How to set up PPC for your small business

Published: 04/11/2020

For businesses looking to stand out from the crowd online, it’s mega important they show in the first page of consumer search results, and not only that but as high up in the rankings as possible:

  • 45-50% of traffic clicks on the top spot 
  • 90% of search traffic stays on the first page of Google
  • Over two-thirds of clicks land on the top five ranked pages - the remaining five only get 3.73% of the action. 

Getting seen on the first page of results can work wonders for small businesses, driving more traffic to their website and heightening their profile, but how do you achieve it? 

Pay Per Click is one tool that can be extremely effective at getting your hands on the prize, so here we’ll tell you exactly what it is and how you can set it up today to start reaping the rewards.

What is PPC?

PPC is a form of online advertising used by businesses to drive traffic to their website.

It gets its name because you have to pay a fee every time a user clicks on your advert.

In essence, PPC advertising is a tool for buying visits to your website (as opposed to trying to achieve this organically through the likes of search engine optimisation (SEO)). 

One of the most popular forms of PPC is search engine advertising, unsurprising since Google alone boasts a whopping 63,000 searches per second. 

Nailing PPC on Google will result in your ad being shown as a Google ad at the top of the results.

How successful is PPC?

Considering 64.6% of consumers click on Google Ads when online shopping it comes as no surprise 70% of businesses set aside a budget for PPC advertising.

While SEO can work well for upping website traffic and gaining traction, seeing the fruits of your labour can sometimes be a slow process - with PPC more traffic, leads, and customers can happen almost instantaneously once your ad goes live.

How to set up a PPC campaign

PPC involves a process of bidding on a number of keywords that are relevant to your business, so the first thing you need to do is spend some time working out what those keywords are for you. 

The keywords you choose mean when a consumer types those keywords into a search engine your advert will show up, so it really is the key to success with PPC.

How to identify keywords

As with most things these days you’ve got options when it comes to choosing a tool to help identify the keywords that are right for you, but Google’s own Keyword Planner is a great place to start.

You just need to copy and paste your website’s URL and it will show you some potentially relevant keywords and terms to kick things off.

A word of warning, not all of Google’s suggestions will be right for your business, so be cautious about blindly accepting everything you’re shown as bidding on them is unlikely to pay dividends.

Besides using a tool you can employ a little good old fashioned common sense - what might your target audience search when in the market for products you offer? 

Top keyword tip

Don’t dive straight in with two feet but instead test the waters with your keywords to see how they perform. Bid low and cast your net a bit wider on a number of keywords and use the results to identify which ones are big hitters and which are duds.

You can then use your findings to inform your future campaigns and ensure they’re more successful.

How to bid

Once you’ve decided on your initial keywords it’s time to bid on them. If we take Google as the example here you do this by heading to Google Ads and creating your business’ advert (more on this in a moment).

Once you’re happy with the content you’ll be asked to set your budget and bid on your keywords - this is when you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend for a click on that keyword. 

It’s entirely up to you how much you think is reasonable but of course, it’s vital you keep your budget in mind and work out how much traffic you’ll need to drive to your website to make your spend worthwhile.

Your bid will determine where your advert appears in the search results - on Google, there are typically four adverts at the top of a search page and how much you bid will decide where you appear in this list. 

Top bidding tip

Remember, if you’re tempted to bid more to appear higher this runs the risk that your ad will receive a large number of clicks and they’ll all cost you the higher amount - there’s a fine balance to strike. 

A good idea is to start low and see how many clicks your ad gets, how much revenue those clicks create, and whether it’s profitable for your business - you can always go back and up your bid if you’re not getting the traction you need. 

Starting low and incrementally growing your bid is a safe way to find your business’ PPC sweet spot. 

How to create your ad

Designing the perfect ad text is what’s going to ultimately make or break the success of your PPC campaign, so it’s really key you spend some time crafting a killer ad.

As of 2018 the character limit in a single description line on a Google Ad is 90 - although you do have the option to include two description lines in a text ad upping your count to 180 if you need it.

According to Google themselves, top-notch ads should be “specific, relevant, attractive and empowering”, how? Here are six top tips straight from the horse’s mouth:

  1. Showcase what makes your business unique - what makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you the edge over your competitor? It could be free delivery, eco-friendy, etc. but make sure you tell people!
  2. Include info on pricing, promotions, and special offers - consumers oftentimes use search engines to influence their buying decisions, so arm them with all the info they’ll need to do so.
  3. Include a call to action - make it crystal clear what the next steps are with phrases like ‘contact us now’, ‘order here’, and ‘get a quote’.
  4. Include at least one of your PPC keywords - this will demonstrate the relevance of your business proposition to what consumers are looking for. 
  5. Align to your website’s landing page - make sure the text within your ad matches the lingo on your website’s landing page to provide a streamlined customer journey. If consumers don’t find what they want once they’ve clicked through they could click ‘back’ in no time.
  6. Check for common mistakes - there are standards to adhere to when creating an ad, for example, you mustn’t add extra spaces where they’re not needed or use OdD cApiTaLiSaTion. 

Top tip: Scrub up on Google’s standards and all their advice for ads here. 

Match types

On Google Ads you’ll see there are four PPC keyword match types:

  • Broad match
  • Broad match modifier
  • Phrase match
  • Exact match

These determine how broad or narrow a search query will match your keywords and it’s an important element of successful PPC to choose the right match type for your business. 

Take a look at this image provided by Google to get a deeper understanding of what each match type entails.

Broad matches can be useful for capturing relevant traffic that has typed in a related query but not used your exact keywords, but in some instances the opposite is true and you could end up paying for traffic that has no interest in what you’re selling and has ended up clicking on your add because Google made an iffy match. 

Top tips for a PPC campaign

Check your budget regularly

Ideally, keep an eye on your budget and how much you’re spending every few days - this way you can see how your ads are performing and adapt based on what’s working well.

Assign a daily budget cap

This will stop your adverts from being shown once you’ve received enough click-throughs to hit your budget and will prevent your spending from spiralling. 

Adapt to consumer preferences 

Consumer demands and preferences are regularly changing - the recent shift from eat-out to takeaways and deliveries thanks to COVID, for example. As a small business you can quickly shift your PPC focus to keep up. Capitalise on your flexibility. 

Keep your ad copy relevant to your keywords

This way when a consumer searches for your keywords your advert will replicate exactly what they’re looking for, and this should up website traffic and conversions.

Make sure your website’s consistent too

Once consumers have clicked-through your ad it’s critical your website reflects their search query too or they’ll leave as quickly as they arrived, effectively rendering your PPC redundant.

Whatever they’ve typed in needs to match your website’s landing page - it’s all about providing a smooth journey from start to finish to up your chances of success. 

Hopefully, this guide has armed you with all the tools you need to launch a successful PPC campaign, for heaps more useful resources designed especially for small businesses head over to our blog.

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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