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4 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their PPC Game


by Andy Beohar, VP of SevenAtoms 


As a little guy in the PPC game, going up against the big boys can be a bit daunting. However, you don’t have to have a massive budget or a 24/7 team of expert marketers in order to set up a solid PPC strategy that will deliver a healthy ROI.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the best methods you can use to improve your PPC game that will get you in the ring with some of those bigger competitors.

Tip 1 – Focus on Long-tail, Niche Keywords.

When you have limited resources for your PPC campaign, choosing the right keywords becomes an even bigger deal. Since you’re up against some pretty big fish, you don’t want to shoot for oversaturated keywords.

For example, if the product you’re selling is cat food, you wouldn’t want to aim for simple keywords like “best cat food” or “dry cat food brand” since these keywords are likely to have far too much competition. Try narrowing it down based on your unique product aspects, such as “all natural organic cat food for overweight cats.” While a niche, long-tail keyword like this may have fewer monthly searches, you are much more likely to rank for it since it has much lower competition.

ppc-case-studyIn this figure from a PPC case study, Revecent – a sales and recruiting company – targets “sales recruiters Dallas” as its long-tail, niche keyword.

Tip 2 – Offer People Something of Value.

People won’t be tempted to click on your ad if you don’t give them a reason. Provide an offer that is enticing enough to make them feel like they’ll be missing out if they don’t click. As a small company, this is especially important since people may be wary of making a purchase from a brand they don’t know. One of the easiest but most effective ways to get people to interact with your ad is to offer a good discount, such as “25 percent off your first order!” or “Buy Two Get One Free!” If you have an interesting product, these discounts can be the push people need before they decide to give you a chance.


For example, the ad above for a monthly men’s cologne subscription offers one month free when new members sign up. This is a great way to draw in leads and get conversions, especially for a subscription service.

Tip 3 – Use Location Targeting.

Since you’re a small business, you may have a more limited consumer base than some larger companies. Because of this, you don’t want to waste your budget by targeting people who aren’t in the right location to purchase your product or service. Location targeting can help ensure that you only show your ad to people in your business’ vicinity. By implementing this strategy, your ads will be more relevant and will gather quality leads and impressions.

In this figure, we’ve used Facebook’s Advert Manager to target only customers living near popular harbors and lakes in California.

Tip 4 – Limit Your Audience.

In addition to narrowing your audience by location, it’s also important to limit your audience based on demographics like age, occupation, and even income. For example, let’s pretend we’re setting up a PPC campaign in Facebook Adverts Manager for boat covers. We wouldn’t want to just display an ad to everyone, since not everyone owns a boat. To narrow it down and target only those who best fit our buyer persona, we can select specific filters:


By choosing people who have a mid-to-high level of income and an interest in boating, we can narrow our audience and reduce the amount of irrelevant displays and clicks.

Tip 5 – Get to Know the New “Expanded Text Ads” from AdWords.

In January of 2017, AdWords will stop supporting the standard text ad format switch to Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). Relax – this is a good thing. While the new practices for these types of ads may take a bit of getting used to, there are a lot of improvements. For one, expanded text ads allow you to include twice as much text as before. Because of this, you’ll be able to write better ads that include long-tail keywords in addition to a call-to-action.


This figure shows the new ETA format in AdWords.


While you might not be a PPC expert just yet, these tips are a great way to help you begin improving the quality of your PPC campaigns. With a bit of elbow grease and some regular data analysis, you should soon start to see an increase in your ROI. Good luck!

Do you have any other tips that worked for you? Let us know in the comments.



Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a HubSpot certified digital marketing agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies.


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