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Six things your small business should know about PPC advertising

By Will Stevens - August 19, 2021

Many small business owners dismiss paid advertising as something they don’t need to worry about when they’re getting started.

Why? Because most believe it’s too expensive for their tight budget. They feel they need to first focus on search engine optimisation (SEO) and other online marketing tactics to build their online presence and generate some revenue. Only then will they be able to afford to invest in paid advertising.

The truth? It takes about 12 months to get impactful SEO results, and it’s a time- and energy-consuming process.

And what happens in the meantime? Nothing. No one is checking out your website, placing an order, calling or filling out a contact form.

This is where pay-per-click advertising (PPC) comes in. When used right, it’s an effective and affordable way to get your business noticed in the search results and generate profit faster than any other online marketing tactic.

If you’re not familiar with PPC advertising, we’ve got you covered with six things you should know before you get started.

1. What is PPC?

As the name suggests, with PPC you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Often, PPC uses an auction system, where you specify how much you’re willing to pay for a person to click on your ad.

In a nutshell, this is how it works: you bid an amount for a certain keyword demographic. You create an ad, which can include things like: text, images, links and so on. When it’s all ready to go, you run the campaign.

When users search for your keyword, your ad shows up on the first page of the search engine results (assuming the amount you’re willing to pay for a click is high enough).

Here is how an ad looks:

That’s how PPC works to help you earn visitors and, hopefully, customers.

2. You can target the customers you want

Selecting the right keywords is a great way to reach potential customers, but that’s not the only way to make sure the right people are seeing your ads.

You can also target specific demographics based on things like age and income.

This makes it even easier to ensure you’re targeting your ad spend at the people who are most likely to become your customer.

3. Your business can be on page one in a day

Using SEO to properly optimise your website and gain visibility in the search engine results pages can take months, even years. With PPC, you can be on page on for your target keywords within a day.

So if you’re a new business and no one even knows you exist, PPC can help you to get in front of your potential customers at the exact time they’re searching for your business or offering.

In fact, it’s perhaps the fastest way to get at the top of the search results and get noticed by your target audience. And it’s also one of the fastest ways to get instant results and quality traffic to your website.

Of course, this is a very simplified version of how PPC works. There’s more work involved in creating an effective ad campaign that gets results, like writing compelling ad copy, choosing the right keywords, bidding properly and adjusting your bids whenever necessary, setting proper budget, and more.

4. You can compete with big brands

If you’ve dismissed paid advertising because you think you don’t stand a chance of competing with big brands because of your limited budget, think again.

As long as you’re not bidding on the same keywords as big brands, you don’t need thousands of pounds to run a PPC ad campaign and get in front of your target audience. You can start with as little as a few hundred pounds. Once you get your campaign up and running and start generating sales, you can make adjustments and increase your advertising budget.

Thanks to Google Ads’ powerful monitoring and analytics tools you can monitor and measure the results, and see exactly how much you’re spending and how much you’re earning in profit. Read this post to learn about PPC conversion rates, the strongest indicators of your ad’s performance, and how to calculate yours.

If, for any reason, you’re not seeing results, you can simply pause the campaign with the click of a button. Just make sure to not give up so easily, on the first try.

It’s possible that you might need to make a few adjustments like choosing a more targeted keyword such as “emergency plumber near me” instead of a generic one like “plumber” where the competition is likely very high. Or you might need to make a simple change to your call-to-action to make it more compelling and get great results.

You won’t know until you make some changes and run a few experiments to see what works better for you.

5. It works for any niche and business, including yours

PPC works for every business, no matter its size or niche. If it’s set up and managed properly, it can be a goldmine for your small business. The beauty of it is that if you want to get started on Google Ads, you can set up your campaign in an hour or two and get your business in front of the right audience at the right time.

The trick is to learn how to set it up properly, including how to identify relevant keywords based on what your prospects are searching for online, how to write compelling ads that speak to your audience, and how to develop a campaign that drives leads and turns them into paying customers.

6. The downside? It’s complicated

Just like with everything else online marketing, with paid advertising the devil is in the details. Creating an account on Google Ads, for example, is easy.

The difficult part comes next when you’ll need to know how to bid, find the right keywords, write engaging copy that speaks to your prospects, use ad extensions, measure the results of the campaign, find out what’s working and what isn’t so you can make changes and boost its performance.

It takes time to learn it all. And in the meantime, you might make some mistakes that will cost you money and you might not even know you made them, or how to fix them.

If you need help getting started with PPC ads, try the 123 Reg Digital Marketing Suite, which includes an Ad Builder tool.

The Ad Builder will help you quickly and easily create PPC ads and can also help you manage your budget, so you don’t overspend.

Ready to shake hands with PPC?

When done right, PPC can do wonders for your small business.

It can help to get you in front of your target audience just as they’re looking for your products or services. It can boost brand awareness so people know who you are and what you do the next time they see your business name, on Google or elsewhere. And it can generate results faster than most other online marketing tactics can.