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In the offline world, it’s incredibly difficult for small businesses to compete with gigantic companies.

That’s why you hardly ever see your local hardware store running Super Bowl ads or hiring celebrity endorsers.

In the world of search engine marketing, however, smaller companies don’t just compete, but can often run more efficient and profitable campaigns.

To see how, here are five industrial-strength PPC advertising tips for small businesses you can use right away:

1. Focus your ads carefully.

You don’t want anyone and everyone to see your ads, much less click on them. So, think carefully about the demographic you want to reach, and then tailor your search and social ads to appeal only to your best potential customers. Researching your customer base, their behavior and preferences, will provide you the best results in your ad campaigns.¬†You can find out more about developing your buyer personas here.

2. Bid for exposure, not position.

Why pay for the top search ad position when the next few results often get just as many clicks? If you can generate the same amount of conversions for a lower price, you’re working smarter instead of harder. Oftentimes Google Ads work together for optimal results, but when first starting out with your initial campaigns, test all of your advertising options. For some businesses, Search Ads may be less successful than Display Ads, which remarket your content to people already interested in your business. Therefore, you can push your advertising budget towards the ad format that works best for you, get some experience and then grow from there.

3. Split test your landing pages.

Too many search advertisers ignore the effects of a good landing page. Landing pages should be relative to the content in your ad and should make customers want to take action when they click on your ad and get to your site.

4. Use lots of negative keywords.

The focus for pay-per-click advertising should never be on more, but always on better. If you can exclude poor prospects from your ad campaigns, your click-through rates will increase. Filter out words from your campaigns that better target your customers. For example, if you sell fishing lures for lake trout, exclude “deep sea fishing lures” from your ad campaign. Google finds them for you, and you can add them to your negative keyword list. (What the heck are “negative keywords?”)

5. Check your advertising regularly.

Never let more than a few days go by without checking in on your advertising campaigns. You’ll spot trends faster that way, and will be less apt to waste money. When we work with clients on their ad campaigns, we check ads oftentimes two + times per day to be sure we catch those negative keywords and other trends right away. This takes more time up front but can save a lot of money in the long run.

Used correctly, pay-per-click ads can give your small business an advantage that no other company can take away, not even your biggest competitor.