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Getting Started with Google Ads as a Local Business

Online competition is fierce, with thousands of websites all vying for the same customers. One of the best ways of getting people to notice you is through Google Ads, a form of paid search engine marketing (SEM), also known as pay-per-click (PPC).

What is paid search engine marketing?

Paid search engine marketing is the way in which you can ensure your business website appears on search engines (like Google) when online users search for words associated with your business. It’s a type of advertising that appears at the top and right hand side of Google search results, with either ‘ad’ or ‘sponsored’ to the side of the ad. If you need more information on this, we’d recommend starting with this article instead.

Where do I start with Google Ads?

If you’ve decided to start using Google Ads, it’s important you don’t rush in blindly.

1) Decide your objectives and budget

As with any advertising, you should set yourself a target for Google Ads. Think about:

  • What your business objective is
  • How many new customers you’d like to gain
  • How much you’re willing to spend

The number of new customers you want will depend on your type of business and your capacity to take them on. As an example, if you run a shoe shop it’s likely you’ll want to attract a lot more customers than a builder specialising in renovations. Think realistically about how many new customers you (and your business) could handle – trying to do too much could damage your customer service and relationships with existing customers.

Consider spreading your budget out across the whole month so you’re able to show the advert regularly and you end up with a steady stream of customers rather than a mad rush at the beginning of each month.

2) Know your audience

Understanding your audience is another important element to getting Google Ads right. You’ll need to select keywords or phrases associated with your business which people might search for – which can be tricky!

Customer research is really important here. Look at what people are talking about online, the common issues they have and common products or services they want to buy. They might talk about your type of product, service or business in a way you might not expect; for example, someone who is looking for a replacement car tyre might search for:

  • The specific make of tyre
  • “cheap tyres” if cost is an issue
  • “tyres” plus the make of their car
  • Questions – like “where can I get my tyre replaced?”

3) Update your website

It’s important that your website is accurate, up-to-date and easy to use before you start using Google Ads, as this could influence the success of your campaign. Ensure that the page people are taken to explains the main message in your advert in more detail and that you’re directing people to a website that is straight-forward for them to use.

4) Tailor your ads

Before you write your ads, think about the words or phrases that they will appear against. Include these words in your ad as it’s more likely people will click on them. For example, if you’ve selected the search term “cheap tyres” make sure this is referenced somewhere in the ad. Ultimately, it’s all about making sure your ad is relevant and clear.

5) Review, review, review

When you first start using Google Ads, make notes on what did and didn’t work, how much things cost you, and what results you achieved for that money. Remember to track the effectiveness of your ads by reviewing which adverts encourage people to click through to your website. You can then adjust your adverts to reflect which words and phrases work the best. This will help you to make more informed decisions going forward.

Think about how much time you can commit to Google Ads. Launching, tracking, tweaking and evaluating your Google Ads efforts can be time-consuming. If you want it to work effectively and be worth the money you’ll spend, you need to spend time on it.

As your business grows, you might want to consider enlisting the help of Google Ads experts – people who have years of experience, but that also understand your business and objectives, and can help you run excellent campaigns. If you find a good agency, you’re likely to make more of your budget too.

If you would like to read more about how you can improve your visibility on Google, try these articles:

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