Local PPC: 10 Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Campaigns

Two marketing managers discussing local ppc with a laptop

If you aren’t utilizing local pay-per-click (PPC) in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Local PPC allows businesses to specifically target potential customers in their area, ensuring that their ads are seen by those who are most likely to convert into paying customers.

This targeted approach not only boosts visibility among local searchers but also drives foot traffic, amplifies brand awareness, and enhances lead generation. As a marketing company with years of hands-on experience in crafting and executing successful local PPC campaigns, we’ve seen firsthand the transformative impact they can have on local businesses. By sharing our journey and the lessons we’ve learned, we aim to simplify local PPC, making it accessible and impactful for your business. So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of local PPC!

What is Local PPC?

Local PPC is an online advertising strategy that allows businesses to place ads in search engine results pages (SERPs) and other digital platforms, targeting users based on their geographic location. 

This specificity ensures that your marketing efforts are concentrated on potential customers within a defined area, maximizing the relevance and efficiency of your ad spend. Simply put, local PPC allows you to reach potential customers in your immediate vicinity, providing a powerful tool for driving foot traffic and increasing sales.

How to Create a Local PPC Campaign

Crafting a local PPC campaign requires meticulous planning and strategic execution. Here’s a step-by-step guide based on our extensive experience:

Determine Your Goal

Setting a clear objective is the first and most crucial step in any local PPC campaign. Begin by conducting a thorough audit of your business’s current standing. This involves a detailed assessment of your online presence, sales figures, customer engagement, and any previous marketing efforts’ successes or failures. This audit will highlight the areas where PPC can have the most significant impact. For instance, if you’re finding that awareness around a new product line is low, setting a goal focused on increasing visibility and interest through targeted ads could be beneficial.

Next, the importance of setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals cannot be overstated. This methodology ensures that your objectives are clear and quantifiable, making it easier to measure success and make necessary adjustments. For example, rather than a vague aim of “increasing sales,” a SMART goal would be “to increase online sales by 20% within the next quarter.” This clarity allows for focused campaign design and a clear benchmark for evaluating performance.

Lastly, it’s essential to tailor your goals to the nature of your business. Different types of businesses will have varying objectives based on their unique customer interactions and conversion paths. A local restaurant, for instance, might prioritize increasing online reservations through their PPC ads, aiming to capture potential diners actively searching for dining options in their area. Conversely, a retail store might focus its PPC efforts on driving both online and in-store traffic by highlighting promotions, new stock arrivals, or exclusive in-store events. Understanding the nuances of your business type and how your customers engage with your brand will help in setting more effective, targeted goals.

Understand Your Target Audience

A deep understanding of your target audience is paramount for the success of your PPC campaigns. This in-depth understanding ensures that every aspect of your PPC campaign, from keyword selection to ad creative, is tailored to resonate with the people most likely to convert.

The journey to truly knowing your audience begins with comprehensive market research. This can take various forms, from deploying surveys that probe into the preferences and pain points of potential customers to organizing focus groups that allow for a more interactive exploration of customer attitudes and behaviors. Additionally, analyzing your existing customer base can provide valuable insights. Look at purchase histories, customer feedback, and engagement patterns to identify trends and preferences. This research helps in painting a vivid picture of who your audience is and what they are looking for.

Creating buyer personas is the next critical step. These are semi-fictional characters that embody the characteristics of your ideal customers. They are constructed from the data gathered during your market research and include demographic details (age, gender, income level), interests (hobbies, values), and behavioral traits (shopping habits, preferred communication channels). These personas allow you to visualize your target audience, making it easier to craft messages that speak directly to them. For instance, knowing that one of your personas values sustainability highly can guide you to highlight eco-friendly aspects of your product in your ads.

Lastly, analyzing your competitors’ strategies offers a window into the broader market dynamics and reveals how other businesses are vying for the attention of your target audience. This analysis can uncover gaps in their strategies that you can exploit or successful tactics you might adopt. For example, if you notice a competitor is successfully engaging a younger demographic through social media ads, it might indicate an opportunity for you to explore similar channels or to differentiate by targeting an older demographic that’s being underserved. Read our blog on PPC competitor analyses for more information!

Set Budget

A well-planned budget ensures that your local PPC campaigns are both effective and sustainable. By researching the average cost-per-click (CPC) in your industry and region, you gain valuable insights into what you might expect to spend to compete effectively. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner provide a starting point, offering a glimpse into potential expenses based on current market rates.

Determining your financial limits is the next essential step. This involves evaluating your overall marketing budget and pinpointing how much of it you can allocate to PPC without compromising other initiatives. The key here is not just setting a cap on your spend but understanding how to distribute this budget across various facets of your PPC campaigns to maximize returns. It’s about investing wisely to ensure that each dollar spent is an investment towards achieving your marketing goals.

Monitoring metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates will highlight which elements of your campaign are yielding the best ROI. This enables you to shift your budget towards the most effective ads and keywords, ensuring your campaign remains dynamic and responsive to performance trends. Adjusting your budget in response to these insights ensures that your PPC efforts remain cost-effective, driving the best possible outcomes for your business.

Read our blog on how much it costs to advertise on Google for more insights.

Create a Keyword Strategy

Three wooden blocks with magnifying glass emojis drawn on them next to wooden people figurines
Local PPC: 10 Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Campaigns 5

One of the key components of successful local PPC campaigns is conducting thorough keyword research. This involves identifying high-intent, location-specific keywords that are relevant to your business and target audience. These keywords should reflect what users are searching for when looking for products or services in your local area. Here’s some tips on how to execute that: 

Leverage Keyword Research Tools

Google’s Keyword Planner is an invaluable resource in the quest for finding the most relevant keywords for your campaign. Dive deep into this tool to uncover not just the popular search terms but also the niche keywords that your competition might overlook. Look for long-tail keywords with lower competition—these are often more specific and can result in higher conversion rates. For example, instead of targeting “bakery,” aim for “gluten-free bakery in downtown Phoenix” to attract a more targeted audience.

Focus on Local Keywords

Local keywords are your secret weapon in attracting nearby customers. These include not just your city or town’s name but also local landmarks, neighborhood names, and even common local phrases. Consider using “near me” in your keywords, as searches like “coffee shops near me” have seen exponential growth. This practice ensures that your ads appear to users who are actively seeking services or products in your vicinity, making them more likely to convert.

Organize Keywords into Ad Groups

Creating ad groups that are tightly themed around specific sets of keywords can significantly improve the relevance of your ads and landing pages, leading to better Quality Scores and lower CPCs. For instance, a pet store could have separate ad groups for “dog grooming services” and “organic dog food.” This organization allows for more targeted ad copy and more relevant landing page experiences for potential customers, directly impacting the effectiveness of your PPC efforts.

Use Geo-Targeting

Geo-targeting transforms your local PPC campaigns by ensuring ads reach the audience most likely to engage with your business based on their geographic location. Here’s how to leverage geo-targeting effectively within a concise strategy:

Defining Your Geographic Target Area

Begin with pinpoint accuracy by identifying where your target audience resides or frequents. Utilize analytics to discern these locations or apply market insights to uncover potential customer hotspots. Digital advertising platforms offer granular targeting options, from city-level down to zip codes, enabling you to tailor your campaigns to specific areas.

Using Location Extensions

Enhance your ads with location extensions, which provide searchers with your business’s address, phone number, and a map marker directly in the ad. This feature, available by linking your Google My Business account with your Google Ads account, not only improves your ad’s visibility but also its utility, making it easier for local customers to find or contact you.

Adjusting Bids by Location

The competitive landscape and conversion potential can vary significantly by location. Analyze performance data to understand which areas are delivering the best return on investment. Adjust your bids to reflect this, allocating more budget to high-performing locations and reducing spend in areas that aren’t performing as well. This dynamic approach to bid adjustment allows you to maximize your advertising efficiency, ensuring that your budget is spent on attracting customers in the locations where your ads resonate the most.

Align Landing Page Strategy With Ad Strategy

The alignment of your landing pages with your ad strategy is critical for converting visitors into customers. To achieve this, start by crafting landing pages that resonate with the specific messaging and offers highlighted in your ads. Each landing page should be a direct continuation of the ad’s promise, providing a cohesive experience that meets visitors’ expectations.

Beyond matching messages, your landing pages must be optimized for conversion. This means integrating clear, compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that guide visitors toward the next step, whether making a purchase, signing up for more information, or booking an appointment. Additionally, ensuring that your landing pages are mobile-friendly is non-negotiable in today’s increasingly mobile-first world. Visitors should have a smooth, engaging experience regardless of the device they use.

Lastly, the process of aligning your landing page with your ad strategy involves continuous improvement. Employ A/B testing to try out different landing page elements—from headline variations to different CTA colors—and measure their impact on conversion rates. This iterative approach allows you to refine your landing pages based on real data, ultimately enhancing their effectiveness in converting ad clicks into valuable customer actions.

Monitor Ad Performance

Continuous monitoring and optimization are key to the long-term success of your local PPC campaigns. To effectively monitor ad performance:

  1. Set Up Conversion Tracking: Use tools like Google Analytics to track actions taken on your website as a result of your ads. This will help you see which ads and landing pages are driving the most conversions.
  2. Review Key Metrics Regularly: Pay close attention to metrics such as CTR, CPC, conversion rate, and quality score. When analyzing these metrics, look for patterns and trends to identify areas for improvement. For example, if your CTR is low, try testing different ad copy or adjusting your targeting or if your quality score is low, focus on improving the relevance and usability of your landing pages.
  3. Optimize Based on Data: Use the data collected to make informed decisions about adjusting your campaigns, whether it’s changing your ad copy, targeting options, or budget allocation. You should look for opportunities to optimize your campaigns and constantly strive for better results.

By following these detailed steps and continuously refining your approach based on data and performance, you can create local PPC campaigns that not only reach but also resonate with your target audience, driving meaningful engagement and conversions.

10 Key Tips for Local PPC Success

Hands typing on a laptop on a desk (local PPC campaigns)
Local PPC: 10 Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Campaigns 6

Now that you know how to set up a local PPC campaign, here are nine tips to help you achieve success:

1. Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs)

SKAGs allow for unparalleled control and targeting within your PPC campaigns. By dedicating an ad group to a single keyword, you can tailor ad copy precisely.  For example, if you’re managing a PPC campaign for a boutique coffee shop, you might choose to create a SKAG for the keyword “organic espresso beans.” This allows you to:

  • Craft Targeted Ad Copy: You can write ad text that directly addresses the search query “organic espresso beans,” highlighting your shop’s unique selling points related to this specific product. This targeted approach helps to significantly improve the ad’s relevance to the searcher, potentially boosting your Quality Score with search engines.
  • Enhance Click-Through Rates (CTR): Because the ad copy is so closely aligned with what the searcher is looking for, the likelihood of them clicking on your ad increases. Searchers are presented with a clear solution to their query, making it more compelling to click through to see what your coffee shop offers.
  • Customize Landing Pages: The landing page to which the ad leads can be specifically designed to feature organic espresso beans, providing detailed information about the product, customer testimonials, and a clear call to action (e.g., “Order Now”). This specificity ensures that once a potential customer clicks on the ad, they’re met with content that matches their expectations, thereby improving the chances of conversion.

By implementing SKAGs, you refine each component of your PPC campaign to cater to the intentions behind individual search queries, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of your advertising efforts across the board.

2. Be Specific With Locations

Targeting specific locations ensures that your ads are displayed to users most likely to visit your business. Start by utilizing local insights, which include analyzing data from local sales, foot traffic patterns, and demographic trends. This analysis helps in identifying the areas where your advertising efforts are likely to yield the best results. Additionally, employing radius targeting can be particularly effective for businesses with a well-defined local customer base. This method involves targeting users located within a certain distance from your business, ensuring that your ads reach those who are in proximity and more likely to visit. 

Furthermore, segmenting your campaigns by location allows for more customized messaging and more efficient budget allocation. By creating separate campaigns for different locations, you can tailor your advertising messages to address the unique characteristics and needs of each target area. This not only increases the relevance of your ads but also improves overall campaign performance by ensuring that resources are directed toward areas with the highest potential for conversion. 

3. Use Local Language

Incorporating local language into your ad copy is a powerful way to enhance its connection with your target audience. By researching and using the vernacular, slang, and specific phrases that are familiar to your local audience, you can significantly increase the relevance and appeal of your ads. This involves not just understanding the language commonly spoken in the area but also being aware of any local landmarks or events that could be mentioned to foster a sense of community and shared identity. 

However, it’s crucial to approach this with cultural sensitivity. Ensuring that the use of local language, references, and mentions of landmarks or events is done respectfully is key to connecting with potential customers without risking offense or alienation. This strategy not only makes your ads more engaging but also demonstrates your business’s awareness and appreciation of local culture, further establishing your brand as a considerate and integral part of the community.

Check out our full guide to writing advertising copy!

4. Test Different Keyword Match Types

Experimenting with various keyword match types (broad, phrase, exact, and negative) allows you to:

  • Balance Reach and Relevance: Find the right mix between broadening your audience and targeting users with a clear intent to purchase. You can do this by using broad match keywords to reach a larger audience and phrase or exact match for a more targeted approach.
  • Optimize Spend: Identify which match types provide the best ROI, helping allocate your budget more efficiently. You can identify the most profitable match types by tracking conversion rates and cost-per-click (CPC).
  • Refining Targeting Over Time: Use performance data to assess how different match types are contributing to your campaign goals. If you notice that a broad match keyword is generating a lot of traffic but few conversions, you might consider narrowing it down to a phrase or exact match to increase relevance. Conversely, if an exact match keyword is too restrictive, loosening it to a phrase match might boost traffic without sacrificing too much quality.

Over time, this iterative process of testing, analyzing, and adjusting your use of keyword match types allows you to hone in on the most effective strategy for reaching your target audience, optimizing your budget, and achieving your campaign objectives.

5. Location Ad Extensions

Location ad extensions are a powerful feature that significantly boosts the effectiveness of your ads by including your business address, phone number, and directions right within the ad content. This addition not only increases the visibility of your ads by providing potential customers with valuable information at a glance but also plays a crucial role in driving foot traffic to your physical location.

By making it easier for users to find and contact your business, you’re essentially removing barriers to in-store visits. Furthermore, utilizing location ad extensions can have a positive impact on your local SEO efforts. They help to assert your presence in local search results, making your business more discoverable to those searching for related products or services in your area. Implementing location ad extensions is a strategic move to stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract more customers to your physical storefront.

6. A/B Testing

A/B testing is defined as the process of comparing two versions of a webpage or app to determine which performs better. In digital marketing, A/B testing is often used to improve conversion rates and overall user experience. A/B testing different elements of your ads and landing pages is crucial for optimization. 

You can conduct A/B testing by creating two versions of your webpage or ad with one variable changed, such as the headline, call-to-action, or image. Then, you can track and measure the performance of each version to see which one has a higher conversion rate. By doing A/B testing, you can continuously improve and refine your digital marketing strategies for better results.

We recommend experimenting with headlines, descriptions, and display paths to see what performs best. You can also try different CTA buttons, images, and content layouts to improve conversion rates. Remember to continuously test and apply learnings to refine both ads and landing pages over time. This process of continuous optimization is crucial for staying ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

7. Mobile Optimization

With the increasing prevalence of mobile searches, ensuring your ads and landing pages are mobile-friendly is essential. Make sure your landing pages adapt smoothly to any screen size. Remember to optimize images and scripts to ensure quick loading times on mobile devices. Consider implementing click-to-call buttons for easy access to your business’s phone number. By providing a seamless mobile experience, you can capture potential customers on the go and drive conversions.

8. Leverage Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are a feature in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns that allow advertisers to exclude certain words or phrases from triggering their ads. By defining negative keywords, advertisers can prevent their ads from being shown in response to search queries that contain those terms. This is particularly useful for filtering out traffic that is not relevant to the business or unlikely to convert into sales or leads.

For example, if an online store sells new books, the store might add “used” as a negative keyword to ensure their ads don’t appear for searches related to used books. This helps to focus the ad spend on targeting users with a clear interest in purchasing new books, thereby increasing the efficiency of the campaign. Negative keywords help in refining targeting, reducing wasted ad spend, and improving the overall ROI of PPC campaigns.

They can reduce wasted spend, saving your budget by avoiding clicks from users unlikely to convert. They can also improve the overall performance of your campaigns by focusing on highly relevant traffic. Negative keywords can be applied at the campaign or ad group level, allowing for a higher degree of customization and control over targeting.

To find negative keywords, start by conducting thorough keyword research and analyzing your search terms report. Look for any irrelevant or low-performing keywords that are generating clicks but not conversions. These could include misspellings, broad match variations, or unrelated terms. Add these as negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing up for those searches in the future.

Another strategy is to use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to generate a list of related keywords and then filter out any terms that are not relevant to your business. This can help you identify potential negative keywords that you may not have considered before.

9. Continue to Add New Keywords

The search landscape is always evolving, so adding new keywords based on market trends and search query data is vital. You can do this by using search query reports that identify profitable new keywords that users are searching for.

If certain keywords or themes are working well, look for related terms to capture a broader audience. Keep an eye on your competitors as well – if they are using keywords that you haven’t thought of, consider adding them to your list.

Additionally, incorporate keywords related to seasonal events or trending topics to stay relevant. Analyzing search trends and adapting your keyword list accordingly can greatly improve your ad’s performance.

10. Run Google Local Services Ads

Google Local Services Ads are a type of advertising offered by Google specifically designed for local service providers, such as plumbers, locksmiths, cleaners, and electricians, among others. These ads appear at the very top of Google Search results when people search for the services these businesses offer in their area, providing prominent visibility.

These ads stand out by allowing businesses to become Google Verified, a process that includes a thorough screening and verification, culminating in the awarding of the Google Guaranteed badge. This badge not only elevates your business’s visibility but also builds trust among potential customers, serving as a mark of reliability and quality. 

Additionally, the emphasis on customer reviews becomes crucial in this space. Actively encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive feedback can significantly boost your profile’s appeal, making it more likely to attract new clients. Furthermore, optimizing your profile by detailing your service offerings, business hours, and specific service areas ensures that your ads are displayed to the most relevant audiences. By adopting these focused strategies, local service providers can markedly improve the effectiveness of their PPC campaigns, leading to increased targeted traffic, higher conversion rates, and a more efficient allocation of advertising spend, ultimately enhancing the return on investment.

Implementing these strategies can significantly enhance the performance of your local PPC campaigns, driving more targeted traffic, increasing conversions, and optimizing your advertising spend for better ROI.

Local PPC Pitfalls to Avoid

Person at a desk with a cup of coffee, a camera, and a laptop displaying a map (local PPC strategy)
Local PPC: 10 Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Campaigns 7

Here, we outline common pitfalls in local PPC and provide strategies to avoid them, ensuring your campaigns are optimized for maximum impact and efficiency.

1. Ignoring Ad Scheduling

Not all hours or days yield the same performance for your ads. Ignoring ad scheduling can lead to running your ads when your target audience is less active, resulting in wasted ad spend. Tailoring your ads to appear during peak hours based on your audience’s online behavior can enhance visibility and conversions.

2. Overlooking Cross-Device Performance

With users switching between devices, failing to consider how your ads perform across different devices (mobile, desktop, tablet) can hinder your campaign’s effectiveness. Optimizing ads for cross-device engagement ensures a consistent and efficient reach.

3. Neglecting Post-Click Experience

Focusing solely on the click-through without ensuring a seamless post-click experience can drastically reduce conversion rates. Ensuring that the landing page is directly relevant to the ad, loads quickly, and provides a clear path to conversion is crucial.

4. Underestimating the Importance of Local Competitive Analysis

Not keeping an eye on local competitors’ PPC strategies can leave you behind. Understanding their keyword targeting, ad copy, and offers can provide insights to refine your approach and identify untapped opportunities.

5. Failing to Leverage Local Partnerships in Ads

Not utilizing local partnerships or community events in your ad strategy can be a missed opportunity. Highlighting local collaborations or sponsorships can increase your brand’s relevance and connection to the community.

6. Skipping Bid Adjustments for High-Value Locations

Not making bid adjustments for locations that historically bring in more business is a common oversight. Analyzing location data and increasing bids for areas with higher conversion rates can maximize your ROI.

7. Relying Solely on Automation Without Oversight

While automated bidding and ad optimizations can save time, completely relying on them without manual oversight can lead to inefficiencies. Regularly reviewing automated decisions and making adjustments based on human insight is essential for maintaining control over your campaign’s performance.

Avoiding these pitfalls requires a balanced approach to leveraging technology while maintaining a hands-on understanding of your local market’s dynamics. By staying vigilant and adaptable, you can steer clear of these additional challenges and drive more successful local PPC campaigns.

Check out our ultimate guide to paid advertising next!


Hands holding up a white tablet with the Google search console open (local PPC ads)
Local PPC: 10 Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Campaigns 8

Local PPC is a dynamic and powerful tool in the arsenal of digital marketing strategies for local businesses. By following the guidelines and leveraging the tips shared in this post, businesses can craft local PPC campaigns that not only reach but resonate with their target audience, driving meaningful engagement and conversions.

Our experience has taught us that the landscape of local PPC is ever-changing, requiring marketers to stay informed, agile, and creative. As your local PPC management partner, we’re here to navigate this journey with you, combining our expertise with your unique business insights to achieve remarkable results.

Don’t let your PPC efforts be spoiled by automated click fraud. Read our blog on click bots and how to avoid them!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does local PPC cost?

The cost of local PPC varies widely depending on factors like industry, competition, and geographic location. Setting a budget that reflects your business goals and market dynamics is essential.

What does PPC mean?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, a model of online advertising where businesses pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.

What is local services ads vs PPC?

Local Services Ads are a specific type of Google ads designed for local service providers, offering direct leads rather than website visits. Unlike traditional PPC, you pay per lead rather than per click. Other local marketing tactics, such as SEO and local listings management, can also drive leads to your business.

Picture of Noelle Thuillier

Noelle Thuillier

Noelle is a Content Specialist for WGM. She writes and edits all business content, including blogs, press releases, social media posts, and technical writing pieces. With over ten years of experience writing, Noelle has been published on many reputable sites during her career, including TheScriptLab.com and HelloGiggles.com. Before coming to WGM, she worked as a News Director at KWHI in Brenham, Texas. Noelle oversaw the newsroom writing stories, producing content, and being an on-air personality. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Noelle holds a Master in Arts degree in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Greenwich in London, England. Noelle’s other passion in life is her family. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, daughter, Frankie, and English Bulldog, Alvin. She also loves to travel, with her favorite destinations so far being Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Get Our Expertise Delivered

To keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest WGM updates.

Table of Contents

Check Out Some of Our Similar Posts

Stay Updated

Get Our Expertise Delivered

Join our mailing list and receive the latest insights, strategies, and tips straight to your inbox.

Wait! Before You Go...

Need Help Creating an Internet Marketing Plan?

We’d love to help! Get a personalized roadmap to skyrocket your business – it’s on us! 🚀
Claim Your Freebie Now! It’s Our Gift to You.