Eight tips for getting the most from a modest PPC budget

What to do when an account has a budget that may only support one or two clicks per day.

Date published
June 14, 2016 Categories

Has this ever happened to you? You acquire a new PPC account that’s in a notoriously expensive sector to advertise in. You have plans. Big plans and you’re going to “wow” the new team with grand ideas while visions of industry domination dance in your head.

And then comes the reality check: They don’t have the budget. For a moment, your team feels deflated. But then you realize: “Now is the time to show them how truly badass we are by getting creative with that budget.”

This is not an uncommon scenario. In fact, we just recently took on a lawyer client who has a $166 budget per day, which sounds okay until you realize clicks in their area of expertise cost up to $125.

While it’s every PPC manager’s dream to have an open budget to play with, this takes time to work up to while you gain trust and show them you can drive conversions.

In the meantime, there are always ways to help make the most of the modest budget you’re working with, and that’s what I’m going to share with you today: What to do when an account has a budget that may only support one or two clicks per day, like the example I shared above.

1) Bid on brand terms

You always want to bid on brand, and this is especially true when businesses don’t have an organic presence, when their non-brand clicks are high, and when you’re working with a smaller budget.

The reality is that branded clicks are almost always less expensive, and you certainly don’t want your competitors beating you here as they sometimes bid on your brand name.

2) Explore the Google Display Network

When done well, the GDN is a great way to target folks as they browse the web. For service-based businesses on a shoestring budget, consider putting a small portion towards the GDN by only targeting the cities you serve. Your display ads can be as traditional as text ads, or as engaging as video, rich media or images.

And sometimes it’s way less competitive on the GDN; one of our clients in the legal sector spends between $80 and $100 per click on the Google Search Network versus $2 to $12 on the GDN.

With all the options for placements and targeting on the GDN combined with a watchful eye on excluding sites that aren’t good for the account, you can see some nice results here.

3) Definitely remarket 

Remarketing is a targeted way to reach people who have already expressed interest in your business by visiting your website. So don’t let these warmer leads forget about you once they leave your site. Remarketing on the GDN can produce great results with cheap clicks.

4) Get crafty with ad scheduling

When you’re on a modest budget, you have to make calls about when your ads will show. If you’re in a sector where most of your leads come in between 8am. and 6 pm, you probably want to turn off your ads after that, or consider lowering your bids by 50% during a certain time period.

5) Consider shared budgets

Shared budgets allow you to share your entire budget over multiple campaigns to help given them all a chance. We rarely use this strategy at my agency, but when you want to make your budget stretch, it can be an interesting option.

Here’s how Google explains it:

“Say you’ve set aside $100 per day, split evenly between two campaigns. On a given day, one campaign could get less impressions and clicks than usual, resulting in only $40 spent. With a shared budget, AdWords could take that leftover $10 and reallocate it to the second campaign to maximize your campaign results overall.”

You can find this option in the AdWords shared library > budgets.

6) Negate, negate, negate

It’s common to use negative keywords as a way to control budget after a campaign has launched. But if you’re already familiar with the sector you’re advertising in, why wait?

Try launching with a robust negative keyword list, then be psychotic with your review of search terms and negate swiftly.

7) Keep it local 

For those in the legal industry similar to the example I started out with, they only really need to target the states they operate in. Better yet, limit it to the counties they operate in to save some cash. Learn more about location targeting here.

8) Try call-only campaigns

Call-only ads show up in the mobile search results for mobile devices that can make calls, and they’ve been an important strategy for those in a service-based business. 

When you’re trying to save on budget, don’t worry about bidding to be No. 1 in the results. Now that Google is showing more ads at the top of the mobile SERPs, you can effectively target No. 2 or 3 and still see conversions.

With all the features offered in AdWords and a little creativity, you can help businesses succeed with PPC, even if they have a more modest budget.

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