Being Seen—6 PPC Tips for Local Businesses

As a local business owner, its vital to make sure that your business is being seen by potential customers.  You could spend your resources on television or radio ads, or you could could go where the people are—on their devices.  As of this year, Canada alone has 9.1 million smart phone users.  Every year this number grows by leaps and bounds.  So as a local business owner, we can’t ignore the fact that most people will initially discover your business either on a smartphone, tablet or computer via the internet.  People don’t go to the yellow pages or search the classified ads in the local newspaper like in times past.  Instead they “google” for the specific service or they click on an ad attached on a web site.

When it comes to PPC (pay per click) ads, its important to make sure your reaching your target audience.  For local businesses that means reaching the customers in your community.  Here are 6 tips to better reach your local customers.

1.    City Based Ads.  As local business owners, you want to create an ad that specifically reaches customers in your LOCAL area.  Not nation wide.  You want to be able to focus your resources on the customers in your city.  This way, you get the best bang for your buck.  This really applies to creating an ad that reaches your target customers.  You can do this by utilizing keywords that target your local area.  For instance, if you want to target all of Alberta, Canada, you would use key words to that effect, or if you’d like to bring it a little closer to home you could use key words that target just Edmonton.

2.     Using Postal Codes.  Short of putting your address in the ad copy, using postal codes is a good way of helping your customers know that you are a local business.  It doesn’t hurt to include the name of the city.  This can be done in two ways.  You can include it 1) in the ad text, or 2) you can include it right in your the URL for your business.

3.     Talking the talk.  There are things that only locals understand.  Go ahead, talk the talk.  Add details to your ad copy that speak directly to your target audience.  If people have no idea what your talking about, then they’re not your target audience.  This will also ad keywords that are location specific.  It also comes down to connecting with your target market.  If you understand how the locals speak, you can tailor your ad to better contact the people in your area.

4.     Callouts and Site Links.  PPC ads have what are called “Callout Text.” This is the part of the ad designed to catch the eye.  This is where you really want to pull your customers in.  You can do it by making sure they know your are local with text like “Servicing Edmonton for the past 50 years.”  Your “Site Links” can have a similar effect with text like Hydro Excavation in Edmonton.  You don’t have to display your site URL.  Instead you can have an eye catching link that speaks to your local market.

5.     Keywords.  Keeping in mind your keywords is always a good start to running any ad campaign.  Remember, you can always change your ad as you go.  Watch what keywords are working for you and what ones are not.  Continually update your keywords to reflect the ones that are bringing your the most business.  This goes hand in hand with SEO (search engin optimization) campaigns.  You can tailor these campaigns based on how well your keywords are generating clicks.

6.     Negative Keywords.  Just as important as it is to control who sees your ad, you can also control how to avoid paying for clicks that won’t benefit you or your business.  Negative Keywords prevent your ad from showing in queries you don’t want. Businesses use negative keywords for a number of reasons.  The point is, you want to find your target audience.  Every click costs you money so by making sure the ad is being placed before the correct audience can save a considerable amount on your advertising budget.

You can’t leave your advertising to chance.  By following these six simple steps, you’ll be able to pin-point your marketing efforts, find new customers, and speak directly to the people in your community.

Shaune Vasseur is the owner of Hydrovac Edmonton, based in Edmonton AB, Canada. He has found that online marketing has been the best ROI for marketing his business and has helped it grow in spite of an economic downturn in the oil industry. Visit Shaunes website, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or

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