I work with a lot of small businesses in San Antonio that are – to put it politely – novices at managing their online Google Adwords campaigns. No matter what type of business I work with, I continue to see the same small business marketing mistakes. Here are a few to avoid for your San Antonio small business.

Too Much Broad Match

One of the most common issues I come across is small businesses bidding heavily on broad match keywords.

Far too often, laziness and/or confusion take over when new campaigns are built. It’s easy to throw a bunch of broad keywords in an ad group/campaign and call it good. To make matters worse, a general lack of understanding for how match types function can cause beginners to just stick with broad since it’s the default.

Unfortunately, broad match keywords will almost always lead to a low click-through rate and wasted marketing budget. Instead, try and shift toward a heavier use of phrase and exact-match keywords. Or at the very least, modified broad match. More info about keyword match types here.

The Desire to be First

We’ve already discussed why you shouldn’t worry about being first in Adwords, so I won’t belabor the point in great detail. The simple point of the matter is that being #1 in the ads section doesn’t mean that you’re a small business marketing wizard, it just means that you’re the person willing to pay the most per click on your keyword. That’s it.

A much more effective strategy would be bidding into the third or fourth spot on the page. You’ll get just as much traffic, still see a ton of impressions, but your daily budget will be stretched further. Since you’re not charged by Adwords based on how many times your ad runs, you’re not wasting any additional money.

Not tracking conversions

One of the best factors about doing Google Adwords in San Antonio is that you can easily see which ads and campaigns are not only generating traffic and clicks, but also which are generating actual phone calls or leads.

Far too often, local San Antonio small business owners are hesitant to dig into their Adwords accounts and monitor the actual effectiveness of their programs. Not paying attention to which ads are actually driving revenue is a great way to waste your small business marketing budget.

Citywide SEO has actually had a great deal of success running the exact same campaigns that the client had already established, but adjusting the bidding to focus more heavily on conversions and revenue, instead of the hollow metrics like clicks and click-through-rate.

Combining the Search and Display Networks

This is probably one of the most common mistakes that small business owners make when doing their own Google Adwords campaigns. We’ve previously discussed whether your business should focus on the search network or display network, so we won’t dig into this too deep here.

The point of the matter is that the two networks operate completely differently. Search is all about conversions, immediate gratification and immediate ROI. Display is more about branding, visual representations of your business and establishing a presence.

Their focuses, standards for success and mediums they operate on are both drastically different, so running the same campaigns on both networks is counter-productive. It may seem brilliant to have your ad show up on both sides of the small business marketing spectrum, but all that it really means is that you’re wasting your revenue by running a disjointed, sloppy program.

Setting and Forgetting It

It is critically important to check and make optimizations within your AdWords account at least once a week. More often than not, clients who try PPC advertising on their own have a “set it and forget it” mentality. This leaves missed opportunities for substantial optimizations.

You don’t have to spend 20 hours a week if you have a small account spending just a few thousand dollars a month, but spending around 20-30 minutes will drastically improve performance. During those 20-30 minutes you should be checking your bids (raising on strong performers, lowering on poor performers), adding negative keywords, adding new keywords, experimenting with match types, optimizing and testing ad copy, and focusing on increasing Quality Score.

At a bare minimum you should be checking the budget and adjusting keyword bids based on performance. Thirty minutes a week will make a world of difference.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many things that hurt PPC performance that aren’t easy to control without experience. It takes time to learn the ropes. Don’t give up. And let us know if you have questions.