The beauty of digital advertising is that any size company can get their feet wet. Only have $500 to spend on advertising? No problem! Have no idea where to start with this AdWords stuff? That’s not really an issue with AdWords Express! This has naturally led to a lot of small businesses jumping online and seeing if they can turn a profit with PPC. In my experience, there are a few key factors to keep in mind when trying to grow a small business account without tanking ROI, which can really break the bank for the little guys.

1) Start Small and Specific

One of the biggest mistakes I see is going after general keywords. Yes, you might be a local tire company, but it’s probably not a great idea to bid on tire broad match targeting all of the US. This example is exaggerated, but the key is to start small and specific.

Small doesn’t mean that you can’t test, but keep it simple to begin, choosing just a few campaigns. Small also means qualify your targeting as much as possible to begin. Leave the Display Network for later, target just your most qualified regions and don’t bother with broad match at first.

That’s also where specific comes in. Specific means don’t cast a wide net with your keywords. Think about the keywords that, if searched, almost guarantee the user will be interested in your site. Even if these are long-tail and lower search volume, it’s more important to start profitable for the small business than it is to start big.

2) Earn Your Testing Budgets

It’s true that you have to test, test, test or ABT (always be testing) in the PPC world, and your Google rep or agency will throw lots of sexy ideas for expansion at you. Large companies or corporations have funds to invest in these tests and know the key to keeping an edge on the competition is to always be looking to the future in finding what’s next for the account.

However, investing money in testing and having one test fail can mean the end of PPC for small companies. It’s important to earn your testing budgets, so that if a test fails, you can revert that test and be right back where you were. Then, you earn another test budget and start all over.

What I mean by earning your test budget is that you run your small and specific campaigns until you have earned enough revenue past your costs in PPC to put a chunk of that change back into the program. Sure, maybe this means you won’t make a ton of money with PPC to begin with, but you’ll stay ROI positive while focusing on long-term growth.

3) Remarketing

Remarketing is a key player for small companies because every click matters and every potential conversion matters. Therefore, remarketing is vital to capture that audience that has abandoned your site without completing the actions you wanted them to. Remind them of the their cart contents, offer them a discount for completing their order or remind them of why you’re the best in the biz, and you’ll turn a bounce into a conversion.

4) Dynamic Search

Remember when I said you need to earn your test budgets? This is one of the things to earn a test budget for. Dynamic search ads fill in the gaps and help you figure out what people are searching for in relation to your site while matching those people with the exact products.

This type of campaign will need a lot of optimizations and negative keywords up-front, but can turn into a self-sustaining keyword mining/ new user grabbing machine.

5) Click-Through Rate Optimizations

CTR is one of the metrics we always want to improve, of course, but when you’re working with small and specific campaigns—it’s way more important than usual. Every impression is quality and has the potential for conversion, so you want to work on gaining the most clicks possible.

Ad extensions are an often over-looked area for small companies that can really increase click-through rates. Call-out extensions and review extensions are two great ones to consider using on top of the usual suspects like sitelinks. Making sure these extensions are all being utilized as well as optimized will ensure high CTRs.

Dynamic keyword insertion in ads is another way to increase click-through rates. In every instance I’ve tested DKI ads versus non-DKI ads, they’ve always had higher click-through rates. Sure, hopefully, your ad groups are tight enough to not really need DKI ads, but even in those instances, I’ve found them to be successful at increasing CTR.

6) Be Efficient

The last tip is to always be looking for how to increase efficiency. There are so many nooks and crannies to PPC accounts these days that it’s easy to overlook an area that could end up costing a ton of money if left unchecked.

Ever since Enhanced Campaigns came around, we can analyze performance for mobile ads, geographic locations, and time of day/day of week and adjust the bid modification on these areas. While not all accounts will find ways to utilize these bid modifiers to a great degree, many will find easy wins in at least one of these areas.

For instance, if your conversion process requires a sales agent to place a call to the client after a lead is submitted, you might not want to run ads when those sales agents aren’t in the office.

In Conclusion

While we talk about lots of really cool things on PPC Hero to do in your accounts, the name of the game for small business accounts is slow and steady. It’s kind of like investing in the stock market, really. Go for quality and stay on the safe side and you’ll be highly likely to do well.