PPC Management for Small Businesses: Basics of PPC

47% of small-business owners manage their marketing PPC campaigns entirely on their own. It can be challenging to know where to invest your money, time, and effort in marketing campaigns, particularly when customers and the world are moving to digital channels for entertainment, shopping, and brand communication. In addition, online engagement continues to grow with every passing year.

It is why it’s essential to understand as you look at all possible marketing channels. For example, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is something you should consider if you want to reach customers and remain competitive online. This article will explain what PPC marketing is, how it can benefit small businesses, and some best practices and basics to help you get started.

Let’s get started.

What is PPC?

PPC is shorthand for “pay-per-click advertising.” It can also be used interchangeably with SEM or Search Engine Marketing. It is a form of online advertising in which the advertiser (you) pays a fee each time a unique click on your ad to visit your website. Thus, per-click costs will determine the total cost.

PPC ads are often displayed as:

  • Text ads in search engine result pages like Google and Bing
  • YouTube – Text and image ads
  • Image ads on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Images ads are displayed on different websites, known as partner sites or Google’s Display Network.

PPC advertising aims to find the right keywords and organize them into campaigns and ad groups to reduce click costs. When done right, the value of a customer visiting your site should far exceed the cost of getting them there. Check out our guide to check out strategies if you are struggling to convert visitors to paying customers onsite.

SEO vs. PPC — What is the difference?

PPC advertising is not the same as organic digital advertising, such as SEO (search engine optimization) or organic social media marketing. The cost of PPC advertising is the most significant difference. Many small businesses think that other digital marketing strategies such as blogging, SEO, and social media content are free. Unfortunately, they are not “free,” which is often false.

Each click-through PPC advertising comes with an associated fee. However, organic channels are more expensive. In addition, it is usually time to write a blog post or design a social media post and the hosting costs.

Which is better: SEO or PPC?

To drive traffic to your website, you should combine SEO and PPC. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but they work well together in a digital marketing strategy. It is because you can test results across multiple channels and target keywords, move low-performing targets into your organic process and possibly target customers at all stages of the sales funnel.

It all depends on what your business needs are. SEO is the best option if you are a small business that targets local search results and has little competition online. SEO will make the most sense if you are a solely online shop that targets highly competitive eCommerce search terms. However, hyper-specific PPC can help you get exposure for your company. You’ll likely use both and mix and match as you go along.

What are the advantages of PPC for small-sized businesses?

Why should small business owners use PPC? First, it offers a few valuable benefits, including being more efficient in targeting customers and less time-consuming. These are some of the benefits that you can expect from leveraging PPC.

Greater budget control

PPC marketing offers many benefits. One is the control over your budget. PPC advertising platforms almost all allow you to set a budget, target audience, keywords, and adjust the bid per click. Thus, you decide how much and how you want to spend it.

Reporting and visibility into the results

PPC marketing gives you visibility and immediate reporting on how your dollars are being spent. It lets you see which devices and locations perform best, who is most likely to click on your ads, and what keywords perform well.

This aspect of PPC marketing is different from traditional channels like radio, television, or print, which heavily rely on frequency reporting and broad reach. PPC marketing insights allow you to quickly evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts and gain valuable insight into areas where you can increase your success rates.

No content required

Another aspect of control is? PPC advertising requires zero SEO or content effort. You don’t have to spend your time writing content or hoping it will rank organically. It is a huge advantage. PPC advertising lets you specify the keywords or terms you want to be shown in search engines and then bid on them. It is a great way to grow your website traffic quickly.

There are very few or no entry barriers

With PPC marketing, there are fewer barriers to entry for setting up campaigns. PPC platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads let anyone set up an account to build campaigns in minutes. It is a significant improvement over traditional television, radio, and print advertising, where you usually have to deal with a buyer.

It is a benefit to be able to create campaigns and set up accounts quickly. However, it also means you should be knowledgeable about the best practices and mistakes you should avoid for every platform you choose to invest in.

What is the working principle of PPC?

PPC advertising is quite simple once you understand how it works. So let’s take you through the steps.

1. Setting your campaign goals

It is essential to identify your goals for any marketing campaign before you begin. For example, what is your destination for foot traffic to your storefront’s website? Online sales How can you build awareness about a new service or product that you are offering? How do you schedule an appointment?

Your goal will be influenced by every decision you make regarding the following steps, including where and how to manage your ads.

Let’s say, for example, that we are a local burger and beer joint in Boulder, Colorado. As the owner of the restaurant, I want to increase online orders via my website. Therefore, my ads should focus on directing customers to my online ordering portal.

2. Choosing the right platform to support your business

Google Ads and Microsoft Ads are the most prominent PPC advertising channels. A small business typically invests in Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Google is the most popular and widely used search engine globally, so advertisers have the best reach. Google searches are active. They *actively* type in keywords to find what they need. Facebook is different. They are not actively searching for something on Google. Instead, they scroll through their Facebook feed passively. Facebook Ads offers advertisers unique targeting options.

Let’s go back to the restaurant example. To increase online orders, I want to select the Ad platform that best represents the customers’ intent, i.e., I am looking to target people actively searching for restaurants and food in their local area. When people search for local restaurants, they should be able to find my restaurant. To start, I will prioritize Google Ads.

3. Create your first search campaign

We’ll continue with the example. Now that we have chosen Google Ads to be our platform and know that we want to reach people using keywords, we’ll log into our Google Ads account to create another ‘Search Campaign. We will choose to target Boulder, Colorado, when setting up a campaign. It is because we want only locals to order online food. As a daily budget, we will also decide how much money we are comfortable spending.

4. Organizing your search campaign

Small business advertisers often overlook the importance of a healthy account and a well-structured campaign. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your PPC advertising campaign continues. After creating your first Google Ads search campaign, you will be asked to create an Adgroup.

Multiple ad groups can be combined into a single campaign. Each group will have its set keywords and ads. To house similar keywords, you’ll use groups. Here, I created two groups for keywords such as “online ordering” or “burger.”

Each group will have keywords and text ads. My keywords are the words I want Google Search users to use to find my ad. My ad will be what they see to get them to my site.

You can also add extensions to your ads. These are additional information that is displayed with your ad but not in the ad text. Given that our example is for a local restaurant, I will add a location extension to my ad — to show the address of my restaurant. To display the number of my restaurant, I will also add a call extension.

5. Set Your Bids

After you have selected your keywords from an ad group, a “bid” will be requested. A bid is a maximum amount that you are willing to pay for one click. You may pay less, but not more. Why not spend more? PPC advertising works on an auction basis. Three components go into each auction for every search.

  • Maximum bid that you will accept
  • Your ads’ quality (or quality score)
  • Based on the additional information in your ads, such as our location or call extensions, this will determine the expected performance of your advertisement.

In keeping with the example, all our keyword bids for burgers will be set at $3. It is an example of a random number. Most platforms offer competitive estimates.

6. All this and more — PPC in action

An auction is when someone searches for a great local burger. Google Ads searches for advertisers that bid on the keyword “local hamburger restaurant” within your target location. It considers their bid, quality ads, and expected performance to determine who will appear in search results.

It allows you to have highly well-written ads and a lower price than your competitors but still rank higher than them in number 1. This is taking into account the maximum you have disclosed, which was $3.

What tools and services are you looking for to help with PPC?

You don’t need to spend money on additional tools and services if you are a small business just beginning to use PPC advertising. Instead, it’s best to get to know the platform and use educational resources like the Google Ads Help Center, YouTube videos about campaign setup and best practices, and other resources.

How to create your PPC strategy

When you start to think about your initial PPC strategy, linking what you do with PPC spend to your business goals is essential.

Local service businesses, such as lawn maintenance, will want to target their customers with strict targeting. Use keywords specific to your services and make sure your website and ads allow visitors to call, book, or scheduled appointments with you. Once you get more traffic to your website and get leads, you will see specific vital metrics.

The conversion rate, the number of people who book a service, and the amount of traffic your website receives from paid advertising are vital metrics. You also need to know what keywords you should use to drive qualified leads. You can then calculate your return on investment by using paid advertising. It is done by controlling how much you are willing to pay based on the revenue each lead brings you.

Your PPC strategy is unique to your business and your goals. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Is PPC a good option for small businesses?

PPC advertising is perfect for small businesses. PPC advertising is a great way to get traffic to your site quickly. It also gives you access to reporting and metrics and gives you complete control over how much and what you spend.

Take measurements

It is essential to measure your website actions’ value. It often requires that you install pixels (or small pieces of code) on your website to measure transactions, phone calls and add-to-carts, downloads, and other actions.

Use remarketing lists to your advantage

Pixels allow you to create remarketing audiences. These are lists of website visitors you can use to retarget after they have left your site. Because not all website visitors will perform the actions you consider most important, remarketing lists can be precious. You may need to make the call, book, buy, download, etc., several times before they finally visit your site.

To achieve success, actively manage your PPC Ads

It is important to remember that PPC advertising requires constant management. Therefore, you should check in on your account(s), campaigns(s) as often as you feel necessary, but most likely at least once per day.

It is a standard error

Although this article does not cover all of the mistakes, small businesses make when starting PPC advertising, it will highlight one mistake they make: “Setting and forgetting.” It refers to creating a campaign and setting a daily budget and bids. Once your campaign is activated, you can let your cost rise before you remember to check-in. It is a mistake that you should not allow happening. Make sure to check in and make adjustments as necessary regularly.

Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Judge Napolitano.

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