Millions of small business owners use search engine ads (mainly through Google AdWords) as a relatively easy and low-cost form of online marketing. But for local businesses, this can be costly overkill if the ads are too broadly targeted.

Meanwhile, a large and growing number of online searches are done by a consumer on a mobile phone looking for a particular product or service in the immediate area.

Google’s newly announced “location extensions” for AdWords let you limit the reach of your ads to within yards or blocks of your location.

In that way, your ad dollars – what few you even need to spend this way – are used in the most efficient way possible.

This opens a whole new search ad frontier for local businesses that how have the ability to literally capture customers as they wander into the vicinity.

Businesses using location extensions can prominently display their business location when consumers search for things such as dentist, coffee shop, car repair shop or countless other categories while on the go.

When you use local extension to show your business location, phone number and a map market with your ads, you can specify a radius around your business and your ads will only appear to people within that area and nowhere else.

You can then set different bids for these potential customers, who are presumably more valuable. This lets you target customers more precisely and avoid using broad boundaries such as Zip Codes or entire cities or regions.

You can even set different keyword bids for each radius you set up. For example, you could enter the highest bid for customers within, say, a half mile of your business, and progressively lower bids for customers one, three and five miles out.

Google is also testing new local ad formats that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate on Google Maps. And you may start seeing experiments such as promoted pins that allow businesses to gain more prominent exposure in maps.

Selling More in a Mobile First World

The trend toward mobile has continued to accelerate, creating new opportunities – and requirements – for small and local businesses. For example, studies show that more than 50% of emails are now opened on a mobile device. Thus, if your email marketing efforts are not optimized for mobile (meaning your emails look good on a smartphone), you will lose effectiveness.

And if your website is still not mobile friendly (that is, has a “responsive design” that easily adapts to a small screen), you will look out of step. To give your website a quick mobile friendliness checkup, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Just enter your URL. The test only takes a few seconds.

Here are some other reasons to start adapting to a mobile first world:

Pure Volume:  Every year, there are trillions of searches on Google and over half of those happen on mobile. More searches happen on mobile than on desktop computers. Throughout the day, whenever we want to learn, find, buy or go, we turn to our phones first. Visit almost any public place and you see people on their phones everywhere.

Mobile is Local: More a third of all mobile searches are related to location – and that number is growing. Whether they’re researching pizza delivery on Friday night or trying to find an orthodontist near their pre-teen’s middle school, consumers are using mobile to direct their actions in the local world.

Thirty-two percent of consumers say that location-based search ads have led them to visit a store or buy something. For small businesses serving customers in their area, mobile ads can offer a vital opportunity to connect with customers.

Search ads should probably be a marketing staple for most local businesses. You can completely control what you spend, and it’s fairly easy to manage online through a Google AdWords account. You can start or stop at any time, and you’ll receive complete data on how your ads are working, allowing you to make direct connections to sales 

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About the Author(s)

Daniel Kehrer

Daniel Kehrer, Founder & Managing Director of BizBest Media Corp., is a nationally-known, award-winning expert on small and local business, start-ups, content marketing, entrepreneurship and social media, with an MBA from UCLA/Anderson. 

Founder & Managing Director, BizBest
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