Google Ads

How to run Google Ads on a small budget

We all know Google Ads is the most powerful platform to get your company, product, or service in front of consumers at the moment they’re looking for you. Sign me up, right?! Naturally, we gravitate to the potential of a service like this, but the most common question we see with new advertisers remains – “How much does it cost, and can I afford it?” Simply put: yes-ish.

I’ll make this very clear: yes, you can absolutely run Google Ads on a “small budget.” Now, that number is different for each company, but for argument’s sake, let’s say that a small budget can be in the range of $300-$1500 (or about $10-$50 a day for a month). Is this ideal? Meh, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t worry, we’ll help you with that later.

Small Ad Budget Best Practices

In order to make the most of your small budget, there are best practices you should follow to maximize your time, effort, and most importantly, your budget. Honestly, we find making due with what you have one of the best ways to spark creativity and efficiency – but that’s another blog post for another day.

Before we start…

Make sure the basics are out of the way. We don’t want to launch a campaign without making sure you’ve got these in place:

  • Website – you have to take people somewhere
  • Tracking – Google does a great job at giving you all of the tools you need to drive and measure performance. If you haven’t done so already, we suggest signing up for Google Tag Manager to set up and manage your tracking info. In here, you can add Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Pixels, and so much more. This is an involved process, which isn’t easy for a newbie, but totally doable. Call us if you’re lost.
  • An offer – what do you want to push? Traffic for the sake of traffic will not do you much good if you don’t convert it to money.

Our basic goals are…

First, let’s establish some goals. Our focus is going to be on getting conversions and an increased budget. Conversions should lead to money. More money should lead to increased budget. Increased budget should lead to more campaign options (we’ll get to that later). If we can prove that the system works (which we know it can but sometimes you have to convince someone else), the doors are wide open for new opportunities.

Landing Page Optimization

The Scope: where to take visitors, what to pitch, landing page layout, landing page content

Where to take visitors:
We’re going to assume you’ve got an awesome website. Your website is mobile friendly/mobile first and loads quickly. Your website has valuable information that is focused on your value proposition. People love your site because they can find what they need easily. Heck, you get compliments all the time on your site.

Cool – don’t take them there.

If you’re paying to drive traffic to your website, the page they land on needs to be hyper-focused on the singular thing you want to pitch. This means no distractions, no menu links to other pages on your site, and definitely no traffic to your home page (seriously, don’t do it).

What to pitch
Your LP (that’s what we call it in the biz) should be full of valuable, targeted information on your value prop. For example: you’re a roofer in Florida and you offer shingle, tile, and metal roof repair and replacement. Should you pitch all of your services on this page? No. By focus on pitching the product that gives you volume (there’s a high demand) or money (you make a lot on it), you can create targeted ads that only appear when someone is looking for that specific thing.

Landing Page Layout
When they land, your offer and call to action (CTA) should be visible without having to scroll (or otherwise known as above the fold). A form and click to call link should be very present. There should be big text that makes them feel like they landed on the right page, you offered the right service, and they’re losing out if they don’t work with you.

Landing Page Content – PAY ATTENTION
In the case of the roofer, your message may be that it’s hurricane season, and the last thing someone needs is to lose their roof. Pitch a free estimate on getting the roof hurricane ready, or, replaced completely before the next storm. You’ve got an awesome warranty, and they should be calling now.

Your landing page should be full of content, images, and even video related to being hurricane ready and roof repair/replacement services. Google cares about this – so much so, that it gives you a Quality Score on the keywords you use to bring people to the site.

Your quality score is a huge factor in ad performance/ad rank. The better your quality score, the less you pay per click, the higher up you appear, and the more frequently your ad will show up on search engine results pages (SERP).

To be clear – this is huge. This is how you save money. Your competition can have triple the budget, but if your quality score is better, you’ll out rank them, appear more often, and pay less per click. Why? Google cares about where they send traffic.

Campaign Restrictions & Refinement

The Scope: ad schedule adjustments, location targeting, product targeting

So now you have a very targeted LP geared to convert traffic to money, but you don’t know how to make the most of those ad dollars work for you. In its most basic form, the goal here is to adjust campaign settings so that your ads appear at the right place, at the right time.

Ad Schedule Adjustments
Many advertisers choose to run their ads 24/7 because they can get a lead at any time. We’ve said this a million times: you never know when or where your next customer will come from. It’s true, but, we have a pretty good idea when they’re likely to do so.

There are a few ways to limit when your ads show up. Choosing that time period depends on your target audience. If your business is a brick and mortar service that is open during regular business hours, you can limit your ads to start from an hour before you open to the time you close. Or, let’s say you’re in real estate and you want to target people when they’re most likely searching for homes, which is either at lunch or after work. You can start your ads at 11am, end at 1pm, then start again at 5pm and turn them off at 10pm. We’ve seen jetski rental agencies run their ads around the beach from Thursday evening to Sunday morning. It has to make sense for your business.

By limiting when your ad appears, you can spend during peak or optimal hours, whether it is consumer or trend driven.

Location Targeting
Let’s pretend you’re a licensed insurance broker, which gives you free reign to sell insurance all over the state. Very cool, but, it’s going to cost a lot to run ads in the entire state. By focusing your ads to appear in specific neighborhoods, zip codes, cities, or counties, you can reduce the amount of money spent because your focus is more narrow.

What neighborhoods make more money? What zip codes have a higher average home value? What counties are less populated? Where are my customers spending their time? These types of questions should help you identify your target location.

Product Targeting
Some products or services just sell a lot better, faster, easier, or more of than others. By limiting what product or service you push, ads can be hyper-focused on something that either makes you a lot of money or brings in volume.

We had an insurance client that sold health insurance as well as Medicare supplemental. For their business, they pushed for health insurance lead gen because their business focused heavier on health than Medicare. They had more agents that sold health insurance over the other as well.

What you decide to advertise is on you. We highly suggest the item be big ticket or high volume.


David Adorno

David is an experienced executive-level marketer with a demonstrated history of digital marketing mastery in Startup and Digital Strategy, Social Media Management, Mobile Advertising, Google Ad Management, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Performance Based Marketing, Data Analysis, and Customer Acquisition.