Let's say you had a small business that had a geographic focus, like a restaurant or a martial arts school. Absolutely, there are lines of business that don't have geographic restrictions, like selling your favorite recipes in a cookbook on Amazon or lessons via DVD, but the meat and potatoes of your business is still putting feet on the dojo floor or butts in seats.
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the ability to geographically target areas using Google Adwords. After all, why bother to advertise in California if your restaurant is located in New York? You'd just be wasting an incredible amount of money to no good purpose and pay outrageously high per click costs.
At the same time, you don't want to target too narrowly and miss people. So how do you find the ideal places to start running ads? The most obvious place is your Google Places listing. You do have one, right? If not, put this blog post down and go set up a Google Places listing right now. It's free.
Okay, welcome back. After your Google Places listing has been running for a while, you'll want to scroll down towards the bottom of the listing. Look for "Where driving directions requests come from".
This is the gold mine that will tell you where to focus your ad targeting. Instead of blanketing an area with ads, focus specifically at first on the postal code areas where people are already asking for driving directions to your business from!
Why this specific information and not, say, Twitter follower locations? Because requesting driving directions on Google Maps indicates more intent than just a simple follow. You don't ask for driving directions to a place you have no intention of going, unless you're really, really bored and need something to do.
Try this basic tip out on your local business and see if it helps you improve the conversion rate of your Adwords ads. Obviously, you can use the Google Places data for any form of locally-targeted advertising, from which Craigslist metro sub-areas to local coupons.
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