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4 Steps to Maximize Local Search Success

jon-schepke
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"Four out of five consumers say they want search ads to be customized to their city, ZIP code or immediate surroundings," according to new research from Google highlighting the importance of location.

local-searches-google-study

While spot-on accurate and a good reminder, it only tells a quarter of the story you should consider while planning local marketing efforts. Here is a four-step process to maximize local search success.

Step 1: Make Search Ads Relevant to Context and Location

Google's latest research on local search, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, and commissioned by Google, concludes, "people expect search ads to be relevant to their context and location." The study includes details on where consumers search for local information, how many consumers use ads with location information and how far they travel to visit a store after searching.

One passage from a post on Inside AdWords summed up what this means for advertisers:

In a constantly connected world, advertisers need to think not only about consumers' intent, but also their context. Consumers are reaching out to brands whenever and wherever it's convenient for them. Many advertisers still run broad national ads when consumers really want ads that are customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings. It's more important than ever for advertisers to have an ad strategy that accounts for consumers' context and location.

To be most effective, local ad targeting requires marketers to extend the relevance of that targeting with equally relevant ad copy. Copy should be localized for each location and offer; this will extend the relevant experience and significantly boost click-through rate (CTR).

Step 2: Localize Landing Pages to Extend Relevance

Localizing ads with location targeting and hyperlocal copy can capture attention and generate clicks, but don't drive that traffic to a home page or an irrelevant landing page. Each localized ad campaign should pair up with localized landing pages that extend the localized experience.

Advertisers need to monitor the effectiveness of each and every landing page, test and adjust to ensure continued performance. When an ad with a high click-through rate fails to convert at high rates, this signals a problem that warrants investigation and correction. Marketers should either fix the landing page or rethink the ad.

Step 3: Localize Owned and Earned Media

Yes, advertisers should localize their ads, but consumers' desire to be catered to by location has implications that span the marketing mix. Brands with physical locations can do much more to feed consumers' appetites for local by leveraging their local marketing advantage.

With a local owned and earned presence in place, clicks can be won, directed to relevant local landing pages and converted with great success just as with ads. While this represents a significant opportunity even for single location small businesses, large brands with hundreds or thousands of locations have a more robust opportunity.

Step 4: Leverage a Blended Cost Analysis

I've written about the converged media opportunity in the past. Applying a blended cost analysis to more than one of these converged media types for purposes of optimizing the entire local media mix can help marketers take local marketing efforts to the next level.

Whatever the end goal of a local marketing campaign, a blended approach to cost analysis enables marketers to blend the costs of conversions acquired through paid media with those acquired through owned and earned channels at lower costs. The resulting structure provides a new perspective for marketers and offers new ways to optimize converged local media marketing initiatives.

Summary

Yes, we need to localize search ads, just like Google's new research suggests, but this is just the beginning of the equation for the motivated local marketer. Extending that local experience throughout the entire process should be the goal of all local marketing campaigns.


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