As a small business owner, you may think that running PPC ads is a reserve for huge businesses with a huge marketing budget. But this is not always true. As with many things in life, you pay what you can afford in marketing.
And truth be told. PPC can be your ultimate superpower if done right. It can help accelerate your digital marketing efforts and increase sales and conversions.
If you’re considering using PPC marketing to market your business, this post is for you. Here, we highlight steps that can help create a winning PPC strategy with a low budget. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
Know Your Specific Goals
Defining your specific goals is the first step to creating an effective marketing strategy (not just PPC). So, before you start building your PPC campaign strategy, ask yourself what exactly you want to achieve.
Defining your goals has two primary benefits: First, it will help choose the best platform to run your campaign, and second, it will help keep your focus on things that will help you achieve your goals and make it easier to track your PPC campaign.
Setting your goals means defining the most crucial KPIs in your business. Is it brand awareness? Lead generation? Sales increase? Conversions? Or even Retention? Be specific and realistic, as your answers will determine your campaign’s direction.
For example, instead of aiming to get a million customers within a few weeks of running your campaign, set a goal of reaching 100 or 200 clicks on your ads daily. You can then work your way upward after achieving your initial goals.
Choose a Platform for Your Marketing Campaign
After defining your goals, the next step is to select your PPC platform.
One of the robust systems that allow marketers to run PPC ads is Google Ads. With this system, marketers can bid on keywords relevant to their business and pay for each click on their ad. When you win a bid, you get the best ad space, which is rated by different factors, including keywords, relevance, and the quality of your ad campaign.
But Google is not the only platform where you can run your PPC campaign. Other search engines like Yahoo and Bing allow marketers to run PPC campaigns. However, while these other search engines charge less than Google to run ads, it also leads to lower traffic as Google is the dominant search engine.
Besides search engines, social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube allow marketers to run PPC campaigns. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, Facebook’s lead capture ads would be ideal. On the other hand, consider running your ads in search if your goal is to drive sales.
The best approach is to test different campaigns to see what works best for you. Remember, various factors will determine the effectiveness of your campaigns, including keywords, headlines, and how well you optimize your landing pages.
Audience targeting is another crucial component of an effective PPC campaign. Even if you define your goals and select the best platform to run your ad campaign, you won’t get the right results if you don’t target the right audience.
You can target your audience based on their geographical location, device types, operating systems, wireless networks, etc.
Most marketers base their strategy on the most relevant keywords when targeting their audience for ad campaigns. However, this strategy is not the best when looking to achieve success. Instead, target your audience based on the intent. In other words, your keywords, ads, and landing pages should match the current position of your target audience in the sales funnel.
There are three main categories of search intent keywords:
- Informational: Searches are looking for information about a product or service
- Navigational: Searchers want to navigate to a specific page or resource
- Transactional: Searchers are ready to purchase a product or service
This doesn’t mean you should target all categories of keywords in your PPC campaign. Depending on your business and other marketing efforts, you can focus on one category of keywords over the other.
For example, if you are an app developer, you may want to target navigational keywords to boost user experience. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a service, you can invest in navigational keywords for your content marketing strategy. For those in eCommerce, investing in transactional keywords can help boost conversions.
But don’t just focus on search when targeting your PPC audience. Take advantage of other audiences on social media, YouTube, Gmail, Display Network, etc. Some of these audiences include:
- In-market audiences: This is the audience actively searching for products like yours. Reach out to these people and encourage them to convert since they are at the bottom of the funnel.
- Remarketing: Reach out to people who have previously engaged with your products or services.
- Life events: Send an email to your audience on their important life events like graduation, wedding anniversary, birthday, etc.
In addition to the above strategies, use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., for audience targeting.
Before spending a dollar for your PPC ads, perform proper keyword research. The best way around this is to research keywords that best describe your business. Keyword research tools like Google Keyword tool and SEMrush can help in this process.
Experiment with different keyword categories until you find the best-performing ones. For example, you can experiment with highly relevant keywords or long tail keywords to see which category gets the most traffic.
Another best approach would be to target Bottom Of Funnel (BOF) or “high intent keywords.” This means using keywords that target an audience ready to take action, for example, to sign up. Targeting users who are through with the research stage is a cost-effective strategy that will boost your conversion rates.
Choose Your Bid Strategy
When you are on a low budget, you will automatically be cautious of how Google spends your marketing dollar. One area you should consider is how you manage your marketing spend.
While there are effective automated ways to manage your ad spend, you may consider managing your budget manually when starting out with your campaigns to familiarize yourself better with the process. Below are bid strategies to choose from:
- Manual bidding: Manual bidding can be the best place to start when new to PPC campaigns. This strategy allows you to set bids for individual keywords, control spending and give you control over your campaigns. Of course, this strategy requires time and effort but denies Google the ability to do automatic bidding and helps you set your long-term goals.
- Enhanced CPC: unlike Manual bidding, this strategy gives Google some control over keyword bids. You still have control over bidding, but Google can adjust bids to increase the chances of getting clicks that could lead to a sale.
- Maximize Conversions: At this stage, Google has full control of your bids. You have no control over your keyword bids, and Google will automatically take actions that can help get the most conversions out of your marketing spend.
- Target CPA (cost per acquisition): Like Enhanced CPC, this is a fully automated strategy. The only difference is that you can set a target cost per conversion with Target CPA. Google will then adjust bids to boost conversions.
- Target ROAS (return on ad spend): In this bid strategy, Google will use your historical data on the auction to predict future conversion value. This data will enable Google to adjust bids in real-time to get as many conversions as possible and achieve the Target ROAS you’ve set in your campaign, group, or portfolio.
- Maximize Clicks: With this bid strategy, Google aims to get as many clicks as possible from your daily ad spend. This strategy is ideal if you want to drive more volume to your site and get more data.
It’s best to start with the manual bid strategy before going into full automation. Automated bidding strategies can bring excellent results to your site when done right. However, it can drain your conversion data significantly if you don’t provide Google’s machine learning enough conversion data to work with to drive results.
Another great tip for creating a cost-effective PPC strategy is through targeting filters. Below are filters that can help refine your targeting to attract relevant traffic:
- Geo-targeting: This strategy allows you to focus on areas with better quality traffic and exclude those you’re not targeting. It works best for businesses that target a local audience and is a great way to attract an audience likely to convert.
- Ad Scheduling: This involves analyzing your data to identify your audience’s peak times, including the times of the day and days of the week. Once you have this information, schedule your ads at these peak times to maximize your advertising spend and avoid wastage.
- Demographic Targeting: You can also categorize your audience according to age, gender, income, lifestyle, etc. This will help create more personalized, targeted, and relevant ads for better conversions.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
A well-optimized landing page is vital for the success of your PPC campaign. When users click on your ad, it will direct them to a product or a landing page. A generic landing page can mean a wasted ad spend with minimal chance of conversions. In addition, having non-optimized landing pages will lower Quality Scores on your site and make it hard to reach your audience through PPC.
Your landing page needs to match the interest of your audience demographic and search intent to encourage visitors to click through, sign up, or purchase. In other words, your landing page should provide a value proposition for your target audience.
Create a Compelling Ad Copy
Your Ad copy is as important as the ad itself. Without a compelling copy, you will rarely achieve the success of your ad campaign.
To create exceptional ad copy, you must first understand your customers and create content that touches on their pain points and goals.
Start by creating a catchy headline that grabs their attention and makes them eager to learn more. For instance, if you’re in digital marketing, create something like “five reasons your business isn’t appearing on the first page of search results.” Creating such a headline creates the fear of missing out among your target audience and will make them curious about the costly mistakes they are making.
Another great tip is to include target keywords in your copy and create a compelling call to action.
Use Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing is a common term in digital marketing that involves marketers targeting users who have visited their websites before. These ads are highly profitable and can give better results at a lower cost because you target people already familiar with your ad or business.
Additionally, you can create more personalized and appealing ads that match their interests since you have their data.
Retarget marketing is ideal for Google ads as it allows you to retarget users who have visited key pages on your site. Most of these users could have viewed your product or service page but didn’t make a purchase, sign up, etc. This data will help identify the specific thing they were looking at or their interests.
You can then create a targeted ad copy to encourage them to purchase.
Focus on What You Can Deliver
To run a cost-effective PPC campaign, focus on areas that can bring the best Return On Investment (ROI). For example, instead of advertising all your products, focus on your most popular products and later introduce other products in your inventory.
This, alongside using the most effective marketing platform and other strategies such as geo-targeting, will help make your ad as specific as possible to get the most from your marketing budget.
Pause Non-Performing Keywords
Continue monitoring your ad performance to identify keywords that are performing negatively. Even a keyword that gets better results today may perform negatively in a few weeks or months. If you notice keywords that don’t bring positive results, pause them to ensure you’re not wasting your marketing budget.
After setting up your PPC campaign, you should continually monitor its performance on a regular basis. If you don’t manage your ad campaign, things can go wrong without your knowledge, which can mean poor ROI and budget waste.
Constantly update your bids and test new ad copy to get the most from your PPC campaigns and keep your ad spend in check.