Small business doesn't mean small growth. Dare to scale with Google Ads.

Small business doesn't mean small growth. Dare to scale with Google Ads.

Tanya Dharmapala
By Tanya Dharmapala

Pay-per-click. Either the most exciting or daunting thing you'll ever take on. The big question is, do Google Ads work for small business growth?

Well, if you just throw cash at it, and hope the unbeatable, all-knowing King of the Internet will sell for you, then no. But, with the right strategy and tools, this can be a fantastic opportunity for businesses of all sizes. And we're going to show you how.

Are Google Ads worth it for small business?

We get it. Big businesses can afford to throw money at paid ads over and over until something sticks. But small businesses don't have that luxury. So, why take the risk? 

We can't just say yes, so let us show you instead. 

Imagine you're a local tour company. You sell small tour packages at an average sale value of $300. It's a highly competitive industry and the clicks are a little costly.

  • You spend $1.50 on every click (on average)
  • Get 1200 clicks
  • That's $1800 to get 1200 people to your site

eCommerce websites have an average conversion rate of 2.7%. So, that's: 

  • 32 sales at $300
  • $9720 in sales value
  • a return on ad spend of over 7X!

That's $7 made for every $1 you spend. Sounds pretty good right? But let's say you've done a bang-up job on your site and it's converting at a casual 7.5%. Now you've got: 

  • 92 sales, for a sales value of $27,000

A ROAS of over 20X? Yes please! Is that realistic, you ask? Absolutely! We know because that's our tour client, based right here in WA, smashing their goals with a well-designed PPC strategy. Ready for your own incredible results? Let's talk about what makes Google Ads such a good opportunity. 

Are Google Ads worth it for small business


Total control

If you like to get your hands dirty, Google ads management is for you. You can enjoy control over everything, from the amount you bid on every single keyword to what position your ad headlines show up in. You can also use negative keywords to decide when your ads shouldn't show, determine what placements Google Display ads show up on, and so much more. The perfect platform for maximising your budget. 

Cost-effective investment

Talking about spend and getting more out of your Google Ads costs, it's also just price-efficient. As a pay-per-click advertising platform, you don't pay till someone clicks, and you can control the average CPC (a little marketing acronym that means cost-per-click) with bidding and cost caps. If you're looking for ROI and not too concerned about search volume, there's a lot you can do to control your costs. 

Hitting your target market when they're ready to buy

It's an unbelievably powerful thing to be there just when someone needs you. And that's what Google ads offers. When someone is searching for exactly what you sell, with a very relevant keyword, you can put a really solid ad in front of them and convince them to take action. Talk about right place, right time! 

Localised targeting

Not only can business owners target people based on where they are, but also on areas of interest and areas they've been - whatever makes sense for your business. Local businesses can also tap into Google Business Profile and Google Maps ads to create a holistic experience around that target location and make it easier for potential customers to visit the physical store. 

Powered by data

Google Ads itself offers some really juicy insights, and it's heavily centred around precision. You can even get an idea of exactly how much your ads contributed to a sale or lead in the overall buyer journey with position-based attribution. Plus it integrates with Google Analytics to allow you to import goals over, create audiences based on your website traffic, understand page engagement on the landing pages from your ads and so much more.

Sure, but are Google Ads going to work for MY business?

The opportunity in Google Ads for small business is a no-brainer. But does it really work for all small businesses? 

There are three things you have to ask yourself, as advised by Google themselves

  1. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing campaign? Is that something that could be solved by running Google Ads (which is likely, given its wealth of ad formats, goals and bidding strategies) or would say social media marketing work better? Are your ideal customers even searching on Google, or do they need to be educated about your product first?
  2. What is your marketing budget? Just because you can control the average CPC and bring down your Google Ads cost doesn't mean it's an efficient use of your spend. If you're working with a tight budget, and having to put too many controls over it, you may not convert as well– in the long run, you're not actually saving much. 
  3. How will you know your ads are working? Are you prepared to break down the right metrics? Do you understand the data you're looking at? Have you put the right conversion tracking in place to know how your ads influence your business results? Running blind on any advertising platform is never a good idea, so make sure you're comfortable with the numbers before starting. 

Optimising your Google Ads marketing campaign

Of course, if it was as easy as setting up some ads and hitting go, everyone would be doing it. We won't lie to you, there's a lot you have to do to actually run things properly, and get the most out of Google Ads. Small businesses especially don't have money to waste, so here are 10 things you should do to give your PPC campaign its best chance.

1. Know your target audience

Know your target audience


As with any digital marketing effort, knowing your customers is key. How they think, what they want, what their research journey looks like, how they want to be spoken to, etc. Mapping out your customer personas and journey may sound like marketing fluff but it's far from it. Taking the time to figure out your ideal customers is going to make everything a lot more efficient.

2. Figure out what they're searching for

So once you know who you want to target, it's time to learn how they search. Picking the right keywords is critical for your campaign and it comes down to intent. Not every Google search term leads to a sale - for example, if you were a dentist, you might be tempted to target "teeth whitening" which has over 33,000 searches.

That's a lot of potential clients! However, there's a good chance people are looking for teeth-whitening take-home kits. Or replacement strips. Sure, at least some of the 33,000 searches may result in a sale but at what cost? With a little planning and comprehensive keyword research you could drill down into exactly what a true potential sale might search for, such as "teeth whitening treatment Perth" or "teeth whitening cost". 

Pro tip: use Google Ads Keyword Planner for highly accurate search volumes, drilled down to a hyper-specific traffic radius.

3. Think about what they won't be searching for (negative)

Following on from above, you want to use negative keywords to curb irrelevant searches you might show up for. For example, if you were an online diploma provider, you might want to add "free" or "tafe" to your negative lists when someone searches for "human resources diploma" because you know your courses are neither free nor delivered in person at TAFE.

4. Set up conversion tracking before launching anything

Set up conversion tracking before launching anything


A huge mistake made by many is running ads without tracking. Missing out on any data is doing a huge disservice to yourself. 

Connect your Google Ads to Google Analytics to read website data, and then set up goals to track every important action on your site. You can also set up secondary goals (which allow observation but don't count towards reporting, or get optimised by the platform) for an even more comprehensive overview. 

Google Ads will even allow you to assign values to certain goals (like if you knew that people filling out your contact form are more likely to convert than people who download a free guide) so you can optimise better for those high-value actions.

5. Pick the right campaign type

Pick the right campaign type


Video ads, Display ads, Search ads... there's so much to play with. And with the PPC model, the temptation to throw the net wide is high. But not every ad format makes sense for your marketing campaign.

Think back to what you are trying to achieve. If you're after sales or leads, high-intent ads like Search or Shopping are ideal. If you want more brand awareness, perhaps tell your story through captivating video ads. Maybe you want a bit more consideration– consider remarketing with Google Ads Display campaigns.

6. Craft a compelling ad

Being in the right place at the right time means nothing if you aren't even seen. Make your ads stand out by speaking to your target audience in a way that resonates, addresses their pain points, offers them a welcome solution and piques their interest. You monitor your quality score which usually tells you how relevant and engaging Google thinks your ad is on average (the higher the score, the more likely you are to be shown at a lower cost per click). 

Make use of Google's many ad features as well: 

  • Sitelink extensions allow you to show off other links on your site that may also be useful
  • Call extensions are a way to add your phone number to ads so people can call you directly
  • Callouts are a good way to promote certain USPs or features
  • Location extensions tell users where you're based and remind them that you're nearby

And so much more. Make sure they're engaging and useful, and you might even see your ad taking up more prime real estate.

Craft a compelling ad

7. Research your competitors

What they're doing is just as important as what you're doing. Who usually comes up in the top few paid ads results? What are your known competitors doing? Is anyone potentially bidding on your brand name or terms (sneaky, we know)?

Google Ads Transparency Centre is an excellent resource for finding out exactly what ads competitive businesses are running.

Google Ads Transparency Centre

8. Make sure you understand the bidding strategies

Google Ads management can get very technical, so you need to know your stuff. One of the hardest things to master is bidding strategies and when they're appropriate. 

  • Manual cost-per-click - you set the maximum you're willing to pay for a click 
  • Enhanced cost-per-click - Google automatically adjusts your manual bids based on the likelihood of conversion
  • Target cost-per-acquisition - you tell Google how much each sale or lead should cost
  • Maximise conversions - Google sets bids automatically to get the most conversions it can within your budget
  • Target return-on-ad-spend - you tell Google how much money you want to make for every dollar spent
  • Target impressions share - Google adjusts the bids to help you show up for a certain percentage of searches
  • Maximise clicks - Google sets bids automatically to get the most clicks it can within your budget
  • Target outranking share - setting bids based on what it takes to beat certain competitors in the auction
  • CPM bidding - adjusting the bid based on the cost to be seen every 1000 times (instead of the traditional PPC model)
  • Maximise conversion value - Google adjusts the bids to make more out of each sale

9. Ensure your website is ready to convert

Ensure your website is ready to convert


All the high-quality traffic means nothing if they land on your site and have a bad experience. While smart Google Ads management can get you the right audience, your website has to do the work of actually converting them. 

Think about the landing pages you're about to send people to and what you want potential customers to do when they get there. If the next step is unclear, if your site is hard to navigate, if the page doesn't have anything to do with the ad, people will leave fast.

10. Monitor closely and audit regularly

Lastly, you can't set-and-forget this. From adjusting bids to adding negative keywords, monitoring times when ads should show to favouring certain audiences, there is a lot to control, which demands a lot of time. Realistically, it's something you have to check every day to stay on top of performance and get the most out of your budget. 

You should also set up easy-to-understand reports that help you break down the data into actionable insights, and set routine check-ins with yourself to make sure you're on track with your original goals. Is your cost-per-click where you thought it would be? Are your ads converting at the rate they should? Is your landing page engagement time below par? 

Consistent review is key to success.

Want help making your money work for you? Hit us up!

Google Ads is a beast of an undertaking. But as long as you know who you want to reach, what you want to sell and what they are looking for, you've got an amazing chance to get in front of the right people at the right time.

All it takes is the right mindset and strategy. 

But if it's a bit too much, we get it. There's barely enough time in the world to come up with smart digital marketing campaigns, let alone fiddle with the many levers of Google Ads. Especially for a small business. 

That's what we're here for. As PPC ad specialists, we'll scale and grow your business with paid ads, taking the guesswork out of optimisation and keeping our eye on the ball so you don't have to. If you'd like to jump on this massive opportunity without the stress, speak to the experts at Dilate Digital today.

Dilate Digital are Google Premier Partners

Dilate Digital are Google Premier Partners


Proudly wearing our Google Premier Partner status, we've been able to work closely with expert Google professionals to help hundreds of clients across industries build their businesses with well-designed ads. Our partnership with Google allows us to tap into exclusive resources and insights, staying ahead of the game in this competitive arena, so you can enjoy better performance and greater peace of mind. To get started, jump on a call with us today or send through an enquiry.

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