April 27, 2017 By Suzanne Robertson

Consumers are increasingly searching for, researching and reviewing local small businesses online. If you’re not embracing online advertising, you might lose businesses to those who pay to show up in searches.

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But where do you start?

The most straightforward way to reach your target audience is right where they are searching. Over a million businesses use Google AdWords to find new customers. If you’re not familiar with this advertising platform, we’ve done a little research for you. Read on to learn more about Google AdWords and how it can help you grow your business.

AdWords (Google AdWords) is an advertising service by Google for businesses. Display ads run on Google and its advertising network. The AdWords program lets businesses set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords.

With text-based search ads, graphic display ads, YouTube video ads, or in-app mobile ads, you have plenty of ways to reach your target customer with AdWords.

Types of Google AdWords Ads

Search ads appear next to Google search results when people look for products and services you offer. You only pay when people click to visit your website or call your business.

Display ads reach customers on the web and in apps — across devices.

These display ads appear on over two million websites and in over 650,000 apps, so your ad can show up wherever your audience is. Display ads allow you to create highly targeted campaigns based on what you know about your customers, such as interests or demographics.

Video ads are shown only to the people you want and you only pay when they watch. In other words, you won’t waste money advertising to people who aren't interested in your business.

Best Practices

Simplicity is Key - A leading misconception about AdWords is that you need a large account with thousands of keywords. That’s not true. In fact, if you use too many keywords, you can overreach and lose money. The best strategy is to start small.

Keep it Local - If you have a bricks and mortar business or you provide a local service; make sure your keywords are specific to your city or region. You don’t want your ad reaching shoppers that are too far away.

Optimize Your Landing Page - When a potential customer clicks on your ad, where do they end up? Your landing page should be attractive, easy to navigate and let folks know exactly what it is you are selling. Not being optimized for mobile is a big mistake – make sure your sight is picture perfect across all devices.

Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • You only pay when your ad is clicked. Creating and posting the ad is free.
  • With the right targeting, your business could show up on the first page of search results – that’s great exposure.
  • You don’t need a coding background to find your way around this ad platform. It’s user friendly.
  • You get to set your budget and that budget is adjustable.

The Cons

  • If you’re introducing a new product, Google AdWords probably isn’t for you.
  • Niche groups are difficult to reach
  • You can’t put Google AdWords in place and then forget about it – there’s a learning curve and you need to monitor.

The First Step

Before you take the AdWords plunge, be sure that you have defined your goals for the campaign. Here are some examples according to Entrepreneur:

  • Generating leads
  • Getting the phone to ring
  • Getting contact form submissions
  • Scheduling consultations
  • Setting an appointment
  • Branding
  • Collecting keyword data to inform your SEO strategy
  • Testing marketing copy, headlines, offers, and new markets


Here are some of the best articles we’ve read that can guide you as you launch and run your Google AdWords campaigns.

Google AdWords Success Stories – Google

10 Ways to Boost Results Using Google AdWords - Entrepreneur

Are You Making These 10 Common Google AdWords Mistakes? - Kissmetrics Blog

Google AdWords Secrets: What Works for Small Business - Business News Daily

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