Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Tips for Local Businesses

, August 22, 2014

PPCDespite the dominance of web ads for national brands, it’s clear that consumers are still looking for local businesses when they’re surfing the web. In fact, pay-per-click, or PPC ads with a location in the heading typically perform better than those that don’t, and this data tells us that consumers find value in working with a local company.

Local businesses also have a distinct advantage when it comes to PPC advertising. They’re in tune with the local needs and buzzwords that will generate interest among their local customers.

Also, because the ads are targeted, the cost of generating leads from each ad is much lower than with nationalized ads. Google now enables businesses to target ads based on users’ ZIP codes, which allows businesses to hone in on even smaller segments of their local customer base. With this level of precise targeting, you’ll be able to gather more data about the neighborhoods and areas of your town that are most profitable for your business. (And who knows? Someday you might use this data to determine the best place for your next business location.)

While most local marketing experts don’t discount the value of PPC ads for local businesses, there are several ways for businesses to make the most of PPC ads.

Make Your Ad Count

Like all advertising copy, PPC ads should be direct and concise. Your PPC ad should include:

  • A descriptive headline
  • Two or three keywords in the ad copy
  • A call to action

Localize All Web Content

When people click on your PPC ad, they want to know they’ve found the right place. Make sure you remind customers they’re working with a local company even after they’ve made it to your business website or landing pages. Emphasize your location on your homepage, and make sure that your website theme and photos match the geographic location of your business. (For instance, if you’re located in the Midwest, ocean photos won’t help to reinforce your credibility.)

Branch Out

Another way to get more web traffic is to diversify your PPC activities. Google runs a highly effective PPC program that generates leads for many small businesses, however it might be difficult for businesses in small towns in particular to get a lot of web traffic from a single form of PPC. By incorporating additional websites into your PPC strategy, you can reach more potential customers.

Keep in mind that Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer PPC. For businesses that want to start branching out from Google, Bing is a great place to start. After you’ve created your Google AdWords campaign, you can use the same copy for your Bing ad.

Social media sites are constantly improving their ad targeting capabilities. Facebook enables advertisers to target users based on their interests as well as their location, so you may be able to take advantage of this extra layer of targeting.

Also, with Twitter’s promoted tweets, you can target a specific location. Unfortunately, location targeting is not available in some smaller towns and cities, but it is likely that Twitter will gradually improve in this area.

For businesses with corporate customers, LinkedIn may be a good bet. However, because LinkedIn ads cost more than other social media sites’, it’s best to use this platform only if you know your demographic well and can accurately pinpoint their interests and location.

Try a Location Extension

It’s important for local businesses to take advantage of the power of location extensions, too. Here’s how they work: People who are driving through your town might quickly search for “car wash broomfield” on their mobile phones, and Google Maps would show them where they can find what they’re looking for.

Google Places Local

It’s All About Tracking

With any type of marketing, it’s important to track your progress so that you can make smart adjustments to your campaign. Through Google’s phone call extensions, you can track the number of people who call and the reasons they’re calling, whether it’s to set up an appointment or check your prices. Call tracking enables you to find out which keywords are leading more customers to call your business.

Also, remember that PPC isn’t everything. Organic search marketing is important, too, and when you combine a solid PPC strategy with top organic search results, you’ll have a strong presence on web search results pages.


Chris Marentis is the Founder and CEO of Surefire Social, a provider of local digital marketing services and technology. With a coaching-centric approach, Surefire Social raises businesses’ local search presence through hyper-local search, display, social and mobile strategies.