Yes, Google Ads definitely works for small business! Plenty of small business owners are finding success generating sales and leads by using Google Ads. In fact, there are plenty of success stories where small businesses owners attribute the growth of their business to running Google Ads and other forms of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
Now, how successful this can be for you depends upon a couple of factors.
What Are You Selling?
The first thing you need to consider is your product or service. Do you have a service or product that people need or want. If you are a landscaping company, divorce attorney or accountant then you are good to go. The grass keeps growing, people still call it quits and Uncle Sam still wants his money.
If you are in an industry where there is obvious demand, then you can benefit from running Google Ads. In fact, I would imagine your competitors are already running ads.
Who Is Managing Your Google Ads?
This is key. Just because you have a great product or service doesn’t mean you will find success. How you manage your campaign will have a big impact on your success or failure. Put another way, who is going to manage your Google Ads campaigns? You? Are you a typical small business owner wearing a dozen hats and now you’re going to try and tackle Google Ads? Or, are you going to hire someone who manages Google Ads for a living?
I have seen plenty of campaigns that were failing simply due to poor management. The business was providing a great service. They offered great value to customers and they already established the ability to run a successful business through other means.
Google Ads Competitive Landscape
Are you one of a handful of businesses in your industry? Or, are you surrounded with competitors with large budgets?
If you are trying to sell iPhone cases, then you will find that you are in a very competitive market. That does not mean you can’t run a profitable Google Ads campaign for your business. It just means you will need be creative with convincing people to buy your iPhone cases.
Is your service in demand? Or, are you selling something fairly unique that only attracts a very small audience?
Are you selling products nationwide? Or, are you a service business that only works in a small radius around a local town?
Demand for your product or service in conjunction with how wide your geographical targeting is, will determine just how big your market is. If you are one of five bankruptcy attorneys running ads in a town of 10,000, then the demand will be relatively low and competitive will be relatively high.
Now, if you are one of five bankruptcy attorneys in Cleveland, then things can become a bit better for you. You have the same number of competitors but your demand just had a drastic increase due to the population increase.
Why Google Ads Works For Small Businesses
In order for advertising to work, you have to get in front of your target audience. You may have super duper products or provide unparalleled services at unbeatable prices, but if the people can’t find you, then you will struggle.
- Target Audience. Google’s market share of search engines has been consistently 85% or higher for over a decade. For all intents and purposes, your target audience is using Google. Thus, you will be able to reach your audience by running Google Ads. Further reading: How to find Your Target Audience.
- Any Size Budget. Google Ads works for budgets both big and small. Even if you only have $500 a month to run ads, you can generate sales with a small Google Ads campaign. I have helped clients with budgets ranging from as little as $500 a month to over $100k a month in ad spend. Further reading: Google Ads daily budgets
- Multiple Google Ad Platforms. When people think of Google Ads they tend to think of the ads they see in the search engine. However, Google has grown beyond just serving text ads in the search engines. With Google Ads you can also run Youtube video ads, run ads in Gmail, run ads on other websites (Google Display network), run shopping ads and more. Being able to test different ad types on different Google properties allows you to find out what works best for your small business.
- Multiple Google Ad Types. Text ads were just the beginning. With Google, you can create video ads, image ads that are static or interactive, ads for apps, responsive ads, dynamic ads, shopping ads and more. As with one of the benefits of the different platforms, these different ad types allows you test out what works best for your business. Learn more about Google Ads campaign types.
- Ability To Measure. With Google Ads, you can setup conversion tracking. What this does is allows you to see how many leads or sales your campaigns are generating. For example, if you are running ads for your eCommerce site, you can see the actual sales and ROI in your Google Ads account. This allows you to measure the success of your campaigns, which can help you make better decisions with your overall marketing budget.
When Google Ads Does Not Work For Small Businesses
1) Too Many Hats. The business owner was trying his/her best to run the campaigns, but did not have the expertise or time to do it. This is typical of small business owners who are juggling too many hats. I get it. I am a small business owner. At some point, it is best to come to terms with your weaknesses and find a specialist to take over those tasks. Further reading: Should I Hire a PPC Agency?
2) The Jack Of All Trades. They had someone (anyone) in the business take on the responsibility. Often times this is a general marketing person who knows a little bit about lots of different forms of marketing, but lacks the Google Ads expertise to be effective.
3) Bad Hire. They hired a bad freelancer or Google Ads agency who simply is not getting the results needed. There could be a myriad of reasons for this, which is beyond the scope of this article. The point being, bad performance can be the result of a bad hire. This does not mean a business simply can’t make Google Ads work, it just means they need to find the right person. Again, most businesses can find success with Google Ads because their target audience is using Google. It just comes down to finding an experienced person who can make it work.
Google Ads may be the thousand pound gorilla when it comes to online paid search advertising but there are other options such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Although Google Ads is a great place to start, it does NOT have to be where you put 100% of your marketing budget. For a quick overview of some of the more common paid advertising platforms, check out Best Places To Advertise Your Business Online.
The Wrap Up
Those are just a few considerations to think about. I have been managing Google Ads accounts for small businesses for over decade. I’ve helped plenty of businesses find success with Google Ads. There have also been campaigns that just could not meet the clients goals and objectives. It certainly is not the best option for all businesses.
Having said that, Google Ads is Google’s cash cow for a reason. They make billions and billions every year from it. If businesses were not successful with it, then they would stop paying for the service. And, Google would not be making those billions. Google ads is a great place for small businesses to start their online marketing journey. Again, this does not mean you have to push all your “chips” in with Google Ads. Come up with a sound digital marketing strategy, test a few different marketing channels and see which strategy gives your business the best results.