A few months ago, we started our digital series for small businesses. We started off with the benefits of blogging for small businesses and followed it up with the benefits of social media and SEO for small businesses. Following on from those posts, we will be looking at PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing for your small business website.

The aim for businesses with their websites is to gain a page ranking on the 1st page of a certain search result. The reason for this is because people rarely venture past page 1 of the search results, being there gives you a greater chance of gaining visitors and sales.

You can do this through SEO and PPC, where SEO takes longer to implement and take effect, PPC gives you a more instant first page hit but it does cost you money per advertisement you run.

PPC is a way for a business to advertise their website on search engines by targeting their specific sector through the use of keywords. There are many different criteria for your campaign to target and fulfil, making it a form of advertising you can completely personalise to your business. A list of these criteria and terms are provided further down this article for you.

The benefit with PPC, over the likes of social media and SEO, is that the results are quicker and easier to see. Within a matter of days, you can see if your campaign is working or not. This provides you with the opportunity to tweak your campaign as often as you like.

However, this form of marketing is paid for and regardless of how many campaigns you have running, you will have to put a budget aside. You only get charged when someone clicks on your advert though. So even if your advert shows up 100 times a day, if it is only clicked on 20 times, you will only pay for 20 clicks.

What is PPC and how can you make it work for your business?

Pay Per Click advertising works on a number of search engines and gives you the opportunity to advertise your website when certain search terms are searched for. You create an advert with a link to a certain page on your website based around a certain keyword search term. The higher the relevance of your advert to that search term, the more likely it is to show up, no matter how much you bid.

The more your advert shows up, the more likely it is to be clicked on but every click costs you the price of your bid. It is a customisable and highly effective form of advertising but you should set aside a budget for it when you plan your campaigns.

For example, if you ran a fruit and veg shop in Manchester, their PPC advert could be based on the search term ‘fresh strawberries Manchester’. Every time someone searches for this, or something similar, as long as their advert is deemed relevant it should show up at the top of the page.

Every time a potential customer clicks on their advert, the shop will be charged the price of their bid but if the customer buys something, the shop/business, not the search engine, will keep all of the money from the sale.

There are many different ways you can customise your PPC campaign, some of these include:

  • Keywords

    A list of words relevant to your business searched by potential customers. Google has a keyword planner tool that can help you with ideas for search terms to use within your PPC campaigns.

  • Location

    You can set the location of your PPC campaigns to varying boundaries. Going back to the fruit and veg shop, they may choose to target Manchester, Lancashire or the UK for their adverts.

  • Language

    This is particularly useful if you export to overseas markets. If your business exports to the EU, you could target one of your adverts to be seen just in Germany. By translating the advert to German, it increases your potential click rate in this market.

  • Start/end dates

    You can set a start and end date to your campaigns so your campaign only runs for a certain amount of time. This can be particularly useful on calendar events promotions like Christmas and Easter to set your campaign to end automatically the day after the event has taken place.

  • Budget

    You can set an overall monthly or weekly budget for all your campaigns on your PPC account. This will help you keep track of spending on advertising easily and reassess campaign bids too.

  • Times of day

    You can set your ad’s to only run at specific times of the day depending on when your audience are likely to be looking for you. This will make sure you do not waste any of your campaign budget on quiet search times.

  • Keyword Bids

    Each advert of yours will focus around one keyword. The more keywords you have, the more adverts you can create. You will have to bid on each keyword separately for the ad to show up when it is searched for. Bid prices should be based on popularity and competition on that keyword. However, be warned it is relevancy and not the amount you bid that will pull your ad up when the keyword is searched for.

  • Wording of your ad’s

    You can word each of your ad’s however you feel appropriate, fitting the advert around the keyword you have used. Also try and mention your company name and some sort of call to action such as ‘contact us’ or ‘visit our website’ on there too.

  • Landing pages

    These are the pages which a person first enters your site onto. You can choose the landing page for visitors based on the advert you have created. Using the fruit and veg shop example, their advert about fresh strawberries should direct you to their fresh strawberries page on their website.

  • Search engines

    These are websites where you type in a search term and the computers behind them go to work to pull up the best sites. Search engine companies crawl websites for keywords and information to index the site and pull it up on relevant searches online.

So now you are aware of the different ways you can make your PPC ad campaign work for your business, what are the benefits of it? We’ve put together a few of the key advantages for you below.

Reaching a bigger audience

Any kind of advertising campaign you put together will help you get your name and your services out to a bigger audience. A PPC campaign can be a good way to get your website to show up in search results while you still work on improving your SEO.

It is in no way a replacement for SEO but it provides you with search engine results regularly for important keywords where your SEO may be lacking slightly. Getting your name out in front of as many people as possible is a goal for every business but the advantage of PPC is that the big audience you are attracting are already looking for you.

PPC small business content

Target your advertising

As I’ve mentioned before, one major benefit of PPC is the ability to target your advertising based on specific criteria. For example, you could target yourselves to a local audience, specific keywords, certain times or a chosen number of days. Being able to target your audience this specifically is something that has not been available with other forms of media.

You can place an advert in a fashion magazine if you are a clothing retailer but they may not be based near you so they probably won’t visit your store. By having the opportunity to refine your advertising, you can really focus in on your specific market and not waste money on the wrong audience.

Works in conjunction with SEO, social media and good content

A PPC campaign compliments good website content, a regular social media presence and SEO techniques placed throughout your website. All of these elements working together can help you to create a great website that finds and communicates with your customers.

If you have great SEO on your website, you are more likely to be found organically on search engines. Social media helps you connect and promote yourself for free and good content is the cornerstone of all successful websites on the internet right now.

A PPC campaign can help while you are working on building these other areas up or it can boost what you are already doing to obtain a bigger audience and become a well-known name online within your sector.

Achieve better conversion rates and attract more visitors

Creating a PPC campaign will make sure your website shows up for relevant search terms by attributing relevant landing pages from your site to the keyword of your ad. The more you show up, the more likely people will click through to your site. This will increase your website’s visitor numbers converting people browsing into a site visitor.

When visitor numbers are greater, there is a bigger chance of people engaging with you. By contacting you, subscribing to newsletters or buying your products/services; all of these actions are called conversions.

Many businesses create goals for their website and PPC campaigns based on what they want visitors to convert on. So a visitor subscribing to your email newsletter could be just the type of goal conversion you are looking for.

You can create goals and measure conversions through an analytics tool, like Google Analytics, which measures web stats or you could use your PPC dashboard. A PPC dashboard is where you can create, measure and edit your campaigns, it will have analytics with graphs and stats within it and it is a very good way to see the success of your marketing in real time.

This information tells you who is visiting your site, when they visit, where they are, what they are searching and more. This is useful information to not only measure your campaigns but to use in current and future campaigns. You can use areas, times, information about visitors and what they are searching to target more visitors with your PPC ads.

See results quickly in comparison to SEO and social media

In comparison to SEO and social media, you see results from your PPC campaign quickly. It usually takes a couple of days for you to be able to see the results, positive or negative, from your PPC campaign.

Whereas with SEO and social media, it can take weeks or months to see the full outcome of your work. However, unlike SEO, if you switch off your PPC campaign you will see an instant drop in visitors unlike neglecting your website’s SEO, where it will still tick along in the background.

Being able to see the results of your campaign so quickly means you can act on changes that need to be made to improve. This makes a PPC campaign more effective in the short term for pulling in more traffic and potential customers to your site.

Great way to test keywords for other campaigns

As you are able to see the outcome of your PPC campaign quickly, it is a great way to test the effectiveness of different keywords relevant to your business. This can help you when working on your SEO, social media and what content to write about on your website.

You will be able to see which keywords are working well for you so you can make sure they are included on your website as much as possible to drive traffic to you. You’ll also see which keywords need improvement to give you results.

You can include these in your content schedule to write about on your blog, creating good SEO for them and promoting through social media, giving you a good pay off for each specific keyword.

Maximise return on marketing investment

As I have mentioned earlier, being able to target your audience so specifically and the ability to edit your campaign as often as possible means the money spent on PPC is a wise investment. The money you put in, you will be able to maximise the return on by creating the best marketing strategy possible. The more relevant the campaign, the more clicks on your site and the more conversions and sales that become likely.

There are many benefits to having a PPC campaign for your business and its website. As a small business, it can give you the best return for your money marketing wise and it can help you to grow your name online.

There is a quicker pay off and it is easier to see results from PPC but you should put time and effort into creating the best campaigns possible for your business. If you have been looking for an extra way to market yourselves that you can keep an eye on as much as you need to, then PPC could be the solution you have been looking for.

We previously wrote about the benefits of blogging for small business, social media for small business and SEO for small business.