5 Critical Tips for PPC Success for Small Businesses on a Budget

Small business owners on a tight budget need to stretch their PPC advertising dollars to get the most bang for their buck. However, there are countless money-sucking traps along the way that can derail your online advertising goals. Here are five critical tips for PPC success for small businesses on a budget.

1. Separate Networks. Search, display, content, syndicated search partner.

Google recommends serving your ads on all its available sites. Of course it does. If you want to rack up a ridiculous number of impressions while overpaying for clicks from visitors who are not at all interested in what you have to offer- go for it!

A much better tactic is using separate campaigns to advertise individually on the Search Network, Display Network, etc. Each advertising network has been developed to reach visitors with different goals on different types of sites. The structures of your campaigns need to be adjusted based on the network you are serving. Separating your campaigns by network can save you a ton of time and money- not to mention a headache.

Choosing Your Network

2. Use negative keywords.

Effectively adding negative keywords into your campaigns can help eliminate irrelevant clicks from visitors looking for something other than what you have to offer. For example, if you are selling high-end stereo systems for cars, you probably want to filter out terms like free, cheap, and discount. That way, people using those search terms won’t be able to see your ads and you don’t have to waste your daily budget on clicks that won’t convert.

As your campaigns begin to develop and mature, there will always be unwanted keywords and phrases that leak into the account which are triggered by broad and phrase-match keywords. Removing these unwanted keywords will help eliminate unsolicited clicks from visitors not looking for what you have to offer.

3. Don’t “set it and forget it”- think of your account as a living thing that needs to be cared for.

While the initial building steps of campaign setup and launch can be long and tedious, your work has only just begun once your ads are up and running. Forgetting about your account will come back to haunt you. Depending on the size and budget of your account, set aside a chunk of time one or two days a week when you can sit down and monitor what is going on. This would be a good time to look into adding negative keywords, adjusting bids to reach your optimal ad position, and finding out just what ad copy renders the highest conversion rate.

These campaigns need to be cared for. They can change quite drastically without proper monitoring and time needs to be built into your weekly schedule to keep everything on track.

4. Advertise only where you can deliver.

Location targeting is vital for any small business looking to stretch its paid search dollars. Does your business ship internationally? If not, make sure to show ads only in your home country. Looking closer, an electrician serving a small geographical region can target only the cities they work in.

PPC Location Targeting

These location targeting areas can become as widespread or granular as you like. Target a single location, or group together a combination of various countries, states, territories, and cities. Successfully implementing geographical targets within a campaign can drastically improve your ROI by excluding clicks from locations beyond your business’s reach.

5. Don’t forget- there IS customer support. Call that 1-866 line if you need to talk to a human being at Google or Microsoft.

There may be a times when you want to pick up your computer or laptop and throw it off a nearby wall. I recommend refraining from that. Coding breaks, errors occur, and there are times an automated help menu just doesn’t cut it. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to a real human being.

You mean I actually have to interact with another person? Yes. It’s not so bad, and you can get personalized account attention from somebody who knows the ins and outs of the platform you are working with.

So there you have it- five critical tips for PPC success for small businesses on a budget. Utilizing these tips will help stretch your PPC dollars by not only growing the number of clicks you earn each week but by also by serving your ads to the visitors most likely to convert.

Tired of managing your small business’s PPC account? Portent now has a package for that. Check Out PPC Essentials– expert PPC within your reach. See how Portent can help your small business grow.

Chad Kearns

Vice President of Marketing Services
Vice President of Marketing Services

Chad is responsible for guiding Portent's marketing, sales, and agency services. With Portent since 2012, Chad is passionate about ensuring clients receive top-notch service and results from the Portent team. Outside of Portent, Chad loves to be outside- hiking, playing soccer, skiing, and cheering on his Seattle sports teams.

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  1. Hi Chad – Great tips! Thanks for the reminder to use negative keywords when possible; they’re easy to forget. I loved the “don’t set it and forget it” advice. Quite by coincidence, I just used the same phrase on our new search advertising free giveaway – it’s descriptive and technically very accurate!

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