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Six things your small business should know about PPC advertising

By Alexandra Gavril - August 28, 2019

Many small business owners often dismiss paid advertising as something they should focus on way down the line.

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. Crickets. 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?

PPC works on an auction system where you run an ad on platforms like Google and Bing, and only pay when someone clicks on it.

In a nutshell, this is how it works: you bid an amount for a certain keyword or customer demographic. You create an ad, which includes things like: text, images, and whatever else you need. 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.

Here is how an ad looks:

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

The beauty of it is that you only pay for ads that people click (which is how PPC got its name). So if you’re new to PPC and you bid an insane £30 for an expensive keyword but no one clicks your ad, you don’t pay anything.

2. You only pay when a prospect clicks your ad

With pay-per-click advertising, you only pay for the keywords you bid on. For example, if you’re a plumber and want to attract new customers who search for “plumbers near me”, you can bid on this keyword and you’ll only be charged when someone clicks your ad and visits your website.

It’s a simple concept, if you think about it. Your prospects are already looking for your business. They’re literally typing it into Google, they’re just using different words rather than your business name.

So why wouldn’t you want to use PPC to get your business in front of your target audience? Your ad will only show up to people who use the keywords you choose and bid on. And you only get charged when a prospect clicks your ad.

In addition, you get to choose who are the people who get to see your ads. You can set the customer demographics (i.e. age, location) to match who you want to attract to your website. So if only want people aged 20 to 35 to see your ad, you can do that with ease.

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 that are relevant for your business, 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 to compete with big brands because of your limited budget, think again.

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.

That’s why it helps to hire an expert that knows what they’re doing and have helped lots of other small business like yours to get great results with PPC advertising.

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 result faster than most other online marketing tactics can.

Make sure to give it a try, whether you go at it alone or hire professionals to do the hard work for you.