Working with Limited Budgets
By Rachel Anderson
Pay-per click advertising is a great way for small businesses to be competitive with the “big boys”. Online advertising gives them the opportunity to be just as visible as anyone else…until their budget runs out. Limited budgets are a common challenge for small businesses but there are ways to make it work. Here are some ways to get creative and start looking at campaign, keyword and bidding settings more strategically.
Tighten Up Keywords
It’s easy to go a little crazy with keywords. There is no limit to how many you can add to any one campaign or ad group. Beyond that Google itself prompts accounts with numberless keywords managers should add to increase reach, traffic, conversions and so on. The trick to working with a limited budget is to be very picky and selective. If you overload your account with keywords you’ll end up whirling through your budget with virtually nothing to show for it.
Take time to do thorough keyword research. Find the keywords that have been or will be most important to your business. Use data you have from AdWords, Analytics or other knowledge you have about how people find your products or services.
Ad Delivery Settings
If you get into your campaign settings you’ll notice a section called Ad Delivery. You can choose Accelerated Delivery or Standard Delivery. Accelerated means your ads will show 100% of the time they are eligible to be shown. Standard means AdWords will do it’s best to stretch the budget to last the whole day, or schedule you’ve assigned. While Accelerated Delivery certainly has it’s merits, if you don’t have a budget that will last all day you may whip through you’re entire budget by 9am. Standard Delivery will allow your ads to be a steady presence throughout the day rather then a mad barrage in the morning.
Ideal Ad Positions
It’s a widespread misconception that the best positions to occupy for any and all businesses are 1-3. These positions enjoy higher click-through rates but may not be the best for you. Depending on your business, cost-per-click will vary. Even with a great quality score you may need a hefty bid to rank in the top 3. Cranking up bids to stay in these positions will only drain your budget. Let’s do some math. Daily budgets limit how many clicks you can receive. High CPCs further limit the number of possible clicks. Lower CPCs allow more possible clicks. Therefore lowering bids could really work in your favor. Higher click volumes on relevant keywords equal higher conversions. Test keyword bids and their corresponding ad positions to help you find an ideal position. You may find that this will vary per keyword.
Another great way to make the most of you budget is to get serious about location targeting. Are you targeting the whole United States? Maybe a whole state or two? This definitely makes sense for some advertisers but doesn’t make it right for everyone. Use tools in Adwords to find where most of your conversions come from. Also notice where your business has never been successful. Add cities and areas individually and exclude the rest.
Pay-per click advertising on a tight budget can be frustrating but isn’t impossible. Be smart about keywords, settings and targeting and you’ll see every PPC penny turn a profit.
Rachel Anderson is a Pay Per Click Advertising Strategist at Netmark.com. Off the job she enjoys photography, good food, being outside, and spending time with her husband. Share your thoughts with Rachel on Twitter @gladygirl, Google+ or Facebook- she’d love to hear from you!