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Small Business PPC Guide

A guide to PPC for small businesses and organisations

One of the finest things about PPC is that everyone, no matter what size of organisation or how big their budget, has access to the same platform, tools and most importantly, the reach with which to seek out new customers.

The AdWords platform in particular has a number of assets and features which are especially useful for small businesses looking for an affordable, effective and measurable way of advertising.

Lets have a look at some of these areas, why they are important and how they can be used to the advantage of SMEs:

The Daily Budget

You only have to spend as much (or as little) as you can afford or want to. For each campaign you run a daily budget is set which will not be exceeded. Whereas traditional placements often required a minimum spend, or bigger spenders got preferential rates, PPC advertising is a far more level playing field. The focus on paid search is relevancy, so as long as you can offer a useful, relevant advert and service, you can be competitive.

Quality Score

Whilst we are talking about relevancy it's worth touching on how this is measured and why there is an advantage here for smaller businesses. Quality Score rewards advertisers by requiring them to pay less for top positions if they have a highly relevant campaign. Relevancy in this case means providing a useful journey to the user based on their search query.

By their nature SMEs are more specialized and niche than a lot of the larger enterprises. By translating this focus into a highly targeted PPC campaign you can achieve a great QS, and thus can get an advantage over larger companies who are advertising a diverse range of services.

Day Parting

From a campaign management point of view, day parting is important as it allows you to analyse conversion behaviour for certain times of the day and days of the week, and optimise the spread of budget accordingly. From a business perspective, day parting is important if you are dealing with sales or enquiries that require an office to be open or for someone to be able to answer the phone – setting your adverts to only show during your business hours ensures you never miss out on potential leads or sales.

Location Targeting

AdWords allows you to target your advertising to specific towns, regions and countries. This is extremely useful if you have a limited reach as a business, only ship to certain areas or wish to target certain areas as part of a growth strategy.

Location Extensions

By integrating your Google Places account with your AdWords account, you get the added bonus of an extra display feature on your advert – a Location Extension. This is basically a plus-box which shows your address, which opens out to show a map highlighting your location:

SF Florist search

Despite the obvious benefits of allowing potential customers to see your location, this is great for reinforcing you status as a business in with a local presence – something which is shown to build a level of trust within the potential customers who are focussed on location.

Advanced Bidding Features

One advantage larger campaigns have is that it makes financial sense to employ an automated bidding strategy through tools such as DoubleClick and Kenshoo, which use statistical modelling to achieve high ROIs. These generally have a set-up fee and cost-per-click fee on top of the AdWords cost, which effects the bottom line on smaller PPC campaigns. Thankfully, Google has added a number of features in recent times which allow some more advanced – these allow you to select an automated bidding strategy which can aim to achieve any of the following:

  • Maximum clicks for a given budget
  • Best ROI based on historic conversion rates
  • Hit a target cost-per-acquisition

Google Analytics Integration

Since Google acquired Urchin in 2005 and made the tracking technology freely available as Google Analytics, there has been no excuse for any business not to know where their traffic is arriving from, and what it is doing once it gets to the site. Through a very simple process you can integrate AdWords with your Analytics and start understanding the value and return from your investment. You easily analyse down to keyword level whether you are focussing money on the right areas.

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