A Beginner’s 4-Step Guide: Delicious PPC Tips for Small Businesses

Are you a small business owner who’s ready to delve into Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising? PPC for small businesses present unique challenges; typically, a small business’ PPC budget is on the smaller side, and therefore their accounts are sometimes best managed in-house rather than through an agency, where fees will most likely eat up too much of their budget.

When embarking on a PPC campaign, following these four basic guidelines will help you create and sustain a successful PPC campaign.

1. Establish your budget.

Small business PPC budgets are typically on the smaller side, ranging from $100 to $10,000 per month. But even with a restricted budget, you can run a successful PPC campaign that leads to conversions. For example, let’s say you own a local frozen yogurt shop with one location – with a strategically leveraged budget, you can definitely harness your fair share of paid search traffic.

 PPC tips shade2. Strategize your keywords.

Once you’ve established your budget, building your keyword list should be your top priority. Let’s build on our frozen yogurt shop example. A logical keyword choice might be frozen yogurt. You can use AdWords Keyword Tool or Bruce Clay’s Keyword Statistics Provider, both of which are free and provide traffic and cost estimates for keywords, as well as suggestions for additional related keywords.

When creating your keywords, consider using:

  • Brand name. It seems obvious, but be sure to include your business or brand name in order to be visible to those that search for your company name.
  • Competitive keywords. In addition to your own brand’s name, target the names of your competition, and your ad will show up when searchers query them!
  • Long-tail keywords. Using a keywords tool, determine what phrases your consumers are searching for. Maybe it’s “best frozen yogurt in Los Angeles” — or maybe it’s “best fat free frozen yogurt in Los Angeles.” You don’t get as much traffic for these terms, but they’re typically cheaper and return more bang for your buck!
  • Geo-qualifiers. These are especially important for local businesses – local businesses should include city and zip code, as well as neighboring cities or county information, depending on how broad your target audience is. Local campaigns inherently have more keywords, as they have multiple geo-qualifiers.
  • Negative keywords. Negative keywords are words you don’t want your ad to display for. For example, if you are directing people to the aforementioned yogurt shop, “free” would be a negative word. Someone searching for “free” frozen yogurt will therefore not be shown your ad. Or let’s say, for whatever reason, the frozen yogurt shop does not carry chocolate as a flavor – therein, “chocolate” could constitute a negative keyword.

3. Create sparkling ad copy that leads to relevant landing pages.

Ad copy should really pull people in. Consider AIDA – a well-known acronym that breaks down the traditional marketing formula utilized by many marketers:

  • Attention (gain the consumer’s attention, create awareness)
  • Interest (raise consumer interest by citing advantages or offering a special discount/promotion)
  • Desire (convince the consumer they need your product/service)
  • Action (include a call to action – make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, place a call, visit this site, etc.)

Once you’ve created unique, compelling ad copy, you can supplement your ad with Ad Extensions. Ad Extensions, which are free, allow you to add links to unique pages, promos/deals, a phone number and location information (including a map) pulled from Google Places (which means you should optimize your Google Places entry). Adding Ad Extensions – which are free – is a great way to make your ad stand out!

Now that you’re ad is ready to go, make sure that the users will find relevant information when they click through to your site. All the time and money you spent in your PPC campaign is for nothing if consumers bounce when they arrive at your web page.

4. Determine your goals and monitor your data.

When it comes to a PPC campaign, there are many data points to monitor:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Click Through Rate (or CTR, which is clicks divided by impressions)
  • Spend
  • Conversions
  • Conversion Rate (conversion divided by clicks)
  • Cost per Conversion
  • Cost per Order
  • Cost per Lead
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Consider why you are running this PPC campaign. The conversions you desire will determine the data points you focus on. If you’re focused on lead generation, you will definitely want to focus on cost per lead and lead volume. If you’re an e-commerce site, you’ll want to pay close attention to cost per order and return on investment. If you’re the local frozen yogurt shop and you’re running a PPC campaign geared toward promoting awareness of your shop in your community, clicks and click through rate are important to monitor.

Over time, you’ll begin to collect a fair amount of data that will allow you to see what is leading to conversions and adjust your bids and keywords accordingly.

Once you’ve covered the basics of setting up your PPC accounts you may want to supercharge them. Bruce Clay, Inc. launched a new feature in our PPCToolSet last month that adjusts bids based on real-time conditions every 30 minutes. This tool has resulted in CPA and CPC decreases between 40% and 80% in some cases. Learn more about the PPCToolSet and how it can fuel your PPC campaign at PPCToolSet.com.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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7 Replies to “A Beginner’s 4-Step Guide: Delicious PPC Tips for Small Businesses”

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1. Establish your budget.
2. Strategize your keywords.
3. Create sparkling ad copy that leads to relevant landing pages.
4. Determine your goals and monitor your data.

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