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Google Ads for Small Businesses: 7 Steps to Success

For small businesses that need to rapidly shift toward digital but don’t know how to market their efforts, we’ve compiled a 7-step guide of our essential tips for optimising your online presence with Google Ads. Whether you’re setting up for the first time or looking to improve your current campaigns, you don't need to spend top dollar to get seen if you’ve got a well structured account and finely tuned targeting.

Looking to set up your retail store’s digital presence from scratch? Check out our guide on how to transform your offline business into ecommerce.

1. Start off Right

You. Need. To. Put. In. The. Effort. A sloppily made account will waste your money, and result in little to no return. However, don’t let this daunt you. Putting in the time at the beginning to make a well-structured account can lead to more success (i.e. profit) and less time spent checking in in the long run. 

Keep things to a minimal at the beginning, with a couple of key campaigns incorporating closely themed ad groups. Take a look at Google’s structural best practices to learn how to properly organise your account.

2. Tracking Everything

Proper tracking is key to measuring your account’s success. You’ll want to consider two things here: The first, Google Analytics, this will give you an in-depth analysis on not only how your website is performing but also your Google Ads account. Next, you will need Conversion Tracking, which is essential in tracking those who perform a desired action on the webpage (sale, sign-up etc) as well as letting  you know which Campaigns, Keywords, Ads, etc. are performing.

3. Set a Budget and Stick to it

You need to be realistic about how much available marketing budget you have to spend on Google PPC and is it enough to generate results, £1 a day is unlikely to lead to a huge increase in sales. When deciding on a final budget you’re comfortable with, you’ll need to look at it from a monthly perspective as opposed to a daily one. Google charges on a 30.4 day cycle. So if you set your budget at £10 a day, this is a £304 monthly budget you're looking at. The system may spend 5£ on some days and £15 on others, depending on traffic potential but it wont generally go over £304.

You’ll also want to keep this budget stable.If you constantly increase or decrease the budget this can result in you losing track of your costs and hugely overspending. On top of that, every time you change your budget your campaigns can underperform as they recalibrate under the new budget. 

Tip: Use the performance planner tool to get an idea how much you will need to spend in order to achieve certain sales or traffic metrics. 

4. Optimize your Website

It doesn't matter how amazing your ad copy is or how targeted your keywords if you have a crappy website. The job of Google ads is to bring people to your website, but once they get there, the next step is up to you. Potential customers form opinions fast on a brand based on a website user experience. Top things to consider:

  • How easy is your website to navigate?

  • How fast is your website’s loading speed?

  • Do you have special offers? Are they visible?

  • Make sure your ad brings people directly to what they were looking for e.g. directly to the product page. 

  • Keep a call-to-action on every page.

  • Create a dedicated Google Ads landing page if necessary

5. Keyword Targeting

Well-defined keyword targeting is going to be essential to your strategy as a small business. You want to ensure every penny is well spent and you’re choosing keywords which are both hyper-relevant and more likely to draw in conversions. 

First, you're going to want to consider using longer-tailed keywords. For example, if you specifically sell hiking boots, you don’t want to bid on the keywords ‘boots’. This is going to show your ad for searches for anything boot-related such as ‘snow boots’, ‘high heeled boots’, ‘how to repair boots’ etc. Instead, you’ll want to include keywords which describe the types of boots you sell e.g. ‘khaki men’s hiking boots’. 

Next, you’ll want to take a look at the location. If you are a dentist's office, the keyword ‘dentist’ could again show your ad for a lot of irrelevant enquiries. Consider adding in the name of the location you offer your services e.g. ‘Dentists in Birmingham’ or even ‘Dentists near me’. The more granular the location (e.g. the town or village) the better.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider user-intent in your keywords. Using words which show intent means you're going to target those users further into their customer journey and more likely to convert. Consider adding words such as ‘buy’, ‘book’ ‘contact’, ‘download’ etc. to the start of your search term.

Tip: Check out Google's Keyword Planner to find new keywords that apply to your business. 

6. Stay Local

If you own a business with a physical location or you provide a service to certain locations, one of the most effective Ads strategies is keeping your keywords local. This has the advantage of being specific to your region, allowing you to reach highly targeted customers. It can also save you money by preventing your ad from showing up when searches are too general, such as when you are too far away for the customer to even visit.

7. Keep an Eye on Your Bids

Cost per clicks can vary a lot per industry, and you can end up spending your entire budget on a single click if you’re not setting max CPCs. At the beginning, use a bidding strategy which allows you to keep control of your bids and keep costs under control. 

If you're comfortable with your current CPC, then consider Smart Bidding. These strategies when used correctly, decide on an effective bid so as to automatically target users who are more likely to complete a desired goal e.g. Maximize Conversions to get you more conversions, Maximize Click for more clicks. 

Still unsure if your small business is right for Google Ads, or you just want to optimize your set-up? Get in touch for a free consultation!


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