Localizing search efforts is a great way for advertisers to take their direct response marketing to the next level. From large brands with physical store locations, to franchise model organizations, to manufacturer-dealer relationships, localized search allows advertisers to provide the most up to date information to searchers and helps effectively funnel digital traffic into brick-and-mortar stores for offline purchasing, support, or even just pick-up.
Historically, search advertising has had one primary goal: Drive people to the website so that they can purchase online. However, that basic reason to spend paid marketing dollars on PPC is quickly evolving.
With the proliferation of mobile devices and digitally connected users on the go, paid search is the new "phone book" yet, search real-estate is limited on mobile devices, making it even harder to organically show up on the first page for more generic non-brand searches (indicating potential new customers).
There are several benefits to localizing your organization's search efforts. Customizing messaging for users in a particular market can communicate the right per store promotional information and even lead to innovative marketing tactics like "offline flash sales," only communicated digitally.
More importantly, paid search acts like a digital marketer's Nerf gun online.
When particular market locations are doing well, you can use PPC to "fire potential customers" into top store locations and capitalize on physicality. Conversely, under-performing markets can receive supplemental advertising efforts to help improve a store's presence.
This can work across many types of advertisers:
National organizations can help support local franchisees, improve consumer messaging, and limit wasted ad spend by local businesses who aren't necessarily digitally savvy.
Manufacturers who work with dealers directly can use their PPC dollars to help create new prospects for top partners locally, thereby increasing everyone's bottom line and improving relationships.
Restaurants with multiple locations can reach on-the-go users and get top of mind with the most local and up-to-date promotions in that key moment of the customer decision-making process.
With the right structure and analytics in place, local search can be a tool advertisers can use to capitalize on regions where business is strongest, or become a lever that can supplement marketing in underperforming regions in order to increase awareness and improve sales.
Here are four tips to effectively "localize" your search marketing:
1. Organize Your Campaign Structure
The organization of your campaign structure should be based on how your store locations are segmented, and how you plan to allocate budgets.
For example, if you have multiple retail locations within particular markets, metro level targeting may be all you need, whereas if you only have one location per market, you may be able to zero in on particular zip codes that are serviced.
2. Determine a Comprehensive Search Structure and Keyword List
Apply this across all markets in order to improve efficiencies. Kenshoo's profile system is an excellent way to group multiple campaigns into location-based groups for localized optimization, allowing for customized bidding strategies per market.
3. Customize Your Messaging by Market
For organizations with multiple offline locations, promotions tend to be customized based on competition within that market. Coordinating search messaging with other local marketing tactics (TV, radio, print) allows organizations to capitalize on the buzz generated by more traditional efforts.
4. Clearly Define Your Goals for Individual Markets
When possible, ask yourself how this KPI can be effectively measured in reporting and if there is a way to attribute offline KPIs back to search campaigns where budget is being spent locally. Data visualization tools like Tableau are an excellent way to take geographic data and visualize in a user friendly way for making decisions.
In an evolving digital and mobile landscape, connecting with consumers at a local customized level has become extremely important. Proper digital tracking and analytics allows paid search to be a powerful tool for CMOs to use and impact the brick and mortar bottom line.
Online search is the phone book for the next generation of consumers. Brands who are able to provide the right information at the right time and place will be the ones who best resonate with consumers in the future.