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Paid Media 10 min read

The Eight Best Paid Media Tips for Startups

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 02 Dec 2020

PPC (which stands for pay-per-click) or paid media can be a powerful digital marketing tool for your startup if deployed effectively.

From building awareness of your fresh product or service to driving traffic to your new website and generating your very first leads, PPC advertising can give your startup the boost it needs in those initial few years in operation. 

With companies spending a whopping $106.5 billion globally on search advertising last year and an average ROI of $2 for every $1 spent on PPC, there’s no time like the present for putting pay per click advertising at the center of your startup’s digital marketing strategy. 

Galactic Fed loves partnering with startups. 

It’s hard to beat the feeling of being there from the beginning, helping companies set themselves up for success, reach their first customers, and establish their reputation. Most recently, using creative Google Ads and Apple Search ads, we helped a fintech startup decrease their average customer acquisition cost (CAC) by 11% and increase their conversion rate (CVR) by 42%.

Using our extensive experience of getting results through paid search, social, and more, we’ve pulled together our eight best pay per click tips for startups.

  1. Learn the pay per click lingo 

Know your CPC’s from your CPA’s and your CRO’s? Before starting a PPC campaign for your startup, ensure you have a basic understanding of the key terminology and techniques connected to PPC advertising. See our recent Paid Media 101 for a glossary of PPC terms.

In this article, pay per click, PPC, and paid media are interchangeable terms and refer to an online advertising model where companies can pay per click to their website or landing pages. Depending on the fee, companies can have their product or service ads shown with higher priority than their competitors’ ads.

  1. Research, research, research 

The Galactic Fed Way always begins with research. To get started, your startup needs to understand who your customers are and what their needs are. You’ll want to frame your PPC ads so that they solve a problem for your potential customers. You can use many research methods to gain a clear picture of your startup’s ideal user’s wants, needs, and behaviors online - from online surveys to A/B testing.

You’ll also want to analyze your website and optimize it before launching your startup’s PPC campaign. Perform a thorough sweep of your startup’s entire sitemap to identify possible issues that could lead to a Google penalization or any de-ranking factors through a complete technical site audit; to gain the best understanding of the health of your startup’s site.

  1. Develop a paid media strategy 

Before you spend a penny on PPC advertising, you’ll want a clear strategy developed outlining what you want to achieve and how you will go about doing it. Every startup needs a PPC game plan. 

Your startup’s PPC strategy should clearly articulate how planned PPC activity aligns with or complements your broader business goals. 

Suppose you are a brand-spanking-new startup and your product or service is relatively unknown to the general public. In that case, you may want to set some goals that could enhance brand awareness through pay per click before pushing a product landing page, for example. 

Facebook has done the hard work for you and offers pre-established brand awareness goals:

Facebook Ads pre-established brand awareness goals.

Source: Wordstream

Beyond brand awareness and to boost your return on investment in a measurable way, set goals related to increased traffic, conversion and lead generation. 

  1. Get the right digital marketing tools for the job 

It would be difficult to change the tire on your car without a jack and a socket wrench. The same goes for your startup’s PPC campaign. You need the best tools for the job, and some popular tools for acing PPC are:

  • An analytics dashboard 
  • SEMrush
  • Optimizely 

Setting up an analytics dashboard can inform your startup’s decisions based on what content is working, what content needs to be improved, where to drive links, and more. SEMrush and Optimizely are just two examples of online PPC tools available to you; there are many more.

  1. Build a list of keywords 

Keyword research is a crucial part of any startup’s content marketing efforts, ahead of placing PPC ads. Keyword research aims to identify search terms your startup’s website could and should rank for on search engines like Google. 

You’ll be paying for every keyword you attempt to rank with, and for this reason, Galactic Fed recommends starting small if you’re a startup. Try targeting a handful of keywords to begin with, and understand how difficult it will be to rank for each. You can then expand your list when you are ready to spend more money on PPC ads or have exhausted your initial keywords.

Ahref’s keyword difficulty checker is a great place to start, to understand how hard it will be to attain the top spot for each of your startup’s desired search terms. 

Using long tail keywords for startups

Depending on your brand and budget, a mix of long tail and short tail keywords could be an effective keyword strategy for an agile startup. Long-tail keywords are made up of three or more words, are extremely focused, and target specific customers. 

Moz’s keyword cat gif illustrates that the longer the tail, the less search volume: 

Moz’s keyword cat gif illustrating that the longer the tail, the less search volume.

Source: Moz

Long-tail keywords have the edge over short-tail keywords because they tend to be less challenging to rank for, and competition tends to be lower. To understand the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords and when it benefits from using each, refer to our comprehensive guide.

  1. Take a peek at your competitors 

Check out what your competitors are up to online, particularly if they are paying for and bidding on desirable keywords to you. Focus on how your startup’s offering differs and what sets you apart from the rest. 

A thorough competitor analysis can only help your startup’s PPC efforts. When we say thorough, we don’t mean a long list of other companies you could be up against. Focus on your primary competition in your specific industry, performing a deep dive into their online activity for the best results.

A simple Google search of one of your target keywords can quickly show you if a company is paying for a search ad, for example. Let’s try Googling “meal prep Seattle.” Hello Fresh, Chefs Plate, Noom, and Trifecta Nutrition are all paying for their ads to appear on people’s searches for “meal prep Seattle,” the order they appear in is based on what they are willing to pay per click from the search engine results page (SERP.)

Google search results showing meal prep Seattle.

  1. Craft a compelling message 

Don’t let the words you include in your PPC advertising be an afterthought. To make your startup’s digital advertising copy uber-clickable, understand what messages are likely to resonate with your users. 

Your startup should develop a tone of voice and style guide that reflects your brand. As a general rule, you should use straightforward language to make your ad copy accessible to as many people as possible and use “you” and “your” to make your messages personal. There are certain words people tend to click on more than others too:

Popular words in top-performing text ads with colorful random words.

Source: Wordstream

Set your startup’s PPC efforts up for success with our guide on how to write Google Ad copy that converts.

  1. Review & optimize 

By continuously reviewing how your startup’s digital advertising lands with your target audience, you’ll be able to fine-tune your offering and make your PPC budget stretch further. 

Is your startup’s paid search advertising not performing as you expected? The answer’s always in the data.

One of the best ways to optimize PPC campaigns and measure your startup’s impact is by setting up conversion tracking. Conversion tracking will help you quickly and easily identify which PPC efforts led to the most conversions, helping you improve your cost per click (CPC.) Know where your startup’s leads are coming from to cut spending where marketing efforts are underperforming or increase it where the data shows you are converting people. 

A nimble approach to PPC for startups 

The best thing about PPC efforts is they can always be scaled up, scaled-down, or paused to remain as agile as your startup company. 

Start small by focusing on a smaller amount of keywords and try a strategy of targeting both long-tail and short-tail keywords to get more bang for your startup buck.

Focus on what sets you apart from the competition in your industry and craft a compelling message, keeping in mind that building awareness of your brand is just as important as driving traffic to landing pages in the short term.

Want a helping hand with your startup’s new PPC campaigns? Galactic Fed has a whole team of PPC and paid search experts! We offer precise and profitable PPC services for startups, ranging from Google Ads, Facebook, and Apple search advertising to LinkedIn, Amazon, and Instagram campaigns, and more. Gain a competitive edge for your company with lightning-fast experimentation and measurable results. We’re on top of channel best practices and can run whole PPC campaigns if needed – from creating top-level startup digital marketing strategies to daily optimizations. Contact us today!

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed