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While paid search remains a popular advertising tool for many brands, small businesses often struggle incorporating it into their digital marketing campaign. If you’re not careful, you can overshoot your budget quickly, sending search ads to an audience that will never even come close to your storefront.

But that doesn’t have to be the case! As it turns out, paid search can be very effective for small businesses as well – especially if you incorporate these 4 paid search strategies to help stretch your limited budget.

1) Target Narrowly

As a small business your audience is probably relatively defined: you only draw from a specific geographic area, offering what’s likely to be a relatively niche product. Did you know that you can target your paid search campaign to limit your exposure to the ideal target audience?

Search engines like Google allow marketers to use geographic parameters such as zip codes for targeting. And by picking only keywords that relate specifically to  your business, you can be sure your women’s fashion outlet does not get irrelevant exposure to men looking for new suits. Don’t be afraid to go long-tail, either; using phrases instead of single words helps narrow down your audience to those who are most likely to buy from you.

2) Know Your CPC Rates

Speaking of keywords: when picking which keywords you want to bid on, you should absolutely know just how much a click would be worth for that keywords. Search ads are pay-per-click, meaning that you only get charged if your audience is interested enough to click on your ad.

Google determines the value of individual keywords and phrases based on how many companies bid on it; to stay with the example above, bidding on ‘fashion’ will likely lead to much higher cost per click (CPC) rate than ‘women’s fashion in [city],’ which is more targeted to your individual business and therefore less likely to attract competitor bids.

3) Monitor Your Keywords

Any marketer knows: no matter how much you strategize ahead of time, reality doesn’t always work out as well as planned. That’s why during your campaign, you should continuously monitor your keywords in an ad platform like AdWords to ensure that each is performing as expected.

If a certain keyword just does not bring in enough clicks or conversions to be worth your while, don’t be afraid to pause that keyword and focus your budget on the alternatives.,

4) Analyze Success

When you run a paid search campaign on a trial basis, make sure you take advantage of Google Analytics in analyzing its success after the fact. Here, you can determine which of your message variants and target keywords worked, which didn’t, and where you can focus your efforts in the future.

The process gets a little more difficult if you run search advertisements on a continuous process, but the same evaluation is still possible. In this case, make sure to set up regular benchmarks (perhaps once a month) that allow you to sit down, track and analyze your ads, and make adjustments as needed.

Finally, don’t forget about what matters most – your actual customers. You may want to think about running a quick, informal survey that asks current customers how they heard about you, whether they found you on Google, and other questions.

In the end, the best measure for success is increasing your business. And if your paid search ads don’t help you reach that goal, you should adjust your strategy to make sure that they do.

To learn more about paid search ads and other digital marketing strategies, contact us! We’d love to help you market and grow your business efficiently and without breaking the bank.

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