When you are at the helm of a startup, surely you are in for a game that presents you with higher risk and lower revenue. The chances of success are slim. Several research studies declare that more than 90% of startups are unsuccessful. They are more or less swimming in an ocean of complications. Majority of such complications relate to money. So where does it leave startup marketers when it comes to using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategies to gain traction? Should they blindly invest in advertising and ignore AdWords hoping for a positive return? It would be wiser if they don’t, as AdWords is the best marketing platform available for startups today.

Frankly, if startups ignore PPC, they will lose the very ground for potential business. Their growth rate will reduce and they will have to wind up their hopes of becoming successful.

PPC Marketing Tips for Startups

Ignoring PPC is not an option for startups in any way. But, how can startups compete in this complicated world of PPC advertising? I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s take a look at them.

Learn PPC

A major reason why startups fail with PPC marketing is simply that they don’t know how to develop, manage, or optimize PPC campaigns. It’s a steep learning curve. If startups don’t spend time learning PPC strategies they would waste their limited budget by making simple mistakes.

You cannot learn PPC marketing tactics overnight. Start with learning the fundamentals of Google AdWords. It includes how the ad auction works, the different keyword match types, how to appropriately structure an account, determining your budget and first-time bids, how to identify and set up negative keywords, how to set up conversion tracking and optimize your account on an ongoing basis.

Address Customer Problems

Being a startup, nobody knows what you have to offer. Many startups offer niche specific products. Their target audience at times does not even realize they need your product. Hence, find relevant keywords that appeal to them.

When users search on Google, they tend to look for a timely and direct solution to their problems. If your product or service can provide them with a solution then your chances of gaining business will increase substantially. Highlight what benefits your product provides. Solve the problem the searcher is facing.

For instance, if you’re selling a weight loss tracking gear, don’t target keywords like “weight loss gear”. Instead, you’d likely have more luck targeting keywords like “weight loss help”.

Start Small

One of the major mistakes that startups make is that they develop a long list of keywords and deliberately shove them into campaigns. It’s unnecessary and it wastes a lot of resources. Startup budgets are limited, and packing your account with fluff will stretch your budget. Instead, begin with just one or two campaigns comprising 2 to 4 ad groups under each campaign.

You should determine your campaigns by virtue of budget and product. For example, develop a campaign that revolves around your best selling product. Then create ad groups with relevant keywords for your product and drive traffic from each ad group to the most relevant landing pages.

Startups that run large PPC optimization campaigns, Google looks down at them with blurred vision. It instantly gets confused as to why this newborn business is building an account so large with so little budget. So start small. Once you begin to taste success, continue to build and test your account structure to gain more profitability.

Educational Offers

As mentioned earlier, people search for problem-solving products. Startups need to realize and evaluate where their potential customers are in the sales funnel. The trust factor is at zero – in the early stage – so adjust offers accordingly.

This is where educating your customers holds the key. Don’t opt for cheesy marketing language like “We’re #1 in the industry” or “Guaranteed Results.” Don’t make such bold claims without statistical data to back your claims up. Cater your offers with the following tips:

  • Always evaluate your ads and landing pages. Are you offering a 14-day free trial period for your new product? Frankly, your potential customers are probably not even ready to commit to a 14-day trial period, as they don’t know much about your startup. As an alternative, reflect search terms to find your ads.
  • Create call-to-actions that offer to learn. Utilize educational CTAs such as “Download this free e-book” or “Learn more today” rather than “Start your 14-day trial” or the more aggressive “Buy now.”
  • Provide quality content: Come up with original data-driven content. Use out-of-the-box ideas that show your startup is a thought-leader. If you offer a product that is complicated, then create content such as e-books or video tutorials that educate your potential customers.

Keep an eye on the Competition

It is important to stalk your competitors! If your startup has a unique offering, you might not have any direct competitors. Nonetheless, you must be aware of companies that are in a similar industry. Use these companies to inspire yourself. However, also differentiate yourself by highlighting the components you offer that your competitors do not. It is appealing in a distinctive way to the searcher. To stay ahead of your competitors:

  • Make use of Google’s Ad Preview & Diagnostic Tool: It will allow you to conduct Google searches using the keywords your bidding on. Also, check the location or device preferences you’ve chosen to find not just your ads, but also your competitor ads. It will give you an idea of where your ad is appearing. Furthermore, highlight your USPs.
  • Monitor impression share: Impression share is the number of impressions that you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.

Therefore, if your impression share is low then you’re not getting the desired exposure. How to get back in the game? Some strategies require approval by Google on adjusting your ad targeting settings, ensuring your ads, keyword, etc. Raise bids that are too low and work on improving the quality score of your ads. Also, remember; geo-targeted products are difficult to advertise as it restricts visibility.

Tracking and Testing Performance

Where uncertainty of success is just around the corner and budget is limited, it’s all about the return on investment for startups. CPA is typically the most important metric that startups should measure. Yes, impressions, click-through-rates, quality scores, all these data are important. But, if you’re only spending money on PPC campaigns and getting nothing in return, then you’re probably doing something wrong. When it comes to tracking performances, there a few things startups should keep in focus:

  • You must set up conversion tracking. Follow these steps to initiate tracking.
  • Keep a track of conversion paths in Google Analytics to understand the value of your PPC efforts. Understanding conversion paths are crucially important.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. If your ads have been running for a week, and you’re not seeing conversions then don’t freak out and pause everything. Instead, give time and let the data accumulate.  Additionally, once 30 days are over, and the data has been accumulated, see if there are any tweaks you can make to increase your chances of gaining conversions.

For example, if you’re not getting many impressions then change your targeting settings. Add some broad match keywords. In contrast, if you’re getting lots of exposure but it’s irrelevant, review the Search Query Report to identify negatives. It is a good practice to bid on restrictive match types. Also, pause keywords that are underperforming. Furthermore, raise bids on the well-performing keywords.

Testing goes hand in hand with tracking. Once you track and realize that your return is non-existent, in that case, you need to come up with a new strategy. Test everything – creatives, headlines, footer combinations – everything! But remember, if you’re testing too many things at once it can become confusing.

Create All-Visitors Remarketing Campaign

As a startup, you need to get out there and spread awareness about yourself. The bigger fish in the pond might intimidate you. But, this is where remarketing offers a risk-free way to expose yourself to the people who have already expressed interest by visiting your site.

Remarketing advertisements are those mind-reading ads that you see after you’ve visited a website. No, those Levis jeans that you looked at four days ago did not just appear as a meant-to-be coincidence. All-Visitor Retargeting Campaigns have proven themselves as an effective digital marketing aspect. Unbelievably, it is shockingly inexpensive.

Remarketing campaigns for all visitors are super easy to set up. It is a great way to gain safe exposure. Why all visitors though? Because being a startup, you should get maximum exposure. Once you know your way around searching and remarketing, branch out to the Google Display Network.

Utilize a Third-Party Management Platform

Startup employees tend to stress on their available bandwidth. With huge lists of items at their disposal, it makes prioritizing PPC a major challenge.

Maintaining control of your own PPC is critical for one legitimate reason – no one knows your business the way you do. This is why a third-party self-management platform is a perfect solution. It guides you with account-specific recommendations while giving you the all-out control of your account and reach goals on your own terms. If you haven’t looked into WordStream’s PPC Advisor, then start by grading your account to see what opportunities you may be missing out. Connect with one of AdWords Certified Professionals to explore the tools.

Advertise on Different Channels and Increase Brand Awareness

Google AdWords is critical for business growth. But, you should never limit your PPC efforts to a single platform. Social media marketing is one place where you should invest your budget wisely.

Facebook happens to be dominating the market with higher engagement. Many startup employees have preached that Facebook yields the greatest return for their startups.

Facebook and AdWords work well together for several startups. Facebook is more direct. It puts the product in front of the audience and combines your efforts with the people searching directly on Google. It works like a charm!

Facebook is also easier for startups that have to fight a little harder since they have no brand recognition. If customers are unaware of your unique products, the majority of them who will be interested in it are on Facebook.

In a nutshell

Now that you’re fully aware of what you need to do to succeed with PPC efforts in the startup environment, it’s time for you to get to it without fail. Rise, put yourself out there and take over Google with your enticing entrepreneurial presence.

Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups.

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