If you’ve ever looked for a local restaurant on a search engine and clicked on one of the ads at the top of the page, you’ve seen a local PPC campaign in action.
Local PPC (pay-per-click) refers to paid online advertising focused on a specific local area. This could be a city, state, zip code, neighborhood, or a custom local radius.
It differs from traditional PPC in that you’re targeting a specific location with your ads instead of going international. With standard PPC, potential customers from across the web will get the chance to view your ads, but this isn’t always ideal, especially for startups and smaller companies.
That’s because international PPC campaigns will pit you against enterprise-level companies from around the world that have astronomical budgets for paid ad campaigns. As a result, your ad groups will likely get blown out of the water, which can be very discouraging.
That’s why a local PPC strategy is such an effective digital marketing tool for smaller companies and local businesses.
By geo-targeting specific locations, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of competition you have while simultaneously honing in on your true target audience.
Of course, local paid search campaigns are like any other digital marketing strategy in that they require intelligent tactics and proper optimization to find sustainable success.
That’s why we compiled this ultimate guide for devising a winning local PPC ads strategy for your business, so don’t wait to read on to learn how.
Why Bother with Local PPC? 7 Essential Benefits
If you’re already humming along with local SEO tactics for your small business, you may wonder why you need to invest in local PPC.
After all, why spend money on clicks when you can generate them organically for free with local SEO?
First, local SEO may not require spending money upfront, but it’s certainly not free. For a local marketing strategy to work, you’ll likely have to hire an outside agency to help you handle content creation, keyword research, technical adjustments, & analyzing metrics to adjust your tactics accordingly.
Even if you decide to handle the work by yourself, it’s a massive time investment that will distract you from other things, such as uncovering ways to scale your business. At the very least, you’ll need a few freelancers to help you write articles and create graphics.
Beyond that, organic SEO takes quite a bit of time to provide a return on investment.
While local SEO is undoubtedly effective, and you should invest in it along with local PPC, it will take an average of 6 – 12 months to start working.
What do you do in the meantime?
That’s where local PPC comes into the picture. Local PPC ads can start generating traffic, leads, and sales for you from day one – which is crucial for small businesses in desperate need of new clients.
In addition to seeing immediate results from local PPC, you’ll also enjoy the 7 following benefits.
#1: Superior audience targeting
While it may initially seem counterintuitive, targeting a smaller, local audience will significantly benefit your brand.
That’s because you won’t have to compete with international enterprise-level companies, and you’ll be able to place your ads in front of a niche audience in your area that’s genuinely interested in what you do.
Let’s consider a quick example to illustrate this.
Say that you run a local pizzeria in Dayton, Ohio. First, you use a standard PPC campaign that places your ads in front of an international audience. Well, how many people in Switzerland want to visit your pizzeria in Ohio? Not that many, which is why targeting an audience that big isn’t wise.
Picture instead that you run local PPC advertising strictly for the city of Dayton. Now everyone who sees your ad will be potential customers who can stop by your restaurant for a slice and soda on their lunch break.
That’s how effective local PPC campaigns are at targeting the right audience, which other digital marketing channels don’t do quite well.
For instance, it takes quite a bit of keyword and demographic research to uncover target audiences and customer personas for SEO, PPC, and eCommerce – which are things you don’t have to do nearly as much with local PPC.
As long as you’ve done enough research to discover which specific areas are bringing in the most business, you’ve got enough data to start a local pay-per-click campaign.
#2: It raises brand awareness
This perk is especially useful for newer businesses eager to implant their names in the minds of potential customers.
By using local Google Ads campaigns (formerly Google Adwords), your ads will appear at the very top of the search results, even above the organic results.
As such, even if some users don’t click on your ad, they’re still seeing your business name and are likely making a mental note of it. The brand awareness factor alone will lead to traffic, leads, and sales – even if they don’t occur immediately.
Your prospects can’t visit your location if they don’t know you exist, so raising brand awareness should be one of your top priorities as a new business, and local PPC ads are a great way to do so.
The superior positioning you gain from local PPC ads is another reason why it’s such a beneficial tactic for smaller businesses.
Remember, your ads will appear above the organic results generated by traditional SEO efforts. While you should always strive to rank in the organic search results, too, your local SEO strategy will take some time to gain momentum.
In the meantime, your local search ads will help fill in the gaps and start working their magic for you from day one.
#3: It improves conversion rates
So if you want to boost your sales and improve lead generation, you need visibility on search engines, and you need it fast.
Local PPC ads will immediately skyrocket your ads to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), which will place them in front of all the online shoppers ready to make a purchase.
That will work wonders for your CRO (conversion rate optimization), and you’ll start landing more sales as a result.
Of course, local PPC ads are only half the equation. They’ll generate plenty of interested visitors to your website, but beyond that, it’s up to the strength of your landing page, CTA, and product/service. To learn more about these essential factors, check out our extensive guide on CRO.
#4: Local PPC has trackable metrics
Another perk of local campaigns is how easy they are to track. In other words, you’ll have plenty of metrics to analyze, which will let you know how effective you’re being with your strategy.
Other local marketing tactics, like handing out flyers or hanging banner ads, don’t have clear-cut metrics you can view. While you may see an increase in sales here and there, it will be extremely difficult to pinpoint when, where, & why they happened.
Local PPC is different, as you can check your click-through rates, conversion rates, & total impressions on Google Search Console and other analytical tools. These measurable metrics make it far easier to see what’s working and what isn’t, which will help you refine your strategy even further.
#5: Fewer competitors
As stated before, nationwide or international PPC campaigns have incredibly steep competition. They pit you against legacy companies that have deep pockets, large followings, and a ton of influence.
Local pay-per-click campaigns grant you the ability to drastically scale down the competition, which can help you find your footing with a local audience.
The more specific you can get with your location, the fewer competitors you’ll likely have.
#6: It’s beginner-friendly
Tackling a local SEO strategy by yourself is a huge undertaking that takes a lot of knowledge about search engines, link-building, blogging, website creation, and more.
That’s why most companies turn to SEO marketing agencies to handle the majority of the workload & strategizing.
Yet, local PPC campaigns don’t require nearly as much SEO & digital marketing knowledge. Most of the steps are intuitive, and you won’t have to worry about things like link-building and creating content, either.
It’s another reason why startups should look to local PPC for its immediate benefits instead of only focusing on local SEO.
#7: It’s highly flexible
Don’t have a massive budget to allocate toward a local PPC campaign?
That’s no problem at all; simply set your budget in stone and choose what you’re willing to spend. If your ads really start to take off, you’ll be able to afford to scale up, which you can do immediately.
If things start to fall off, you can always scale your efforts back.
This amazing flexibility is a significant benefit and definitely a reason not to ignore local PPC.
Implementing a Local PPC Strategy
Since it’s clear that local PPC is the way to go, it’s time to learn how to utilize it properly. There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to handle a local pay-per-click campaign, so you need to know the best practices to follow.
Finding success with local PPC ads is all about narrowing your location down to its most compact size, appealing to your audience by speaking their language, and delivering on your offer with an optimized landing page.
Here are some effective tips to supercharge your local PPC tactics.
Using single-keyword ad groups
Ad groups play a prominent role in Google Ads, as they allow you to target multiple keywords at a time for your ads.
Yet, many digital marketers don’t know about the effectiveness of single keyword ad groups, especially for local PPC.
Why are single-keyword ad groups so special?
They are because of the following:
- They improve the click-through rate and quality score of your local ads
- They make your ad copy more relevant
- They’re perfect for targeting smaller audiences
Single keyword ad groups will narrow your audience to include only the prospects that have the most potential to convert.
They’ll also provide a sort of hyperfocus for your content, ensuring that it’s extremely relevant to the user query/keyword.
Use local lingo in your ads
If you want your audience to feel like you understand them, you need to speak their language.
Beyond that, speaking like the locals will help you further refine your local keywords. As an example, if your local audience says ‘pop’ instead of ‘soda,’ you’ll want to include that terminology in your ads.
Otherwise, your local artisan sodas won’t get near as many clicks, as your prospects will be typing ‘local pop’ instead.
Pro tip: You should include your location in the name of your ad to negate any unqualified traffic from clicking on your ad. After all, if you operate a local bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico – you only want to advertise to thirsty patrons looking to drink inside the city.
If Albuquerque is in the title, users from other parts of the state will know that you only serve that location.
Another great way to increase ad engagement with your audience is to take advantage of Google’s ad extensions.
What are those?
Extensions are ways that you can spruce up standard text ads on Google. Types of extensions include the following:
- Ad extensions
- Location extensions
- Call extensions
Ad extensions enable you to add extra hyperlinks to your text ad, which can boost engagement. For instance, you may choose to include links to specific product pages or testimonials at the bottom of your ad.
Location extensions are perfect for business owners that have multiple locations across town. The extension will list your various locations, complete with their distance from the user that generated the search. Upon clicking one of the locations, they’ll immediately get Google Maps directions from their location to your business.
Call extensions add a hyperlink to your phone number embedded in the ad. Users can either jot down their number or click the link to call you directly. These types of extensions are best if you make most of your sales over the phone.
Final Thoughts: Local PPC Campaigns
If you want to start increasing your leads and sales as soon as possible but don’t have the budget to compete on a global scale, local PPC is the way to go.
It’s newbie-friendly, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting the ball rolling with some local ads.
By following this guide and also optimizing your landing pages and CTAs (see our guide on CRO that we linked to before), you’ll be fully equipped to start acquiring tons of new clients.
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