It can be difficult for the little guy to compete with corporations¾moderate SMB programs are no match for endless marketing budgets and the resulting inflated keyword costs. Working in an agency, I see this first hand every day. But I also see areas where small business owners and franchise stores can compete if they become smarter with their strategies.
The following tips provide the framework for developing a successful and cost effective pay per click campaign.
Time/Day Parting – Google allows advertisers to determine the day of week or even the time of day they want their ads to display. This can be a very useful tool for small business advertisers who know when their customers are most likely to look for their product or service. By setting your ads to display at only high performance times you increase the effectiveness of your campaign and reduce your costs.
Match Types – Gone are the days of simply adding keywords that are all set to broad match and hoping for a return. Sure, casting a larger net brings in more traffic, but it also punishes your budget. The quality of that traffic might also suffer depending on the chosen keywords. Try using the available match types, especially exact match, to control costs and which searches are actually displaying your ads.
Negative Keywords – Selecting negative keywords to offset unwanted traffic is an absolute must for any campaign, large or small. For example, f a florist that sells only fresh flowers and plants might want to include the negative “artificial” to prevent traffic from artificial flower type keywords. Using negatives also allows you to pursue higher volume keywords without the exposure to unrelated searches.
Geo Targeting – According to a 2009 TMP/comScore report, 80% of consumers expect businesses in their search results to be within 15 miles of their location. This definitely doesn’t apply to all industries and regions, but it should provide a starting point with your targeting. It’s important to mention that with Google’s targeting granularity, you could potentially target your business out of traffic if it’s set so small that only a few people will see the ads.
Other Search Engines– Google has the lion share of the search market, but they also carry the highest bid prices. Bing and the like might not offer the volume that Google does; however, smaller search engines often have lower bid prices, which ultimately produce lower conversion costs. Test out a small budget on these other engines to start looking at your PPC efforts as a portfolio.
Keyword Development–The Google traffic estimator tool might show you that the keyword “new shoes” generates 1,500,000 searches each month, but that doesn’t mean it’s a quality keyword for your ad group. To maximize your budget, think locally and specifically. For example, if you’re in the printing business, expand past the generic and more expensive “printing” keywords; pair them up with location identifiers to better define your product and audience. By using the keyword ”printing shops Denver 80202,” you pay less for a consumer that is further along in the buying cycle.