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5 Powerful Local Search Marketing Tactics: My SMX Local 2008 Presentation

Yes, my actual presentation had a much funnier name...

Five (5) "POWER" Tactics for POWERful Local/Mobile Marketing Campaigns that Give You Super-POWERful Results... A Cheezy Presentation On Purpose from Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing @ www.FuelInteractive.com for SMX Local

And I'm presenting it here to you in a variety of ways, since I know some of you like video, some like slideshows, some just like blog posts... for the blog post only, keep scrolling down.  Best way to get it all?  Watch the video in a separate window while skimming the blog post notes below.

Disclaimer: the presentation starts with a rather controversial tip, which I'm going to be blogging about in more detail later this week, and that is my advice that agencies use only AdWords, not all three major PPC engines.  Turns out I need to justify that a bit better for some people... wink

First up is my video narration of the "5 Powerful Local Search Marketing Tactics" PowerPoint:

Next is the slideshare version:

Finally, here are the blog details:

Tactic #1: Put All Your Money in Google AdWords!

  • Yes, Seriously.
  • No, I don't work for Google.
  • Cost vs Return of Other Engines
  • Search (60%+ of global share), search partners, content network, media placement, local business ads, and mobile ads...

I'm a little biased.  Doing PPC in an agency...

I've found that dealing with lots of clients and little resources - it can be overly complicated to do three or more PPC engines at once.  If you do AdWords well, there's no need to do Yahoo or MSN.  I'm not convinced the extra time in the other engines is worth it. 

It's impressive for salespeople to be able to say your search firm can advertise them in lots of engines, but considering that AdWords itself allows you to do search (60% of global share), search partners, content network, media placement, local business ads, and mobile ads... that's a pretty strong one-stop-shop, and it's really efficient for us right now. 

No I don't work for Google.

Tactic #2: Learn & Use the 4 Methods of AdWords GeoTargeting

  1. GeoCampaign + Broad Keywords
  2. Broad Campaign + Geomodifier KWs
  3. Locally-focused Placements
  4. Local Biz Ads (Local biz profile)

#1 Campaign targeted, keywords general: works well for something like a vacation destination- targeting people who drive down from NC or other parts of SC with an offer for gas reimbursement, we've gotten some good mileage from that

#2 Campaign broad, keywords geospecific: is the no brainer but also the best volume and effectiveness.

#3 Locally focused placements: can work but depends on how good the locally-focused sites are in that area

#4 Local profile + local biz ad: can work but click volume is lower, so takes more time to optimize the right ads- so far, the results are mediocre, but we're still testing it for clients in several verticals

Case Study: U-SAVE Car Rental in Myrtle Beach Airport

  • Metrics for local- showing promise
  • Need to optimize with more ads
  • Best results from #2 (geomodifiers in keywords nationally targeted)
Read more about the 4 AdWords GeoTargeting Methods here.

Tactic #K: Measuring Success: the KPI Spectrum

The best key performance indicator (KPI) is your goal- whether that's ROAS, ROI, Cost per conversion, or even sheer profit numbers- you should have an ultimate KPI in mind.  But work toward it. 

  • If you aren't spending enough, spend is your KPI. 
  • Once you're spending enough, if you can't optimize based on conversions, CTR is your KPI. 
  • Once your conversion data is coming in, move to your target KPI.

Tactic #3: Spend the Budget & Spend it Well

  • Client Expectations
  • Optimizing Requires Data   
  • Targeting vs. Volume
  • Campaign Optimizer!

Clients' Advertising Spend Expectations: clients are used to advertising channels where it's never a problem to spend the money.  "What do you mean you couldn't spend the whole budget?"  They're also not used to variable spends.

Targeting vs Volume:
Sometimes too much targeting yields low click volume.  That's one reason I like to use all four methods I just described.  I suppose if you're an AdWords newbie and happen on the right settings, you might not run into this problem- you're more likely to run into high cost per conversion and low ROAS... but when you get a little sophisticated and start targeting, you can sorta turn off the faucet. 

Optimization Requires Data:
You can't optimize something without data- so sometimes you have to focus on click volume before you can hone in on your preferred KPI. 

Campaign Optimizer: low spend problems are the one time I use AdWords' Campaign Optimizer, the main purpose of which seems to be to make Google more money.  There are two phases to growth: expansion and optimization.  This is about expansion.

Tactic #4: Avoid Local Tunnel Vision

  • Destination vs. Origin: Origin-specific Offers
  • Competing Locales: Not There, Here!
  • Competing Offerings: What else meets prospect needs?

Local businesses sometimes can get business by advertising to people a bit beyond their locale; this is thinking about customers both near and far in location and interest.

Destination and Origin: Is your locale a destination?  Where do people come from?  Can you target them there?  What different kind of ads can you use for that?  Example: The previous example of the gas credit for driving to the vacation destination.

Competing Locales: Are your competitors just other businesses, or also other locales?  Do people go to nearby cities and regions for what you offer?  Can you intercept them? Example: Golf Holiday "Are you crazy?" ad.

Competing Offerings: What business are you in?  If people don't choose your type of offering, what else meets their needs?  Can you intercept them there? 

Example: we're very close to getting the fairly new Hard Rock amusement Park as a client- their prospects aren't just looking for roller coasters, they're looking for entertainment and family fun, so we could also find those people searching for restaurants and water parks, maybe even movie theaters, and convince them to come to the park instead.

Tactic #5: Apply PPC Best Practices to Local Marketing

  • Segmentation- Locale vs Brand
    Myrtle Beach Hotel vs. Beach Cove Resort
  • Testing Beats Common Wisdom
    e.g. Content Network
  • Never Stop Testing Offers
    #1 Driver of AdWords Excellence

Testing Trumps Common Wisdom

  • Landing Pages: most people say deeper more targeted landing pages convert better, right?  Wrong, not always e.g. myrtlebeach-resorts.com homepage converted better than individual hotels.
  • Content Network: Dictums like "the content network is a waste of money and converts poorly" don't always serve the client, because they're not always true.  Plus you may need the content network and other options for narrow niches as discussed earlier

Segmentation Case Study: Endless Fun Resorts

  • Brand keywords get the best ROAS
  • Separating the brand-na├»ve into the MB and NMB campaigns allows us to focus on the right message for noobs- and optimize to get more new business
  • This is a key test of PPC's persuasive muscle- brand aware customers are more warmed up, conversion rate can be 3-4x as high; so getting good ROAS from colder prospects was the real work

Ad Testing Drives AdWords Excellence

  • Best practices keep you from getting crappy performance, but
  • Constantly testing new ads, offers, copy, and punctuation lead to the highest, most winning results
  • Wining at AdWords is ultimately about scientific copywriting

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