So you want your business to appear in local searches, but are not sure of the best way to accomplish that. You have been contacted (possibly daily) by telemarketers from Yellowbook.com, Superpages.com, CitySearch.com or one of many search marketers you never heard of promising to get your business found in local searches one way or another. Your city/town has set up their own website (insert city)shopper.com promoting local businesses via promised traffic or coupon offers for a tiny cut of the action. You have been promised the world by local affiliate scams like LocalAdLink. After being inundated with calls and emails telling you how you are missing out on local search traffic, your head is probably spinning. Truth is, the majority of these so called solutions touting local search s are either quite expensive for what is delivered, pure scams, or something you can set up yourself at a fraction of the cost.
So hang up the phone on salesmen offering you top local search visibility at a "low monthly cost." Instead consider the benefits of using Google’s local search options. You know who Google is. You can be highly effective on Google for a fraction of the cost compared with what the telemarketers trying to sell you their magical solutions will charge. The best part about it is Google offers considerable transparency into how you are spending your money and what you are getting for it. Something you may not find with the alternatives. So let’s explore a couple of paid local search options that Google offers that will provide you with local search visibility.
So what is Google AdWords? In a nutshell, Google AdWords is a place where you can create and run ads for your business. Your ads will appear online across different Google owned properties. That’s the bare bones, if you would like to learn more about Google AdWords and other paid search options visit E-Power’s Paid Search Section. For now, let’s move on to how your business can benefit from local paid search options offered by Google.
Google AdWords Geo-Targeting:
Paid programs on Google allow you to target a specific zip code or region. If you should choose, you can pretty much target the sidewalk outside your store allowing you to reach relevant and nearby potential customers.
Here is an example of how your business can benefit from Geo-Targeting on Google AdWords. If John Smith is in the mood for a sub and he is in the vicinity of your sub shop, whether he is at home or walking in a nearby park, all he has to do is Google sub shop and your paid search ad will be displayed on his desktop, laptop or cell phone. Entice him even further by offering him a coupon after he has clicked on your ad and you could see John walking into you sub shop any minute now.
Besides advanced Geo-Targeting, Google offers the option to use ad extensions, which when used correctly can benefit your local paid search program. These ad extensions can be used to show your physical store location (multiple if necessary), products offered and even your phone number right underneath your text ad in local search results. Adding a "click to call" option further enhances the benefits of ad extensions by giving the customer the ability to call you directly from their Smartphone like an iPhone or Android for further information before even getting to your website. In a nutshell, ad extensions give you the ability to provide a potential customer with relevant information right from the get go.
Google Maps are used for directions to find local businesses and other areas of interest, making it a logical place to advertise in your locality. There are now several ways to reach your local target market using Google Maps. Your first option is to set up an account within Google Places formerly Local Business Center. This allows you to Tag (highlight) your Google Maps listing for $25/month. Currently tagging via Google Places is only available in select locations.
Another way to get your business to appear in Google Maps is to set up a Google AdWords program and target it towards Google’s Search Partner Network. This may sound a bit complicated, but targeting Google’s Search Partner network gives you the ability to have your ads displayed for relevant search results triggered by key phrases you select across hundreds of thousands of Websites.
Both Google Map options allow you the ability to reach your target audience while providing the necessary transparency to measure ROI.
Paid Mobile Search:
Seems almost everyone has a cell phone these days. With the ever increasing popularity of Smartphones , search engines like Google have added specialized paid mobile ad programs. Paid mobile gives you the ability to set up a paid search campaign that only targets mobile phone users. Targeting Smartphones is just a click away.
With the heated cell phone coverage map wars, you likely only want your ads to show where a user can actually get service. Queue those maps up, study your area and select the carriers that offer coverage in your area. Combine your paid mobile search campaign with advanced Geo-Targeting and you can display an ad to John Doe’s cell phone just as he happens to be two blocks away from your Caramel Crisp shop searching for some munchies. And guess what, he has the urge for just what you are serving up!
Google has come a long way in local paid search and has provided the platform and the tools necessary for you to effectively reach your local audience. Just remember, whatever avenue you choose, make sure you follow the fundamentals of paid search including setting a clear goal, key phrase and landing page relevancy, creation of compelling ad copy, and proper testing and measurement.