One of the true challenges of a small business owner is to stretch our budgets and get the most out of each dollar without the benefit of the expensive automation tools that corporations have. This is especially apparent in the world of pay-per-click advertising and Google Ads. Corporations have the advantage of being able to throw money at a subject to see what works and then narrow down from there. Small businesses typically need to go into it and succeed relatively quickly. We don’t have the money to waste hundreds or thousands of dollars to find out what works and what doesn’t. We typically have to go at it with a reverse approach and be as specific as we can. One thing we learn from big companies is that being specific with your sales funnel is more effective. We need to learn from that and apply it right from the jump.
Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make
One of the most common mistakes I see small business owners make when setting up their own Google Ads campaigns is being far too general. I know it can be tempting to want to show up for every keyword. You get in there and select keywords and your eyes get wide like a kid at a candy store. Remember though, that just because you show up for a keyword search, doesn’t mean it is a keyword phrase that is likely to convert, especially if you don’t have the content to match it. And they all cost money. Starting with a broad match keyword that is too general will kill your budget in a hurry, and usually with poor results. Google support isn’t typically helpful with this either. They will give you “advice” that leads to you spending too much money inefficiently.
- Google Match Types: When you set up a campaign and pick keywords it defaults to the “broad” match type. They don’t really even inform you in a clear way that you have a choice here. Broad match means that your ad will show up for that keyword and anything else that Google deems relevant, which, from over 15 years experience, is a lot of garbage. I would generally say to never use broad match, and that is the default that will automatically be applied unless you specify otherwise. So you already have your chips stacked against you. Familiarize yourself with the match types and err toward phrase and exact matches, even though exact isn’t really exact anymore.
- Specific Landing Pages: I still see this even though I have preached about it for years. Match the search you are advertising for with a page that specifically talks about that product or service. Do not just send visitors that have searched for a specific solution to your homepage and make them figure it out. You need to reduce friction and send them right to the solution. If you don’t have a page on your site that specifically addresses that search concept or problem, you need to create one, or don’t advertise for that term. Generic pages or pages with too much content about too many things just don’t convert. It is too confusing for the user either way.
- Specific Ads and Ad Groups: Make sure you also match your ads to the search phrase and the landing page. If you are an electrician advertising for “home automation”, as stated above, you should start by targeting phrase or exact keywords associated directly with home automation. Then you want to make specific ad sets that speak to that issue. Point out why they should choose you through your skills or deals you have. Mention home automation in the ad. Make as many ad groups or different ads as possible to separate your keywords and ad dollars to perform better. Google has been removing keywords from reporting, so it is important you know what is working and what isn’t. Not only is this more effective in performance, but it is also easier to measure on the other end. If you have your keywords broken up well into specific ad groups you can tie your success to those ad groups or topics and adjust accordingly.
Avoid Those Mistakes and Succeed with Google Ads
I still see business owners making these same mistakes over and over. Advertising for everything and then sending the user to confusing pages that don’t even address what they searched for. Think about it. What do you do when this happens? You leave and find a more clear solution. Make sure you think like a user and provide a clear and concise answer to their question. Address the things they need to know to buy from you and make it easy and obvious for them to do so. Only advertise for specific products or services if you have a page on your site that speaks directly to it. Better to get your ducks in a row before wasting money on inefficient and overly broad search campaigns. Follow these tips and save yourself a lot of money and headaches down the road.