Is your website ranking well on Google for the keywords that matter? If not your competitors may have an advantage over you already.

But, what happens, if your website is not ranking within the first five results in Google, or even on the first page for your most important keywords? Ranking high in the search engines is not easy due too competition on the web continually growing.

Is it possible for a small business to compete with more established, larger websites? The answer is “YES” and it all begins with building an effective Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising strategy. Pay-Per-Click, also referred to as PPC is an important method for businesses to develop brand recognition, a consistent web presence, and a steady flow of new leads and website traffic. Here are six things you should know before you get started;

1. What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

PPC advertising is a marketing model where advertisers create ads and pay a pre-arranged fee each time their ad is clicked on. These ads are shown within search engine results or in a variety of ways on different social media platforms.

Pay-Per-Click is a way to pay for visits to your website to compliment the organic visits you are already experiencing. The most common types of PPC advertising are through search engines, such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads. A lot of businesses are also advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Using search engines sponsored links; search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing allow advertisers to bid for placement of their advertisements. The sponsored links are featured at the top of the search, at the bottom of the search results, or in a sidebar on the right hand side of the organic results.

2. Will my business Benefit from Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

Every business can benefit from implementing a pay-per-click campaign. The trick too being successful is to identify targeted, relevant keywords. You should also understand your target audience and develop a strategy that will drive the right types of leads.

Below I have listed a few characteristics of businesses that can lead to increased PPC results. They are:

Increased Customer Lifetime Value – Doctors, educational programs, utility providers, and subscription services can typically establish higher PPC budgets because each conversion has the potential to yield a very high lifetime value for each new customer.

High Profit Margins – If your advertised product has a high profit, your business campaign may choose to pay more per click. Some examples are home renovations, big-ticket items, or vehicles.

Niche Products – Selling a product or service that is difficult for consumers to find locally makes your business a great candidate for PPC advertising campaigns. People often rely on Internet searches to locate unusual or rare products.

If any of these business traits sound like your small business, begin your pay-per-click advertising campaign right away!

3. How Does Pay-Per-Click Advertising Work?

It isn’t easy to develop an effective ad campaign, as every industry requires different details to be addressed. Should you advertise on social media or a search platform? You should consider a combination of both.

To help get you started, I will outline the process. However, to implement a marketing campaign that returns guaranteed results, requires many years training, knowledge and, in many cases, the assistance of a marketing specialist.

The first step to using a paid search marketing strategy is to develop a campaign strategy with a budget. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is your goal?
What are your keywords?
How many advertisements do you want to run?
What is your budget?

Once you have developed a campaign strategy, it is time to create a text, image, or video advertisement and publish it to your search engine advertising account. You will be able to specify the following criteria:

Start and stop dates
Maximum PPC price
Audiences by demographic and other filters
Various other settings

Once your advert is approved and published, check your dashboard frequently to monitor progress and make any adjustments to the campaign that are required.

4. Which Search Engine Advertising Platforms Should I Use?

When businesses elect to pay for advertising on search engines, typically they seek to take advantage of a user’s need for demand fulfilment. Users who visit search engines already know what they want and are actively looking for your business or someone like your business.

Google AdWords and Bing Ads are the two most popular and commonly used search engine PPC advertising platforms. As paid search becomes competitive, the top platforms tend to cost more per click. However, these are not the only options for small businesses. Here are some ad platforms to consider:

Google – the king of all search engines – Research your campaign’s top keywords to price out the PPC prices. Based on your small business niche, you may be able to rank for a reasonable price.

Bing – The second most popular search engine – Bing holds a 33% market share on paid search engine advertising. Bing advertisements are also displayed on Yahoo, through a partnership agreement. What’s great about Bing is it costs less than Google and will display your ads on two search engines.

5. Which Pay-Per-Click Social Media Advertising Platforms Should I Use?

Social media is a great place to introduce your brand to an eager audience.

I’m sure you have all heard of Facebook, but have you heard of the other options available to you? Social media platforms vary in audience size, demographic reach, and cost. A bit of research can go a long way when it comes to selecting the appropriate channel.

When developing your pay-per-click advertising plan, consider these options:

Instagram – If your small business can easily convey powerful messages using imagery, Instagram may be a great choice for you.

YouTube – Does your business communicate through video? Or do you advertise with video tutorials? If the answer is yes, you will have tremendous success on YouTube.

Twitter – Do you need to increase your exposure? Are you creating valuable content, which is share worthy? Do you have a strong brand voice? Do you run promotions? Then this is the platform for you.

LinkedIn – Reaching relevant professional audiences is the primary focus of LinkedIn. Many business-to-business (B2B) enterprises find success using LinkedIn advertising.

Pinterest – Featuring both a website as well as a mobile app, females dominate the Pinterest user market. Small businesses that target women typically find success with Pinterest advertising.

Snapchat – Specific calls to action, business announcements, and exciting press releases are all great ways for your businesses to use Snapchat in their marketing mix.

Each platform has its benefits and by creating a strategy using multiple platforms, the potential for reaching a wide, high converting audience will increase your return on investment (ROI).

6. Paid Search vs. Paid Social?

Leveraging the strengths of both search engine and social media, pay-per-click is important for any paid advertising strategy. Understanding the difference and when to use each platform will increase visibility and decrease cost.

Paid Search – Search engines provide the widest audience available on the Internet. Most search engines give priority to well-constructed, relevant ads in order to create an intuitive experience for the user. For this reason, the biggest budget does not always win and small businesses can be competitive with smaller budgets.

Paid Social –The ability to create specific target audiences, although smaller in numbers, can position social media ads with higher conversion rates and is the biggest advantage of using social media PPC advertisements.

When implemented correctly these two types of platforms complement each other beautifully.

When a business postpones PPC marketing they are leaving money on the table for their competitors. If PPC advertising feels daunting or confusing please feel free to reach out to me for help.