B2B Marketing Blog

Using Sales Data to Optimize Digital Marketing for Local Areas

By Lauren Hylbak
Jun 6, 2014

For many online businesses, targeting a specific area is an important part of an effective digital marketing effort. Particularly for brick and mortar businesses, targeting the correct people in your area is key to getting them to actually come in and make a purchase in person. What many people don’t realize is that optimizing for local areas is an important part of online B2B business as well. For a business like Blue Fountain Media, taking the time to identify where our customer base is and then optimizing our marketing channels to target those people is extremely important.

While analytics and AdWords give businesses that use them some insight as to where their users are coming from geographically, it doesn’t paint a complete picture. Sure, you may have a lot of visitors from a certain location, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are becoming customers. In order to really understand where real customers are coming from, businesses need to tie their sales data to their analytics data and digital marketing efforts so that they can optimize for actual sales instead of visits or “conversions” that don’t account for spam. Editor's note: this is a major component of what is now referred to as "pipeline marketing". 

Using a program like Bizible, businesses can very easily get this done. By simply drilling down into the Bizible Marketing Analytics field of qualified leads (or “opportunities” in Salesforce), marketers can see what country, region, and city specific leads are coming from. Particularly for AdWords, this is extremely powerful data. If you have a campaign that is running across an entire state and you notice that most of your qualified leads are coming from a specific region or city in that state, while others are resulting in a lot of dead leads or spam, you can adjust your targeting accordingly.

That is unbelievably powerful data to have. By avoiding regions that are providing “conversions” according to AdWords, but aren’t resulting in actual sales, your business can better spend its money to make sure that the highest possible ROI on Adwords spend is taking place. As an example, let’s take a look at some data that we’ve seen at Blue Fountain Media this month so far.

First, let’s take a look at what our analytics data tells us about our audience’s geographic location and who is “converting”, or requesting a quote on our services when coming from our AdWords campaigns:

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Looking at that data it would definitely make sense to optimize our AdWords campaigns for New York, Florida, New Jersey and maybe Texas as well. It would probably also make sense to make sure that our ads are served to the other top ten converting states.

However, when we drill into our Salesforce report to take a look where our actual leads are coming from we are presented with an entirely different story:

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None of the actual leads that could feasibly afford/purchase our services for this time period are from anywhere but New York, New Jersey, Florida and Texas. That is wildly different from what we saw in Analytics, where those four states were the best converters, but certainly not the only ones. According to this data, we should probably be optimizing our AdWords campaigns for the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tri-state area as well as Florida and Texas.

As our business is based out of New York City, we create two campaigns – one targeting states outside of the tri-state area that we get leads from (Texas & Florida), and one inside of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut:

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In this way we’re able to optimize for the locations that actually bring us leads on AdWords, instead of just against the traffic we get on our website that may lead to “conversions” that provide no real monetary value for our business.

The value for location-based optimization doesn’t stop there though. Particularly for businesses that are considering optimizing their on-site SEO for local keywords, having this data available provides actionable evidence for effective optimization. For example, if you take a look at leads that were generated because of organic traffic and notice that a lot of them are coming from a specific city, then optimizing your rankings for that specific area by adding location-based keywords would make sense as a strategy to increase the amount of leads coming to your business.

Conversely, if you have a HIPPO (Highest paid person) in the room who is convinced that optimizing for a certain area is the way to go, you can give him or her actionable data that proves that your customer base and sales are not actually coming from that area – saving the time and energy it would take to optimize for a specific area that would provide no value.

In terms of on-site optimization, this also is a nice way around having to deal with Google’s (not provided) for organic keywords that a lot of digital marketers are having trouble optimizing their site without. Instead of looking to see if your audience is using local search terms to get to your website you can take a look at where real customers are coming from – the same people who would be more likely to use local search terms that relate to where they are searching from.

Location optimization is a really important part of any online business – whether it’s a brick and mortar store or a B2B service provider that sells merchandise online. While using Google Analytics and AdWords is a good start when it comes to optimizing based on where your audience is coming from, understanding where most of your actual customers are coming from will allow you to make the leap from optimizing for an audience to optimizing for customers. At the end of the day, it is this extra step that will help increase a business’ ROI by getting rid of leads that don’t convert. This, in itself, is the foundation of pipeline marketing: optimizing marketing channels based on real customer data. 

Austin is a digital marketer at Blue Fountain Media, a full service digital agency that focuses on creative and results-driven solutions for companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000. From lead generation to social media he is passionate about everything the world of digital marketing has to offer.

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Topics: return on ad spend, lead generation, Marketing Analytics, adwords keywords, pipeline marketing

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