Size Isn’t Everything: How Small Retailers Can Compete with the Giants of Ecommerce in the World of PPC

26 October 2017

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As a small or niche retailer it can seem sometimes pointless to invest in Adwords when global retail giants seem to dominate. How can you compete with someone who has more products, more resources and more money? However, when search ads can increase brand awareness by 80%, can you afford not to?

However being small has it’s advantages:

You have less competition
You can get to know your smaller audience better
You can go specific with paid keywords
You can target your ads more precisely

Getting personal

One of the main advantages of being a small retailer might be the fact your audience is smaller. If this is the case you can get to know your audience on a personal level easier. Get to know the demographics and psychographics of your audience, for example you should know:

  • Their age
  • Their gender
  • Their location
  • Their values
  • Their interests
  • Their lifestyle

By knowing this you can find out how to reach and connect with your audience in the best possible way.

Smaller businesses often allow for stronger customer relationships to be built, this will give you advantage over the retail giants. The best way to do this is by listening to your consumer and showing them they are valued. As a business you need to be available on all customer service channels that are relevant to your customer, whether it’s social media or over the phone. Make sure you using content and a tone of voice that your consumer can connect with.

Depending on your business, customers may define themselves with your product. For example if you sell vinyl records, there is a culture surrounding your product. The people who are interested in them often share the same values and have similar interests and lifestyles. If this is the case for your product, make the most of it. Share stories, ask them questions about their stories and interests, be personal and approachable. The end goal is to get them to like you and to trust you.

You need to create a consistent, memorable brand that makes you stand out from your competitors.

The perks of being small in the world of PPC

Your budget isn’t as big as the retail giants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed with Adwords. Core things you may want to consider are:

Competitor Analysis – find out what your ecommerce giant competitor is doing. Look at their keywords and their ad text. Is their something you offer that they can’t? Is there a gap in the market?

Display placements – by knowing customer interests and demographics you can target websites they visit most often and create visuals that will appeal to your audience.

Location – you can narrow down location where ads show to local area or area surrounding your shop or where you deliver to. Also, do your research. High end retailer may want to target areas with a high average income. Farming products may want to target areas with more farm land.

Schedule – knowing more about your customer can allow you to determine the best time to show your ads from the get go and therefore reducing costs of your Adwords campaigns. This information can also be determined on Adwords once the campaign has been running for a while and you have collected enough data, but if you can know this before you launch your campaign you will save money from the start.

Keywords – being a small or niche retailer, you can target niche keywords or longer tail keywords with less competition. By knowing what your customer wants, you come up with more targeted keyword ideas and negative keyword ideas.

The more specific the keyword, the cheaper the cost per click will be. However you should also look to include some more general keywords to boost impressions e.g. if you sell vintage fashion as well as using keywords such as “1950s leather jacket” you could also look to use phrases such as “50s clothing” or “vintage fashion”. Just don’t go too broad as you may open your campaign up to unwanted clicks.

Make the most of negative keywords, keep checking your user search terms and add any irrelevant terms to your negative keyword list, with a limited budget, the last thing you want to be doing is paying for clicks you dont want.

Ad text – focus on the things that make you different to your big name competitors and your USPs, something that your customers want that your competitors don’t offer. Do you offer a personalised free gift? A complimentary service? Free delivery? let your customers know.

Shopping ads and search ads – use descriptive language in your ad text. You can use the keyword planner for ideas of terms that relate to your product. For example if you’re selling ‘dog collars’ , by consider using terms such as as ‘luxury,’ ‘durable,’ ‘long lasting,’ you’re more likely to appeal to your customer and therefore increase your chances of a click.

If you are a small business and you’re not already using ppc advertising, now is the time to start. Size really isn’t everything and with the right strategy, you can soon increase your sales no matter what your budget. If you’re interested in starting ppc for your business, but it still feels like a daunting task, simply get in touch with us today for a chat about how we can help you get more business.