While the title of this post may bring you back to the early 90’s when life was simple and the best advice we could get came from a rap song, don’t get it twisted! We’re actually going to talk about something that’s sooo 21st century!
PPC, which stands for Pay-Per-Click, is a form of search marketing. What is search marketing? Glad you asked! So, when you are looking for a product or service on Bing, Google, GoDuckGo or any other search engine, you usually see two different types of results; organic results and ads. This is search marketing! Pretty simple, huh?
Most small business owners are at least somewhat familiar with one form of search marketing, the dreaded SEO. But PPC marketing (the results with the yellow “Ad” block in the image above) isn’t so popular among small businesses. Well, it should be! Let’s briefly go over the benefits of PPC, why your small business should consider using it as a form of marketing and then show you how to get started!
The Benefits of PPC & Why Your Small Business Should Care
- Immediate front page position on search engines – Unlike SEO which takes months and months of hard work, most of which small business owners don’t do themselves, PPC ads start running the minute you press play!
- Getting started and managing PPC accounts are very simple – Below we’ll show you just how easy it is, but first, let’s talk about it. Most search engines like Google have step-by-step guides and ridiculously easy user interfaces. And now, you’ll also have this step-by-step guide from your favorite small business blog!
- Total control over your messaging – With SEO, search engines have the right to show users whatever they think is most relevant. What does that mean? It basically means that Google and other search engines think they know more about your business than you do. Can you believe the audacity of those guys?!? Here’s what you do! With PPC campaigns you write the ads and you show users what you want about your company. You can even create what are called sitelinks, additional information like features or links that give the user even more helpful information. Check out the sitelinks that Salesforce.com uses for their ad.
- Opportunity to strategically target your most valuable audience – As a small business owner you have to be efficient in everything you do. When it comes to looking for new clients or leads, why not spend your time on only the ones that are most likely to convert? When you run PPC campaigns you can target only the most valuable people for your business. From geographics and demographics to certain interests, you can strategically target only the people that matter.
- Clearly see returns on your investment – Unfortunately, because SEO is such a complex and ever-evolving field, small business owners sometimes get stuck throwing their money into a black hole with a fraudulent ad agency. It happens often and makes it difficult for legit agencies like us. Well, with PPC campaigns you clearly see where your money goes and where the results are coming from.
Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and do this!
We’re only going to go over Google AdWords today because, as we all know, Google is king of the search engines.
- Go to google.com/adwords and hit the ‘Sign In’ link at the top right of the screen.
- Enter your email address and website URL. Note, if you use a Google product, like Gmail, you’ll be able to go to the next step. If you aren’t signed up for any Google product then you’ll need to create a Gmail account.
- What do you sell? Now Google will ask you what you do. Unfortunately, they have predetermined categories. However, they are pretty inclusive so you should be able to find something that describes your business.
- Set your daily budget. The first thing you’ll need to set is your daily budget. Google AdWords (and Bing Ads) allow you to control your spending by applying budgets. Keep in mind that these budgets aren’t exact, meaning; if your daily budget is set to $50, a typical ad spend for the day may be $53.22. So, if you have a monthly marketing budget of $100, you’ll have a daily budget of $3.33. Another very important thing to keep in mind regarding your budget is how many days a month you’ll be running ads. If all of your customers shop during the week then you’ll be spreading your $100 over around 20 days, instead of 30. Don’t get too caught up here because you can always change your daily limit later!
- Choose a target audience. Most of our customers are small businesses, so their primary customers are in their respective city. If you are a retailer in Raleigh, NC, you’ll probably only be targeting Raleigh. If you don’t want to set a geographic limit on who can see your ads then keep it simple and select the United States. Again, another thing that you can change later.
- Select a network. There are 2 main options you’re given here; Search Network and Display Network. By selecting the Search Network you are telling Google to only show your ads on Google.com search pages. The Display Network is a little more complicated. Google partners with over 2 million websites to create their “Display Network”. These includes sites such as CNN.com, Quote.com, BroadwayWorld.com, not to mention Google’s own sites like Google Finance and YouTube. By selecting the Display Network, you are telling Google that you want your ads to show on any of these 2 million+ sites. When first starting out with Google AdWords, we usually suggest sticking with the search network so be sure to uncheck Display Network.
- Pick keywords. Now you’ll be asked to add keywords. If you sell high end shoes for private schools, a keyword you might use would be “private school loafers”. Google will make recommendations but remember to stay focused on what you sell or offer.
- Set Your Bid. Every time someone searches for a keyword you are targeting, your account is placing a bid in order to have your ad seen by the user. This is all automated so you don’t need to worry about constantly being logged in to make those bids. Simply let Google set bids automatically to fit your budget! Easy, right?
- Write Your Ad. This is where you get to talk about how amazing your product or service is and why people should pick you! Do you offer free shipping? Or maybe you have the best selection of something! These are all great features to include in your ad. This is what people will see when they search for your keywords, so be sure to make a compelling case as to why they should click on your ad!
- Now for the tricky part, actually giving them your credit card information! For those of you who get anxious when spending marketing dollars, don’t worry! You can login whenever you want, day or night, and pause all of your campaigns, effectively freezing your AdWords spending. The great thing about AdWords is that it’s very easy to be the boss. Think about that; you get to tell Google what to do!
- Review and Watch. You’ve done it! You’ve successfully created a Google AdWords account and a campaign! For those of you starting out, we recommend checking every few days to see how your keywords are performing.