Google currently accounts for over 85% of online search engine traffic. The remaining 15% is split between Bing, Yahoo! and a handful of smaller alternatives.
The ubiquity of the platform has altered the ways in which consumers look for and consume information. It has also drastically changed how businesses connect with their customers and how they advertise their products and services.
More and more commerce is conducted online. Even for offline, bricks and mortar shopping, the customer journey still often begins online.
Customers might search google for ideas (“new women’s trainers”), they may look for reviews (“which are the best women’s trainers”) or they may look for a location to purchase their desired item (“sports shops near me”).
What Exactly Does Small Business PPC Mean?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows businesses to bid on keywords which are related to their industry niche or their ideal customer’s interest.
If their bid is high enough, their ad will be shown when a user in their chosen demographic searches for one of their keywords.
PPC advertising is an excellent tool for small businesses as Google only charges them when someone actually clicks on the ad. Therefore, an ad seen by 50 people but only clicked on by one will cost no more to the business than an ad seen and clicked on by just one person. This is why it is called Pay Per Click (PPC).
This means that every time a person sees the ad but doesn’t click on it, you are getting free exposure for your brand name and message.
What Are the Benefits of PPC for Small Businesses?
The priority for any small business, especially one that is just starting, should be to raise awareness of your brand and the services you offer.
The first step is to create a great website, even if it’s a single page landing page. Make sure it is engaging, easy to use and communicates the message you want your customers to hear.
But a great website is only the first step, if people don’t already know about your website, how will they ever find it?
PPC for small businesses can answer that question.
By targeting PPC ads at users who are already searching for services or products that you supply you can reach your target audience immediately, in a manner that is trackable and at a much lower cost than traditional marketing channels such as print or radio ads.
PPC helps level the playing field, any size of business can access the Google Ads platform. Although available click budget is a factor the most important element in a campaign is targeting which is more a matter of knowledge and expertise than of budget.
There’s no need to wait for a word of mouth following to build up around your company. Small businesses can use PPC to start connecting with customers on the same day they launch their business.
Ease of Creating and Managing
While there are many thirds party tools available, Google’s own Ads platform streamlines the process of creating, monitoring and adjusting your ads.
The process has been simplified to the point that very little technical knowledge is required to get started but without a solid strategy and monitoring in place, it can be easy to waste money figuring out what works. This is where a trained PPC expert can help.
Pay Only When Your Ad is Clicked
PPC ads on cost you money when someone actually clicks on them (hence Pay Per Click). Hundreds of users looking at your ads but not interacting with them costs you nothing, so it’s free exposure of your brand name and message. You are never charged just for displaying your ads.
You can set a maximum daily, weekly or monthly budget. Once this budget is reached, your ads will no longer be displayed.
This means you never pay more than you expect for your ads and can stay in control of your budget at all times. You can also set a maximum amount for each click; this lets you ensure that the cost per click is never more than the value of a conversion.
For example, if you were a local hairdresser, you might choose to bid against a popular keyword like “hairdresser near me”. You choose how much you are willing to bid for a click, if you offer is one of the highest you will appear as one of the 3 to 4 ads at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Competitors can also bid against each other’s name to try and draw customers away to them. For example, NETFLIX may have ads running against NOW TV so that a user searching for NOW TV will see an advert for NETFLIX above the results for the NOW TV website.
This gives NETFLIX an opportunity to capture existing or potential NOW TV customers. Consider is there are existing businesses in your niche who’s name you could target as a keyword. However, some businesses will bid on their own name as a keyword simply to prevent this tactic.
Deep Targeting Options
Refining your audience targeting is one of the most important parts of running a successful PPC campaign.
PPC campaigns can have incredibly in-depth targeting. A company can target specific locations, age ranges and income ranges.
This means you can target your ads directly at your target market. You can also have specific ads or specific landing pages for specific demographics if you think that customers in different demographics will respond better to different ad copy.
Refining your keyword targeting is even more important, particularly the addition of negative keywords.
Negative keywords are words or phrases which preclude your ads from being displayed. For example, if an insurance company wanted to run ads but didn’t offer car insurance, they might add “car, motor, vehicle and automotive” as negative keywords to prevent wasted ad spend on customers they cannot serve.
The Google Ads platform takes advantage of AI to make adjustments and recommendations based on an ad campaigns performance. It can suggest new budgets, altered demographic targeting or new keywords.
While these recommendations are valuable, they are not to be taken as gospel as each business is different. It is always worth running these suggestions by an expert.