How to Advertise on Google with a Low Budget

How to Advertise on Google with a Low Budget

Today, Google is the largest search engine in the world with a record high of 2.5 million searches per second. The vast popularity that this search engine enjoys is one of the primary reasons why businesses are keen on leveraging Google Ads.

Like email and social media marketing, the return on investment from Google Ads is high. The average ROI for every dollar spent on the ads is two dollars. There is no limit on the amount of money that you can spend on this form of advertising.

You will only be charged based on the number of clicks that the ad accrues over time. This is why this form of advertising is commonly referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing. Even if the target audience does not click on the ads, they may decide to visit the website directly at a later date or to visit the website without clicking the ads.

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If they convert, you will benefit from new sales without any cost on the ads. You will also enjoy free popularity at the top of search engine results pages to boost your brand awareness efforts. Either way, your brand stands to profit from Google ads even if the number of people who click on the ads is low.

Ensuring that you spend your marketing budget well is of paramount importance when doing online advertising. Today, we will look at tips on how to advertise on Google with a low budget.

  • List Down the Objectives

The worst mistake you can ever make when doing digital advertising is not having goals. What do you want to achieve after running the Google Ads? The objectives should be your blueprint and will inform every decision that you make.

As you create a Google Ads campaign, it is essential to set clear objectives to help you capitalise on the available resources. An example of a viable goal is to sell more than 5,000 units of shoes before the end of this year.

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Photo credit: Google Ads

To achieve that objective, you will need to develop stellar ads that convince the target customers to purchase one or more pairs of shoes. Google’s new feature, Smart Bidding, will also come in handy to enable you target specific keyword to maximise your budget.

  • Set A Daily Budget

Creating the budget, or as Search Engine Journal calls it, set the stage for the account, means to remain focussed from the start to the end of the campaign. The list of objectives you created in the previous step will help you develop an ideal budget for the campaign.

Determine the average number of clicks per day you would want to receive from the Google search engine. For instance, if you have a budget of SGD 2,000, per month, with an average cost per click of SGD 2.50, you can get roughly 800 clicks per month. Quick arithmetic shows that you will be averaging 26 clicks per day or SGD 66 per day.

It is essential to note that clicks from other channels related to Google AdWords could result in the daily budget being exceeded. Ensure that the overall monthly target does not exceed the daily budget and number of days in that month to avoid plunging your business into financial turmoil. Continuously monitor the amount of money that you spend on the ads to stay on course.

  • Prioritize the Ads Campaign Goals

All the goals on your list are relevant and have the potential of helping your business get to the next level. However, some of them are more important than others. With a small budget, there is a limit on the number of campaigns you can run concurrently. The number of goals that you can pursue is also limited to your daily or monthly budget.

Therefore, it is crucial to list the goals based on their impact on the business then prioritise them when creating the Google Ads. Here is a list of objectives that you can add to your list;

  • Increase sales by 25%
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Brand and product consideration
  • Increase the number of repeat sales

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Photo Credit: Search Engine Journal

In the above example, the marketer has a limited amount of money to advertise a scholarship program. To get the highest ROI from the campaign, the marketer decides to use the set daily budget of SGD 82 to get leads through a search campaign and create awareness using a display ads campaign.

  • Create the Right Structure

The wrong Google Ads structure will compromise the effectiveness of your campaign to attract the target customers. It needs to be properly structured from the start to succeed in search engine marketing.

Allocate enough time to curating every aspect of the campaign, from the target keywords to ad groups to selecting the target geographic location. This is especially important for local businesses that only serve customers residing in a particular city or region. Ensure that the ads are not shown to people outside this jurisdiction to avoid wasting money on clicks that don’t result in sales.

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Photo credit: Google Ads

The point is, make sure that your Google Ads campaign is highly refined, thoughtful, and well-themed.

  • Use Succinct Ads

This may sound cliché if you have been running or reading about Google Ads for a while now. But it’s surprising to see the large number of businesses that fail to get sales because they don’t invest in high-quality ads.

When on a low budget, you need to capitalise on every click that your ads get. The only way to achieve this goal is by making sure that the ads are professionally designed and top-notch. Google bots are intelligent and always check the ad bid amount, target keywords, and landing pages to generate a quality score that ranges from 0 to 10.

The higher the quality score, the higher the SERPs ranking spot (search engine results pages). A high score also means that your ad is professionally designed and targets the right keywords. Thus, you will get more conversions than advertisers whose ads have a low quality score. 

Concisely, you should make sure that your ad setup is clear and resonates with the target searcher. The ad should help the target customer to understand the product and motivate them to click.

  • Don’t Ignore Long Tail Keywords

Unlike the short tail keywords, long-tail keywords are more specific and laser-targeted to one brand. You cannot target customers from a specific region using a generic keyword such as “lawn services.” Go for long-tail keywords that match your audience. The keyword “lawn services in Jurong” will be more effective in targeting individual clients and businesses in Jurong than a general keyword such as “lawn services.”

Also, note that millions of other businesses are already using the short-tail keywords, so your chances of getting the much-needed attention are low. Be smart and looking for a term that is most relevant to the areas that you service. The keywords should be as specific as possible. Otherwise, you will waste your entire ad budget on the clicks from unqualified searchers.

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Photo credit: Google Ads

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  • Ad Scheduling

Time is one of the most limited resources. You will not always have time to run the ads manually. Luckily, there is ad scheduling software that you can use to automate the process. Apart from helping you run the Google ads campaign efficiently, the software will ensure the budget is not exceeded. 

If you decide to run the ads on specific days of the week or specific times of the day, that is precisely when the ads will go live. 

If your business only operates at specific times of the day or hours, it wouldn’t be economical to run ads outside the working hours.

On the other hand, if you sell your product online round the clock, do market research to know when most of your website visitors convert and set the software to only run the ads during such periods. The intelligent time selection will ensure that you never record negative ROI after running the ads.

  • Optimise the Landing Pages

The landing page is where the prospects will land after clicking on the ad. Woe unto you if this page is not professionally designed and optimised as the customers will close the window and shift to your competitor’s website.

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A poorly designed and optimised landing page is the common reason why most businesses fail in PPC. More importantly, you need to make sure that you lead the customers to the right landing page.

If your ad is meant to help customers take advantage of a 50% discount on treadmills, make sure that you direct them to the right page to complete the purchase.

Otherwise, you will start recording a high bounce rate and low conversions. Google will also notice the skyrocketing bounce rate and respond by de-ranking your website because it doesn’t match the searcher’s intent.

engage google ppc agency ad

Not optimising the landing page will also negatively impact the previously awarded quality score by Google. Your competitors will take advantage of the disconnect between your ad and the landing page to get ahead of the curve.

More importantly, the landing page should be mobile-friendly. Since most of the searches online are done on mobile, the prospects should be able to access the landing page on a smartphone or tablet and place an order. If the page has a shopping cart button or a CTA button, confirm that the two are working optimally before the Google Ads campaign goes live.

All these improvements will ensure that you get maximum ROI from the campaign even though you are on a tight budget. Only make offers in the ads that you can deliver or follow through lest you ruin your brand’s reputation and credibility.

  • Aim for Competition

No niche or industry does not have a level of competition. It would be best if you learned how to survive in the market to promote your business’s profitability and sustainability. When running a Google Ads campaign, use innovative portfolio bidding strategies settings such as target outranking share option always to get the upper hand.

You can do this by creating a rule to add the domain you want to outrank, the maximum bid, and % of the time to outrank. In this case, the domain is your competitor’s website URL. Check the auction insights report to know your main competitors in the region you intend to narrow down on with the ads.

The auction insights report will also give you details of the keywords you are bidding on alongside the competitors. All this information will help you develop a better bidding strategy.

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Photo Credit: Search Engine Journal

  • High Volume Keywords

The high-volume keywords usually cost more than the low-volume keywords due to the large number of businesses targeting them. However, you can still use them to get more qualified leads and enhance competitiveness.

However, make sure that you put a cap or set the maximum bid amount you are willing to pay based on your budget. One secret to doing this right is accepting a low ad rank position in return for reduced pay per click. But keep in mind the goals of your ad campaign.

  • Leverage Extensions

You can add many extensions to your Google Ads dashboard to enhance the effectiveness and performance of your campaign. You can add them directly to the ads to specify sales promotions, features, location, and products. Such an extension will come in handy when marketing to a specific group of customers.

76% of people who use their smartphone to search for details about a local service provider near their location end up visiting the business premises the same day. 28% of the searchers end up purchasing the product they searched for on Google.

With the number of mobile searches expected to continue increasing, you need to supercharge your Google Ads by adding extensions. For example, if you have a computer repair shop, include a phone extension so that customers can click to call you when they come across the ad.

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Photo credit: Google Results Page

Suppose you have a wholesale shop with an affiliate program or a network of shops. In that case, you can use the affiliate location extension to show potential customers the location of the various retail shops they can visit to purchase your products.

  • Measure All Performances

In one of the recent articles, we discussed the importance of collecting market research data more often. In the context of running a Google Ads campaign, you need to do the same. Make sure that you collect enough data on how the target audience interacts with your ads.

Please find out how the prospects find your websites, which pages they visit, and the search terms they use. All this information will help you refine your Ads campaign by making decisions based on accurate data instead of making assumptions or guesswork.

Google Ads dashboard has valuable metrics that you can use to gauge the performance of your campaign. Data such as impressions and click-through rate will help you know if you are headed in the right direction.

If the CTR is high but the conversion rate is low, the chances are that your ads are not compelling enough. It would help if you restructured the ads to get a high-quality score from Google. Check the landing page to confirm that it’s well optimised and the content is not stale. You may have to restructure the page and carry out several A/B tests on the various elements, such as call-to-action buttons.

In a nutshell, you need to measure everything about the Google Ads campaign to get maximum ROI. The frequency of testing is dependent on the goals and your schedule. Consider delegating the role of monitoring the campaigns to one of your marketing team’s experts to get enough time for other tasks such as meetings with shareholders.

  • Make Informed Decisions

Spreading yourself too thin when running a Google Ads campaign will hamper the growth of your business. You will end up exhausting your budget and getting little or no sales. If you only have SDG 500 to spare, spending the whole amount on 200 keywords will not work for your business.

Focus on the key goals or priorities such as the most profitable product, market, or customer demographic. Then, channel your budget to two or three specific keywords that match the priorities.

Some of the most successful businesses have a Single Keyword Ad Group rule. They identify one valuable keyword and focus on it entirely to target customers without spending hundreds of dollars on multiple keywords.

The number of keyword ad groups you create and focus on depends on the number of customer segments. Google advises businesses to target multiple keywords; that is not a good idea if you are on a tight budget. It’s also impossible to create an ad for every keyword if you have too many of them in one specific ad group.

Research shows that single keyword ad groups can boost click-through-rates by up to 28%. The high CTR is because the target customers get ads that exactly match their search intent. The best way to create a SKAG is by identifying a keyword that has medium traffic and low competition then match it with the search intent.

Include the identified keyword/term in your ad to inform the prospects that indeed they have found the right piece of information, and they should go ahead and click on the ad to buy. Use a broad match modifier term to enhance the keyword and reach an even larger group of customers.

  • Use Negative Keywords (Whistly Though)

Not all the people who land on your website do so using the target keywords. Some use irrelevant queries that have never crossed your mind when creating Google Ads campaigns or content. Nowadays, Google Ads allows marketers to include negative keywords.

What are negative keywords? 

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Simply put, these are keywords that are not directly affiliated or related to your brand.

For example, if you sell ordinary men’s watches but not gold-coated men’s watches, you definitely would not want your ad to be displayed in the results when someone uses the latter keyword. Otherwise, the searcher would be disappointed to land on your online store to find that you don’t sell gold-coated men’s watches.

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Look at the search terms report generated by Google or any other keyword research tool that you prefer to identify the negative keywords some of the customers use to land on your website. Narrow down your search to those that result in a sale and include them in your list of negative keywords.

  • Avoid Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads are unique search ads displayed to users by Google based on the type of content on your website. Google bots crawl the website to find content that matches the search terms used by the searcher. If the two matches, the landing page, and headline are both dynamically generated for the user.

When running a Google Ads campaign, you should avoid this form of ads as they are not usually triggered by the target keywords you selected when creating the campaign. Instead, they are displayed based on the keywords found on the landing page.

At the surface-level, such ads can help increase traffic to the website, but research shows they often result in clicks and impressions that are irrelevant to the campaign’s goals. As a result, you will end up exceeding your daily budget but not getting tangible results.

Here is a video that covers more tips on how to advertise on Google with a low budget.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Advertising on Google

Google is one of the best search engines to run an ad campaign since it has the largest market share than Bing. Here are five of the most frequently asked questions about advertising on Google.

1. What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is the heart of advertising on Google. It entails ads being displayed on top of the regular search results for the target keywords. You will bid for the keywords with other advertisers, and the total cost of the campaign is calculated based on the number of clicks the ad receives.

One benefit that stands out is that even if the audience doesn’t click on the ad, you will still benefit from free views/popularity. As mentioned earlier, the prospect may decide to visit the website directly by looking for the website name or using the URL and converting

2. Is there a difference between search engine optimisation and Google AdWords?

Yes, there is a difference between the two even though they both complement each other. SEO (Search engine optimisation) refers to all processes you do on the website and off-page to ensure that the search engine bots index and rank it on SERPs. The main goal of SEO is to generate referral and organic traffic to the website.

Good AdWords is a form of advertising designed to drive targeted traffic to the website by placing ads on SERPs. It is faster in generating traffic than SEO.

Both strategies will help your business scale up as they generate traffic and promote brand awareness efforts. 

With SEO, you invest in the strategies before traffic starts to stream to your website. On the other, with Google AdWords, you will be charged based on the number of clicks the ads get.

Running a Google ads campaign will not improve the site’s organic search ranking but may enhance the CTR of the organic listing. The SEO elements on the website, such as a responsive website design and a stellar copy, will enhance the AdWords campaign’s performance.

3. AdWords does not work; it’s a total waste of money?

This is a common complaint that happens when the advertiser does not plan well for the campaigns. It would be best to carry out extensive research to understand the target audience, the keywords to target, the appropriate budget, and monitoring rules/thresholds.

More importantly, it would help if you understood how Google AdWords functions to develop a robust ads campaign and come up with realistic goals and objectives. Here are some tips on how to set up a Google Ads campaign.

  • Carry out extensive keyword research
  • Decide the type of campaign that suit the target customers
  • Set and understand the advertising goals and objectives
  • Evaluate every product you intend to advertise and its profitability level
  • Structure the campaign correctly to keep the costs low
  • Write succinct copy for each ad
  • Set up Google Analytics for tracking of conversions
  • Develop input for the various banner adverts
  • Professional landing page for each ad or related ads
  • Is it necessary to manage and optimise the Google Ads campaign every month?

Like other digital marketing campaigns, a Google Ads campaign cannot run on auto-pilot. There is a need to continuously monitor its performance to know which ads are working and which ones should be deleted to avoid further wastage of money on irrelevant links or unqualified leads.

Over time, you will need to expand your list of target keywords, establish new ad groups, pause some ads, and restructure the keywords. You cannot afford to sit back and wait for customers to start streaming to your website; you have to manage the campaign to achieve that goal.

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It’s also important to note that just because the campaign working during the first months does not mean that it will still be functional throughout the year. The market is dynamic, and changes can affect its performance. Google may also introduce new regulations that could render your campaign ineffective.

Based on those facts, you should manage and optimise the campaigns every month. Carry out tests more often to know which keywords are bringing in the highest clicks and sales. Concisely, optimisation will ensure that your campaigns run smoothly, deliver the expected results, and not exceed the budget.

4. The AdWords Campaign is active, but I cannot see my ads?

This could be because you are entering keywords that are not set up in the account. Another plausible reason could be your budget is not enough to reach all the searches, or the quality score of your ads is low because of your website.

The PPC agency can also decide to exclude your computer’s address to prevent it from sending the wrong signals and affecting the campaign’s performance results. Its also likely that the campaign is not be targeting people who reside in your location.

5. Why should I hire an agency to oversee my Google Ads campaign?

Sure, you can run the Google Ads campaign independently. To get the most results, it is highly recommendable to hire a reputable agency and experienced in this form of digital marketing. The team will use its skills to prep well for the campaign and set up your Google account correctly.

Also, they will monitor the campaign’s performance once it goes live to ensure that you get maximum returns from the money invested. If the keywords need to be tweaked, the team will do that on your behalf as you concentrate on other business activities.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need thousands of dollars to advertise on Google. As you can see from the 15 tips we discussed, how you optimise the campaign determines the results and not the budget. MediaOne Marketing is here to help you get the highest possible ROI from your Google Ads campaign. With our team of experts on your side, rest assured that your online business will succeed.

We have been offering this service for more than five years and have vast hands-on experience and understanding of the market and Google requirements. We have a set of high-end keyword research tools that we use to identify high-value keywords for each PPC campaign. 

Tests will be done at different intervals to check if the campaign is performing optimally. We will also send you a report of the progress regularly and compare notes to identify areas that need to be tweaked. 

Get in touch with us today for a free and non-obligatory consultation session. We look forward to serving you.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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