After over 10 years of running online advertising for local businesses, we’ve found a few concrete ways to increase sales. These are our 6 top tips for setting up and maintaining local PPC campaigns that convert like crazy:
Only Run Ads Locally
This may sound like a no-brainer, but keep reading. Many local businesses will simply go into their settings and select their local metro area to target, or use radius targeting (i.e. “20 miles around my business address”). However, this really isn’t the correct the strategy to use because a one-size-fits-all approach like this won’t really give you the local targeting that you’re looking for. Instead, take the time to experiment with local targeting using your knowledge of the local area to guide your decision-making.
For instance, I have a client that’s a local business is Cedar Park, TX. To target Austin with her campaign would be a big mistake because the Austin metro-area is huge! We would likely be putting her ads in front of people that would never consider driving up to Cedar Park to do anything. Even just targeting 15 miles around her business isn’t the right strategy because in Austin traffic that would mean we’d be showing ads to people who could easily have to drive over an hour to visit her business.
Instead, opening the targeting locations section of the settings tab gives us access to a map, where we can set the targeting to Cedar Park and then view options for targeting the surrounding areas of Round Rock, Leander, etc. By clicking on different locations and letting Google shade in areas on the map where ads would be shown, we can make smarter decisions about where her ads will appear for searchers. This is the strategy you need to implement if you’re going to have effective local targeting.
Use Incremental Bid Modifiers
If the goal is to get people to come into your business, then logic would dictate that people closer to you are more valuable searchers. This is where using location-based bid modifiers come into play. You can actually set up different geographic areas to target and then bid differently in each area to pay more for searchers that are more valuable to your business. A great way to do this is to create geographic rings immediately around your business and then assign bid modifiers to each one. For instance, you can add a bid modifier of +80% to people within a mile of your business, +50% to people within 2 miles of your business, and +20% to people within 3 miles of your business. This gives you a tiered bidding strategy to help you make the most of your budget.
Include Local-Specific Keywords
Obviously, if you’re only targeting your local area, you don’t need to include location-specific terms in every keyword, but that doesn’t mean that you should forget about them entirely. Instead, use a good mix of location-based terms and more general terms when advertising locally. For instance, if I was advertising in my home market I would want to use “digital marketing company grand rapids,” “digital marketing company grand rapids MI,” and “digital marketing company grand rapids michigan,” as well as “digital marketing company near me.” These would ensure that my ads were showing to my local audience when they were searching specifically for local businesses like mine. The added bonus is that these long-tail keywords are often much cheaper than their more general counterparts.
Find New Opportunities in Search Queries
Combing through your search queries is a great way to find new opportunities to expand your keyword lists and create entirely new campaigns and ad groups. Being able to see exactly what people are searching for is wonderful insight into how you can improve the verbiage of your keywords, ads, and broader marketing in general. Make a point to go through these regularly to ensure that you’re targeting searchers effectively and excluding any searches that are unrelated to your business.
Implement Call Extensions
Including your phone number in your ads is a best practice for businesses in general, but it’s even more important for local businesses. Searchers on mobile devices like when they can call a local business with the click of a button to ask for directions, inquire about store hours, make appointments, and find out specific information about product/service selection. Using a call extension provides searchers with this ability while giving the added bonus of being trackable. This means that in addition to make searchers’ lives easier, it also contributes to actionable marketing data for your business, which is a win-win.
Add your Business to Google Maps
Having your business listing claimed on Google allows it to appear on Google maps, which is incredibly important for local businesses from an organic search perspective. It also grants you the ability to use a location extension in your PPC ads, which is a great way to attract local searchers. Adding your business to Google maps is relatively easy to do, and the benefits are definitely worth the time that it’ll take you to request it and wait for a response.
If you’re looking for some help managing your local PPC efforts, let us know! We’d love to talk to you about your needs and goals and put together a plan to find success for your local business!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!