Google Ads for Local Business

Google Adwords is a fantastic product. It gives ANY business the ability to connect with potential customers instantly. But, as I’ve seen over the past year or so most local businesses have been burned by someone not setting up the campaign correctly, and they end up spending lots of money on something that just doesn’t work for them. This has lead to a general ‘suspicion’ that google ads just aren’t right for a small business owner. This it totally wrong, and I’m going to show you why. Here are 3 big ways to take control of your marketing budget in adwords.

  • Set Location Targets Google Adwords has a really cool map feature that let’s you explore exactly where you want your ads to appear. You can specify anything, from countries all the way down to zip codes individually. And, with Radius targeting, you can even set an area as small as a few miles around your local business. (see below) This has been incredibly helpful for many of my local clients because they don’t have to pay for clicks from people who live too far away to be a potential customer.
Set anything you want! any combination of Country/State/Zip, or even radius targets!
  • Separate Search and Display Network tests Adwords has 3 primary campaign types. (I’m oversimplifying it a bit) A Search campaign means just that. When someone searches on google for a word that you think is in your vertical, your ads show. This is the campaign that I recommend to businesses first, and it is also generally the only one for people with smaller budgets. It let’s you only show your ad on a very limited set of keywords which allows very minute control over your exposure, both in terms of searches, and cost. Some of my New Milford clients are in front of just 300 searches a day, and it works REALLY well for them!

Google Campaign Types.
(See how they suggest “both” first?)
  • Set a REAL Budget This is the biggest point of discussion for most of my clients, and I totally understand why. I’m an advocate for being careful of course, but I put it to them like this. “If you are a chess shop in New Milford, and you know that you are only going to show ads to people in New Milford that type “buy chess sets”, how much is that worth to you? Many of my clients have spent years marketing in the newspaper and Direct Mail. I’ve found those to be very expensive, and they take a very broad approach to reaching the right audience. For brand building, sure, I get it.. but for targeted marketing, nothing beats Google ads. Since you only pay per click, and can control the price at the actual search term level, the local business person can control exactly how much they spend each day. (Event as little as $5-10 a day?!) Even if you set a budget of $300 a month, if there are “slow months” in your business, you might only pay $150 for that month, but still have the benefit of your ads running all the time. (Newspapers and direct mail can’t match that!)


  • Measure your results Google Ads coupled with Google Analytics is magical. With it, you can see exactly what your potential visitors type in their search, which ad they clicked on, and exactly what they did on your site. After about a week of data, I can quickly show you what keywords bring the best traffic in terms of time on site, what pages they viewed, and if they “converted” by calling you, filling out a request online, or even buying your product. (See more on this in my recent Google Analytics post)


With the basic outline above, a local business can reach exactly the audience they want to, and only pay for clicks that we both think are important to them. Then after about a week of data, I regroup with them and see what’s working and what’s not. In fact, I’ve got a couple local businesses that now use adwords to attract more than 1/3 of their new business each month!

If you’ve been “burned” by adwords before through someone who calls themselves an expert, give me a call. I am a Google Certified partner, (Which means I passed a series of tests google sets up for us to prove we know what we are doing) and I really love working on smaller,  local clients.