In the vast and competitive landscape of online advertising, small businesses often face the challenge of maximising their advertising budget to achieve meaningful results. The good news is that even with limited resources, small budgets can indeed compete effectively with their larger counterparts in Google Ads. The key lies in knowing where to focus your efforts and how to create ads that are not only cost-effective but also optimised for search engines. In this comprehensive guide, our digital agency in Melbourne will explore strategies and techniques that can help small businesses thrive in the world of Google Ads.
1. Choose the right keywords
Your journey towards successful Google Ads campaigns begins with a solid keyword strategy. Keywords are the foundation of your ad campaigns, and selecting the right ones can significantly impact your advertising budget. Avoid the common misconception that going for the cheapest keywords in your industry is the best approach. Instead, strive for a balanced mix of high-cost, high-reward keywords alongside branded or low-cost terms.
To discover this optimal mix of keywords, leverage free keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or third-party options such as WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool. These tools will help you identify keywords that are essential for your business and those that you can afford to exclude from your campaigns.
2. Develop a holistic Google strategy
In the realm of online advertising, paid results are not the sole determinants of success. Your overall presence on Google, including organic search results and local listings, can significantly impact the performance of your paid ads. To maximise your chances of success, it’s essential to embrace a holistic Google strategy.
Invest time in understanding and implementing search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices to enhance your organic search visibility. Optimise your Google Business Profile to ensure that your business appears in local search results. When your brand appears in multiple positions on the search engine results page (SERP), you gain credibility, and the likelihood of users clicking on your paid ads increases.
3. Utilise the budget report
Effective budget management is crucial for small businesses aiming to make the most of their Google Ads spending. To stay on track and align your advertising budget with your business goals, consider using the budget report feature in the Google Ads interface.
Accessible from various sections within the interface, including the campaign view, shared library, or ad groups page, the budget report offers insights into your campaign’s spending. It provides real-time expenditure data, monthly forecasts, and projections on how changes to your campaign’s daily budget could impact performance. Utilising this feature can help you avoid budget overruns and make informed decisions to optimise your spending.
4. Build local awareness
For small businesses, local awareness is a critical component of success. It’s not enough to excel offline; you must also establish a strong online presence through your Google Ads strategy. Given that a significant portion of Google searches is for local information, targeting your local audience effectively can lead to substantial gains.
Target local services ads
Many small businesses operate in service-based industries, and Google has tailored its advertising options to cater to their needs. Google Local Services Ads are designed to enhance the experience for both advertisers and searchers. Managed directly from your Google Business Profile, these ads charge you only for qualified leads, making them a cost-effective option.
Local Services Ads specifically target customers within your service area, and Google verifies users’ locations and the services they seek before connecting them to your business. This makes these ads a powerful tool for gaining attention from relevant local markets.
Don’t underestimate impressions
While small business owners often focus on bottom-line results, there is a vital metric that should not be overlooked: impression share. If your goal is to increase local awareness, your impression share in the local market is essential.
Tools like Google Trends can help you identify popular local search queries. Target keywords associated with these searches in your Google Ads campaigns to boost your impression share. Even if your ads generate only impressions initially, this is still a significant win for small businesses seeking to establish their local presence.
Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) and local terms
Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a valuable feature that dynamically inserts terms into your ad headlines or descriptions based on the searcher’s query. Many small business advertisers use DKI to match various location names within their target area, increasing relevance.
If DKI doesn’t align with your strategy, incorporate location-based language like “near me” in your keywords and ad copy. The growing popularity of search phrases such as “near me” or “close by” underscores the value of using these terms in your campaigns.
Geotargeting is a cornerstone of local PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. By defining specific geographical areas where your ads will be displayed, you can optimise your budget and maximise your impression share within those regions. Geotargeting ensures that your ads reach the most relevant local audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
5. Make sure you’re driving leads
While raising local awareness is essential, the ultimate goal for any business, whether large or small, is to drive leads and conversions through Google Ads. However, this can be a challenging task, especially for small businesses with limited resources. Here are strategies to help your small business generate leads effectively:
Direct traffic to your website
Traffic is the lifeblood of your online presence. Even with compelling ads, if they do not drive traffic to your website, conversions will remain elusive. Start your Google Ads strategy by focusing on increasing website traffic. Top-of-funnel ads can spark interest and encourage users to click through to your site. Once there, engage visitors with lead magnets, such as downloadable resources or contact forms, to capture their information.
Use compelling Calls to Action (CTAs)
The effectiveness of your ads hinges on the clarity of your calls to action. Pre-qualify your audience through your ad copy, ensuring that users understand the desired action. Confusion can lead to wasted clicks and missed conversions. Craft CTAs with clear and enticing language that motivates users to take the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, requesting a quote, or signing up for a newsletter.
Use ad extensions
Ad extensions are a valuable tool for increasing leads through PPC advertising. In the case of Search ads, consider using lead form extensions, allowing users to submit their information directly from the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Call extensions enable users to call your business directly, enhancing lead generation. Additionally, sitelink extensions can direct users to specific landing pages, further increasing the chances of conversion.
6. Maximise your ROI
Small businesses must optimise their Google Ads campaigns to ensure they are getting the most value from their advertising budget. To achieve sustainable growth, consider the following strategies:
Do regular audits
Ignorance is not bliss in PPC advertising. Regularly audit your Google Ads account to identify optimisation opportunities and maximise your ROI. Audits should cover various aspects, including keyword costs, ad strength, ad schedules, and more. Streamline your auditing process by using tools like the free Google Ads Performance Grader, which simplifies performance assessment.
Understand bidding strategies
Your choice of bidding strategy can significantly impact your return on ad spend (ROAS). Automated bidding offers various options, such as optimising for cost per acquisition or ROAS. If you are not achieving the desired results, review your bidding strategy. Adjust your bid aggressiveness to align with your goals, as this can influence your ad position and the quality of clicks or conversions you receive.
Push lead generation
Small businesses often rush to evaluate their Google Ads ROI without first focusing on lead generation. Prioritise lead acquisition before aiming for direct customer conversions. A robust base of leads can offset costs over time. As you collect more leads, you gain valuable data for refining your strategy and improving your conversion rates.
Remember that competition in the online advertising landscape can be fierce. If you underbid or underspend, your ads may not generate enough activity for meaningful analysis and optimisation. Therefore, do not hesitate to allocate sufficient budget to compete effectively. While your initial cost per acquisition (CPA) or ROAS may not be ideal, consistent optimisation efforts can lead to improved ROI.
7. How to achieve sustainable growth with Google Ads
The path to long-term success in the world of Google Ads involves not only acquiring customers but also retaining them through consistent value delivery. Building customer loyalty can lead to repeat business and a stronger bottom line. Consider these strategies to achieve sustainable growth:
Implement a multichannel strategy
Capturing and retaining customers’ attention often requires a multichannel approach. Google offers various ad types, such as Shopping, Display, and Performance Max, that can engage users at different stages of their buyer’s journey. A multichannel strategy enables longer-term initiatives like remarketing, allowing you to continue growing your customer base after the initial audience has been tapped.
Invest in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Efficient internal processes are essential for small businesses. Implement a CRM system to track and nurture leads, ensuring that no opportunities are missed. CRMs can help you engage customers over the long term and personalise your advertising efforts. By collecting personal identifiers, you can deliver targeted ads that resonate with your audience. Moreover, CRM software saves time, allowing you to focus on optimising your Google Ads account.
Track and analyse data
As your Google Ads account grows, so does your historical data. Familiarise yourself with key PPC metrics that are relevant to your business goals. Utilise free reporting options within Google and explore external tools to find the reporting solution that best suits your needs. Establish a routine for regular reporting check-ins to monitor your performance against set goals. Additionally, benchmark your performance against industry-specific advertising benchmarks to identify areas for improvement and maintain competitiveness.
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