This is a guest post from Joe Martinez , Senior Manager of Paid Media at Granular.
People’s habits differ by state, city and quite possibly neighborhood. Local ads should be used to speak to each local audience with different, targeted messages. Using one, generic targeting strategy and ad message for all of your locations might fall on a lot of deaf ears. This blog will show you different ways you can better connect with your target audience for each of your locations.
Claim All Your Businesses on Google
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses out there don’t do this. Besides the local SEO benefits of having your businesses claimed and optimized, there are two, main PPC benefits of claiming your businesses.
- You can link your Google My Business account with AdWords for another ad extension. This is absolutely crucial for any local PPC campaign as well as your overall ad rank. Besides address and phone number, AdWords can pull in additional information from your claimed pages such as ratings, regular hours, and holiday hours. These extra components in your ads can drive foot traffic as well as make you stand out.
- Opting in to Search Partners and having verified locations allow you to have your ads show directly on Google Maps. Your ads may already be on Google Maps in the search results. However getting your ads directly on the map requires you to have your Google My Business account linked to AdWords.
Besides enabling Search Partners Google also states, “For ads to appear on Maps, they’ll need a high Quality Score, be very relevant to the Maps user’s search, and be targeted to the geographic area of the search.”
If you haven’t claimed your locations already, head to Google My Business today and link your account with AdWords.
Breakout and Structure Your Campaigns by Each Location
When looking at your internal reports, does every store location perform exactly the same? No! So why would you lump all your locations into one campaign? I always breakout my local campaigns by store location. This campaign set up will allow you to better control your budgets as well as the geographical targeting.
If you only have one location per city or county, you’ll most likely want to target just that city or county. You can also choose to radius target your campaign by the business locations you have claimed on Google My Business. When you get to the location settings, choose Advanced search and then Location groups. Then select My Locations.
To make sure you’re targeting a radius for just one of your locations instead of all of them, you can choose an additional location option to specify where the location lives.
You may be thinking, “Why don’t I just use the standard radius targeting?” Good question. If you use the default radius targeting in AdWords, you’re bound by what Google considers as the centerpoint of the location you choose. When you radius target by your Google My Business location will have the radius start from your actual business location.
Also, I usually choose to target people only in my targeted area. This will help me not waste ad spend on users not in my targeted location.
One thing to keep in mind is this setting comes down to what type of business you have, and what is the user’s’ intent. If your business only services people in your area, you don’t want someone from a different state seeing your ads. Other industries, like hotels, rely on users coming in from out of town. So they might choose the default option of users interested in the targeted location. Always consider the audience.
Localize EVERY Part of Your Ads
Connecting with your audience is a basic part of marketing. Just because you’re targeting the right, local keywords doesn’t mean your audience will click on your ads. Whether you’re a 1,000 location big box company or two location business, creating a personal connection will help the performance of your ads. Here’s a mockup of what a cleaning company might use as an ad for their Milwaukee, WI locations.
And here is what the same company might write for their Madison, WI location.
Notice how each part of the ad speaks to users living in the target geographical locations.
- Milwaukee – Known as the Brew City
- Madison – Bucky Badger is the beloved icon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m playing on people’s emotions here.
- Both Cities – Ad text lets people know exactly where they do business.
- Milwaukee – Calls out multiple locations in the city
- Madison – Mentions main headquarters north of the biggest lake in the city.
- Both Cities – Each ad mentions they are BBB members in their own city. While the BBB is a national organization, calling out the city in the BBB callouts adds another local element to the ads.
- Both Cities – Using the Neighborhood header allows each city to call out several neighborhoods each location serves in hopes to relate to where the user was searching.
You can see in these examples why it’s important to breakout your campaigns and ad groups by specific geographic locations. This type of messaging is much more difficult to achieve if you have minimal campaigns targeting numerous locations.
Create (or Optimize) Your Local Landing Pages
We just read how your ad message can be an important part in creating an emotional connection with your users. Your landing pages are just as, if not more, important in solidifying that connection. In a recent search for “oil change milwaukee,” this was the only ad that showed up.
The ad itself is not bad. While it’s not completely written for local connection, the price point extended headline is enticing. Now let’s see the landing page.
What? Really? I looked for a specific location. Now you’re going to make me search for it? That’s if I can notice the two, tiny find your location CTAs before I get frustrated and bounce. With local searches, and this is my opinion alone, I expect a landing page giving me a phone number, hours of operation, address, photos of the location, directions, etc. Let’s try another local search. This time I’m searching “intercontinental milwaukee.”
Again the ad doesn’t scream local. It’s an obvious find and replace the city in the display URL with at least the location extension. But how is the landing page?
I now have a landing page that shows exactly what I was looking to find. The image is of the hotel in Milwaukee. The title screams local. When I scrolled down further, there was a map with location information. Yes the conversion layout for this page is not my favorite (gold BOOK NOW button in a persistent navigation), but at least I knew I was on the right page and got all the trust elements I needed.
If you don’t have location pages on your site or in your landing page arsenal, please add them immediately. If you already have location pages, make sure these pages are optimized to relay all of the local information you wrote in your ads and extensions. PPC is more than ads. Make sure your landing pages help the user find the exact location they were looking for in the first place.
To get the most success from your local PPC campaigns, you have to think of what’s important to each target user in each location. A cookie cutter approach for all of your locations might have success, but I doubt they would work better than a hyper-focused approach for each, individual location. Put in the extra effort and watch your local campaigns flourish.
Joe Martinez is a Senior Manager of Paid Media at Granular. He takes a user experience approach to PPC by focusing much of his time on LPO and CRO to help his clients improve their brand perception as well as PPC performance. When he’s not working on accounts or writing blogs he likes to spend time with his family, collect baseball autographs and discover the best craft beers the world has to offer.
Follow Joe on Twitter @MilwaukeePPC