Ultimate guide to small business marketing


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a great addition to your overall online marketing strategy. A large benefit of PPC is that you only pay when a customer actually clicks your ad, so your associated cost is directly related to the number of customers actually reached. Also, your ads start showing up as soon as you begin bidding, so it can be implemented quickly.

As a starting point to developing your PPC strategy, determine which search engines you’d like to bid on. While Google holds the majority of market share, it can also be effective to show your ads on other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. Select keywords relevant to your business to bid on. Put yourself in the mindframe of your target customer—what types of searches are they going to be doing related to your product? These are the keywords you should be bidding on. Google offers an excellent resource in its Keyword Planner tool to help you make decisions and develop your strategy around targeted keywords.


Setting bids

Begin by setting your daily and monthly budgets. Based off these budgets, set your bid for each keyword. Your bid is one of the many factors taken into consideration when the search engine decides which position your ad shows up in. The higher up on the page your ad appears, the more likely it is to be seen and therefore clicked. You want to ensure you’re bidding high enough to be competitive, but not too high that you’re potentially overpaying per click.


Metrics that matter

In order to measure the effectiveness of your PPC campaign, you’ll want to monitor metrics like ad position and click-through rate. If you’re consistently seeing that your ads are being placed on the second page of search results, it’s likely time to reevaluate your bids or selected keywords. Likewise, if your click-through rates are low (<1%), this means customers are likely either not finding your ad copy relevant to what they’re searching for or just not compelling enough to actually click through to your website. This is a sign that it is time to rewrite your ad copy.


  • Choose which search engines you will run campaigns on
  • Use the Google Keyword Planner to select the keywords you’ll bid on
  • Group similar keywords into ad groups
  • Set bids for each ad group
  • Write text ads for each ad group. Write at least 2 ads for each ad group
  • Track performance by looking at metrics like click-through rate and ad position

Display advertising

Display advertising (online banner ads) is an excellent addition to your online strategy to aid in building your brand and keeping you top of mind for your customers. With a standard cost-per-click model, display advertising can be extremely cost-efficient since there are so many available web placements to bid on.



Similar to PPC, in order to have banner ads placed on various websites, businesses must bid on available placements. There are many display advertising platforms that automate the bidding and placement process, freeing up small business owners’ time to focus on overall strategy. Google AdWords and AdRoll are two such platforms that help with display advertising efforts.



Often a good starting point for a display campaign is to blend retargeting with a general display proponent. With retargeting, a dropped cookie on a user’s browser allows your retargeting banners to follow those customers online after they leave your website. The goal is to keep you top of mind and get them back to your website when they’re ready to actually make the purchase. With general display, you can choose website placements that align with your product or service for your ads to appear on.


Things to keep in mind when designing your banner ads

· Keep text to a minimum.

· Strong branding/logo placement.

· Include appealing visuals.

· Incorporate some type of call to action—don’t use ‘click here’.


Metrics that matter

Since the primary goal of display advertising is brand awareness, focus more on click-through rates to see what type of impact you’re making. Google AdWords and Analytics will allow you to see this percentage.

Display advertising

  • Choose platform to advertise on
  • Select placements or websites for banners to be shown on
  • Set up retargeting campaign
  • Design banner ads
  • Upload banners and launch display campaigns


Geotargeting is the method of identifying the geographic location of a website visitor and delivering different content to that visitor based on his or her geographic location as designated by city, state, zip code, etc.


  1. On a basic level, geotargeting can allow a website to display content in the language that coordinates with the website visitor’s IP address.
  2. Google utilizes geotargeting to deliver relevant, local search results when a user performs a search for queries like ‘Italian restaurants’ or ‘shoe stores nearby’.
  3. It allows small businesses to tailor content such as promotions based on customers’ physical location.
  4. Platforms

    PPC and other forms of paid online advertising give businesses the ability and option to geotarget with ads.

  5. Strategy

    Geotargeting allows small businesses to narrow the focus of some types of online marketing campaigns to only go after selected geographic areas that you designate. Based on existing data and trends, concentrate your marketing dollars into the areas where you feel you are most likely to get the highest return on your investment. Platforms give you the option to target by geographical region, state, city, or even zip code. Decide what makes the most sense for you before you implement.


  • Determine which states to target with your marketing
  • Determine which cities to target with your marketing
  • Determine which zip codes to target with your marketing
  • Implement your geographical strategy in online platforms