How To Make Pay Per Click Work For Your Small Business?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a highly effective way to drive targeted traffic to your small business website and generate leads and sales. It has become popular because you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, so there is no wasted spend provided the ads themselves lead to conversions.

This obviously makes PPC a very cost-effective form of online advertising, especially compared to traditional media. However many small businesses struggle to get the most out of their PPC campaigns. Their ads don’t get enough clicks, the traffic they do get doesn’t convert well, or they pay too much per click and blow their budget without good ROI.

If you understand PPC best practices you can continuously optimise your campaigns and make PPC work extremely well for your small business. Here are the key strategies to implement.


1. Do extensive keyword research:

The foundation of a successful PPC campaign is targeting the right keywords. You want to bid on keywords which your ideal customers are actually searching for.

Use keyword research tools to identify high-intent, lower competition keywords to target. Avoid broad, generic keywords which will generate a lot of irrelevant clicks and focus on long-tail keywords more specific to your products/services.

2. Write compelling ad copy:

Your actual ad needs to grab attention, communicate your unique value proposition and include a strong call-to-action in very limited space. The headline is most important – it should include your keywords and give people a reason to click.

Keep it under 30 characters and highlight key benefits and features. Include words like “you” and “free”, and use ad extensions to show additional info like site links, callouts, a phone number etc.

3. Create dedicated landing pages:

When someone clicks your ad they should land on a dedicated, conversion-optimised landing page, not just your homepage. The landing page copy should closely match the ad copy for a seamless experience and must load quickly.

Focus the page on a single product/service and conversion goal. Include customer reviews, testimonials, trust symbols and a strong CTA above the fold.

4. Set up conversion tracking:

To optimise your campaigns you need to know which keywords and ads are generating leads and sales, not just clicks. Set up conversion tracking by placing the tracking code on your thank you pages.

Track key actions like form fills, phone calls, email sign ups, purchases etc. This data will show you what’s working and what’s wasted spend.

5. Improve your Quality Scores:

Your Quality Score is Google’s rating of the relevance and usefulness of your ads and landing pages. Higher Quality Scores mean your ads will be shown more often and you’ll pay less per click.

To increase Quality Scores, make sure your ad groups are tightly themed, with closely related keywords.Optimise landing pages for fast load speed and aim for high click-through rates.

6. Adjust your keyword match types:

Choosing the right keyword match types will have a big impact on your results. Broad matching will get you the most impressions but also the most irrelevant clicks.

Exact match is the most targeted, but you’ll miss out on variations. Broad match modified and phrase match offer a good balance.

7. Target by location and time:

If you are a local business, or only serve certain regions, make sure your geotargeting is set up properly. Only show ads in the areas you serve.

If you target nationally or internationally, you can allocate more budget to top-performing locations. Take advantage of ad scheduling to show your ads on the days and times which show the best conversion rates.

8. Segment campaigns by funnel stage:

Depending on your industry and sales cycle length, prospects may do multiple searches before they are ready to convert. Your campaigns should support each stage of the funnel.

Construct different campaigns for top of funnel informational keywords, middle of funnel evaluation keywords and bottom of funnel purchase intent keywords. The keywords, ad copy, bids and landing pages will be very different for each stage.

9. Use RLSA to personalise ads:

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) enable you to show different ads or bid differently for people who have previously visited your website, even when they later search on Google. These people already know your brand, so the clicks are likely to convert at a higher rate and be worth more to you.

Create remarketing audiences based on the different pages of your site which people visit. Use those audiences to adjust your bids, show more aggressive ad copy or qualify for broader keywords you wouldn’t normally bid on.

10. Bid on your own brand name:

Many advertisers make the mistake of not bidding on their own brand name and trademarked terms, assuming traffic will come to them organically. This leaves room for your competitors to show up when people search for you.

Branded keywords tend to have very high Quality Scores, click-through rates and conversion rates, so they are worth bidding on even if you rank #1 organically. You can also use a branded campaign to direct people to a specific landing page instead of your home page.

11. Track competitors’ ads:

Competitors can be a great source of ideas for keywords and ad copy. Use an ad tracking tool to see the full history of the ads your competitors are running, and take special note of any ads they run consistently over a long time period, which are probably their best performers.

Don’t copy their ads directly, but use them as inspiration. Also check if competitors are bidding on your brand name, and consider how aggressively you want to bid in response.

12. Test and iterate your ads:

Always run at least 2-3 substantially different versions of your ads in each ad group. Use different hooks, calls-to-action and copy, and let them run long enough to produce statistically significant data.

When you have this data, pause the lower performers and write new challengers to test against your winners. Repeat this process continually to improve your click-through and conversion rates.

13. Monitor your search terms report:

The search terms report shows you the actual queries people typed into Google which triggered your ads. This is different from the keyword list you are bidding on, and needs to be consulted at least once a week.

You will likely find searches which are irrelevant to your business and are wasting your budget, which you need to add as negative keywords. You may also find relevant searches you aren’t currently bidding on, which you add those as new keywords.

14. Adjust bids based on performance:

Some keywords and ads will naturally have higher conversion rates and return on ad spend than others. To maximise profitability, allocate more of your budget to these top performers by increasing bids on keywords which are converting well and reducing bids on keywords with a lot of clicks but few conversions.

Pause any keywords which are irrelevant, or not generating an acceptable return after a significant testing period. This will free more budget to allocate to what’s working.

15. Review the competition:

Your ads don’t exist in a vacuum – their performance will be impacted by what competitors are doing. Conduct searches for your top keywords on a regular basis to see what other advertisers show up, take note of their ad copy, offers and visible landing pages and work out how you can differentiate your ads.

If it looks like competition has increased, you may need to raise bids or improve your Quality Scores to maintain your position. If competitors are slacking, you may be able to lower bids and still get good placement.

By following these strategies consistently your small business can achieve excellent results from PPC advertising. It takes time and effort to research, test, and optimise campaigns, but that work will pay off in the form of highly targeted leads and sales at efficient cost per acquisition.

Even with limited budgets, small businesses can compete with larger companies by being smarter and more nimble with their PPC management. The key is to always track, analyse and iterate to continuously improve performance over time.



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