Most business owners know the value of direct response traffic they can receive from PPC. If you own several brick-and-mortar locations and you want to start running ads within the search engines, the good news is that you can do all of this from the same account within AdWords or Bing. Better yet, if you are already running paid search for one store and want to expand, this can easily be done as well.
That said, the most critical element in implementing successful PPC campaigns for multiple business locations is understanding how to properly manage your geographic targeting.
The first step, especially if your locations are within a close proximity to each other, is to figure out what areas are most important to target by location. Using past sales and/or lead data by geographic area can be a major help if you are a smaller business. If you have regional locations separated by hundreds of miles, this is much easier to manage.
For this example, let’s assume you have several businesses all within 50 miles of each other. Using the example above, the first step is to gather together a list of towns, cities, or zip codes you want to target. An tremendous advantage of search engine advertising, especially within Google, is the ability to pin-point your local audience - you can target by country, state, metro area, county, city, or zip code. You can also create a custom radius around your location so you don’t have to go through the tedious task of adding in every city you want to target.
After you have your geographic targets by location list, next is to check for any areas that may overlap from store to store. If there is overlap, you either have to make a decision on whether to keep this targeting as is, or remove the targeting from one of the stores.
IMPORTANT NOTE – Google will only serve an ad for ONE of your campaigns at a time. You can’t have multiple ads show up on the same page if you are running ads from the same account under the same website. For example, if Store A and Store B are both targeting Anytown, USA, you won’t be able to have a prospect from this town perform a search and have an ad show up for both stores. Google will pick one or the other.
Next, you are ready to set-up your campaigns. After adding in your targeting locations under the settings, Stream highly advises you find the “Location options (advanced)” area and target by “People in my targeted location.” Please note, this is not the default setting, which is “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location.” Google’s system is not perfect and we have found that this default setting can attract visitors outside of the areas you target. This can be detrimental if these searchers are in locations you have set-up for other stores. In other words, you could be cannibalizing yourself!
After choosing your targeted locations and location options, the last step for geo-targeting is to set-up your excluded areas. These are areas Google will try to prevent your ads from showing in when people are searching nearby. For this section, we recommend adding in the cities/areas from all of your other campaigns. This will act as a secondary safeguard in avoiding unwanted clicks that you would want to go to one of your other campaigns/stores. In the example below, we want to attract customers in the Philadelphia market, but avoid clicks for the other stores we have in New Jersey and Delaware.
Following the steps above will help ensure your campaigns will attract the customers in the precise areas which are most important to you and your individual store locations. Once live, make sure the person managing your account is checking the geographic dimensions report by campaign to make sure everything was set-up correctly and help you confirm any additional areas you want to add-in or exclude.
To learn more about driving quality traffic and leads with PPC, download our free eBook, How to Transform Your PPC Campaigns Today.
All the best,
Brock Clauser is the Director of Paid Search at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.