Pay-per-click text ads, such as Google AdWords, are an advertising medium that a local marketer can afford to test once they understand the options available. When it comes to paying for advertising, you want to get people who are most ready to buy. That means you can restrict your ads from showing up in searches from computers outside your geographic area.
Target Paid Search by Local Phrase
Local business owners can laser-target their advertising budget to have text ads appear on search results for local phrases that will elicit a small quantity of searches. But small quantity aside, those people searching are likely to be quality prospective customers due to the specific phrases they searched for.
Phrases that have geographic locations built in may be less competitive than a broad phrase like “vacuum cleaner.” They will cost less per click, and have fewer clicks, making advertising costs much lower than for a national or international company that can’t target geographically.
Target Paid Search by Location
Local businesses can employ geo-targeting to their paid search message so that it appears only within a:
– Metro region
– Zip code
– Three- or five-mile radius of the local business location
Now, with GPS-enabled phones, you can create location-aware advertising that says “you’re just a short walk to . . .” This allows ads to attract prospective customers who may not type the city name in their search query. This is becoming more and more common as location aware search usage continues to rise.
Target Paid Search to Local Websites
Moving beyond the search results page, ads can be targeted by location on Google’s “content network,” websites that carry Google text ads on their content pages. This way, advertisers can have exposure on high-profile local websites, such as news sites, TV station websites, or popular city blogs, taking advantage of local geographic targeting. Campaigns can be targeted by category, topic, URL, or demographics. For example, Google AdWords campaigns can be targeted to the greater Los Angeles area and only appear on websites specific to sports.
Target Ads by Time of Day, Day of Week, and Frequency Capping
Ads can also be targeted to appear on certain days of the week, certain times of the day, or a maximum number of times to someone. Let’s say your company is open Monday through Friday. Ads can be set to appear only on weekdays to avoid driving traffic to a site on days where there is nobody there to help interested customers. If there are certain times of the day that are better to drive traffic, this can be targeted as well. Lastly, if people see your ad several times and don’t click, they probably never will, so ads can have a frequency cap set to minimize wasted impressions on uninterested viewers.
Organize, Plan, Test, Track, Optimize
Paid search advertising can work wonders for awareness, traffic, and sales, but you’ll need to set up your accounts carefully and develop a plan to manage your various campaigns. Ad groups need to be organized into sections (by product, service, etc.) so performance can be monitored, quantified, and optimized.
Segmenting your campaigns by campaign group allows you to monitor traffic, conversions, spending, and click-through rates (CTR) so that you can make continual improvements to ensure that your ad expenditures go where they count.
Set a Budget
Local PPC advertising campaigns can be set up with daily or monthly caps to prevent you from overspending your budget. Start small and learn, optimize, and expand as you go. There is no need to spend a lot at once. Set a small test budget, then, as you learn what works, spend more money on phrases that more effectively drive traffic, leads, sales-whatever the desired action may be.
Targeting local regions can often result in very relevant ads, but with high click rates. Be prepared to invest and remember that when the going gets tough, local businesses that understand and utilize PPC marketing with best practices can leave their competition in the dust.