Local Businesses Are Missing Out on These Google Ad Strategies

I’m a big fan of brand advertising. No matter how we look at it, developing your brand is cheaper in the long run. Brand advertising has a deeper impact and leads to more sustainable growth.

Google Search Ads are primarily for lead generation. When you rely on lead generation, you are going after the high intent searches, but you pay a large premium. And you end up bidding against your competitors that are focused on lead generation. If Google Search Ads are your only form of online advertising, you are absolutely missing out.

At the same time, we’ve seen companies that think cost per click is too high so they completely give up on Google Ads. This is also a mistake. Why? Because Ads has become more complex with so many features its hard to properly utilize them all. This means that there are some good strategies you can deploy to take advantage of clicks that most companies won’t bother to go after.

Most local businesses are missing out on features that have been added over the years. If you deploy these strategies, you have a chance to steal some cheap clicks. Here are two good good strategies you can implement that work more often than not.

Google Ads Location Extensions

The best example of an underutilized Google Ads feature is location extensions.

google location extension for local business
When you properly integrate Google My Business with Google Ads, you can get an ad placement at the very top of the local pack map area on the search page. The same extension will also display the top of full map and in Google Maps mobile app.

I constantly see searches for our clients where there are no ads displaying on the map. That means that a lot of companies are not even taking advantage of this feature. Maybe they do for a few keywords, but if you are the only company using a location extension on a specific keywords, you get that spot. If no one else is bidding, it can be cheap.

So even if you have a really small budget, I recommend setting up your keywords like normal but keep your bids low. When there is a search with no competition, you will get some clicks and pay your low bid price.

It may not be hundreds of clicks a month, but if you get any clicks for high intent keywords at a low cost, you end up with a really low cost per lead that WILL outperform brand advertising.

Broad Based Search Strategy

If you are a plumber then “hire a plumber” or “plumbing service” are the high intent keywords. Those will be a high cost. The keyword plumbing will have a lot of clicks but it usually won’t’ convert as well. Why not? Because a high percentage of search intent is informational. The clicks you get are people hoping to get information about plumbing and not necessarily looking to hire a plumber.

For that reason, most broad based search is much cheaper to bid. So we will usually set up these keywords at a low bid. Then go into audiences tab. This is where Google magic happens. As Google will track people and can track someone that has recently been searching for plumbing services. You select that audience as an observation. Then make a bid adjustment for that specific audience.

google audience strategy for broad keywords

As an example, we might pay $5 per click for high intent keywords, but will bid $3 per click on the broad based keywords. But if we have someone that matches the plumbing service audience, we increase that bid by 30-60% so we pay $4-$5 per click for that search. We are now bidding up for someone that we know has been searching for plumbing services and know that this searcher is more likely to have a higher intent.

Performance and Results

Most of the time, both of these strategies will work well, but there are external factors that impact the total inventory of clicks and the end result. Results depend on the bid, size of local service area and competition. If other competitors are using these strategies, then this won’t work well. In some cases, this only works for a few keywords, so you may not get hundreds of clicks,but the ones you get will produce. Here is a quick example.

In this case, we had a medium intent keyword. We can see that the average cost per conversion is $90 but we have a few keywords that have high conversion rates. We’ve increased bids for those audiences at 30% and 10%. Based on these results, I just increased the bid adjustments as we have more room to bid. This client will take every conversion they can get under $100 as their average customer value (in profit) is much higher.

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