AdWords for small businesses: 5 things you need to know

Setting up Google AdWords can be a daunting prospect for many small businesses. There are often several pain points that they've previously experienced which often taints the potential successes they can achieve.

We believe that setting up AdWords should be a positive experience and one which we encourage businesses to do if they are looking to grow their online presence. We do understand however that there are many blockers including budget and resource, for small businesses looking to achieve success through paid channels.

You may not want to hear them, but here are some home-truths you need to know:

  • Achieving success on Google AdWords is harder than you think
  • Your website makes or breaks your success
  • There isn't a right way of running Google AdWords, everyone does it differently – find an agency that has your business objectives at heart 
  • It can cost a lot of money, the keywords with the highest CPC's are also the best ones
  • There are lots of agencies that don't know what they are doing

Set clear goals & objectives

Before setting up an AdWords campaign you need to be clear on your goals and what you want to achieve. With no clear objective you can easily sink a load of cash into AdWords and come out the other end very disappointed. Do you want AdWords to grow brand awareness? Do you want to increase sales and revenue, or is there a goal you want visitors to complete?

Remember, there is no one size fits all; every product, business and website will perform differently. Make sure you set a budget and clear objectives to be met – be realistic and understand that AdWords may be a brand building exercise to begin with.

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Website quality is everything

If you're paying for visitors, you need to make sure that when they land on your website they aren't disappointed. We have to mention at this point, if you don't have a mobile responsive website, you need to! Mobile searches have overtaken desktop; so if you're site isn't ready – don't send users there.

The same stands for quality imagery and content. Make sure that when someone clicks on your ad and is taken to your chosen landing page they are going to be satisfied with what they see. You can have a great CTR but if everyone leaves without converting, your ads will prove extremely expensive.

Long term competitors have an advantage over you

This is one of the most common problems we're faced with when discussing AdWords with smaller retailers and businesses. Many have already tried Google AdWords and come to the conclusion that their competitors are just doing it better; so what is the point in starting. This isn't a reason to give up. Your competitors would have been working hard to achieve success from paid channels – it doesn't happen overnight.

It takes a lot of research, testing and optimisation to find a formula that works for your business. Remember though, this is a continuous circle as the market continues to change and trends come and go. Take for example apparel; you're going to want to advertise winter coats in autumn/winter and shorts in summer. You also only have a short window for testing and optimisation – try to identify early on your best sellers and focus on those.

Account and campaign structure

From both a management and tracking perspective, it is important to ensure that your account is structured correctly. Whilst it's good to start off small if you have a limited budget, building one campaign with one ad group will not suffice. Make sure you're building out structured campaigns with clearly defined keyword lists. From here you can test ads, monitor keywords, ad performance, refine and retest.
A good account structure would look like this…

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Choosing an agency or managing AdWords yourself?

Taking the above into account; you now have to decide whether you want to run AdWords yourself or pay an agency to do it for you.

Learning yourself – We hate to break it to you – but AdWords isn't easy. Driven by data, there is a lot more to manage that budget, ad copy, keywords and CPC. To achieve results you need to be on your AdWords every day, so make sure that you have the time to allocate.

Hiring an agency – Finding the right agency is extremely important. If you have no interest or just don't have the time, please hire an agency. We'd obviously love you to pick us, but if you don't, make sure you find someone with a proven track record that will deliver the objectives and goals you lay out.

A great tip when looking for an agency is to check whether they are a certified Google Partner and have passed the AdWords certifications. Here at Netmatter we have 3 certified AdWords specialists that will work on your account to ensure the best possible results.

If you need help managing your AdWords account or simply don't know where to start, give our certified team a call today on 01344 266844.

Catherine Durham

Catherine Durham

Digital Marketing Manager (Dip DigM)

Digital Marketing Manager at Netmatter, Catherine Durham graduated in Press & Editorial Photography. She has since gone on to work in digital marketing and ecommerce, with experience in SEO, copywriting, design and photography.

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