10 Tips To Maximize PPC On A Small Budget
Too often I come across PPC accounts with small budgets trying to compete with the big dogs (high-spending competitors). Most of the time their accounts aren’t achieving ROI and their budgets are spread so thin it takes an insane amount of time and money to collect any useful data. Below I have included some tips on optimizing your PPC campaigns with smaller budgets to maximize your chances of achieving ROI.
Tip #1 – Establish Goals
It is absolutely CRITICAL to understand and establish your PPC goals. Way too often I speak to business owners that haven’t established goals for their PPC campaigns or landing pages. Take some time to review and decide on what your ultimate PPC objective is and what your landing page aims to do. To help determine this, here’s a question I ask all my clients: “What puts money in your pocket the fastest? Phone calls, form fills, downloads, purchases, etc.?”
Tip #2 – Stick To One Network (Preferably Search)
When using Google AdWords your ads can show on the Search Network or the Display Network. Focusing on one avoids spreading your budget too thin with mediocre results on both networks.
Tip #3 – Cut Out The Anchors
If you already have an AdWords account, review your keywords and determine what’s working and what isn’t. Some keywords may be generating some revenue but are still not profitable and need to be cut out. If you have given them a fair chance and they still haven’t worked, it’s time to let them go. You don’t want to waste valuable budget on poor performing keywords when that money could be spent on higher performing keywords. Learn to let go and focus on what works.
Tip #4 – Prioritize And Limit Your Keywords
The more keywords you have, the more time you’ll have to spend keeping an eye on them for performance. Too many keywords also increase your risk of running out of budget too quickly. Make sure you review your account and prioritize your keywords based on what’s most important and what will give you the best return. If you offer a diverse amount of product/services, don’t advertise them all at once. Running small budget campaigns with a large number of keywords to cover all your products/services is setting yourself up for failure. Start with the most important keywords and run tests. Pay attention to the data and discipline yourself to grow your campaigns gradually. Keep in mind, quality over quantity.
Tip #5 – Monitor Your Search Terms Report Like A Hawk
Pay attention to what users are actually typing into Google when clicking on your ads by viewing your search terms report. Use this report to add to your negative keyword list and filter out unwanted traffic that is costing you money. You can also use this report to add new performing keywords that you may not have in your existing campaigns. To learn how to access this report you can go here.
Tip #6 – Don’t Be An Ego Bidder
Don’t set high bids just to be #1. Bidding for the top position doesn’t necessarily result in more conversions or increase your chances at getting a return. Bidding to own top ad positions for specific keywords can be a complete waste of budget and diminish your returns. I’ve seen numerous times that staying around position 3-4 will yield the highest return. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. Bid based on data, not your ego.
Tip #7 – Always Leverage A Branded Campaign
All campaigns perform differently, however, branded campaigns tend to have highest conversion rates. This is primarily because of the brand recognition. Even if you haven’t established a brand presence, it is always worth spending the time and money on a branded campaign for your branded terms. As your online presence grows, so will your brand. You’ll see your impressions grow over time and users will become more likely to recognize your brand and do business with you.
Tip #8 – Find The Optimal Time Of Day/Week
Use the dimensions report in Google AdWords to find the most profitable times during the day and also days of the week. Create your own ad schedule so you can cleanup wasted spend during odd hours of the day or poor performing days of the week. If your PPC goal includes phone calls, make sure you’re only running ads when someone is available to answer the phone. You can also add positive or negative bid adjustments for prime or slow hours of the day.
Tip #9 – Go Local
If you’re running a national campaign and not getting enough impression share, try adding geo tags to your keywords. By creating location-specific keywords you’ll still be able to drive quality traffic and you’ll most likely end up with a cheaper CPC (cost per click). You’ll be surprised at how many people search national products/services with their location included in their search.
Tip #10 – Maximize Your Real Estate
If you want your ad to be seen on the first page of Google, the number one thing you need to do is maximize your real estate. The more space you hold on the page, the more likely people are to see and click on your ad. Make sure you use AdWords extensions and anything else that will help your ads stand out and improve CTR (click-through-rate). Create sitelinks, call extensions, location extensions, etc. Having ad extensions in place can increase your chances of showing up in the top 3 ad positions. Utilize the extensions that work for you and your business goals.
PPC accounts come in all shapes and sizes. Always make sure you tailor your strategies based on your PPC goals. Hopefully the tips above will help give you an edge over your high-spending competition. Feel free to add your thoughts or extra tips in the comments section below.