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How to Get Started with Google Ads With a Shoestring Budget?

In this blog, I answer a question from a listener named Peter. He asked:

Hi Kyle, thanks for this great opportunity. I think a lot of advertisers struggle with this. In a nutshell, is there any strategy for how to start a campaign on a shoestring budget?

Unrecognizable man holding wallet with money

I can only spend about $10 per day. And the competition is really high. My area is web design, and the average cost per click for this is around $2.50. I think about strategies like using long-tail keywords, try to target related keywords instead of web design, et cetera. It would be a lifesaver podcast or article if you have something like this or if you will have in the near future.

Thank you. 


Great question from Peter! Let me first address his ideas.

So he’s thinking that because he has a limited budget, he doesn’t necessarily want to spend his $10 per day on clicks that cost $2.50, giving him only four clicks per day.

*This is an example based on the numbers he gave.

Since Peter wants more than four clicks per day, his idea is to use long-tail keywords and/or to try to target related keywords instead of web design.

I won’t go too in-depth on long-tail keywords, but if you want to learn more about my thoughts and experiences with long-tail keywords, check out this YouTube video I made!

To sum it up though, long-tail keywords are not some magical way to get cheaper clicks. For example, imagine that you’re wanting to target a keyword like “web designer for a Shopify site”. Let’s say that this is a long-tail keyword.

Now the problem with thinking that it is going to cost less than just targeting something like “web designer” is that all the people targeting the keyword “web designer” are probably targeting that as a phrase match or a broad match keyword. Their ads are going to trigger that long-tail search anyway. So they’re all basically bidding on the long-tail keyword by default because they’re already targeting the shorter version of those keywords

Don’t think you’re going to get a bunch of cheaper traffic by using a bunch of long-tail keywords.

Another point Peter brings up is trying to target related keywords instead of web design.

The reason that some keywords cost less and some cost more is COMPETITION. The keywords that are more expensive cost more because they are more competitive. There are more people bidding on those keywords. The keywords that cost less are cheaper because fewer people are bidding on them.

And why are there more people bidding on some keywords than others? Well, because over the years, Google advertisers have discovered which keywords lead to more business, and which keywords lead to less or no business.

They bid higher on certain keywords because those keywords lead to more business and they bid lower on others because those keywords do not lead to business. So, my opinion is that, even with a small budget, you do not want to avoid the higher value keywords. Those are higher-value for a reason.

Even if you are spending $10 a day and you’re getting four clicks per day, that’s still 28 clicks per week for a cost of $70.

Now, depending on your website, hopefully, it’s good. If you are a web designer, hopefully, you invested money in figuring out some good website copy and a good offer – something that’s going to want to make people contact you. And hopefully with 28 clicks in a week, you can get some leads from that, resulting in business.

If you’re not getting a lot of business, you probably have some time on your hands that you can put into improving your website and improving your offer. And hopefully, by the next week, you can start to get some more leads. And then hopefully once you are getting more leads and customers, you can then start to spend more than $10 a day. From there, this process will just start to snowball for you.

That’s the whole idea.

You invest a little bit, you do what you can with it, and start to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Focus on what works, and then it grows into something bigger. You don’t do this just by avoiding high-value keywords. You need to be targeting the keywords that are actually going to lead to customers for you. Since you’re not going to be getting many leads right away, you will have time to put into improving your offer and improving your website. 

And of course, in the meantime (and beyond), you should do some other types of advertising that will not cost you money, such as organic advertising.

Maybe write some blog articles. Maybe you just go into Facebook groups and start helping people out there. Maybe put out podcasts or YouTube videos. Whatever it is, you should not be relying on paid traffic if your budget is only $10 a day. 

Overall, absolutely get started on that budget. Do what you can with it, focus on improving the results as quickly as you can, and then hopefully you can get to a place where it is starting to bring in some business for you.