As a small business owner it’s imperative to be vigilant with your marketing budget. The most common oversight can be to forget setting and managing your ad spend.

For many small businesses, the primary concern will be the initial setup cost, any ongoing costs and the all-important return on investment (ROI).

How your SEM campaign is setup and your overall strategy for growth in sales and conversion will be a huge factor in how well your SEM ads perform over time.

By using a paid online advertising service such as Google AdWords or another paid online advertising service, your business has the potential to expand and increase the number of online customers.

The online advertising method we are going to be talking about in this article relates to the basics of SEM and touches on some general questions every small business needs to ask if they are planning to or have already set up an SEM campaign.

We’ll look at the questions every small business should ask the marketing consultant or agency they going to hire for their search engine marketing campaign.

As a small business owner it’s imperative to be vigilant with your marketing budget but the most common oversight can be to forget setting and managing your ad spend.

One rule of thumb is to have an understanding about what your budget is going to be for your online ads excluding any compulsory admin/setup fees.

No matter how small or large your business is, allocate some time to effectively understand what you want to achieve by running ads online.

Prioritise a list of short-term and long-term goals for your campaign. In some cases you may find that only some of your goals have been met as a result you may need to discuss this further with your agency or account manager.

Here’s some relevant questions you can ask your Online Marketing Agency  or SEM consultant.

1.      What is the minimum contract term for my campaign?

2.      What are the SEM campaign management fees?

3.      Do you have a mark-up on Google Adwords spend?

4.      How much of my Ad spend or Google Adwords spend is actually spent on my ads?

5.      Do I have an option to pause the SEM campaign?

6.      What is Ad Scheduling and can I request Ad Scheduling for my campaign?  

7.      Can I review my ads before the ads go live?

8.      How long are my ads on each day?

9.      How are the keywords selected or generated and who writes the ads?

10.  How can I participate towards offering keywords that relate to my business or service?

11.  Is the consultant Google Adwords Certified?

12.  Will a higher product tier result in higher ranking in search results?

13.  Who manages my PPC campaign and will I receive a dedicated account manager?

14.  What reporting is available for the ad campaigns running for my business?

15.  Will my campaign use any negative keywords?

Ultimately you as a business owner must aim to have transparency on how your ads are served. It is also important to keep track of what you are paying in relation to your ads and management fees.

These tips will ensure you have a better grasp of your digital marketing expenditure and importantly, this level of control will give you freedom to build up your online advertising potential over time. 

Sanjay Parekh is an SEO Producer at Sensis


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