For businesses that operate only in the virtual world, people just about anywhere on earth are prospective customers. Brick-and-mortar businesses, however, must focus paid advertising efforts on searchers who actually have the potential to purchase products or services from them. Without this type of targeting, ad dollars may be wasted. So, where do you begin?
As with most Internet marketing, concentrate your efforts on Google, because that's where you'll get the most bang for your buck. Once you have AdWords figured out, you can then branch out into other PPC (define) platforms or other types of advertising, if you wish.
Geo-targeting refers to showing ads only to people in a specific location. That location can be as big as an entire country or as small as the block you're on. Without going into the ugly details, geo-targeting is terribly flawed. However, it's continually improving and, until it's perfected, we have to work with what we have.
Define Your Marketplace
Think about who your customers are and where they're physically located. Also, consider how far potential buyers may be willing to travel to do business with you.
Where to Place Your Ads
Each scenario will require a slightly different focus in PPC marketing. Like most real world businesses, you need to be well represented in Google universal and Google Maps (a.k.a. Google Local).Why? Because you must be where searchers are looking for you, and searchers are looking in both places. Therefore, you need to have ads on both platforms.
For non-geotargeted ad groups that will appear on the universal results pages, create campaigns and ad groups using terms that include geo-qualifiers, like a ZIP code, neighborhood, town, metro area, or larger region. Then, while the ads will appear to everyone regardless of where they are, only those people specifically looking for a product or service in your area, and not one 500 miles away, are likely to click on your ad.
You can also specify that your ads show only to searchers within a defined geographic area, and you get to choose the area. You can use areas predetermined by Google or create your own. You may choose one or many locations where you'd like your ads to appear. Also, use geo-targeted terms in these campaigns to keep your CPC (define) down.
Just by searching within a specific geographic area in Google Maps, people are targeting their searches to only include results in the location they specify. Therefore, for local business ads that appear within Google Maps, use broad terms like "chiropractor," "K2 skis," "book store," "fresh bagels," and the like. Anyone searching within your area will see these, regardless of where they search from.
You may further narrow your market by geo-targeting your local business ads to be seen only by searchers within a specific area.
Managing Google AdWords accounts for brick-and-mortar businesses can be a little complex. However, you'll likely see higher CTRs (define), lower CPCs, and lower bounce rates, if you take the time to set up geo-qualified and geo-targeted campaigns. Watch your results and continue to refine them for the best return on your advertising expenditures.
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Mary Bowling has been involved in all aspects of online marketing since 2003. She has a special interest in Web site usability and in search engine optimization, including optimizing all types of media for search engines. Mary has also developed specialized expertise in promoting brick-and-mortar businesses on the Internet through local search marketing. She is currently doing independent consulting and working with seOverflow and Maia Internet Consulting in Denver, CO, optimizing and marketing a wide variety of businesses and nonprofits online.
Her accomplishments include speaking at Search Marketing Expo and Search Engine Strategies conferences on a variety of topics, conducting trainings and webinars for Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Workshops, authoring popular white papers on local search and SEO for WordPress Blogs and speaking at SEMpx' s Searchfest.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT