When is geo-targeted local search marketing right?

Local search marketing has taken on new importance with the rise of mobile technology. Keeping in mind that people check their mobile phones roughly 100 times on a daily basis (1), it's not surprising that more companies have set their sights on improving their reach through local search.

Although it has become somewhat commonplace, the fact that smartphones have enabled buyers to remain connected and engaged in the customer journey from anywhere at any time is remarkable. It opens up a world of opportunities for marketers who have considered this idea in depth and developed strategies to remain in touch in ways that were never possible before. One of the key concepts that businesses have zeroed in on is geo-targeting for local search marketing.

Improve paid search ad performance
The main argument in support of geo-targeting is that ads perform twice as well as the industry average in terms of click-thru rates. Even though CTRs can be a reliable metric for a company's visibility in a specific location, other actions that buyers take are more important. These include inbound calls, search for directions and requests for further information. When taking those secondary behaviors into account, location-based geo-targeting still remains as a proven way to inspire a greater level of buyer interaction with brands. To make the most of this strategy, a company needs to understand its audience to high degree. For instance, it's important to know the local geography, culture and what kind of category the business fits into. Companies in different industries can perform better or worse depending on their marketplace.

Multiple applications
Based on a company's needs, there a few ways they can use geo-targeting. One of them is geo-aware advertising, which uses the real-time data related to a buyer's location to send a specific message. Another tactic is geo-fencing, and this involves setting up a boundary around a specific location. When a customer enters that area, they receive an ad.

Understanding needs
Before putting a local search campaign into practice, a company should research its buyer audience to make certain it will be worth the effort (2). Since this marketing strategy is largely built on mobile users' behaviors, the organization needs to know if its customers are heavy users of their mobile devices. This will dictate how quickly a local search campaign has to be developed. Another key consideration is the channel that buyers use the most, so they'll be more likely to encounter a geo-targeted ad.

1. "Location Based Geo-Targeting Boosts Paid Search Ad Performance…Or Does It?"
2. "How to Get Closer to Customers with Local Marketing"

Sheila Kloefkorn (1031 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.