All small businesses’ operations are included in Accounting. Those companies lack the means to justify hiring an accountant. In many cases they have to figure out themselves the best accounting tools for their business. As there are so many solutions to choose from, it is tough to decide where to start.
To help you short-list the best small business accounting software, we have compiled below a list of the best options available in the market now.
It is one of the most important resources in this category. It has facilities like receipt capture and 24/7 chat support. It also integrates with PayPal, Shopify, and Square. It has many other features as well, hence it is very popular for many small business companies.
All plans of this resource facilitate tracking income and expense, send invoices and receive payments, run reports, send estimates, track sales and taxes, capture and organise receipts. In case you require to track inventory, track time, and full service payroll, there are more advanced plans also available.
Intuit QuickBooks is ideal for small businesses. It is an affordable, time-tested and easily accessible solution, suitable for a company of any size. It is reliable with exceptional functionality.
It makes small business accounting more efficient. It can save a lot of time every year on filing for taxes. This software integrates with many business applications and provides you with an integrated single dashboard to manage your finances and accounting. It also has a facility to take regular secured backups. Its mobile app enables you to keep track of your business at all times. FreshBook is ideal if you require to send out recurring invoices, need time tracking capability, or run a subscription model business.
It also includes a feature that lets you see the exact location a customer opened your invoice thereby eliminating excuses of non-receipt of the invoice. FreshBooks has affordable plans suitable for businesses of every size.
Pabbly Subscription Billing is a recurring and subscription management software for small and medium sized businesses. This software has been designed to provide real-time actionable metrics on your monthly payments, revenue, net revenue,active customers and new subscriptions. It also automates all your business workflows, customer communication and invoice creation resulting in saving your time which you can use for your business growth.
Its subscription billing model is one of the major features. The most noticeable feature is it does not charge any extra fees on the basis of per-transaction and monthly revenue generation. Its consistency and the top rated functionality make it the best option for a business.
It is a powerful accounting solution for small businesses and individual contractors. Its main emphasis is on easy user interface, better sync across various important segments like your bank accounts, track your expenses, and balance your books with ease.If you invest in its other products, it lines up with Wave’s additional resources. It’s like an all-in-one solution for your business.
It is also suitable for a freelancer or a business having just a few employees.It’s worth highlighting that most of its services are free including invoice and transaction management.
This software offers a centralised platform that covers almost every aspect of your business- from purchasing to warehouse management to job costing. A wide range of tools includes a powerful suite of accounting features that can help any small business streamline processes like data entry and syncing invoices.
The platform’s accounting element also seamlessly integrates with other applications like Xero and Quickbooks- with additional resources that allow for real-time visibility into your financial data.
Its pricing is certainly higher as compared to other solutions, hence it may not be suitable for all businesses. Still, for a one-stop, comprehensive solution for virtually all your business needs including accounting, this may be the right choice for you.
Tipalti automates the entire accounts payable process, liberating you to focus on making strategic decisions of your business.The solution can streamline international payment processing in about 190 countries, automate your payment operations and even make sure you pay your taxes on time and avoid any default.
It is perfect for deadline-driven businesses. It can help you keep control on and meet time-bound objectives every time. This programme aims to correct all key issues like late payments, non-compliance, and administrative overload. Tipalti is ideal for you to keep your accounts payable process timely and smooth. Its pricing is available on request.
This software is specifically designed for desktop users. It provides double-entry accounting tools- from time billing and reporting to inventory that are customizable and optimised for desktop users. This program has a unique facility of one-time fee potentially saving you considerable money as in subscription costs.
If your business doesn’t need a mobile option, AccountEdge can be an ideal choice for you.Yet there is an option of cloud-based collaboration available for purchase which can give you mobile flexibility.
Sage saves your lot of time on administrative tasks. This software performs multi tasks like sending invoices, tracking payments and expenses, and calculating what you owe in the coming tax season. There are certain limitations of this software. You do not get Time-tracking and collaboration tools and also payroll is a separate product.
Sage is suitable for small to medium businesses. It is expensive in the list of all such softwares yet its features are quite impressive which justify the pricing. If your small business is capable enough to afford little extra cost, it is worth considering for Sage 50cloud.
Kashoo offers powerful functions at a reasonable price. It offers automatic reconciliation, categorisation using machine learning technology, and income and expenditure tracking.
It is perfect for small businesses that require truly simple solutions. Kashoo offers plans and features that meet with requirements of any small business. Its functionality is simple, seamless but effective. Its pricing structure allows for unlimited users at a relatively low price.
OneUp is a double-entry accounting solution.It provides sync with your bank, categorises bank entries and validates suggested entries which helps you to to update your books quickly and accurately. In other words about 95% of your accounting is automated.
The other features of this software are impressive as well. The flagship feature of this software is its inventory management capabilities. The program automatically adjusts your inventory levels as they change and suggests you reorder. If the main focus of your business is inventory management.
From the above narration you will understand that depending on the size of your business, exact requirements, and your budget you can decide which one of these solutions is the best for you.
There are a lot of startups that fail, and it doesn’t always have to do with a lack of funding or talent. One major hurdle they face is the uncertainty of whether their idea has any merit. Diligence is key when starting a business. Some people like to take risks and see what happens, but there are just as many who would rather play it safe. The following article will outline my five steps for growing a startup business, from ideation to execution.
The five steps for growing a startup business
Imagine there was a formula for startups that had been mastered. Then all you had to do was go and write down those steps and follow them. So, my friend, let’s take a look at how to get a startup off the ground. Step #1: Ask why Your first question should always be why. Why do you want to do this? You want to make a difference with your business. Why is that? Do you want to make a business impact? Do you want to create a product or service that people are willing to pay for? I know that it can be hard to keep track of all of the answers to why, but it can give you the clarity you need to define your business objective.
What are the five steps to grow a startup business?
1. Determine the Idea This is probably the most crucial step in growing a startup. The idea should answer the question, “What problem can we solve?” and must ultimately be something that solves a problem, provides value, and/or increases the customer base. The likelihood of having an idea that satisfies all of these requirements is low.
Here are a few things to keep in mind: You can’t solve a problem for more than one person. Your customers must be interested in what you are offering If you don’t have a product or service, try to find out what your competition does or has, and use that as inspiration 2. Solve the problem using simple tactics There are two main approaches to solving problems: algorithmic and human.
Understand your idea
We’re all entrepreneurs at heart. If you have an idea for a product or service that’s captured your attention, there’s a good chance that you’ve already started to form some ideas about how you would go about creating it. You have to understand your idea as thoroughly as possible if you want it to be successful. You’ll need to have an idea of your price point and business model, as well as a strategic plan to grow it to profitability and establish a reliable revenue stream. Figure out your target audience You’re going to be pitching your business idea to a variety of people, and what you say will go a long way towards defining it. Do you want to target hard-to-find consumers or the whole world?
Be prepared for uncertainty
All good ideas start with a premise. What problem are you trying to solve? There are two types of ideas. First, you have a grandiose or grand design that alludes to a huge opportunity. These ideas typically require some number of resources to achieve them. They are virtually guaranteed to fail, but still, end up affecting the world in some way. Second, you have a “skeleton” idea, one that has only the essential elements of what you’re looking to accomplish. These ideas typically require fewer resources to accomplish but are easier to test for efficacy. Related: Making the Leap From ‘Entrepreneur’ to ‘Business’ One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is the uncertainty of how a business idea will turn out.
Focus on execution
According to Robert Kiyosaki in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, the most important thing an entrepreneur can do is focus on execution. Many entrepreneurs fail because they lost sight of the focus of their venture, and there’s no room for distractions when you’re trying to build a business. To determine what direction your startup should head, make a list of all the needs of your target customer. Spend a great deal of time focusing on customer needs and what problems you can solve. You need to know your industry inside and out and, at the same time, know your audience inside and out. With these few steps, you can form the proper team and start growing your startup business.
Execute your product idea to perfection
Before you spend millions of dollars on a technology solution or launch your product into the market, you have to make sure your product works. Whether you’re a computer scientist or a former advertising executive, your ideas must meet the needs of the marketplace. If not, you will be wasting money and wasting time. The only way to avoid wasting time is to execute your idea to the highest standard. Get every detail right For this step, you must develop a solid business model, marketing strategy, and go-to-market strategy. These four things ensure that your business can be profitable and survive for years to come. When implementing your strategy, make sure you set the right goals, identify the wrong ones, and manage your team well.
Combine your ideas to find what’s best.
Ask yourself the question: what do you want to create? You’ll need to whittle down the possibilities a bit to find the one or two things that have the best chance of being a success. Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities down to a couple of options, then test it out. See how the idea plays out in the market, and gather some data to give you data to add to your pitch later on. It can be a bit discouraging to try and develop an idea with limited data, but sometimes that’s all you need to get the ball rolling. I’m constantly looking for great ideas, but it’s so easy to get distracted by things like money and resources. I’m always looking for great ideas, but I also think about how they will play out.
Stay committed to your plan
Diligence requires dedication, and your commitment to your business should be focused on the end goal. Aim for what you are working toward as long as you can see the progress. It is easier to focus and stay motivated when you know that all of your decisions are being based on good ideas. Don’t take the easy path There is nothing wrong with taking the path of least resistance. However, there are other options that might result in an even better end result. Strive to achieve what is within your power, and be willing to do what it takes to get there. Don’t let the market make the decisions for you. If you are not willing to work hard to make your idea a reality, find another area where you can help people. This will make your startup even stronger and more meaningful.
Growth is the most challenging issue for small and medium-sized enterprises. And by growth, we mean increased visibility, more customers and workers, and, most crucially, increased income. As we all know, a lot has to happen for this to happen. One of the most important is that your company’s workflows and organizational procedures must be simplified to function smoothly for all operations. That is when CRM software becomes extremely valuable to small and medium-sized enterprises. A CRM consolidates information and records into a single database that is easily accessible and manageable. It provides you with automated mail alerts, calendar notifications, and other features to increase productivity and efficiency. The primary reason they don’t have a CRM is that they believe they are too tiny. This is where they go WRONG; in fact, small and medium-sized enterprises require CRM more than their bigger counterparts.
That is why we have made a list of the top ten CRM solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Top 10 CRM Tools that your business can use
SalesForce is possibly the most popular and commonly used CRM software on the market. Fortunately, SalesForce offers a minimal edition called Lightning Essentials for small and medium-sized businesses. This package includes a sophisticated contact manager with email integration and follow-up reminders. It also provides a plethora of integration and customization possibilities. Salesforce price varies; here’s a look at the pricing: Lightning Essentials subscription ($25/month/user), Lightning Professional ($75/month/user), and others.
HubSpot provides a free version of their CRM software, which small enterprises widely use. The program offers all of the fundamental CRM software capabilities, allowing you to keep track of your firm’s operations, such as contacts and company profiles, assigning and tracking deals, and managing all of that data in a comprehensive dashboard. Are you already a HubSpot Sales user? Then you may utilize this CRM software to increase incoming sales. In addition, HubSpot has many connectivity options with significant programs like Salesforce, Shopify, and Microsoft Dynamics. With this software, you can get started for free.
Despite being featured in our list of enterprise-grade software, Zoho may also be used by small enterprises due to the range of versions available. In terms of sales/marketing capabilities, Zoho has a lot to offer, including website visitor monitoring, lead scoring, sales signals (including pop-up notifications regarding prospects), and more. However, keep in mind that some of the most complex features are only available in the professional and business editions.
Pipedrive’s sales management solution automates the administration of your contacts and transactions, as well as the organization of your emails, documents, sales, and other activities. It also aids in the planning of your actions and the management of recommendations from others. It saves you much of your time and allows you to keep track of all your sales and prospects.
It is the premier sales management solution for small and medium enterprises, with over 50,000 clients.
Main Features of PipeDrive
Make a plan of action to ensure that no trade goes between the cracks.
Keep track of all the information regarding your deals, such as the talks you’ve had with all parties.
Data representation in the form of a visual pipeline allows you to see where all of your deals are moving.
Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) allows you to automatically gather and organize website visitors as sales lead based on their interaction with your website. Assign them to the appropriate salespersons in your team. Reach out to each lead with full context and track transactions through tailored funnels.
Nutshell is a robust CRM recognized for its easy-to-use design that provides a lot of value. There is no need for any special IT department. Sales and marketing solutions enable you to create and access customer interaction histories, convert website visitors into contacts via lead form integration, and segment leads and customers in complex ways (including industry, lifetime value, and location).
Nutshell comes with a map view, in-app phone calling and recording, a sales automation suite, and completely configurable reporting capabilities.
Here are some disadvantages: Users complain about the lack of automatic connections and customizability, however depending on your scenario, Nutshell’s simple UI and third-party integrations through Zapier may compensate.
Agile CRM is a CRM software that provides many significant business features such as custom appointments, drag-and-drop marketing automation, and email reporting. This program also includes widgets, an extensive plugin library, API-powered integrations, and other features. The free edition, on the other hand, is severely constrained in terms of functionality.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
If you’re a Microsoft user, you’re undoubtedly aware that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an all-in-one sales and marketing platform. This CRM offers a wide range of CRM features and interactions with Microsoft products and LinkedIn.
Main disadvantage of this software is that novice users may find it challenging to navigate at first, and mobile app functions are restricted. There are many modules and licenses available. Sales Insight, for example (€ 42.20/user/month)
Sugar Professional is an attractive choice for small enterprises in this CRM. The platform provides customer experience solutions, resulting in a straightforward and uniform experience. Each user may personalize and utilize this tool whenever and wherever they choose. Sugar Shell allows you to automate operations and have the correct information for each client encounter due to actionable insight. This program is available in a variety of price options. Sugar Professional (£41.60/user/month, minimum of 10 users) up to Sugar Market (£800 per month)
Nimble CRM is an excellent CRM software for people who want to consolidate contacts, emails, and social media interactions (it works particularly well with Twitter). The design is also quite simple to use since it displays a to-do list, top / important offers, and other information. It also has a clever ‘rules engine’ that assists Nimble in predicting relevant contacts and activities based on your user behavior. Users may set reminders to Stay in Touch with certain people and particular flag conversations as critical to remaining ahead of the game. Nimble’s price ranges from $9 per user per month to $19 per user per month.
Digital marketing isn’t just a buzzword or a trend. It’s a necessary investment in your success. This is because digital marketing offers you the opportunity to generate leads and gain new customers who are in need of your services. And while there are many ways to generate leads through digital marketing, here, are 5 simple tips that will get you started
5 Ways to lead Generation through digital marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it easy to gather leads that are directly related to your business. This is because every platform you upload on social media is capable of posting ads which makes it easy for people to find out about your business and sign up for your services. Capture email addresses.
Another way to generate leads for your business is to track down people who are interested in your services. It doesn’t matter if it’s emails, texts, or even the numbers you get via calls, every email or call needs to be recorded. This is because you can use this information to create marketing materials while making use of them in your customer service department.
2. Generate leads through content marketing
Content marketing generates new leads from followers who are actually willing to buy. Content that is optimized for SEO includes Pictures Video and infographics When you promote your content on the right platform, you can attract new followers. When you attract followers, they will spread your content to their followers who may be looking for your service.
Now your content marketing strategy is complete. Use Paid search campaigns Another way to generate leads is through paid search. With paid search, your advertisements will be featured in search engines like Google. These advertisements give you the opportunity to acquire new followers. And when followers search for your services, you can convince them to purchase your products.
3. Generate leads through webinars
Creating a website is necessary for any business, but creating a blog that can attract leads to your website is essential. Webinars are one of the most effective methods for generating leads for a small business. For this method, you must choose the topics you want to cover and contact your lead generation expert or consultant to get a full list of topics you should cover.
After selecting the topics that you want to cover, you will need to develop a template of the first segment of the webinar. You can’t just create it, as you need to properly prepare and train your audience, in order for them to participate in your webinar.
4. Generate leads through email marketing
If you don’t have a list, you have no leads. Why? Think about it. If you can’t sell something to a business, how would you sell it to someone? Because you have no leads, you can’t get them to your website. You need leads before you can generate sales, and the best way to generate new leads is to create a list of potential customers. That is the only way that you will be able to send them marketing messages that you want them to see.
The best method of sending these messages is by email. Utilize lead-generating tactics At the same time that you are creating a list of people to send emails to, you will also want to make sure that you are using every possible digital tactic that you can to generate leads. Do you know what that means?
5. Generate leads with your website
There is no other way to generate leads than through your website. With proper web development, you can effectively use the internet to target your customer and generate leads. In fact, one of the fastest ways to build leads is through content marketing. You can share articles, videos, infographics, and so on that will allow customers to learn more about your products and services.
Adding popups with offers, posting deals on the website as well as email signup for news letters can all help generating leads.
In the previous chapters, we came across the different types of SEO and how to optimize your website. In this chapter, we show how you can get maximum mileage from online advertising using Google Ads.
Google Ads, also known as Google Adwords, is Google’s platform for paid online advertising.
You have probably seen Google Ads in your search results. For instance, if you search “Google Ads” from the Google search bar, the search engine results page (SERP) looks like this:
All the ads are at the beginning of the page and are presented in a similar fashion as organic searches. The only difference is the word “Ad” at the top of the page that you can see above the link. This is what paid online advertising on Google Ads looks like.
These ads are beneficial to advertisers because they occupy prime web real estate: the topmost position on the page. Results that show up in this area get the majority of traffic.
However, purchasing ads on Google will not necessarily give you the top spot in SERPs. This is because there are other factors as well as bidders who are targeting the same keyword/s as you.
Now that you’re aware of what Google Ads are, let’s move on to how ranking works with these paid advertisements.
How Do Google Ads Work?
Google ads work by having different marketers compete against each other for their ad to either be displayed or clicked on. It offers advertisers different strategies which become the basis for payment and how a campaign is measured.
It is possible to pay for ads only when they’re clicked, or when they’re seen, or when a purchase is made. There are many more ways, but the essence is that Google’s structure allows advertisers to only pay for specific interactions between the ad and the person who sees it.
Bidders specify their maximum bid or the maximum amount that they are willing to pay for every successful interaction. Despite the bidding system that is in place, Google does not necessarily award the top spot to the highest bidder. Instead, the system uses Ad Rank to determine where an ad will show if it shows up at all.
Why You Should Care About Ad Rank
What is Ad Rank and what goes into it? Your Ad Rank functions like a score that determines how you rank compared to other advertisers who are targeting the same keyword or spot as you. It is comprised of three things:
Maximum bid or the maximum amount that you want to pay for every click
Quality score is determined by several factors, but its three main drivers are the relevance of your keyword, your ad, and landing page to the search query
The effective use of ad extensions. This is the part of the advertisement that can be seen when users click to expand on your advertisement. By using ad extensions, you can show interested viewers reviews or links to reviews, telephone numbers, links to your website, and any other information that they might use when considering doing business with you.
This is why whenever you submit a bid on Google Ads you should not only consider your bid price but also ensure that you can get a good quality score and are using ad extensions to your advantage.
It is interesting to note, however, that if you rank for a keyword you will not necessarily be charged your maximum bid. Rather, Google assigns different prices to different rankings and keywords. If you manage to rank third out of the four slots assigned to Google Ads, you will not be charged more than the advertiser who ranked second. Similarly, the advertiser who ranked second will not be charged more than the advertiser who ranked first. You then only need to keep paying these assigned amounts to maintain your ranking.
Google Ads offers advertisers three bid types:
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) refers to the sum you pay to Google when a consumer clicks on your ad.
Cost-Per-Mile (CPM) refers to the sum you pay to Google for every thousand impressions or every thousand times that your ad is included in Google’s SERPs.
Cost-Per-Engagement (CPE) refers to the sum you pay to Google when a user performs a specified action on the ad such as signing up for a newsletter or clicking on a certain link.
Google has come up with an innovative and automated way to revolutionize the way we advertise. In the next section, we delve deeper into why advertising on Google is an essential tool for marketers.
Why Advertise on Google?
No doubt one of the questions you’ve had to contend with before reading this chapter was: Why choose online advertising?
Online advertising provides you with the advantage of displaying your ads and your brand to a very targeted audience whose demographics and criteria you can specify. Because of this targeting capability, the audience you pick can have a much higher chance of buying from you compared to, for instance, using a billboard on the highway which everyone can see, but not everyone finds relevant.
You can also specify the type of interaction that you are willing to pay for. Remember, Google Ads allows you to bid based on PPC, CPM, or CPE.
Another distinct advantage of online advertising is it allows you to gain valuable insight into the mileage of your ads. For example, you can track how many people saw your ad versus how many people clicked on it.
These days, people use different devices for their search queries, and online advertising can help you reach out to them using all these devices.
Google Ads also helps you reach targeted users at the correct time and place.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits when you advertise online using Google Ads:
It’s no big secret that targeted ads perform better than general ads that hope to rope in customers without taking into account their behavior, profiles, and needs. Google’s advertising platform gives you opportunities to customize your ads and the people who see them.
There are targetable elements that you can use to make sure that your advertisement reaches the right audience:
Optimize your keywords to help the right users find you.
Fully utilize your ad extension by adding the location of your business and any other relevant information.
Perform due diligence in identifying the location, language, age group, and any other criteria that will help you reach the ideal audience for your product, service, or business. You can then use Google Ads to target the exact demographic you want.
Study the behaviors, schedules, and timezones of your desired audience. This gives you a basis for choosing the day, time, and frequency that your ad appears on SERPs.
Optimize your ads for different devices. Make sure that they display correctly on each device and perform any necessary customizations.
Google Ads allows you to specify the amount of money you want to spend on each ad. There is no minimum amount and you can even specify different amounts on different days.
Measuring Your Progress
You gain valuable market insight by advertising with Google. It makes tracking your progress and your campaign’s success simple by allowing you to see how different users interact with your ad and website.
Google provides you with a wealth of data through its analytics. Learning which campaigns and collaterals are effective will allow you to make more intelligent and strategic decisions when designing your next campaign.
Tools to Help Manage Your Campaigns
When you run an online campaign for your brand, you need to monitor your accounts.
There are times when a single advertiser will need multiple Google Ads accounts. A tool, known as My Client Center, can help you manage all your campaigns from one centralized app while saving time.
If you cannot access the internet and you need to make changes to your ad, you can use the Google Ads Editor, a downloadable app that allows you to manage your accounts offline. Your account information is downloadable, and you can control your campaign online and offline.
Do Google Ads Work?
This is a good and practical question to ask before you start investing in ads on Google. The short answer is yes, Google Ads work. However, you need to know what to do to make it work for you. Let’s take a look at the best practices you should consider.
Best Practices for Google Ads
While Google has made it incredibly easy to have market data, target your ads, and manage your advertising, there’s still a lot for you to do and decide on as a marketer.
Define Your Objectives
The first question you should ask yourself before using Google Ads is: What do I want to accomplish with Google Adwords?
Depending on your type of business and the stage of your business, you may decide to increase sales, increase brand awareness, get leads, etc.
For retailers who have a lot of inventory or a wide product selection, the answer to this question can be a little less straightforward. Not all online sellers know which products will sell well. If you feel uncertain about which product you need to highlight, you can try posting all your products on sites like Google Shopping and Shopify. This will help you identify which products to promote.
Keyword optimization is no less important in search engine advertising. You may wonder why you still need to perform keyword optimization when you are practically paying for your SERP’s ranking, but remember that Google doesn’t just look at your maximum bid amount. Relevance matters too. Make your quality score count by optimizing your ad, landing page, and keyword/s.
Ensure a Seamless Transition From Your Ad
When people click on your ad and move to your landing page, they shouldn’t feel like they might have accidentally clicked on something they didn’t intend to. The transition from your ad to your landing page and website should be seamless. It should be an intuitive user experience that is easy to navigate and provides a consistent look and feel throughout.
Make Sure Your Ad Is Relevant
How many times a day do you get inundated with unwanted marketing emails, pop-up advertisements that clutter your screen, and ads that are simply irrelevant to you? We live in competitive times when marketers come up with new gimmicks, discounts, and deals to lure customers in all the time.
For your ad to work, you need it to stand out and engage users. Here are some best practices to help you create an ad that will help you get noticed and be heard above all the noise:
Include relevant keywords in the title of your ad
Add a call to action and use engaging verbs
Capitalize influential words
Use correct punctuation. Google likes to see ads with different punctuation marks, but make sure to use them intelligently and not just for ranking as the search engine employs safeguards for the latter.
Make the most of ad extensions by filling in pertinent business details that allow people to contact and evaluate your business.
Choose the Right Time and Place for Your Ad
We came across this step earlier when we discussed the benefits of Google Ads. Choosing the time when your ad can be seen is an important decision. To help you, Google Adwords provides you with valuable data that can help you identify the habits of your users and the intentions behind your keywords.
Use this data to decide when it would be best to have Google post your ad. You can also target specific locations by selecting a country or smaller areas.
Interestingly, Google Adwords shows you an estimated audience size after you have entered some criteria for your ad. Use the data to help you decide whether or not you would like to further target your audience.
Assess Your ROI
Google Adwords calculates your return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend on a campaign. If your ROI is positive, good job! You’re doing something right.
Many factors help you assess ROI such as conversion rate, click rate, cost-per-click, and more.
Test Your Ads
Marketers today have a wealth of tools and resources that they can use to produce effective and engaging ads. You can get a better idea of which ad is most effective by creating multiple ads with the same keywords. Keep all the other factors such as the targeting as well as when the ad is displayed similar to each other.
Launch the ad and look at the data to help you identify which ad gives the best results. Doing so helps you create more effective ads for future campaigns while gaining better insight from your consumers.
Consider Using Banners
Google Adwords helps promote your links, but you can also use Google’s Display Network to increase your visibility through third-party websites.
What is the Display Network?
The Display Network refers to Google’s network of display advertisements that various businesses use. You will recognize these ads as visual banners or small boxes that appear around articles that you are reading. Though not all websites support display ads, a whopping 90% of internet users across two million sites globally are exposed to these ads.
Great! You’re well on your way to adding Google Ads to your arsenal of online marketing tools. Let’s now look at a few key terms that will be useful for you.
Useful Terms for Google Ads
There are many terms associated with Google Ads. Here are a few of the most popular which you will come across.
An ad group is a group of one or more ads that have the same targets. An ad group can share one bid price and keywords, but you can also configure different bids for different keywords. You can organize your ad groups based on certain themes such as the kinds of products or services you offer.
A campaign is a set of one or more ad groups that share similar settings such as location targeting, budget, etc. You can use campaigns to further organize your marketing initiatives by product category or the types of services you offer.
Impressions refer to the number of times your ad appears on the SERPs.
Mobile ads refer to the ads that are visible on mobile devices. Google AdWords include Wireless Application Protocol or WAP mobile ads. Mobile ads are smaller and will direct users to a mobile version of your website.
Split testing refers to the activity of randomly sending incoming website traffic to two different versions of the same page to help pinpoint effective page elements or techniques. The traffic for testing can either be all the visitors of a page, or just a number of your visitors.
Split testing can be used to increase conversion rates, improve ad ranking, minimize bounce rate, increase the number of leads, etc.
Your bid strategy should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish with Google Ads. Different bid strategies can be focused on having more clicks, impressions, or conversions. Later in this chapter, we discuss in greater detail when and how to use the different bid strategies available to you.
Destination URL refers to the landing page your ad goes to when clicked. Google allows you to have different landing pages for various ad groups.
Display URL refers to the URL that appears in your ad copy. This also gives your visitors an idea of where they will go after clicking on your ad. Keep this as simple as possible to keep potential customers interested and to improve conversions.
The side ad refers to the ad that appears on the right-hand side of SERPs.
The top ad refers to the ad that appears in a box above the organic web results.
Now that you know some of the important terms in Google AdWords, let’s take a closer look at what retargeting in Google Ads means.
Retargeting: A Powerful Tool
Google Ads provides us with a way to market to users who have already visited our website or mobile app. This is a highly desirable group because they have already shown interest in your product or service in the past by interacting with your content.
Retargeting or remarketing means reconnecting with these users through Google Ads.
You can increase sales, drive registrations, and heighten awareness for your brand with remarketing. Remarketing can help your sales campaign by:
Showing Your Ads When Consumers Are Most Likely to Purchase
Google lets you show your ads when users search for your business. You can also have Google display your advertisements to people who have had online interactions with your business even as they search online for your competitors.
Targeting Consumers Based on Their Interaction With You
You can target consumers based on the type of interaction they have had with your online presence. If, for example, a customer added something to their cart, you can have Google Ads send them specific advertisements or messages reminding them to complete their transaction with you.
Providing You With Multi-Device Exposure
From laptops to phones to tablets, consumers today use multiple devices to interact with more than two million websites and mobile apps. Retargeting helps you reach your audience across different devices.
Once you’ve secured one of the four coveted ad slots in SERPs, you only need to keep paying a standard price to maintain your rank.
More Customized and Targeted Ads
Hopefully, by the time you use remarketing you will have gained a little more insight into your target market. This will allow you to further target and customize the messaging of your ads based on their needs and situation. Targeted ads are more relevant to your audience and are therefore more effective.
Better Consumer Insight
Retargeted customers provide valuable insight into the behavior of your targeted demographics and how to reach them. Google provides you with analytics so that you can use this data to your advantage. You can see how your ad is progressing, where it appeared, and the price that you paid.
Indeed, remarketing is a powerful and innovative tool that you can use to find your market and achieve your marketing goals. Let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can use remarketing in your Google Ads campaigns.
Make Remarketing Work For You
Since Google Adwords launched remarketing in 2010, the company has evolved to include many ways for us to take advantage of it. Consider which method would be most ideal for your next campaign.
Standard Marketing refers to the process of showing your ads to past users while they browse websites on Google’s Display Network.
A recently released feature, Dynamic Marketing utilizes customized ads that take into account the products and services for which past users have searched. Google uses the behavior of your website visitors to dynamically generate ads that show your price, images that you select, and your copy.
Remarketing Lists provide you with even more targeting capabilities. Using this method entails creating a list that includes rules for when you want certain users to be added to a more targeted list that you can market to in the future. You can also tell Google how long members should stay on that list.
Video Remarketing refers to your retargeted audiences to whom Google shows your video ads.
Customer Match Remarketing
You can use Customer Match to re-engage with visitors across Google’s search function, shopping tab, Gmail, YouTube, and Display Network. Customer match uses information that visitors previously shared with you to match them up with relevant ads from the aforementioned platforms.
Here are some ways you can use Customer Match Remarketing to reach your audience on these platforms:
For Gmail, you can show your customers targeted ads above their inbox
On YouTube, you can identify new users who have similarities to your most high-value customers.
You can use the Display Network to show personalized ads to retargeted visitors or find new customers by displaying your ads to visitors who share similarities with your remarketed visitors.
After exploring different remarketing techniques on Google, let’s see which type of Google campaign will work best for you.
Types of Google Ads Campaigns
Different objectives entail different campaign types. Google offers several types of campaigns to help you achieve your goals. There are seven kinds of ad campaigns that you can use. Find out which one is most relevant to your objectives.
What it is: A Search Campaign shows your products and website to users who are searching for similar products online.
Why choose it: It drives search traffic to your website while boosting your reach. This is an easy setup to implement with highly targeted results.
What it is: A Display Campaign relies on visually strong and compelling ads. It uses Google’s Display Network to attract customers.
Why choose it: People use Google to look for something, but they don’t stay there. This type of campaign allows you to display your ad on websites other than Google while remaining targeted and having access to Google’s analytics.
What it is: A Video Campaign lets you show a video of your ad on YouTube.
Why choose it: When used correctly, videos can be a much more engaging format for users than web layouts and copy. If you choose to go with a Video Campaign, Google provides you with several ways to integrate your video ads on YouTube. You may want to check out this video where they explain how its different features enable potential customers to interact with you on YouTube.
What it is: A Shopping Campaign promotes your product by displaying your product along with detailed information before clicking on your ad. Ads under this category show a photo of the item for sale, the name of the product, its price, your store name, and more.
Why choose it: A Shopping Campaign creates visually engaging product listings for you. It can help boost sales, add traffic to your site, and help you identify stronger leads.
What it is: Google provides you with tailored ads to promote your apps.
Why choose it: Google displays ads for your app on its owned networks and platforms such as the Display Network, Google Play, Google Search, and YouTube. You only have to supply Google with photos, text, and some information on your targeted audience. It will automatically find the optimal combination that produces the best results and push that ad more.
What it is: Local Campaigns utilize the same Google platforms and networks to promote your ads. The only difference is that it has a more local focus; ads are geared towards helping potential customers make contact with local businesses.
Why choose it: The Local Campaign gives you visibility on Google Search, Maps, YouTube, and its Display Network. Similar to the app campaign, Google takes care of creating several versions of your ad based on the assets you submit and uses the version that performs the best.
What it is: First, a little context: Smart Campaigns were developed as an offshoot of Google Adwords. When Adwords was first released in the year 2000 many users found its functionalities and interface overwhelming. To encourage more people to use Adwords, Google released a simplified version called Adwords Express in 2011. Today, this is known as Smart Campaign.
In a nutshell, a Smart Campaign is a text-based version of your ad that contains the following standard elements: a headline, a description, your website URL, automatically generated site links, a map pin, address, and phone number.
Why choose it: Because of the simplicity in execution, a Smart Campaign is an excellent option for small businesses with modest budgets that don’t have a technical team behind them. You still get access to Google’s network and platforms, but you’ll have a relatively easier time setting up and running your campaign.
So far, we’ve come to understand a great deal about Google Ads such as what they are, how they add value, best practices to adopt, and the different ways you can use them. Let’s get started with the exciting part: creating your first Google Ad.
How to Create Google Ads
Google Ads provides an easy step-by-step process to help you launch a campaign that matches your objectives. Follow along with us as we take you through it.
Signing Up and Creating Your First Campaign
Creating a Google Ads account is the first step to ad creation.
To do this, go to Google Ads and click on the button to get started.
After signing up for an account, Google takes you to your account’s dashboard. Click on the plus sign with the words “New Campaign.”
Remember how we mentioned that you need to identify the objective for your campaign? That step comes into play here when you choose your campaign goal.
Google then presents you with relevant campaign types based on the goal you choose. You will see these types immediately below the objectives.
These are the campaign types available if you choose “Website traffic” as your goal:
If you feel confident about your marketing and Google Ads skills, you can also choose “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance” so that all campaign types become available to you.
Your First Campaign: An Example
From here on out, the process varies as each campaign type requires different information from you, the advertiser.
Worry not, however, because if you went through this guide carefully then you should be able to navigate your way to a complete ad before you know it. Google also provides some hints for you to follow if it is your first time.
To give you a better idea of what it’s like to set up a campaign, we’ll take you through an example of a common campaign type: a Search Campaign to increase website traffic.
After choosing the corresponding options in Google Ads (Website traffic<Search), enter your business website’s URL.
You’ll be taken to the next page. The next part is a four-step process:
Select campaign settings. In this part, Google asks you to provide a name for your campaign as well as general information such as:
The Google networks you want to use for your campaign (i.e., search network or Display Network?)
The start and end date of your campaign
Which days and at what times you want your ad shown
Locations and languages you want to target
Specific audiences for the campaign
Bidding or the basis upon which Google bills you (In this instance, the available options are clicks, other optimization options, and impression share)
Ad extensions (remember not to neglect this part as it will affect your bidding and ad ranking!)
You can further customize these settings by simply clicking to expand each menu setting.
A Word on Audience Size
Your first instinct here might be to get as many people as possible to see your ad and select a huge audience. In reality, smaller, more carefully thought out audiences can produce better results and are more cost-effective. Carefully plan out your targeted audience.
A more focused and specific audience will allow you to tailor your ad to them so that it can be more relevant to their needs and the messages that they are inclined to respond to.
Set up ad groups. Give your ad group a name and enter the keywords you have identified. Based on your entries, you can have Google add suggested keywords.
Create ads. Use this section to:
Define your final URL or landing page
Tell Google what your display URL should be
Give Google headline options for your ad
Provide text description options for your ad. This is the text that is shown immediately below your headline.
Experiment with different headlines. Google helps you come up with a strong ad by rating your headlines as you type. A strong ad for Google means providing a fair number of headline options, using keywords in your headlines, and unique headlines and descriptions.
Review. In the final step, Google asks you to review your ad and sign off on it. It will also notify you if any issues are preventing your ad from being included in search results and if you have missed any steps that can adversely affect your ad’s performance. Review your ad and fix all issues before publishing.
Even if you are linking an existing Google account that has your payment information to your Google Ads account, Google Ads requires you to enter your billing information on its platform.
Congratulations on making your first ad with Google!
Now that you’ve discovered how easy and intuitive Google Ads is, why don’t we become better acquainted with the different bidding strategies?
Google Ads Bidding Strategies
Choosing the right bidding strategy for your ad is essential since selecting the wrong one can be unnecessarily expensive and can derail your campaign. Let’s get to know the strategies available to you.
Target Cost-Per-Action (CPA) is an automated bid strategy that’s designed to get you as many conversions as possible. The price per conversion will be the price you set or lower.
What is conversion? Conversion here refers to whenever a user performs an action that you define when setting up your campaign. Some examples of conversions are sales, leads, and downloads.
If you were to launch an App Campaign, your target CPA sets how much you pay every time Google successfully gets a user to install your app. Setting your CPA boils down to one question: How much are you willing to pay per conversion? If you are a retailer and your product is priced at $70, you cannot set your CPA at $70 as it will mean taking a loss.
If your campaign’s primary objective is conversions, CPA is your go-to bidding strategy.
Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
Return on Ad Spend is a marketing metric that allows marketers to calculate your revenue for every dollar spent on advertising. It is similar to return on investment. While this can seem more complicated at first, it provides you with a more accurate picture of your campaign’s success since it takes into account the value of each conversion.
The CPA bidding strategy lets you account for volume since it tracks your spending per conversion. ROAS, on the other hand, factors in the value of that conversion.
Let’s say that you run two different ads and set your price at $20. One ad group might have generated a conversion worth $100 through your website while in the second ad group you can see that another user spent $50. If you were to use CPA, they would both be worth the same amount to you. However, if you use the ROAS formula to calculate your return on ad spend (return on ad spend = conversion value ÷ cost), you would be able to see that the first ad group yielded better results.
The higher the ROAS the better. You should generally aim for a ROAS of 3-4 or higher.
To measure ROAS and have this metric in Google Ads, you will need to assign conversion values to conversion actions. If you are part of an e-commerce business, many platforms have made this a straightforward process. If you are unsure of what value to assign, you can review your top-performing campaign to provide you with a realistic target.
An Update on Target CPA and Target ROAS
Google announced that Target CPA and Target ROAS are being retired as of April 2021. Like most changes that Google has rolled out, we expect that the move will be gradual. However, if you are using these campaigns you may want to start preparing for the change.
If you are looking for a simple bidding strategy, you may want to look into Maximize Conversions. With this bidding strategy, you need only set your maximum daily budget for your ad campaign. There are no keywords that you need to specify for Maximize Conversions. Google just runs its algorithm and selects a cost-per-click bid based on your campaign goal.
As you might guess from the name, this strategy is designed to get you as many conversions as possible using your daily budget regardless of how your conversion worked out for you. If profitability is not an issue for you, then by all means consider Maximize Conversions.
A Word About Average Daily Budget
One of the unique aspects of Maximize Conversions is its use of an average daily budget. Unlike a maximum bid amount where the rate you’re charged never goes beyond your specified number, with the average daily budget you can find yourself being charged higher on certain days than the amount you entered.
In average daily budget, Google keeps track of your monthly spend. On some days your daily spend can be lower, but there can be days where Google charges you higher for as long as your monthly spend remains the same. Google can charge you up to twice your average daily budget.
You can compute your average daily budget by first determining how much you would like to spend in a month, then dividing that figure by 30.4, the average number of days in a month.
Here it is expressed as a formula:
Average daily budget = Monthly ad spend
Maximize Conversion Value
Maximize Conversion Value is the most recently added bidding strategy. The mechanics of this strategy are similar to Target ROAS. However, unlike the Maximize Conversions strategy, Maximize Conversions Value is not focused on conversions alone. You can tell Google which aspects you want it to focus on (e.g., profit margin, revenue) and it will make real-time adjustments to bids to help you meet that goal. Google uses data from your past campaigns as well as contextual signals from search engine users in adjusting your bid.
When using this strategy, Google tends to use up your daily budget. We recommend that you double-check the amount you entered to make sure that it is an amount you are willing to spend daily.
Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
You know what cost per click means. This bidding strategy takes it one step further. You choose the cost per click, but Google’s algorithm optimizes it.
Google can increase or decrease your bidding amount for clicks that are more likely to lead to a conversion or sale on your website. With Target ROAS and Target CPA you have a set price for your ROAS targets and CPA targets, but with ECPC Google does its best to keep your average CPC spend below your maximum bid amount.
While ECPC may sound like a simple bidding strategy, keep in mind that you do not get the same level of control over your ad spend as you do with other bidding methods. If you’re new to Google Ads it would be wise to try ECPC on a smaller scale first before doing a full rollout.
Maximize Clicks is a lot like Maximize Conversions, but the focus is on clicks instead. Google will work on getting as many clicks for you using your daily budget. As you can probably tell by now, this is a great option if your goal is to get more traffic to your website to build brand awareness or to expand your potential customer base.
One issue that you may run into with this strategy is not getting quality or relevant traffic.
Another is your CPC. You may notice that there are days when Google uses higher CPC bids to use up your daily budget so keep an eye on this.
Manual CPC Bidding
If you have no time restraints and you can monitor your account pretty often, you can try Manual CPC Bidding. This is the easiest Google Ads strategy to grasp. You set a price for keywords and you keep using that bid until you change it. You can customize different ad groups and keywords so that they have their own bid amounts.
If you’re new to Google Ads, Manual CPC Bidding can be a good place to start and get your feet wet. However, you may find that it quickly becomes a time-consuming and tedious task that eventually leads you to look to one of Google’s automated strategies.
Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
Cost Per Thousand Impressions is beneficial if you are looking solely at impressions or the number of times your ad is displayed. Your ad will not be available within Google’s search networks as CPM restricts itself to the Display Network and YouTube Ads.
If your aim is brand awareness, CPM can be a viable manual bidding strategy. However, note how Google qualifies an impression: as long as 50% of your ad is on the screen for at least one second and at least two seconds if it is a video ad. It is thus important to monitor this strategy to ensure that your ad shows up on relevant sites only and that viewers do not get overwhelmed by its frequency.
Cost-Per-View (CPV) Bidding
Cost-Per-View Bidding is Google’s way of measuring and charging you for campaigns that are anchored on a video ad. In CPV bidding, Google counts the following as a “view” for your ad:
When a user watches at least 30 seconds of your ad, or for the duration of your ad if it’s less than 30 seconds
When a user clicks on a companion banner, YouTube card, or a call-to-action overlay
With CPV you can be charged your maximum CPV bid or lower.
Target Impression Share Bidding
Target Impression Share bidding is a strategy you’ll want to use for brand awareness that takes into account the total number of impressions that are available for your brand.
What is impression share? Impression share is the percentage of impressions that you received from your ad in comparison to the total impressions that you could have received or been eligible to receive.
Target Impression Share gives you a choice on where your ad appears. You can either tell Google to put your ad at the top of the page, at the top of SERPs or anywhere on the SERPs. After doing so, you then tell Google the percentage of impressions that you want to appear in.
You should use a maximum CPC amount for this type of strategy to ensure that you don’t end up paying too much for a single impression. Google Ads will warn you against setting this amount too low, but if you’re new to Google Ads it is better to start out low and see how it goes. After all, you can always increase it later.
We hope that our section on bidding strategies has you thinking about the different ways you can run campaigns on Google Ads. It will take some time before you become fully proficient in using it. To help you get there faster, let’s go through common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Mistakes to Avoid
Some mistakes are common to beginners. We share them with you here so you can steer clear of them.
Review And Update Conversion Tags
When you use Google Ads for conversions, you receive a tracking conversion tag that you attach to your landing page. This tag captures valuable data on how different users interact with your landing page which is then turned into a report that you can use to improve your campaign.
Old and outdated tags add a lot of noise to the data you’re viewing. They make it harder to drill down into current and more relevant data. Check the conversion section of your Google Ads account periodically to see if there are old data and tags that you don’t need anymore. Remove the unnecessary ones. You should do this at least quarterly to cut down on noise and make sure that you’re being fed only the data that you need.
Check Your Geotargeting
Did you know that even after you’ve entered your geotargeting preferences Google can still show your ad to users outside those locations? Click to expand the menu in the locations section under “Targeting and audiences” and you’ll see that the following choice has been selected by default: “Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who’ve shown interest in your targeted locations.”
If you want to pay for promotion that only targets the people in the locations you’ve chosen, choose instead: “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations.”
With Google Ads, it pays to be thorough.
Fine-Tune Your Ad Schedule
After using Google Ads for some time, you will have valuable data on your ad’s performance such as the schedules when you had the most conversions or perhaps the time of day when a lot of people browsed through your mobile site. We encourage you to make the most out of this data and use it to tweak your campaigns so that you can allocate more resources to these times and schedules when your campaign performs its best.
Tighten Your Bids
Just as you fine-tuned your ad schedule, you should also review your campaign periodically for a deeper insight into where your market is and its behaviors. Looking at your data you may find that your ad is more successful in certain cities or discover that you have more conversions on mobile phones.
Sure, you could use bid modifiers to make changes to your campaign, but it has its limitations. It isn’t nearly as effective as looking into your data, analyzing it, and making appropriate changes to help tighten your bid for a more effective campaign.
Be Open to Different Bid Strategies
We’ve seen advertisers stubbornly stick to one bidding strategy because it’s the one that they are familiar with. This might save you some time in terms of learning a new strategy, but it can cost you more than you think in the long run.
Keep exploring and experimenting with other bidding strategies to see which one is the best for your ad campaign.
Leverage Custom Affinity Audiences
You can target users by location and language, but did you know that you can also target them by interest? Use the Custom Affinity Audience (CAA) feature on Google Ads by going to the audience section of the menu. Go to “What their interests and habits are” and towards the bottom you’ll find an option to create a Custom Affinity Audience.
Targeting by location and language is necessary, but it can also be too broad. To make CAA work for you, think of the websites, apps, places, and interests of your market. You can enter these into Google as CAA and it will analyze the information you’ve given to find the audience you want to reach.
Manage Ad Extensions
Just because you have an ad extension associated with your account, ad group, or campaign doesn’t mean that Google will display it along with your ad. What makes Google show some ad extensions and neglect others?
Ad Rank. Google has a minimum Ad Rank requirement to show ad extensions.
Your position on the SERP. Ads positioned higher up get prioritized for ad extensions. If the ad above yours doesn’t have an ad extension, you won’t get one either. Similarly, when Google shows you combinations of extensions you’ve enabled, it will not show you combinations that can have a higher click-through rate than an ad with a higher position.
If you want your ad extension to show, look into raising your bid or increasing the quality of your ad, or both.
It’s easy to think that your task ends after hitting the “Publish” button on your ad. However, it’s helpful to see your first ad as a stepping stone for stronger and more relevant ads in the future.
Because the data that your ad generates is important, let’s turn our attention to how we can perform basic actions in Google Ads’ reporting feature.
Using Google Ads Reports
After submitting your first ad, you’ll want to look at the information that Google generates for you. In this section, we teach you how to access them.
When you begin your ad campaign with Google Ads it comes with automatically generated reports based on your data. These reports answer specific questions and can be edited according to your needs.
To access these reports:
Sign in to your Google Ads account.
Click on the reporting icon on the upper right side. This will show you a list of predefined reports.
Choose and open one with the Report Editor.
From here you can edit the report and save it.
If you want to view a report created by you, you will find the option to do so by clicking on the three dots under the “Reports” section.
Advertisers and business owners have never had as much control over their ads as they do now. If you have a product or service to promote or a brand that you want recognized, learn Google Ads. While any new tool or endeavor takes time in the beginning, the long-term returns are worth it.
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