Local Internet Marketing: Why It's Exploding

It wasn't too long ago that only companies with a national market and .com's could participate in internet marketing. There was no practical way to target local users and minimum buys were too large to be practical for small and medium local businesses.

That has changed.

Google Adwords started the shift. Its self service ad model suddenly made it practical to experiment and participate in online advertising with a very small investment- as low as a few dollars a day. No longer was the door to internet advertising blocked by an account rep demanding thousands per month in a medium that you didn't know would work.

Related to removing the account rep from the door was changing the pricing model. For the first few years of internet ads, they were priced by the cost for a thousand impressions (CPM), just as traditional media. The prices were also comparable to what was charged in traditional media- meaning expensive. That worked well enough in the beginning when ads were novel enough that people were inclined to click on them, but as they became ubiquitous and people learned to ignore them, click rates cratered.

A company called GoTo (eventually folded into Yahoo) pioneered the idea of paying for an ad only when someone actually clicked on it. When Google adopted and spread the model, online advertising became much less of a risk for a small business. Pay per click (PPC) rates could end up being higher than a well performing CPM campaign, but the risk of getting no visitors from your ad spend disappeared.

There the situation sat for a few years. Then Google introduced and improved geo targeted ads- shown only to customers in locations you specify. Adwords can be targeted to a country, state, metropolitan area, city within a metropolitan area, or even a distance from an address or zip code. In the following video Google explains how location targeting works:

Within the last two years geo targeting has improved greatly and spread to networks beyond Google. You've probably noticed when looking at a national website being served ads targeted to your location. Internet marketers and big brands were the first to take advantage of this capability, but it's also a boon to small local businesses.

So, now that self serve ads, pay per click pricing and geo targeting has made internet advertising practical for local businesses, where should you start? Find out by signing up to receive posts by email