If Google Ads could talk, it would chant like this: “20 dollar bid for this competitive keyword, now 30, will somebody give me 40? Now 40, now 40, anybody up for 50? Going once, going twice, sold!”
Now, if you’re a start-up owner who didn’t have stacks of hundred-dollar bills in your bag, you would probably find yourself sitting still in that imaginary auction and watching your desired keywords get snatched — one after the other — by the big spenders. You'd likely end up leaving that event empty-handed.
While bid per click isn’t the only thing that makes most expensive keywords, VA-based businesses with huge budgets are likely to do better in Google Ads than lower spenders. The average cost per click (CPC) is between one and two dollars, but the most expensive keywords can cost 50 dollars or more per click.
If you belong to an industry in which the majority of businesses advertise online, expect to pay for a higher-than-average CPC to compete. If you couldn’t catch up with everybody else’s bids, it may be difficult for your ads to rank high and for your brand to reap the best PPC results.However, "paying higher-than-average" doesn’t mean you should shell out millions of dollars monthly, like Amazon and Home Depot do, to get the results you desire. What you can do instead is to mimic what those advertisers with deep pockets do — without spending more money and exceeding your start-up’s monthly budget for ads.
Following and Mimicking Big Google Ads Spenders
Top Google Ads spenders don’t mess around. They never leave their accounts untouched for weeks. They stay on top of their campaigns and make adjustments as often as possible. After all, they have millions of dollars on the line. Let's take a closer look at how they do their work, so you can have an idea of how to reap big-budget results for your ad campaigns.
Create More Tailored Landing Pages (Cost: $0 + A Bit of Experimentation)
Big-budget advertisers understand the value of personalization. Prospects respond better to messaging that specifically appeals to them and matches the ad they clicked. Otherwise, they feel confused and unsatisfied that they end up bouncing out of the page. Top-spending accounts create a landing page specific and tailored to the audience that each of the ads targets. They are willing to develop more targeted landing pages if they have multiple ads in one account.
How can you build new, specific landing pages when you don’t have a big team of graphic designers, content creators, and web developers?
Pro Tip: duplicate your current landing page and tweak the images, call-to-actions, or copy to produce a different version that's more targeted to a specific audience.
Take the example of one water filtration company in the US. This company was getting a lot of impressions and clicks on their ads, but it had a low conversion rate. It created a new landing page, which was almost similar to the old one except that it replaced the CTA button text “get pricing” with “get a quote.” That minute change resulted in a 104 percent increase in form submissions, giving the company way more leads than it used to get.
The “get a quote” button sets clear expectations. It gives prospects an idea of what will happen after they click it — that they would be asked to fill out a form, speak to a sales rep, and get a personalized product pricing list. On the other hand, the “get pricing” CTA implies that the prospects would be redirected to a generic pricing page.
As such, those who wanted to get a customized product quote and have a chat with the sales team end up abandoning the button, thinking they wouldn't get the result they want. It pushed down the conversion rate.
Don’t create or optimize landing pages for page views. You want them to bring conversions, and you can achieve that by making sure the messaging appeals to your prospects and matches the intent of your ad. Create more versions of your current landing page and test them to know which works best for a particular audience. Doing so helps you learn more about your prospects, increase conversions, and drive qualified leads to your website — without going over your monthly PPC budget.
Use More Ad Extensions (Cost: $0 + Extra Push on Ad Creation)
Big brands use around 30 ad extensions for every text ad they create in their campaigns, and this is one of the many things that others miss out. Ad extensions are powerful snippets of bonus information that can be displayed together with your text ad on the Google network. They can be specific click-to-call buttons, store addresses, or star review ratings — and adding them to your ads comes with no cost.
If writing and optimizing ads take too much of your time, coming up with content for your ad extensions may feel like a more tedious job. But, here’s why you should do them: doing so can improve your click-through-rate (CTR).
Other than giving users additional information and value, ad extensions push your competitors’ ads and organic results further down the search engine results page (SERP). It's like placing your shop's banner stand on top of multiple crates to make it more visible for people passing by.
Take a page out of the big boy’s playbook and implement ad extensions. Don’t know which extension to use? If you own a small-town restaurant or brick-and-mortar store in downtown, make sure you use the location extension. This way, local searchers can quickly get your address and visit it soon.
Use site links if you offer several services. Say, you’re a marketing firm that provides SEO, PR marketing, and social media marketing. For all your ads, make sure you have related site links as ad extensions. You don't only attract the attention of your prospects but also gain opportunities to link back to your website.
Call extensions should be your go-to ad extensions if you provide emergency services, such as plumbing and roofing repairs. People searching for emergency plumbers don’t have much time to browse websites. So if you put your contact number and a click-to-call button on your ad extensions, it would be easier for them to get in touch with you immediately.
Pro Tip: Test to see which extensions work best for your ads. Don't be afraid to experiment. After all, using these ad extensions won't put too big a dent in your wallet.
Add More Negative Keywords (Cost: $0 + A Call for Defensive Play)
In basketball games and military combat, the best defense is a good offense. The same goes for your Google Ads campaign. It's not enough that you target relevant, high-intent keywords; you should also add negative keywords to filter searchers who are not interested in your offer but still see your ads and click on them.
Take it from big-budget advertisers who add hundreds of negative keywords in their accounts; they employ multiple defensive zones to keep their ads from appearing on irrelevant searches
Say, you sell a gorgeous selection of branded stilettos online, and you were bidding on relevant keywords, such as "best stiletto brand," "stilettos for sale," and "comfortable high heels online." Those were specific, targeted keywords yet you found your account losing its monthly budget in just a week without a decent conversion rate. What could be the culprit? It's likely the lack of negative keywords.
Your ad probably showed up for broad search terms like "shoes" or off-brand keywords like "boots" or "cheap stilettos." Such most-used keywords (but irrelevant to your campaign) often have high search volume, taking a huge slice of your ad budget pie. That's why it's crucial to add negative keywords to your account — add as many as you can.
Again, most big-budget advertisers stay on top of their accounts, devoting at least a few hours a week to review their search query, conversion tracking, and other marketing insight reports. You can emulate this by simply jumping into the search terms report available in Google Ads.
Pro Tip: See which keywords are making you or costing you money. Then, add those money-wasting keywords in your list of negative keywords to maximize your ad spend monthly.
Boost Your Ads' Quality Scores (Cost: $0 + A Review on Messaging)
Speaking of maximizing your ad spend, you can lower the CPC of your ad by boosting its quality score. Google raises or reduces an ad's average CPC depending on the ad's quality score, which is based on ad relevance, expected click-through rate (CTR), and landing page experience. Big brands often have high-quality scores. With low-CPC ads, imagine how many clicks they could get before they max out the budget.
So, how can you exactly boost your quality score?
Focus on improving your ad and landing page copy. Here are some suggestions:
- Run A/B Testing - Make sure the text of your ads matches the intent of your targeted users, and are engaging enough to catch your audience. There's no better way to achieve that than running an A/B test. Write two ads, run them simultaneously, and see which one gets the higher CTR.
- Group Your Keywords Better - Organize your keywords into small, tightly related groups. For instance, you’re running a PPC campaign for your restaurant. You can group your keywords according to themes, such as desserts, dishes, and drinks. This way, you can create specific ad text and landing pages per ad group, making your ad more relevant in the eyes of Google and the searchers.
- Be Consistent with Messaging - It may seem like an obvious tip, but many ads still don’t promote the same thing as their landing page. If your ad is advertising a free trial, your landing page must also feature a free trial. If your ad says something about a discount, anyone who clicks it should end up on a page that tells more about that discount, not your website’s homepage. Also, the tone and language of the ad should match the copy of the landing page. This kind of consistency in message matching helps create a positive landing page experience, boosting the overall quality score of your ad.
- Include Trust Signals - Building an emotional connection with your prospects is essential for you to be successful in converting them to a lead or sale. One way to achieve that is by adding trust signals on your ad and landing page. Trust signals can be in the form of contact information and social proof. For instance, you can include a contact information ad (or click-to-call button in ad extension, just like in #2). Your landing page gives you more room to establish trust with your prospects, so maximize the opportunity by placing social media ratings, customer reviews, or anything that shows your brand is trustworthy.
- Say No to Image Sliders - As mentioned, it is crucial that prospects don’t feel confused once they reach your landing page. What’s a simple way to achieve it? Don’t use image sliders or carousels. Most people don’t pay attention to them, but even those who do can’t get the messaging you want to convey. Often, the sliders are so fast that people can’t finish reading them. Remember, too many messages equal no message at all.
Always Use Conversion Tracking (Cost: $0 + A Little Bit of Tinkering)
It’s a huge mistake not to enable conversion tracking in Google Ads, but it does happen — not to big-budget advertisers, though. There is no way you can optimize your ad campaigns for success if you don’t track their performance regularly, and big spenders understand the value of data tracking and analysis. Again, they don’t mess around. They closely watch their ROI, and if there’s something to fix or improve, they find out why and how to do it best.
Pro Tip: Setting up conversion tracking on your website is simple and free. So don’t forget to do it, analyze the data, experiment with a/b testing and see what’s working and what’s not.
Spending less on Google Ads than Amazon or any other big competitor doesn’t mean you can’t attract your target audience and successfully convert them into a lead or sale. Sometimes, all you need is take a page out of the major league team’s playbook and apply it to your little league — and you can run with the big boys without actually shelling out massive dollars as they do.
Want more tips about winning strategies for low-budget PPC accounts?
Schedule an appointment today. Let’s talk more about how you can be on the receiving end of that “going once, going twice, now sold!” auction chant.