A Step by Step Guide for Google Ads Strategy for Small Businesses

Cracking Google ads for your small business might be a tough nut. It needs a lot of precautions, strategy, planning and best google ads practices to execute the marketing for small businesses. Here is a step by step guide on how to implement and execute Google ads strategy for your startup or small business. However, before creating the Google ads, knowing and having other strategical things in place will make your life much easier. Here we go-

1. Know Your Online Audience

The first and foremost important thing about your business is to know as much as possible about your online audience. There are different ways to do it.

1.1 Use Google Analytics for Audience insight

Before you plan to run some Google ads, I would recommend you have Google Analytics installed on your website to get some insights into your audience, device, age group, locations, in-market audience, affinity category, etc. Please note that you need to enable the demographics settings on Google Analytics to track those audiences.

Audience insights from Google Analytics

It could also be possible that your website is new and you do not have enough data to make a decision about the audience. In that case, ask people to go and check out your website get the insight of the audience and their behavior.

1.2 Use Facebook People Insight to know about your social media audience

Assuming that you could not get Google analytics data, then if you have a Facebook page for your business and there are followers on your page then get those insights so that you can use those insights in targeting your audience.

Facebook Page Insights

1.3. Use online & offline resources

The third way to know about your audience, if you do not have Google analytics installed and neither do you have a social media page, is to do some online research. Some of the ways of doing online researches:

  • Analyze the audience of your competitors from their social media account or other online accounts.
  •  Use your offline records in order to make a guesswork
  • Use other online research tools to find about your audience

2. Decide/ Create a landing page

2.1 Have a right landing page elements

Perfect landing page

Example of a landing page

Try to have a landing page where you will direct the users from the ads. You can learn more here about landing page best practices with Google ads. Try to make sure that your landing page in general talks about what you are trying to sell. If you are promoting an E-Commerce store, then you might want to drive traffic to the category pages from high-selling categories.

2.2 Have some micro-conversions signals

Since small business has a very tight budget, it might not be possible for them to spend money on getting some data. But also, you want to be as possible as close to your business goals.

Micro-Conversions: What, Why & How?

Let’s say you have some lead-generation on your landing page. Assuming that your ads are already running and driving traffic to your landing pages. You can still go into Google analytics and look at the Audience insights but that would not fully tell you the most engaging audience. That’s why we create some micro-conversions touch points such as

  • Free PDF downloads
  • Scroll Depth
  • A blog reader
  • A button clicker

Implement these things and maybe, more or other relevant things as per your business needs as events, on the landing page and analyze the audience behavior. Now, you have a better insight compared to step 1.1

2.3 Create a remarketing audience

You want to target all these engaging users in the future, that’s why you need to create remarketing audiences based on events completion or goal completion in Analytics. It is already well known that remarketing audiences perform much better compared to the top of the funnel audience.

3. Decide Your Channel – Google Ads?

Google Ads Logo

Although this subheading does not make much sense here because this blog already talks about Google ads strategy for small businesses but here, I take this moment also to raise a red flag that Is Google Ads the right platform for you? Did you analyze the following aspects before deciding on Google?

  • Do you sell products and can your products be seen and touched? Why not social media then?
  • Did you think of other social media platforms for your business such as LinkedIn ads for targeting professionals or Quora Ads for personal branding or even Reddit ads for event announcement?
  • If you are selling low-cost products, why not Amazon Ads?
  • Did you think of Bing ads in the US? It could save you a lot of money.

As a general rule of thumb, if you think a display network will make more sense for your business then, go for social media than Google display ads. On the other hand, if you think people are searching for your business or services then try google search network. Confused about the right channel? We offer free digital breakthrough services for small business and startups.

Let us go ahead with assuming that you have already decided on Google search ads.

4. Targeting Parameters

4.1 Audience

You already have enough audience insights from section 1 of this article and their engagement metrics based on micro-conversions from section 2.2

Audience tips

  • Bid higher on the remarketing audience who performed some micro-conversion action on your landing page
  • Also, Bid higher on Middle of Funnel users
  • Include top of funnel users as Observation in your campaign
  • Remove genders or age groups that you think are completely irrelevant to your campaign

4.2 Device

Bing device level performance optimization

Ask the following questions to yourself and answer it accordingly:

  • If your landing page or website mobile friendly?
  • Which device is seeing a high bounce rate?
  • Do your users use mobile or they stick more on desktop or tablet?

Here is an example, a company looking for accountant or taxation services will mostly book an accountant using desktop during office hours by an HR person. Think of such scenarios and try to create a user persona coming to your website and using your site.

4.3 Geography

Are you targeting the wrong location? Initially, you might be tempted to target many locations at once but you have to consider some of the factors based on the following scenarios:

  • Someone would like to find the nearest accountant or dentist or tax consultant
  • If I have car wash service in my area, I prefer that one even if I am getting a cheaper deal elsewhere because of time and driving woes
  • Are there other companies offering the same service in your target region?

Because this post talks of small business, chances are more that you would need localized targeting than a city targeting. Try to pinpoint your office and do a radius targeting of up to 5 to 10 miles in order to drive quality traffic to your landing page.

Geo-Targeting tips for small businesses

  • Add your Google My business location as a location extension to your ad
  • Use the “Near Me” keyword. For example – “Accountant near me”
  • Bid higher on the nearest area to your location if you are targeting multiple locations

5. Brand Awareness or Brand Consideration Campaign

I would suggest running some Google display network campaigns for brand awareness. It would not cost as much as search campaigns and also will help you in creating some remarketing audiences. However, if you think some people already know about you or your brand, you have some reviews on social media and google my business, you can directly go for brand consideration campaigns.

If you are planning to do brand awareness then utilize the in-market segment and affinity categories audience from Google Analytics.

5.1 Brand consideration campaign for small business

Brand consideration campaigns are little more than your conversion-based campaigns. Following are the differences that you might have with a brand-consideration campaigns

  • Use BMM (Broad Match Modifier) keywords to bring in some top of funnel traffic
  • Along with BMM, also use exact match with little higher CPC
  • You can structure your google ads based on keywords to keep BMM and exact match in either separate AdGroup or in the same AdGroup
  • Have basic SEO meta tags of the landing page done
  • Also, include some of the keywords on the landing page for a better quality score
  • Consider brand awareness if you have enough budget
  • Use Google responsive display ads for brand awareness instead of static banner display ads
  • Start with manual CPC/ ECPC, if you start getting conversions then try to switch over to Target CPA if you have enough account data

6. Optimization and continue…

Google Optimize

After you start running the campaign, this is the phase where you continue your optimization. Depending on the situation some of the things that you can try are:

  • A/B testing of two bidding strategies after having enough data in your campaigns
  • Analyze the bounce rate and the engagement rate of different audiences
  • Pausing non-performing keywords
  • Adding element on the landing page which is liked the most by the users and more…

Did you know? We also offer free digital breakthrough services for small businesses and startups.

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