Small businesses need to answer these 3 questions before advertising on Google

The first: What’s your objective?

Are you trying to sell products online? Do you want prospective customers to call you? Is it important to drive visitors to your store or restaurant or to register for an event or request more information from your website? Knowing what you want — and then closely tracking clicks — will help you determine whether your campaign is getting the right results. This doesn’t happen overnight. It requires testing and more testing. Which is why both Roseland and Davidson said they need anywhere from 60 to 90 days to figure out the right message that meets their clients’ objectives.

The next question is a big one: What are your keywords?

Google is, at its core, a search engine. For someone to see your ad, they have to be searching based on a word or phrase. The more popular the phrase, the more buyers there are for the keyword and the higher the cost. Finding the right (and affordable) keyword or phrase is both science and art and will be critical to success. Besides getting help from Google Analytics, there are great and inexpensive tools — like those provided by SEMrush, Moz, and SpyFu — that can help. But in the end, it will be about trial and error and extensive testing.

Finally, you need to ask yourself: What is your targeted return on investment?

To answer this question, you need to determine what the lifetime profitability value is of a customer. Then it’s all about the math. Davidson and Roseland said that most campaigns they manage begin at $500 to $1,000 per month and can easily be more. They can usually generate a certain amount of leads based on that budget. But how many of those leads will convert into an actual sale, and how much will that actual sale be?

And make sure you follow up on those leads

It may seem hard to believe, but both Roseland and Davidson admit that their biggest challenge after a client spends money with Google is getting them to actually respond to prospects. And the problem only becomes worse the more successful the campaign. So, have a good follow-up process in place and make sure you’re ready for success.



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Gene Marks

Gene Marks

Columnist on smallbiz, economy, public policy, tech for The Guardian, The Hill, Philly Inquirer, Wash Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur. Small Business owner and CPA