Pay-per-click ads that appear in Google search results can be an effective way to generate traffic – particularly traffic that converts into customers. They appear in almost every Google search and you’ve probably heard about them before, but are PPC ads useful for small businesses?
If you choose the right keywords, budget, and have a well designed landing page, you can buy your way to the top of the results page. In some cases, like the above, searchers might even need to scroll down before they get past your ads. That’s a good thing too – we want our ads to take up as much space in search results as possible to help attract more clicks & potential customers.
With that being said, Google Ads also makes it easy to spend a lot of money very quickly. If you aren’t quite comfortable with what you’re doing, you could blow through your whole marketing budget in a day.
So, is PPC a good fit for your small business?
Why use PPC ads for small business?
PPC and Google Ads can be worth it for small businesses—if you know when they make sense and how to create, manage & optimise them.
Here’s six advantages of running PPC ads on Google Ads:
1. Reach people when they’re looking for you
If you target the right keywords with PPC ads, you can get in front of potential customers at the exact moment they’re looking for your products. For example, if a user is looking for a new pair of trainers, you could bid on the keyword ‘trainers’ and get your ads in-front of them. With PPC you’re essentially targeting what we like to call ‘warm users’ (people already looking for the services/products you offer).
2. Target based on geography
If you run a small business that targets the local area primarily, you won’t be too focused on going after national or international customers. Within Google Ads you can setup location targeting for each of your campaigns, therefore allowing you to only show your ads in locations you specify. You can, if you wish, also target users on a national and international level within Google Ads.
4. Send people to specific landing pages
When someone clicks on a PPC ad, they get sent to a page on your website. One of the strengths of PPC ads is that you get to choose which page that is. Compared to SEO, they won’t necessarily land on the page you would like them to, therefore taking them more steps to build trust in your website and enquire.
A lot of people send PPC traffic to their home page, which is ok (if not ideal). But one of the major strengths of PPC is that you can send people to custom landing pages that are optimised to convert.
By sending people to landing pages that offer what they’re looking for, you can increase your chances of converting them into customers.
5. Track results easily
With PPC ads, you can track click-through rate, ad spend, and conversion rate on landing pages. You can A/B test different ad copy and landing pages easily to maximize ROI.
One reason PPC ads are such an attractive marketing tactic is the ability to track ROI. Return on investment is a huge consideration for your marketing budget, and PPC ads will give you all the data needed in order to figure out whether they’re bringing you a positive return on investment.
A well-setup & optimised account plays a huge part in getting the best ROI from your account as possible.
6. Get results quickly
Other approaches to getting seen in search engines can take a long time to start working. For example, your SEO efforts – whilst still important, it can take months if not years to see any progress in search results. The conversion process is longer and more difficult to measure.
PPC ads will get you results much faster than most other marketing tactics.
If you have the knowledge, ad copy, keywords, landing pages & budget ready to spend on PPC ads, they are a simple way to start getting conversions.
Unconventional uses of PPC ads
In addition to the standard benefits of PPC ads, there are a couple of nontraditional uses that people use PPC ads for.
PPC ads let you target based on keywords. For most websites, a lot of traffic comes from branded searches – that is, people typing the company name directly into Google.
By bidding on competitors keywords, it allows you to get your ads shown above their website listing in organic search results. For example, McDonalds may bid on the keyword ‘Burger King’ in order to show paid ads above Burger King’s organic listings in Google search results.
It’s a clever way to steal traffic from competitors, however be careful as if your competitor spots that you’re running PPC ads for their brand name, they may start to bid on their own brand name to replace your ads.
Testing keywords for SEO
Because PPC ads are relatively inexpensive and easy to measure for most business industries, they can be a great way to test out which keywords work for your business.
PPC allows you to bid on as many keywords as you wish and can be a great investment tool to find out which keywords drive conversions for your business. If you focus on search-engine optimisation, or plan to do so in the future but don’t know which keywords are worth implementing into your SEO strategy, you can measure keyword results in your PPC account and from their decide which ones you want to use in your SEO strategy.
Things to consider before using PPC ads
Google Ads is a powerful tool that can serve a few different functions in your marketing. Still, there are a few things you should consider when deciding whether or not Google Ads is worth it for your small business.
Google Ads isn’t free. Because you’re paying by the click, it’s possible to spend a lot of money very quickly if you’re not careful. As you’re learning the ropes within Google Ads you want to make sure you understand your daily budget limits, as well as how Google is going to deploy that budget.
At the same time, you’ll want to make sure that your messaging and landing pages are well designed and user-friendly – otherwise you’ll be sending good paid traffic to a poor landing page where users won’t convert. In another article, we explain what it takes to run a successful PPC search campaign.
Keyword selection is vital
The keywords you choose to advertise on are critical, as they determine who is going to see your ad. They can also be a big reason why you waste a lot of money.
First of all, people need to be searching for your products or services. Although many conversions start with a Google search, some audiences or industries are less likely to be driven by revenue from search results.
Google’s Keyword Planner gives you keyword volume and cost-per-click information that can help you figure out how many people are looking for you, and the average cost-per-click it’s going to cost in order to get in-front of those people. If there isn’t enough volume around the keywords you wish to bid on, your success with PPC will be minimal.
Secondly, you need to understand searcher intent. Searches most likely fall under one of three categories:
- Informational: A searcher is looking for information on a specific topic
- Navigational: A searcher is looking to find a particular website
- Transactional: A searcher wants to buy something
PPC ads are best suited to transactional keywords such as ‘buy glasses online’ or ‘property surveyor near me’ – because the people who make those searches are likely to convert.
Finally, it’s best practise to actually Google each of your keywords – even a transactional keyword can be a bad choice if it targets the wrong audience.
So, should small businesses invest in PPC?
PPC ads and Google Ads can be effective for small business – if you use them correctly.
Used right, with the correct knowledge around setting them up and optimising regularly, Google Ads can help you precisely target your audience and drive conversions quickly.