PPC advertising has long been accepted as a tried-and-true method for generating sales and leads online. With the right keywords and strategy, brands in practically any niche can position themselves to better reach their target audience.

4 simple tips for improving local conversions with PPC advertising

Of course, ensuring that your PPC campaigns actually result in new paying customers is sometimes easier said than done.

This is especially true for brick-and-mortar locations that primarily rely on local customers for their success, rather than digital buyers.

However, improving local conversions is far from an insurmountable task. By leveraging these simple strategies, even the newest local businesses can achieve sustainable digital marketing results.

1. Use competitor keywords

It’s not always easy for local businesses to compete against larger, nationally-recognized chains.

As Sean Thomas Martin Junior III explains, “If you’re a local coffee shop running a PPC ad to generate some more in-store traffic, I doubt you have the ad spend to match the likes of Starbucks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show up on the same search engine results page (SERP). By bidding on your competitor’s branded keywords, you can show up when local searchers are looking for them.”

Local searchers often use phrases like “movie theater near me” or “closest Starbucks” when trying to get to a nearby retail location. Though they aren’t necessarily looking for your brand, many of these individuals fall into a group that is targeted by both you and your competitors.

When you target location-based competitor keywords, you give yourself the opportunity to disrupt the local marketplace. With the right copy or an enticing deal, you may just convince customers to see what you have to offer instead.

2. Clean up geo-targeting

Geo-targeting is essential for small businesses trying to improve their PPC results, but companies with multiple locations often waste part of their ad budget by creating multiple campaigns that overlap with each other. This occurs most often when a business uses radius targeting.

Though radius targeting is a sound principle in most situations, creating two separate, overlapping campaigns will actually cause you to compete with yourself for higher ad placement.

As a result, you’re likely to see one campaign do well, while the other one fails to generate the desired results.

If you plan on using geo-targeting for multiple branches of your business, there are several strategies you can use to avoid this issue.

Radius targeting isn’t the only option available — you can also use zip codes, congressional districts, and more to fine-tune your geo-targeting in a way that avoids overlap.

AdWords also allows you to exclude specific geographic areas, similar to the use of negative keywords. Using these tools ensures you don’t waste your ad budget.

3. Leverage ad extensions

A PPC ad that provides a link to your homepage and a piece of compelling copy is a good start, but if you aren’t using ad extensions, you’re missing out on additional conversion opportunities.

In fact, Google reports that “On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift from implementing a new ad extension.”

So which ad extensions will have the biggest impact for your business? While the answer partly depends on your product and service offerings and your sales method, there are several extensions that have proven particularly valuable for local businesses.

Location extensions highlight your store’s address, allowing users to get directions from a maps app. Sitelink extensions allow customers to click directly to other parts of your site — such as the page where they request a quote.

Call extensions allow mobile users to call your store directly by clicking on the number included in your ad.

Such additions don’t only improve clickthrough rate — they also help your ad appear larger, making it more likely that potential customers will see it in the first place.

4. Write locally-relevant copy

PPC ads are notoriously limited in how much room you have to write — AdWords limits individual ads to two 30-character headlines and an 80-character description.

Because of this, every word matters. By emphasizing your local credentials, you can go a long way in appealing to your potential customers.

True localization goes well beyond mentioning the name of your town in the ad description. As Garrett Mehrguth explains, “If being truly local is something you desire, simply talk the talk…If you want to really reach out to the local surf community in San Clemente, CA, don’t just use the term beach, ocean, water, etc. Talk about SanO, Trestles, T-Street or Lost Winds…Talk the talk and your customer will be more likely to walk the walk.”

Specific words and phrases are key to proving your local credentials. By using this jargon in your PPC campaigns, you will increase your authenticity and appeal to local buyers.

Local PPC done right

At the end of the day, your business needs to find ways to stand out from the competition. But a great product or service isn’t enough. Your customers have to find you first.

As you utilize these essential local PPC strategies, you can ensure that buyers will discover your business and everything it has to offer, leading to the financial outcomes you’ve been working for.

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