Today we’re going to be having a look at something that, in my eyes, is always underrated: ‘Local adverts’ – Appealing to people’s heightened interest in local businesses is the key to standing out in today’s ‘advert-packed’ internet.

The majority of small businesses I see advertising online seem to be focused on having an internet presence that makes them out to potential customers as a big national business. While this seems like a great idea to build trust and reputation there is a downside to this tactic and, something that is very often overlooked, is the need to appear as the stereotypical friendly, family-run business that delivers nothing but great products and warm smiles to the local community.

And there are some big differences in the way people feel about national corporations and local businesses:

Users feel that a national corporation provides them with:

Trust / Reliability / Speed / Value for money

  • Trust – “A big business with lots of reviews and a lengthy trading history. I can trust them to be there with big call centres any time of day when something goes wrong or I want to complain.”
  • Reliability – “Delivery service for their tens of thousands of products, usually in store, they never close early and are always open on Sundays.”
  • Speed – Free next day delivery is now ‘the norm’ for trading giants, you also get self-service checkouts, automated doors and even packing services. Getting your money & getting you back out the door again is a streamlined process.
  • Value for money – “They buy in bulk and pass some savings on. Often supply imported products that are bigger, cheaper & last longer.”

 

Users feel that a local business provides them with:

Personality / Familiarity / Community / Ease of Access

  • Personality – You’re often served by the business owner (or a local community member) who has a personable approach to customers.
  • Familiarity – The same products, the same faces and the same smiles, every single day (except Sundays when John & Mary shut up shop for their Sunday roast.)
  • Community – There’s nothing quite like popping down the local shop for the morning paper and having a quick ‘chinwag’ with the Johnsons from number 32.
  • Ease of access – “It’s only down the road and I can get there quickly. It’s in stock, I can have it back at my house & out the box within 10 minutes of purchasing – I mean who cares that it was 10p more expensive?”

To be a successful online retailer you need to combine these two elements to create something greater than the sum of all its parts

The most common example I can find of businesses combining the qualities of both national and local businesses are digital marketing agencies – Lead by example, as they say.

There’s more to the fun, relatable branding of big marketing agencies than meets the eye. That typical quirky and somewhat jokey feel to the website and branding of big agencies is by no means the result of a light-hearted ‘photoshopping’ accident…

This mix of professionalism, clever branding and relatable quirkiness keeps users feeling familiar and open to the brand, as they would with a local business, while the professionalism provides them with the trust and reliance they need to make a new purchasing decision, just like a national giant.

 

So what is a “local” PPC advert and how to do I set up my local campaigns?

Well it might seem like a silly question but it’s something I hear asked a lot. Well, in a nutshell, a local advert appeals to a user in a specific area and below I’ve shown my “account structure best practice” to follow when targeting local users.

Now, users will search with two different types of keyword when looking for a local service:  Either generic keywords or location based keywords.

You should always separate these two types of keyword into different campaigns to ensure you’re serving the right adverts with the right keywords and picking up every search made.

Having a location keyword campaign that is targeting the whole of the UK will ensure someone in London typing “ppc management Crawley” can still see adverts for your Crawley based PPC management company – Just because the user isn’t in the area doesn’t mean they won’t interested in your services. They might work away from home or be searching while out on a trip. You don’t want to miss these extra impressions.

You also can’t guarantee that people will enter the locations in their search terms so you need to create a campaign that ‘geo-targets’ the service area of your business for generic keywords. For example, someone searching just “ppc management” within a 30 mile radius of your business address should see your adverts.

So you’ve created two campaigns – One for your generic keywords and one for your location keywords.

Now because you can’t guarantee which town in the 30 mile radius a user is searching from you can’t always use location specific terms in the text advert as it may be wrong and create an irrelevant advert for the user.

 Here’s a ‘generic keyword’ advert:

generic

*Note that Google has automatically included the ‘Location’ extension to show users that the business is nearby.

Here’s a ‘location keyword’ advert:

location

If a user has entered a keyword that contains a location term then you can be sure of that user’s intention and serve an advert containing the location’s name, as above.

This technique creates very compelling adverts that entice more local users to click on your adverts – See the below example. As you can see the advert is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition for relevance to the users search terms:

serps

 

And that’s it from me on ‘Local’ PPC. In my next blog post we’ll be taking a look at the awesome Image Ad Extensions beta testing that we recently took part in.

–         Happy PPC’ing