PPC can be a nerve wracking discipline to explore, with live bidding, budgets, CPCs and quality scores being just a handful of things to consider. Along with competition being higher than ever across all PPC channels, how can a small business possibly compete with their industry heavy-weight competition? Well, we have put together some essential tips for managing a PPC account for small businesses/budgets which might just help.
Be Specific With Your Goals
Before you start creating any campaigns, it is essential to decide on the goals you are looking to achieve through PPC. If you are an e-commerce site, sales and revenue may be your focus. However, if you are a service-focused brand, Leads and calls would be most beneficial.
Luckily, Google Ads suggests the most popular goals to target when setting up a new campaign and gives ad suggestions and templates in order to best target these across multiple platforms and ad placements.
Narrow Your Focus
The reality is, there is only so far a small budget can stretch when competing against larger brands. However, one way to tackle this is by being as specific as possible with the keywords you are targeting. The competition for generic terms (such as “t-shirts”) is extremely high. However, by bidding on a more specific term (such as “mens large red striped t-shirt”) using the exact match keyword type, competition will be decreased. As you are targeting customers further along their consumer journey who have a good idea of what they are searching for, your conversion rate is also likely to be higher than on generic terms. Utilise the keyword planner tool to find keyword suggestions, competition levels and search volumes to have an idea of the bids required.
Manage multiple campaign spend with shared budgets
If you have a set budget for the month and multiple campaigns with different priorities, it can sometimes be hard to keep spending on track. However, by creating shared budgets you can assign a daily spend limit to a group of campaigns rather than individually. While the daily spend may go slightly above or below your budget cap, over a month it should average out to match your final budget.
Utilise Exact Match Types & Negative Keyword Lists
Broad Match Modifier campaigns are great for impressions, however they can be costly to run. The best way to manage this is through the use of the search query report. By navigating to the select broad match campaign, keywords and then “search terms” tab, you can see the key terms which have triggered your campaign to show. If you are seeing high impressions and clicks for key terms, you can create an exact match campaign to target these terms at a lower CPC. After all, exact match bids are not only cheaper than broad match bids, but their performance has already been confirmed through their performance in the broad match campaign. By creating a negative keyword list, you can also stop these exact match key terms from triggering your broad match campaigns, therefore enabling better control over your bidding and budgets.
Tailor Ads As Much As Possible To Your Keywords
When creating your campaigns, a number of factors are considered by Google to determine performance, such as CPCs, landing page experience and ad relevance. These combined create your quality score. The higher your quality score, the less your CPCs cost.
Therefore, it is essential to tailor every aspect of your ad as closely as possibly to the keyword you are bidding on. Your landing page will also affect your quality score so ensure it is as relevant as possible to the users query. Having a specialised PPC landing page created for your ads is a great way to help this, though not essential.
Bring Back Visitors With Retargeting
It is important to be present when your audience is most likely to engage with your ads. However, what you think might be the priority time to target, may not be an accurate representation for your users.
So, how do you decide the optimum times to target? Google Ads offer time of day, daily, weekly and monthly reports to help you identify the best days and times to prioritise based on traffic and conversions. This data can then be used to create your ad schedule. Don’t waste budget on low quality traffic and those unlikely to convert.
Target Prime Locations with Geotargeting
If you are a UK based company offering services within a specified local area, you don’t want to waste budget by having your ads show in areas you cannot supply your services to. Think about who your customers are and target their locations through the use of location targeting to make the most efficient use of your budget.
Track Performance With Google Analytics
Nothing is more headache inducing than not seeing results from your investment. Follow that by having to explain to your bosses why and it’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Therefore, being able to have a comprehensive picture of account performance is essential. By linking your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts, you can examine every aspect of your PPC performance as part of your wider marketing strategy. While Google Ads allows you to see impressions, clicks, click-through-rates etc, Analytics will allow you to also see how users interact with your site once they have landed. See which pages are performing well, which pages users are dropping off and common user journeys through the site.
With this knowledge, you will be able to influence your marketing strategy focuses and what areas need investment in order to aid performance.
Overall, the main things to focus on if you are a small business or on a small budget are:
- Set clear goals
- Narrow your focus
- Keep away from generic keyword competition
- Utilise ad scheduling and location targeting to effectively target those most likely to convert at optimum times.
- Use retargeting lists to retain previous site visitors and those most likely to convert.
- Leverage data to influence your wider marketing strategy and only spend on areas which need it.
So, whether you are a small independent business or a large business with a small budget, the above tips are essential starting points for managing PPC spend. However, if you would prefer for an expert to take away the worry of managing your PPC activity, contact Ricemedia to find out how our team could support your marketing efforts.