Any search on PPC strategies will yield a tremendous amount of resources that are focused on generalized positive and negative PPC strategies for local businesses, e.g., keyword management, bid management, negative keywords, landing page optimization.
What is often not as readily available is information on uncommon and highly effective PPC tactics that squarely benefit local search marketers by giving them a competitive advantage in bringing in leads.
The following tactics should be a part of the local business marketer’s toolkit and will return enormous rewards.
Tactic 1: Attribution Modeling
Today, small local businesses generate the majority of leads through paid search efforts. So it makes sense that marketers are focused on attribution modeling to determine what resulted in the lead (e.g., paid search, social media or organic search).
The trouble is that Google Analytics, by default, is set up to look at the Last Interaction model that attributes 100 percent of the credit for the lead or sale to the last visit prior to the conversation — which is the least accurate of the models. The First Interaction model, by comparison, attributes 100 percent of the credit to the first visit.
By using Google Analytics’ model comparison tool, which looks at a cross-view of several different models, marketers gain a more complete and accurate picture of the PPC campaigns and how they can tailor their efforts to maximize their future campaigns.
Tactic 2: Weather & Data-Triggered Advertising
Weather events can yield tremendous local and regional advertising opportunities for small businesses and national brands alike that tailor their ad creative and targeting strategies based on weather conditions.
These strategies are proven to drive improved user engagement and stronger ROI numbers. In fact, according to the Weather Channel, weather-triggered ads deliver 127 percent higher CTR and 117 percent higher purchase considerations.
For a recent roofing client, we designed a campaign that capitalized on a short burst of search activities by monitoring weather and adjusting budgets and keyword bids during periods of heavy rain, hail or snow. Our client was able to capture short-term spikes in searches related to roof repairs, roof leaks, emergency roofing services, etc.
Local marketers can capture short-term weather driven opportunities by implementing the following steps:
- Set up a Weather dashboard to monitor storms and inclement weather using any weather news service
- Add creative to capture storm name and/or real-time weather conditions in the area, while pausing all other ads
- Increase bids on ad groups and keywords impacted by weather conditions and test bidding for top ad positions
- Increase budget and monitor to ensure your Daily Impression share is maximized and ads are serving the full day
Tactic 3: Phone-Based Keyword Research
While many local marketers have heard and likely tried pay-per-call strategies to generate leads for both their online and mobile search efforts, phone-based keyword research is less known and can be very effective. Keyword research is changing based on personalization of search, device, browser and search history, etc.
Keyword research in itself can be a very difficult task. Research tools such as Google Adwords or SEM Rush all use the same data source and thus return the same keywords as businesses’ competitors.
When recording and listening to inbound calls, marketers can begin to determine which keywords are used over and over again by prospects and customers and compare those to online searches. This phone-based keyword research can then be applied to a variety of online marketing tactics, including SEO, PPC and social media.
Tactic 4: Targeting Local Customers Everywhere
Interestingly, recent research has revealed that 70 to 80 percent of prospects are searching for goods and services when they are outside their home area, and the majority of those searches are happening where they work. As most people work 30 to 40 miles away from their home, it makes sense to develop nationally targeted campaigns using exact match keywords with geo-modifiers to target this audience.
While there is a natural inclination to use strategies to try and find less competition to bring down cost-per-lead, targeting local customers zeros in on uncontested leads because your competition is focused on their local market and they lose out on prospects searching for local products outside the service area.
Tactic 5: Remarketing
Remarketing is a well-known and frequently used tactic for national brands; however, small businesses until recently have shied away from applying it to their online marketing toolkit because it was too complicated and required the use of display advertising.
However, with Google’s recent changes allowing one tag for multiple audience targets and the use of text ads, local businesses can benefit from the increased engagement that remarketing yields. However, be sure to set appropriate frequency caps so that your budget isn’t blown and your ad and brand don’t suffer.
By implementing a few or all of these more uncommon PPC strategies, local businesses can ensure they have a well-rounded marketing toolkit and further reach current and prospect customers. They might also have the opportunity to connect with customers that their closest competitors might not be reaching with everyday local search marketing practices.
What PPC strategies have worked well for your local businesses?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.