There are a few critical “best practices” for local search advertising, which, if employed correctly, can yield big results. Like a Venn diagram, though, it’s important to get them all right. This includes: timing, messaging, usability and targeting, (particularly geotargeting).
For local businesses, it’s important to move fast and target users, particularly mobile users, with ad copy that is extremely relevant to them. For example, if your biggest “rush” comes during lunch, you should use dayparting so that your ad runs between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. If, on the other hand, you’re the perfect happy hour spot, you might want to run your ad between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The idea here is to run your ad when users are more likely to convert (i.e. call and place an order, or show up at your location).
Alternatively, you can run your ad consistently, but only target mobile users during the time they’re most likely to be on-the-go.
When writing local ads, think deeply about your core audience and what they need from you most. If you run a big lunch business, this could be:
- Convenience (where the messaging could be: “Call to place an order”)
- Affordability (where the messaging could be “$5 off a large pizza”)
- Timing (where the messaging could be “In a hurry? Take your lunch to go”)
- Health (where the messaging could be “A healthy lunch, made to order”)
Of course, you don’t know which messaging will work best for your audience until you run tests. Testing is an important aspect of all search campaigns and should not be sidestepped in exchange for expediency.
When they perform a local search, users are looking for very specific turnkey services. This is why local ads have a high likelihood for conversion. But there are a few things that stand in the way of success, including a lack of usability. For example, if you don’t include the right ad extensions, such as a click-to-call functionality, or location extensions, your ads won’t be as useful as they could be and may not convert.
If you are sending users to a landing page, be sure that your landing page is optimized for a mobile audience. If you don’t have a responsive website, create a mobile splash page or a mobile version of your website so that users don’t get turned off by the lack of functionality.
If you want to drive the most ROI for your local search advertising, it’s important that you implement the Geotargeting settings properly.
If, for example, you run a pizza restaurant, it might not make sense to target an entire zip code. You might have better success targeting a particular radius around your location. That way, you are not marketing to users outside of your service area.
If, on the other hand, you run a more niche business, such as antique furniture repair, you might want to expand your geo-targeting so that it includes the entire city or county. The important thing here is to think about your competition and your market: Where are they? And is your business unique enough to get customers to drive from a distance.