around your high-performing SKAGs. Get those keywords and use them as your base for a themed ad campaign.
You can also try it the other way around. See which keyword is doing well in a STAG and use that keyword as your base for a SKAG.
Analyze your data to see which strategy works best for your account: SKAGs only, STAGs only, or the best of your SKAGs and STAGs combined.
Use both your Google Ads’ PPC campaign to ramp up your organic rankings. As data from your campaigns come in, assess how you can draw favorable results for both. Measure your campaigns with the following metrics:
- Site engagement
- Lead generation
Learn from the results and implement accordingly. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a very profitable channel for small businesses to source leads at 0 cost.
A searcher who clicks on your ad and leaves your site without any follow-through is a lost customer. Apply remarketing strategies to re-engage with them.
These people have shown interest in your products or services but may not have a compelling reason to buy during their first visit. A remarketing campaign is a great way to get them to revisit and persuade them to buy this time. Remarketing leads often to high conversion rates and it can be much more cost-efficient for small businesses.
Google Ads is a great way to receive instant traffic and grow your small business brand. However, one has to understand how it works. Like any other campaign, it begins with an objective, allocated a budget, gets implemented, monitored, and tweaked to succeed. Let these Google Adwords tips guide small businesses in your PPC marketing journey.