How to Create a Low-Cost PPC Campaign in Google Ads


Alex Corral

Sep 18, 2019


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Search Engine Marketing

Keep the Campaign Costs Down

Having a small PPC budget might seem like a significant problem right now, but we'll explain how it might be a blessing in disguise. 

If you're starting and you don't have a lot of experience or budget to work with, having a short leash might be the best thing for you. Trying to get the cost down on your PPC ads will teach you to write better ad copy, pay more attention to your quality score, and, ultimately, get a lower cost per click. 

That's good news. 

The bad news is you have little money to work with, so you'll want to get it right the first time. Let's take a look at some of the most important steps you can take to make the most out of your small ad budget. 

Understand Your Customer

It might seem obvious, but every Google Ads campaign starts with generating a customer persona so you can understand who you're marketing to. 

This step is crucial, and so many people blindly skip over it. You can't sell a product or service to someone you don't understand. The first step should always be to write down a list of characteristics of your ideal buyer. 

One mistake myself and many others make is trying to soak up everyone and anyone who wants to work with us, and that will lead to many headaches. 

You want to figure out your "best" client. These are the clients who will pay you the most and be the easiest to work with. Those customers offer the best ROI, which will give you some money to work with down the road. 

Creating an ideal customer persona

Here are some tips about organizing your customer persona. Start with the following:

  • Characteristics
  • Interests
  • Professions
  • Pain points/Goals

For example, your ideal customer persona for a mortgage broker might look something like this: 

John Doe


Age: 32

Characteristics - Driven, motivated, family-oriented

Interests - Home improvement, family, golfing

Profession - Accountant

Pain points - Wants to buy a house, doesn't understand the process, short credit history

Now that you have this buyer persona, you know specifically who you are creating an ad for. Your ad text is written for this exact person, which will increase conversion rates and lower your cost per click. 

Get Real With Your Budget

Saying that you have a "low budget" can mean a lot of things. Some people might have a low budget of $5,000, while others might have $100. Either way, you won't make much profit quickly from your ad. If you're starting with a small budget, you need to be realistic about that. 

The first thing you should do when you start inputting ad information is to set a maximum daily budget. This number would be the most amount of money you are willing to spend on a single day. 

To figure this out, you would want to determine what you can spend in a month and divide it accordingly. You want to give the ad a chance to play out. Expect to run it for at least a month and make sure you have enough budget to give yourself a chance to have success. 

Of course, with a $100 budget that would put you around $3.00 per day, which isn't much. If you feel like the budget is too low, you'll have to find some things to sacrifice in your life to make it happen. 

Decide on a Goal

Much of keeping your PPC ad cost low is having a strategic plan, and you want to have a goal in mind. What are you looking to achieve with your ad? Is it to:

  • Build awareness of a brand or cause
  • Sell a product
  • Generate leads
  • Create sales
  • Build a list

Regardless of your goals or intentions, you want to have everything figured out, so you have a direct plan from point A to point B with your ad. 

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Spend plenty of time planning out your ad. 

Conduct Wise Keyword Research

What do we mean by wise keyword research? Don't go and target 15 of the most competitive keywords and expect to get results; you'll fail miserably. When you're starting a low budget campaign, you need to be incredibly realistic and start with one or two keywords that are slightly low competition. 

If you spread yourself too thin, you'll end up blowing your budget on a keyword that you don't even know is successful yet while having no money left over to test out the other ones.

Conduct thorough keyword research and go all-in on that one keyword. Being as specific as possible is what will help you, and choosing long-tail keywords may not bring as much traffic, but you also won't blow your budget.

Think about it this way; the more specific you are with everything, the higher your quality score. The better quality score you have means that Google will display your ad in front of more people and find you the best audience.

Match keywords with intent

The keyword you choose should always have a specific goal in mind. Remember our example about the mortgage broker customer persona? Let's go back to that. So, we know that this person wants to buy a house, but they don't have good credit. 

As a mortgage broker, you might want to advertise credit counseling services or consultations. If that's the case, targeting a keyword like "credit counseling" might be impossible to rank for. That keyword would be incredibly competitive, and they would have all types of actual credit counseling businesses ranking for that. 

Instead, you might want to rank for something like "How to raise my credit score." This phrase is something we would call a long-tail keyword. It might not have the same traffic volume as the previous, but you'll rank better because it has a lower cost per click so you can outbid your competition easier. 

If you look at the example below, you can see that the long-tail phrase costs about 60 cents less per click. 

google ads keyword planner

That amount might not sound like a lot, but it is across 1,000 clicks. We used the Google Keyword Planner to generate this example, and you can use it too. It's an entirely free service, and you can sync a lot of the information and data with your Google Ads account. 

If you're looking for something a little more involved, we also recommend using the free tool Ubersuggest

Use negative keywords

During your brainstorming process, you might stumble upon a few keywords that you think would be a complete waste of time to display for. As they come to you, write them down and build a list. When you have a few written down, apply them to your ad. Following this level of detail is a great way to control your budget so you can live to advertise another day.

Create an Ad Group for One Keyword: Only One

Once you've decided on the perfect keyword for your campaign, you want to create a single keyword campaign or SKAG. Against our recommendation, Google will tell you not to do this, but if you're running on a small budget, don't listen. 

You want to take your perfect keyword and do the following match types:

  • Broad match modifier + keyword
  • Phrase match: "keyword."
  • Exact match: keyword

When you try to target ten keywords in one ad, you run out of room and places to include that keyword, and the result is a lukewarm ad in Google's eyes. You want everyone to know what you're all about and who your audience is. 

It's all spelled out in Google's explanation of a quality score, which we have below. 

"Your quality score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to a person who sees your ad. Higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions."

It is as simple as that. 

So, if it's all about relevancy, do you think you could stay entirely relevant to 10 different keywords and keep your ad cost down?

We think not. 

To maintain a low budget ad, you want to hyper-focus as much as possible on one single audience and give them no choice but to click through. 

That is a recipe for success. 

Keep it Simple

The main point we want to make is to keep things simple when you're advertising on a small budget. You want to run simple search ads, so they appear naturally in the search engine, you don't want to do display network, and you don't want dynamic search ads. All of these other things will run up your cost and leave you feeling discouraged. 

As we said, focus on one keyword, do plenty of research ahead of time, and don't start running the ad until you're 100% sure it's as perfect as you can get it. 

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