5 PPC Tips for Startups on a Limited Budget

August 31, 2016

2:00 pm

Startups that want to stay lean or have not been funded yet usually have a limited budget with every dollar needing to be accounted for. New businesses need to find creative ways to acquire new customers, and paid search can be an effective channel if it is done right.

It is important that marketers learn to maximize or stretch their PPC budgets to get the highest return on their investment. One of the secrets to running a successful Google AdWords campaign is getting your ads in front of the right customers. Here are 5 Pay Per Click (PPC) tips that entrepreneurs can do to improve their campaign’s success when they are on a limited budget:

1. Use Negative Keywords    

Using negative keywords in your Adwords campaigns can really help to cut down on the irrelevant clicks that unnecessarily waste your daily ad spend. For example, if you were a New York bookkeeping software company you might want to filter out some terms people will use but which you don’t want to pay for: free accounting software, accounting packages, bookkeeping certification, etc. This way, the people who are searching for those specific keyword phrases will not trigger your ads and waste your money.

The longer that your campaigns are running, the more opportunities there will be to examine and add negative keywords which are setting off irrelevant clicks.  Another tip is you can use Google’s Search Terms Report to find new ideas for negative keywords. Google’s search term report will show you what users what people were actually searching for when your ad was triggered. This can be a great insight into how your customers search. It allows you to exclude irrelevant words not related to the products you sell.  

2. Separate Networks by Campaign

When marketers set up their Adwords campaigns, Google, by default, will recommend serving your ads to show up on both the Display and Search Networks. This can be an awesome strategy if wants an outrageous number of impressions and want to overpay for every visitor click…   

A more cost-effective strategy is to separate campaigns to serve ads on each network individually. Why? Because each network has been designed to reach audiences with different goals on different types of sites. As an example, if your startup was trying to run a branded campaign to grow awareness for your new product, then using the display network is a solid option. You can save money and time by separating campaigns by each network.     

3. Make Sure Not to “Set It and Forget It”

You must think of your paid search account as a living thing that needs to be maintained and cared for. Some people may think that once you have your campaign set up with all the keywords and ads, that your work is done. Well, my friend, the work is just beginning.

Marketers need to be aware that Adwords accounts need to be monitored weekly, if not daily, depending on the size and ad spend of the account. When you are managing the account, you should be monitoring average position, adjusting bids, adding negative keywords, and testing new ad copy to find what converts the best. Without the proper PPC ad management, things can go sour rather quickly, which can have a negative effect on your campaign’s performance and ROI.

4. Only Advertise Where You Can Deliver   

New startups need to pay attention to where they are spending their PPC ad dollars. You can use location targeting to limit the areas or regions that your ads are eligible to show in.

As an example, does your company sell marketing services, but to only US based businesses? Make sure that your ads are only targeting your home territory.  Are you a financial advisor only licensed to operate in a specific city? Then there is no need to waste money and bid on ads beyond your region of service. This can result from not using the right settings in your campaigns. With location targeting, you can get as specific or broad as you like. From map points to zip codes to countries, the possibilities are endless.

AdWords-Location-Example

5. Expand Your Ideas

We all know that mobile search is taking over.  So we should not ignore the rise of voice search (Google voice, Siri, Cortana). Even my girlfriend’s 5 year old asks Siri almost anything. Check out and try using answerthepublic.com — it is designed to work off of Google’s autocomplete and brings in a lot of questions that people are asking. You can start by typing in the query say “accounting Software” then  look at the different prepositions and question modifiers (which, who, what, where, when, why, how, are, etc.). 

Hopefully, these 5 critical tips for better PPC success for your startup will help you to acquire more customers with targeted advertising. Using these tips and following other basic guidelines should help to maximize your PPC budget by increasing the number of clicks you earn and also by showing your ads to a more qualified audience.  

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I consult VC backed startup businesses with Internet marketing guidance. I cofounded Vab Media a digital marketing startup agency in New York. I cover and write about topics such as entrepreneurship, conversion optimization, digital marketing tips and strategies for the startup and investor community.

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