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Top 3 Actionable Items For a Small Business Owner to Get Started with Google Ads

This question comes from Derick who called the voicemail line. 

(By the way, if you want to leave a question for me by voicemail, you can call 701-409-4138.)

I run a consulting firm and I work with many sales organizations and small businesses across North America. One of the top things I encounter is that people are paying Google AdWord experts a lot of money. But I have this feeling that they can do it themselves or have someone in-house do it. What are the top three simple, actionable things that small- and medium-sized businesses can do to start with Google Ads?

I truly believe that the more you’re spending in Google Ads, the more important it is to get professional help.

Whether that’s through consulting, training, or hiring somebody outright, the stakes are higher the more you have invested. 

It’s not just about the money that you’re spending on the ads, it’s also the potential for income. If a campaign is running poorly, it’s also about the loss of revenue. If a campaign was set up better, you would be getting more revenue from the campaign. 

The more you’re spending on the campaign, the higher the stakes. It’s even more important to get professional help. 

For example, I could install a bathroom fan in my house and I’d be comfortable with that.

I might need to watch a YouTube video to figure out exactly which wires to connect where. However, if I need to rewire my entire house, there’s no way that I’m going to do that by myself. The stakes are too high, there’s so much that could go wrong. But if it’s really something that I want to do, I could make myself an expert on that. Eventually I would be able to rewire an entire house.

But that’s not the case. I don’t want to be an expert at wiring a house, so I’m going to hire someone. 

Now, I did decide that I wanted to be an expert at Google Ads. So I invested a lot in that. I invested in hiring consultants, training, doing things myself, and spending my budget for my own business. That’s how I became an expert in Google Ads.

It takes a lot to spend money on Google Ads and know that you’re getting the best results possible. But in some cases, small businesses don’t have a huge budget. Perhaps they’re only willing to spend a few hundred dollars a month. It wouldn’t be possible to hire someone in addition to what they are spending on their ads.

Although these may not be the holy grail,  here are three things small businesses can do to get started. 

1. Do your research. 

Figure out if there is going to be enough search volume to justify a campaign. What that means is: are there people searching for your product or service? Figure this out by going to the Keyword Planner (which you can find just by Googling “Keyword Planner”.)

Type in some of your keywords and the location that you’re going to be targeting. Google will tell you the average of how many people are searching for your product or service on a monthly basis. That is going to tell you if that is enough to justify a campaign.

Identify what will your COST PER CLICK will be.

Also within the Google Keyword Planner, Google is going to give you an estimated cost per click. If you’ve never used Google Ads before, this estimate might be a lot higher than what you’re expecting. Google Ads tend to be pricier, especially if you’re not used to it. Once you’ve been running campaigns for a while, you will understand pricing better. Sometimes a click could cost $10-$30, depending on what you’re advertising.

You can run a profitable campaign even with a relatively high cost per click. But what if you’re expecting to pay 0.50 cents or $1.00 per click, and Google is telling you it’s going to cost $20.00? There’s obviously a “disconnect” there.

You need to figure out: will you be able to run a profitable campaign based on the cost per click estimate that Google gives you?

2. Then, when actually setting up the campaign, the most important thing(s) to focus on are your keywords.

This is how you are going to get the right people to see your ad, click on your ad, and become a customer. To focus as much as possible on the right people, what I would start with as a beginner is only EXACT MATCH KEYWORDS. This is going to limit searches. I’m going to be missing out on a lot of searches, but it’s going to limit the people seeing my ad to the very best prospects: people who are typing in the keywords that I have decided are the best to target. 

In addition to that, I want to add negative keywords.

Because with exact match targeting, Google is going to show my ad to people with slightly different things. So I want to make sure that I have some negative keywords in place.

Once the campaign is running, I want to pay very close attention to the search terms. This is going to tell me what people have actually typed into Google before clicking on my ad. This is something that you want to look at on a daily basis especially when you’re just starting out. Because you want to make sure that these are quality, relevant terms that you would actually want your ad to show up for. Make some adjustments by adding negative keywords or adjusting the keywords that you are targeting.

I have seen that even with a generic mediocre website with not much of an offer, if you are targeting the right keywords and your search terms are good quality search terms, you can still have a profitable campaign. You can still get leads and sales as long as you have quality search terms. 

You don’t have to have the best website, product, or offer.

Ultimately, the keywords and search terms are most important. However, If all your search terms are great, but you’re not getting any leads or sales, then it’s time to dig in to your website and your offer and see if you can make that more attractive for potential customers.

3. Track your results.

Within Google Ads, you have the opportunity to set up CONVERSION TRACKING. You can track leads, sales, calls, filling of opt-in forms, etc. This is really essential to have in place because if you are not tracking these results, you will not have any idea if anything is working. It has nothing to do with targeting or writing ads, it just has to do with tracking, that’s how important I think this is. 

Once you’re tracking your results,  and your results look good, now you can decide to spend more. Perhaps you can get to the put where you can hire someone to manage Google Ads for you because the results are profitable.

If you decide to hire someone to take this over, now you have a comparison. You will know how well your campaigns were doing when you started it out because you were tracking everything.

If you’re not sure how to set up Conversion Tracking, find some tutorials on that, or find someone to do it. Go to a freelancer website and find someone who can install and set up your tracking for you.   

What’s the bottom line?

There’s great value in hiring professionals. But there are also ways to start things out on your own. For total beginners of Google Ads, I’ve set up a podcast called the Google Ads Strategy Show. Start from the first episode to learn the basics and more about Google Ads.