There are over 200 million searches per day on the major search engines according to COM Score, forcing advertisers and small businesses to jump into the Paid Search space.
Many companies outsource their paid search efforts, others neglect it completely, and some just can't afford to compete in their given area. The truth is companies of all shapes and sizes should have a paid search strategy and long term plan.
You can sign up for Adwords at http://adwords.google.com. Once you set-up your account you can start creating campaigns using some easy to follow rules of the game.
Account Set-up/ Keyword Selection
First, select the keywords that are relevant to your products and then start to build them out with all plurals, misspellings, and different variations, so that any kind of search term will help bring your page to the top of the results.
Creating Ad Copy, Testing Results
Once you have gotten through the creation of keywords, campaigns and ad groups, then it is time for writing the copy of the actual ads. Be sure to call out any promotions or competitive advantages that your product has to offer.
Test multiple copies against each other to see which one performs the best and generates the most tangible results. AB split testing allows you the controls to test run multiple different paid ads against each other in current time. Both Google and Yahoo allow for A/B split testing.
Tracking and Targeting
Whether it's in house reporting or an analytics package offered by the search engine you choose to buy ad words from, you MUST track everything. Tracking results provides you all the insight to accurately determine test winners, move bids up and down and add negative keywords.
At the very least you should get conversion tracking (a service that is offered by Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Budgeting is right behind testing and analyzing in terms of importance when it comes to paid search campaigns. Make sure you set daily budgets to prevent a certain campaign from spending too much. These can often discourage or even outright kill a small businesses desire to stay in the space. Depending on your industry clicks can range anywhere from a few cents to as high as $10 dollars.