How to do Local PPC on a Slim Budget

How to do Local PPC on a Slim Budget

Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the fastest ways to get fresh impressions to your website in the absence of a strong organic ranking in the SERPs.

But what does a hometown business owner do if they have no clue where to start? Or don’t have thousands of dollars a week to put together an effective ad spend?

Fact is, there are a lot of local business owners out there who don’t feel they have the budget or know how to hang with the big boys in this competitive online arena.

If this sounds like you, you MAY very well be right. Some competitive terms such as those related to local lawyers, doctors, dentists and all the various trades out there can cost well over $100 per click. That’s a pretty darned expensive lead! This is not how we do local PPC campaigns on a budget.

Keep reading to learn how to reel in your expenses and stop competing with professionals and corporations that have big enough pockets to grind you into dust.

Focus on branded keywords.

Branded meaning YOUR brand, not the brands you sell in store. Branded terms will always be cheaper than trying to bid on other people’s brands, or on mega keywords like “Best Pizza in NYC” or even something similar for a small town, where you likely have plenty of franchises and more established businesses competing with you using their unlimited budgets.

There are also plenty of other advantages including higher Adwords quality scores and damage control that you can find explored in detail here.

PPC campaign tips
Image Credit: Barry Schwartz/Flickr

GDN for the win!

The Google Display Network can save you big money, while taking advantage of Google, their cookies, bots, and the brontobytes of data they have on their search engine users. GDN allows you to target leads by placing your ads on niche websites of your choosing. Going this route, you get clicks at anywhere from 2 – 10% cheaper than paid search ads, for highly competitive terms.

Some experts will tell you this is like throwing crap at a wall, but how many times has a juicy Adsense ad drawn you into a deal you couldn’t resist?

Be smart with scheduling.

This one is simple. After an initial testing period, you’ll notice most or all of your leads and sales will happen during certain time frames. It’s necessary to spend a little more at first to get the clicks and see when they convert the most, but you have to reassess quickly in order to save your budget from people on the other side of the world clicking your ‘local’ PPC ads and costing you a fortune.

If your leads only happen between 8am to 4pm, either turn off your ads at the crack of 4 or at least lower your bids to half so you don’t wake up the next morning and find out your budget was killed before 6am!

PPC tips for budget minded
Image Credit: tubedogg/Flickr

Make your money work smarter with shared budgets.

Look in your Adwords account under shared library and select “budgets.” Say you have 3 campaigns running with cap of $30/day on each. What happens if 1 or 2 of them only do $10 each on a given day, while the remaining one was on fire and reached its max halfway through the day? You’ve just left all that money on the table that could have been used to pull in more leads, had you been able to use that $40 that was left over from the slow campaigns.

From Google:

“Say you’ve set aside $100 per day, split evenly between two campaigns. On a given day, one campaign could get less impressions and clicks than usual, resulting in only $40 spent. With a shared budget, AdWords could take that leftover $10 and reallocate it to the second campaign to maximize your campaign results overall.” (see original)

Give call-only campaigns a shot.

Call-only ads are just what they sound like. The big G targets these ads to mobile customers who can make phone calls. Best, bidding on the #2 and #3 positions is quite effective with call-only ads, while bidding on anything but #1 elsewhere can net you a big fat zero at the end of a campaign day.

This feature is perfect for businesses of all kinds, but particularly great for service businesses who need to talk to customers to answer questions and concerns in order to sell them on their services. Still, if you sell products, particularly high end products like automobiles, jewelry and the like, the ability to call you and get a sense of the service you offer can get you leads you might not have otherwise from just directing search engine visitors to your website.

PPC mobile ad tips
Image Credit: Chenin Gilles/Flickr

Ready, set, go!

As you can see, you don’t need a massive budget to be successful with local PPC. Just a little knowledge and a keen eye for detail and you can use $50 or $100/day to bring in quality leads to your business.

Main Image Credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/Flickr

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