PPC can be challenging, and Google’s Paid Search, while effective, can be very cost-prohibitive, especially for the small to mid-sized business. In many cases, competition isn’t just limited to the business’s local area because when it comes to the web the reach is far broader. While this means you have the opportunity to reach customers on a national scale, it also means that you are now competing on a national scale. To help you determine the best way to be successful at an affordable PPC cost, here are a few quick tips on geo-targeting that can get you started.
Know Your Customers
Chances are that user behavior is not uniform across the country, but varies based on state and metro as each area has different interests. Use this to your advantage. If you are selling coffee, know what flavors are more popular in Vermont compared to Los Angeles. How about a nice cup of New York brew? You’d be surprised at how different people’s preferences are for something as simple as coffee when you dig a little deeper.
This holds true for any product or service, be it B2B or B2C. The needs of a business in Omaha are likely very different than one in Chicago, New York, or Miami. Review your Google Analytics data to see where sales or leads are coming from to help you determine next steps.
Analyze Your Data
Now that you have an idea on what is selling or driving leads in what areas, and you have identified your top locations, the next step is to do a deeper dive in to the data. Targeting top performing products/services to their best performing metros is a no-brainer. But also identifying areas of opportunity can really help take your business to the next level.
For example, if you find that there is a lot of traffic coming from a specific geo, but it’s not converting well, review the possible reasons why. On the converse, if an area is converting well, but not seeing a lot of volume, can you grow in this location? Is your ad copy relevant to your landing page? Is the landing page driving a high bounce rate? From there, you can develop a test plan for keywords, landing pages, and ad copy that can help capitalize in areas where there is a lot of potential, but not a lot of performance…yet. The goal here is to transform these areas of opportunities into easy wins based on a few simple tests and optimizations.
Most importantly, as you determine how to hyper target based on geo and user behavior, keep in mind to include your brand name and messaging where you can. You’re an SMB up against nationally known brands, so the more people see your name, the more likely they are to remember you. Having a branded PPC campaign can help build brand awareness and running this nationally will act as an umbrella for anyone looking for your brand name regardless of how or where they heard of you. Just keep in mind to check your Search Query Report regularly to build out negatives and filter out irrelevant searches.
Consider Targeting by Content
In this case, I’m talking about Google’s Content or Display Network. By serving ads specific to products or services that are popular in specific geos, coupled with a strong brand image ad across the web nationally, you will start to see your brand recognition grow. Don’t expect this to convert at the same rate as search, but do expect to see this drive up total impressions that can carry over to searches later down the line. It’s a great low-cost, low-CPC way to open the funnel and get your name out there. (Tip: have separate campaigns for geo targeted vs. national-level branded campaigns, and layer increased geo-bidding in your enhanced campaign for branded ads.)
Why It Works
Relevancy, relevancy, relevancy; that’s why. As any good PPC marketer knows, Google rewards relevancy. The more relevant your campaigns, keywords, ads and landing pages are to the searches users do on Google, the less you pay per click and the higher you will rank. In many cases, you can see a reduced CPC in your local campaigns compared to the same terms on a national level, with the added benefit of a much higher conversion rate because you already know what your customer in each geo prefers.
For one client we worked on, they sold a very popular kind of coffee, and were up against retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond. While it was a tall order to drive a program at a successful ROAS when looking at who we were competing with, we were able to actually outrank some of these competitors simply because we did our homework. By targeting specific flavors of coffee to the areas where it was most frequently purchased, and optimizing their national brand campaign, they were able to see over a 400% ROAS in less than 6 months – not bad considering our budget was about 1/100th of our competitions’.
Remember, just because you CAN compete nationally, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD – at least not for every product or service you offer across the board. By doing some research and crafting campaigns that target what people prefer in their local / metro area, you can often pay less and get more, even in the most competitive marketplaces. And whether you are a B2B or B2C company, knowing who likes what where will get you better results regardless of your product or service!
For more information on geo targeting ask us about our case study on Local to National PPC. For even better results, add “when” to the “who”, “what”, and “where”.