This week we are featuring guest articles from our PPC Hero allies! We requested submissions from our readers and we received excellent responses from some great PPC bloggers! The PPC Hero team will return to our regularly scheduled articles next week. Enjoy!

Mom and Pop businesses are usually localized to small geographic area and have tiny operating budgets. Local marketing traditionally consists of yellow pages advertising, joining chamber of commerce, and networking. Times have changed. People are starting to use the Internet as their sole source of information on companies and products. Small businesses need to stay ahead of the curve (and their larger competitors) by reaching out to their customer on the Internet.

Many of these small businesses want to know when is the best time for them to start advertising online. The answer to that question is just like most … it depends.  There are many businesses in which paid search will not work, but if you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it might be time to revamp your website and start a paid search campaign:

  1. Are you losing business to a competitor who advertises online?
  2. Have your customers started asking about your website?
  3. When you try to find your website online, not using your name, is it missing from the front page?

If you are a service professional or selling something that is specialized, look it up online. For instance, if you are a plumber in Copperas Cove, TX, Google “plumber copperas cove tx”.  If you have a website but cannot find yourself on the first page of results, you may be losing business to other plumbing companies online. This means it’s time to advertise.

The nice thing about being a small and localized business is that in paid search, your spend will be less than a highly competitive national campaign. There are a few tips I want to leave you with as you start to explore this new advertising universe.

  1. Don’t try to do it on your own, hire an independent consultant to help. There are tons in your area, try Craigslist, AdWords Professionals listings, SEMPO, and SEOmoz for a possible list.
  2. Be sure you are geo-targeted to your specific area otherwise you are wasting your money.
  3. Start off with AdWords and move from there – they have the best features and biggest audience.
  4. Make sure there is a way for the traffic you send to your website to contact you or buy the product you are offering.
  5. Test it out for 3 months. Give it that amount of time and a budget you are comfortable with. If you do not see the return you wish for by then try something else. There are many options. Trust your agency/consultant and test all the options before calling it quits. Most likely you will see results almost immediately.

Guest Blogger Bio: Kate Morris is the Director of Client Strategies at New Edge Media. She specializes in paid and natural search, and recently getting her footing in social media marketing. You can find her on twitter @katemorris.