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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. 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.

3. Split test your landing pages.

Too many search advertisers ignore the effects of a good landing page. Make sure customers see something that makes them want to take action when they click on your ads; otherwise, the price you paid to attract them was wasted.

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. (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.

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.