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Small Business Advertising with Google Adwords

Written by Courtney from Bolt Digital Agency

Over 80% of consumers use Google to find products and services. Google ads can be an effective way of getting in front of new customers, driving traffic to your website, and pulling in more sales. The key to advertising your small business or startup with a small budget is to narrow your campaign and be as targeted as possible. A targeted campaign will limit the number of consumers that will see your ad, but has the most potential for sales at the lowest cost.

Google Adwords does have barriers to entry that often cause small businesses to stop paid advertising. Issues that small advertisers encounter include lack of measurable return on investment, difficulty navigating the complex system, and not being able to compete with large companies due to pricing. Keep in mind that it takes time for Google to gather sufficient data on your account in order to make better optimizations. Before you stop PPC, try these tips to reach the true potential of your account.

  1. Focus on your USP
    Why would a customer click on your ad instead of the organic search results? Because your unique selling point is too compelling to be ignored. Offer free shipping? Put it. Have a big sale going on? Put it. Offering a free belly rub with each purchase? Put it. Whatever you got that your competitors don’t should be addressed immediately to get all eyes and mouse clickers on you.
  2. Send traffic to landing page
    Every visitor that clicks on your PPC ad should be directed to a landing page that is optimized for a single, focused initiative. If you are simply dropping people on your homepage after they click on your ad, you’re making them hunt to find the information they want. This leads to higher bounce rates, missed conversion opportunities, and unnecessary ad expenses. Yes, it’s more effort to create a landing page for each ad but it pays off. Tools such as Instapage, Unbounce, and LeadPages can help you easily create custom landing pages.
  3. Avoid keyword overload
    The more keywords you have, the greater the chances you are overreaching and wasting money. Avoid keywords that are too broad; you will never get noticed if the words you are using are too general to effectively target the specific customers you want. Start with 5 to 10 specific, long-tail keywords. Check out Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find keywords that apply to your business.
  4. Throw in some negative keywords
    Negative keywords prevent your ad from being shown when certain words or phrases are searched. For example, if you sell bass instruments, you don’t want your ad to be shown to someone searching for bass fish. Adding negative keywords will weed out customers looking for things you don’t offer, show your ads to people more likely to click on them, and reduce costs by eliminating words that offer you no return.
  5. Choose where your ad will show
    The Google Display Network allows for the widest reach possible, but it does have some drawbacks. Low CTRs and less qualified leads early in the buying cycle are chief concerns. My advice: stay away from the display ads if your budget is small. Display ads are better suited for building brand awareness and retargeting. Use your budget for paid search to reach the customers actively searching for your product later in the buying cycle.
  6. Remember one-size does not fit all
    Don’t create one generic ad, fill it up with keywords, link it to your homepage, and assume your ROI will be through the roof. Run different ad campaigns for your different marketing objectives. Targeted campaigns allow your ad to be clicked on by the customers actively looking for your product or service. Start with A/B split testing: run various versions of your ads to test which performs better, use the one that is more effect, and pause or delete the poor performing one. Google can automate your testing process for you.

Google Adwords can be quite beneficial, not to mention its tracking analytics that provide tons of insight and opportunities! The most important thing to remember is that Adwords does not magically make your online customer acquisition struggles disappear. A successful campaign takes hard work and dedication just like any other marketing initiative, which means finely tuning your strategy to reach the right audience with the best ROI.