Budget is always a tough subject for PPC advertisers. While it’s never a good idea to let budget hold you back (the more you spend, the more you earn) you can only make use of what you have. And if this means you need to make a small budget profitable in AdWords, you’ll have to wield some cunning skills for it to pay off.

So let’s run through some quick tips to help you keep your ad spend down and still make a worthy return on your investment.


#1: Be super specific about your campaign goals

You have less room for error on a smaller budget, so you’ll need to be extra specific about your campaign goals. Focus on the goals that have most value to begin with and target users with the highest intent. Focus on the Search Network to begin with and run fewer, highly focused campaigns. This way your daily budget won’t be spread too thinly.


#2: Obsess over unique, long-tail and negative keywords

The more competitive your keywords, the more you have to pay to display. So you’ll have to sniff out those unique phrases your competitors haven’t thought of and target long tail keywords to match high-intent search queries.

You’ll also need to use negative keywords to ensure your ads only show for searches relevant to your products or services.


#3: Don’t let AdWords automate

AdWords comes with some hefty automation features, but you’ll want to invest the time to take control of your own bidding strategies on a tight budget. Pay close attention to ad position and cost per acquisition. And if you find your budget is wearing out too quickly, try lowering your bids a touch, so your ads can display for a longer period throughout the day.


#4: Master your targeting options

For low budgets the targeting methods to focus on are location, ad scheduling and possibly device targeting. Your ads will perform better at certain times of the day and certain areas will be more profitable for you – so don’t let these targeting options slip you by.

Finally, device targeting allows you to target mobile users to varying degrees, or even rule them out. Mobile search is huge of course, but be careful you don’t run too many campaigns early on (try a maximum of three).


#5: Keep a keen eye out for poor performers

You can’t afford to let poor performing keywords, ads or campaigns drain your budget, so you’ll need to keep a keen eye out for weak links. If you can’t fix the issue quickly, pause the offender and let the other candidates do their thing. You can always come back to the poor performers at a later date, when you have more budget to play with.


#6: Take full advantage of ad extensions

This isn’t really specific to low budget strategies, but AdWords marketing in general. With less money to work with you need every help you can get though, so take full advantage of any ad extensions that are relevant to your campaigns.


#7: Optimise your landing pages and sales funnel

Don’t expect your ads to do all the work for you – even the best AdWords campaigns are useless unless your landing pages and sales funnels are optimised to max conversions. High bounce rates will kill your PPC profits and hurt your Quality Score, making it more expensive to display for keywords. More importantly, you want a seamless and convincing path from your landing page to the final moment when users click that “buy” button.


So that’s our quick-fire round of seven tips to nail PPC on a small budget. There’s plenty more you can do, of course, to max your profits on a minimal ad spend – so don’t be afraid to get in touch if you get stuck for ideas.