Using PPC to turn a local online shopper into a customer can be daunting to a local business owner. Thankfully search engines have made competing locally much easier in the past few years. They’ve added several targeting options that help ensure only local audiences see the ads.Targeting locally can be done on a smaller budget because of reduced competition which translates into lower cost–unless you target New York or LA. I want to go over a few tips that can can help anyone get the most out of local ppc marketing.
1.Use geographic qualifiers in keyword lists
Choosing the right keywords is important for any PPC campaign. When competing in local PPC marketing, it’s important to test a keyword that includes the names of the cities you are trying to target. For example, test “Scranton paper company” rather than “paper company.” Adding “Scranton” significantly decreases both the amount of competition and the cost per click.
2. Use ad copy to show that the company is local
The ad is the only part of the creative process the customers will ever see. Spending several hours to create a perfectly crafted keyword list can be a waste of time if the ads are no good. People spend mere split seconds scanning the entire SERP to find what matches their query best. That’s why something in the ad copy (I prefer the title) has to scream “local business!”
3. Save face and money with ad scheduling
Speaking of ad copy, when an ad’s call to action is to “call right now” or “come in today,” it’s important that the ads only run when someone can actually call or come in. It’s embarrassing when businesses make a promise they can’t keep. “Call now” showing up at 11:30PM or even 5:30PM is pointless, wastes your money, and honestly makes you look like a tool.
4. Set your geo targeting correctly
AdWords makes a few options available for geographic targeting, but not all AdWords are created equal. Targeting for local PPC marketing is a bit tricky because the internet doesn’t see areas as a physical map with county lines and city limits. So asking Adwords to target a 30 mile radius from any given point is not the most accurate way to target. I like to work with locations that the engine already knows by selecting a bundle or using the search tab to select several cities by name that encompass the desired area. That’s where tip #5 comes into play.
5. Geographic report
Because the targeting isn’t perfect, it’s important to take advantage of the geographic report. This report gives insight into where the clicks are coming from and sometimes they are out of the area you want to target. This is especially true in urban areas like parts of California where there are several cities packed in very close to each other.
Negative keywords is one of the most important elements of any successful local PPC marketing campaign. Negative keywords can be especially useful to ensure ads don’t accidentally show up in places they aren’t supposed to. It’s a good idea to add every state’s name and abbreviation except the one you are targeting as a negative keyword. This practice reduces wasteful spending. You don’t want to make decisions for your campaign unless the data you gather is relevant, so excluding the irrelevant searches gives you the most accurate information.