Done right, advertising can be one of the best investments you ever make in your small business. But for too many small business owners, advertising is a costly gamble. If you’re not careful and systematic with your advertising, you can lose money and fail to attract any new customers, which is a double loss.

As a small business owner, it’s hard to know where to get started because you have so many options, including Internet advertising, television, radio, newspapers, Yellow Pages, direct mail, and on and on. Any of these media can work, but we generally recommend you start with pay per click (PPC) advertising.

Why Google AdWords Is the Best Starting Point

We recommend you start by advertising with Google AdWords for the following 3 reasons:

1. Pay-As-You-Go. You’re only paying per-click, unlike other forms of advertising that require a bigger initial outlay of cash.

2. Targeted Traffic. Search traffic is generally very qualified traffic because your potential customers are searching for the services you offer. They’re ready to buy, they’re just deciding who they’re going to buy from — you or your competitors.

3. Local Search Is Growing. According to Google, 20% of all searches are locally-based, 40% of all mobile searches are for local products and services, and 97% of people use the Internet to search for local businesses. And Google AdWords has the largest share of this local search traffic, so it’s the best starting point.

Why Pay For Clicks, When You Can Get Them For FREE?

Wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “Why should I advertise in Google when I can just get ranked in Google and get clicks for free?

It definitely makes sense to focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Over the long-term, we’ve found that SEO provides the best return on investment. That’s why we’ve developed a local SEO course that teaches you how to get your small business ranked in Google’s local results.

But we recommend that you invest in PPC as well as SEO, for the following reasons:

1. It’s Faster. You can get a PPC campaign up and running and getting clicks in less than 1 hour.

2. More Exposure.  With AdWords, you can appear in Google simultaneously for hundreds (even thousands) of keywords, which means you’ll expand your reach and get your business in front of more potential customers.

3. Greater Predictability. SEO rankings naturally fluctuate over time, but with PPC, you have control over when your ads show and you’ll enjoy a more predictable customer flow.

What’s The Best Way to Get Started?

Our advice to most small business owners just starting out is to set up and run your own AdWords campaign yourself, rather than hire a PPC management company — at least for the first few months.

Here’s why:

1. You’ll Save Money. Most small businesses start out by spending a few hundred dollars per month as they test ads, until they see what works and what doesn’t. Meanwhile, PPC management companies charge hundreds to thousands of dollars per month on top of ad costs. If you manage your own campaigns, you won’t pay management fees, so all of your money will go directly into ads.

2. You’ll Protect Yourself. If you hand off your campaign to another company to setup for you, they may actually own your AdWords account, instead of you, which makes you dependent on them.  Even if you’re planning on hiring a PPC management company, we recommend you setup and manage your own campaign at least for a few months — that way, you’ll gain an understanding of how AdWords works, and when you hire an outside firm, you can call ‘BS’ when you see it.


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