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How To Launch a Local PPC Campaign on Google Ads

Zone in on your target audience with a local PPC strategy and get more from your online advertising. Here’s what you need to know about using local search ads to drive nearby customers to your shop.

Feb 2, 2024

5 m read

PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is all about targeting and optimization — refining your tactics until you reach the best audience. If your business operates on a local scale, targeting is even more important because you need to ensure potential customers have the means to physically access your products and services.

That’s where local PPC ad campaigns shine. With the right digital marketing strategy, you can attract new customers from your desired location and launch your business forward.

What Is Local PPC?

The internet lets businesses access a vast pool of potential customers — well beyond what’s possible through foot traffic. However, if you run a local business, such as a gym, hairdresser, or restaurant, it makes no sense to waste money on PPC campaigns that target people from across the country or the world because they can’t act on your promotions.

Local PPC is PPC but hyper-targeted to a specific location. Depending on the scope of your business, this location could be a whole country, a state, or even just a particular city. Like local SEO, local PPC campaigns maximize your return on investment by focusing your efforts on the right audience.

Benefits of Local PPC Ads

Local PPC’s most significant impact lies in its ability to fine-tune your audience, improving the cost-effectiveness of your marketing. However, it also has several other benefits, including:

  • Increased brand awareness. Local business PPC strategies promote brand awareness among your target customers, helping you grow your brand.
  • Boosted conversion rates. Targeting people in a position to act on your offers leads to higher conversion rates, making it easier to optimize your campaigns.
  • Improved keyword refinement. Some keywords work well for PPC campaigns of any scope, but others are best for local strategies. Adding these highly focused keywords to your campaign gives more granular control over audience targeting and ROI.
  • Enhanced reputation. Aligning your campaign with local events and trends makes your business part of its community, earning a positive reputation.
  • Improved local SEO. While SEO and PPC have distinct differences, research and optimization efforts for one campaign often benefit the other.

Local PPC Keywords

Local marketing requires location-specific keywords. Ideally, these keywords should also resonate with your business and audience to offer the best value.

So how do you find the right keywords for a local marketing campaign? One of the best ways to start is by understanding search behavior, as this helps you discover the intent of your target users. You can do this by using a local SEO tool, such as Semrush, that analyzes user intent.

Once you know how people search for your products, perform keyword research to look at common keywords they might enter into the search. You should also:

  • Consider keywords with your target location added.
  • Use relevant long-tail keywords such as “plumber open at night in San Francisco.”
  • Create a balance between broad and specific terms.
  • Target seasonal keywords during holidays and local events.
  • Add negative keywords to refine your audience.
  • Analyze competitors’ keywords for more insights.

How To Create a Local PPC Campaign

Effective keywords are the basic element that sets your campaign in motion. Once you have them, follow a few simple steps to handle everything else.

1. Set Up Ad Groups

Ad groups should contain similar keywords because you’ll use these terms together when creating targeted ad copy and landing pages. Think of them like containers for particular offers or strategies and ensure everything you include is relevant to maximize your Google Ads Quality Score.

To create ad groups in Google Ads:

  1. Navigate to your campaign and find ‘ad groups’ in the left panel.
  2. Click on the blue plus button to create a new group.
  3. Adjust the settings as desired.

Once you have a new ad group, you’ll need to add the keywords you want to use. You’ll also need to set your bid strategy and associate ad copy and landing pages with the group before it’s ready.

2. Include Ad Extensions

Ad extensions insert unique functionality into your advertisements, improving engagement and impact. For example, use extensions to include relevant site links or allow users to call your business directly from the ad.

Find your extensions in the ‘Assets’ tab on the left in Google Ads. Once there, click on the blue plus button — just like when creating new ad groups — and then choose the type of extension you want to make from the list.

Next, there are a few ways to associate your extensions with specific ad groups or your entire campaign. However, one of the easiest ways is to use the Google Ad Editor to manage everything in one place.

3. Target Your Specific Location

Google Ads lets you assign specific locations and languages to your campaigns, and these details affect how the platform’s AI features work. Essentially, Google will help you target people within the area you specify and provide other recommendations more specific to your desired audience.

When creating a campaign, Google Ads will ask you to set a location. If you’d like to change this location or check that you’ve set it up correctly:

  • Navigate to ‘campaigns’ from the list on the left side of the screen.
  • Hover over the specific campaign you’d like to edit and click the cog button.
  • Select ‘locations’ from the popup box.

4. Optimize for Mobile

If your target audience primarily tends to seek your services or products on mobile devices, optimize your PPC with this in mind. While you can adjust specific settings of Google Ads to reflect this, many of the things you need to do to ensure your campaign is mobile-friendly are ultimately manual.

To ensure your campaign is mobile friendly, double-check the following elements:

  • Ad Copy: Keep it concise and engaging. Set mobile-preferred ads to target desktop and mobile separately.
  • Ad Extensions: Use extensions to add call buttons and other helpful functions that make it easier for mobile users to act on your copy.
  • Responsiveness: Ensure your ads and landing pages adjust to fit various screen sizes.

5. Use Location-Specific Ad Copy and Language

Effective local business PPC management relies on the seamless integration of your target location into all aspects of your campaign. While keywords will get the right audience to your ads, you still need to ensure the copy resonates with that audience to maximize conversions.

Local branding can also help forge a stronger identity within your community, fostering more word of mouth and social media interaction. Consider referencing landmarks, colloquialisms, and history to achieve this.

For example, New York is famous for its bodegas, and people in Texas often use a friendly, Southern dialect. Think about what makes your location distinctive and infuse your content with it.

6. Create Location-Specific Landing Pages

Sometimes, you’ll have a precise location in mind when running a local PPC marketing campaign. Other times, you’ll target a wider area. For example, you might want to target downtown Los Angeles or the entirety of California.

When you do target wider areas, one way to ensure higher conversions is to set separate landing pages for specific locations. For instance, if you operate statewide, you might want to match your landing page content to individual cities in the state.

While it’s a little more work to create and maintain many landing pages for the same offer, doing so maximizes the sense of relevancy for customers. This leads to a boost in conversions.

7. A/B Test, Analyze Results, and Refine Strategy

During the early days of your campaign, collecting lots of data and tracking performance is vital to make local PPC management easier. However, the importance of optimization and A/B testing never really fades, even in established campaigns. There’s always room for improvement.

A/B testing is essential to both SEO and SEM, so many popular marketing tools give you this utility. You can also set it up directly in Google Ads. To do so:

  1. Navigate to the ‘campaigns’ tab in the left panel.
  2. Select ‘Experiments.’

The experiments page lets you use several templates. For example, replace specific words throughout ads and gauge the effects, or create custom experiments if you need more functionality.

After you start your test, wait for the results to roll in and then analyze them to see how best to refine your ads.

Integrate PPC Ads & Search To Supercharge Your Marketing

Search engine marketing and PPC work hand-in-hand, providing results that exceed what’s possible through either campaign alone. But how do you integrate what you’ve learned from one strategy into another? Contact us for a free SEO consultation, and we’ll help you create a plan that brings you new traffic while meshing with your existing tactics.

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