If you’ve had a hard time figuring out the best local ad campaign approach or find it especially challenging to comprehend why local paid per click (PPC) measures have failed to provide the anticipated return on investment, you aren’t alone. The truth is many startups spend too much time focusing on the national market and subsequently their strategies stem from this grandiose approach.

Simply put, the mechanics of national PPC or search engine optimization are different from local market approaches within these same subsets.

Most small businesses come to this realization when their budgets can’t keep up with their ambitions for nation-wide PPC. Yet, at the same time, competitors are staying alive, so something has to give. That something is a new approach to local PPC.

In fact, it’s local PPC where the small fries and startups stand to make the biggest splash. The knowledge which comes from a local point of view—hearing the beat of the street and ambiance of the regional cultures—make capitalizing on local PPC not only less costly than national goals but more effective.

With that said, most small business owners reading this still need some help figuring out how to improve their underperforming local PPC efforts. Without further ado, here are the best tips for achieving paid search best practices on the local level:

Focus on the top sellers

Take the time to look at sales trends to determine the most popular products or services your company offers. Focus on pushing these prized assets onto your local PPC campaign, as they are essentially sure winners. It’s by far the easiest method for maximizing a paid per click campaign running on a low budget. Then, as these sought-after offerings lead to a higher ROI on PPC, it’s okay to branch out into additional aspects of the business.

Use Google to enhance local PPC

If you have experience with an SEO campaign, spend time to analyze the best performing keywords. Additionally, check searches to determine which generate the most impressions. Now it’s time to utilize Google Search Console to see which keywords are getting the most impressions. Lastly, do a side-by-side with the most profitable offerings to detect where an ad group ought to be created. This is achieved due to your newfound ability to see how keyword impressions matched with successful products or services, but which remain untapped in the PPC realm.

Location-based ad groups and copy

While there seems to be an endless array of options for organizing a PPC campaign, the more locally relevant the ad groups, copy and other content, the greater your chances for making a connection with your target audience. While zeroing in on a specific county is often deemed local enough, the truth is it’s best to think in terms of cities and towns.

Location-based callouts and sitelinks

One of the best ways to expand an online advertisement and maximize conversions is through ad extensions. However, many locally operated companies only provide a telephone number and address as indicators of their regional position. As you can probably guess, the solution is to include the locale as well when it comes to callout extensions.

The same holds true for sitelinks. This maneuver has the added benefit of fitting smoothly into the aforementioned ad groups. Lastly, take advantage of Google local search ads for maps, if operating a walk-in enterprise.

Also include zip code whenever possible

While not every zip code is as famous as the one for Beverly Hills, locals tend to know their zip codes by heart and therefore respond positively to their inclusion. It telegraphs a sense of camaraderie. It also improves results for local PPC and SEO when included in copy and display URL.

Local shout outs and references

Perhaps the most critical and oftentimes delicate aspect of successful local PPC is showing off a true blue connection with the locals. This is relatively no problem if you’re an actual local, but becomes tricky if daring to craft local ad campaigns in unfamiliar territory. Study the region or recruit a native to act as a content sherpa.

But above all else, don’t mistake of putting too much emphasis on worn-out attributes of a region. For instance, think twice before concocting copy for Indianapolis which makes a big deal about the Indy 500. Instead, maybe make a reference to Shapiro’s Deli.

Underperforming local PPC campaigns are often the result of applying tactics and strategies more suitable for national efforts. Instead, local PPC needs to harness the power of community while at the same time taking advantage of keyword strength and other online marketing basics. If companies can stick to these principles when working on their next local PPC campaign, their ROI expectations will be met and possibly exceeded.

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Jane Donovan
Jane Donovan is a copywriter and blogger from the Deep South. She grew up taking vacations to the Gulf of Mexico and the lakes of Georgia before growing up, leaving her hometown for college, and studying aboard in Madrid, Spain, Jane majored in English and start working in journalism and copywriting just after college since 2005. Her main interests when it comes to writing are local marketing for mom and pop stores, often highlighting how those hometown companies can use digital marketing.

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