Duluth Minnesota continues to gain national and international attention and recognition through awards, competitions, and well-known local businesses. This earned media has garnered Duluth a growth in awareness and interest both online and offline. Most of this interest starts online before it moves offline, and in many cases ends in a personal visit or the awareness of a great local company users may not have known existed otherwise. Since 2015 Duluth Minnesota has seen an average increase in search queries of 22% YOY. This steadily increasing interest in our city, its beauty, and its businesses means Duluth advertising garners greater reach online every year and so does the return on investment. If you are not sure how to begin advertising your Duluth business, we will be sharing some expert tips and tricks to help you launch your own digital Duluth advertising campaigns.
Digital Marketing and Advertising can be a difficult and time consuming process, if you would like expert assistance setting up or managing your online marketing and advertising efforts please Contact Us or Request a Quote Today.
The Faster Points
- Facebook is the most effective paid social media advertising platform for local businesses
- Be sure you understand your customers and set your goals before you begin Facebook Ads
- Facebook has three ad group types: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Match ad types to goals.
- Google AdWords is a powerful advertising tool for local businesses. Search Ads are the most effective
- Learn the Basics optimizing your AdWords account setup
- Use location extensions
- Learn how the Google Merchant Center can boost both on and offline sales drastically
- Monitor Everything – Google Analytics familiarity is a must!
Paid Social Media Marketing & Advertising in Duluth
When it comes to paid social media advertising in Duluth we have found that Facebook tends to be the most cost effective and efficient of the social platforms for most B2C businesses. Thus this section will focus on effectively leveraging Facebook ads to generate awareness, sales, and leads for your business.
- Setup: The first thing you will need to do before you start a paid Duluth advertising campaign for your business on Facebook is to set up your ads manager account.
- Starting out: Now that your account is setup and you are ready to get advertising, you need to stop and think about A) your business, B) your customers, and most importantly C) what you want to achieve with your Facebook ads.
- Your Business – Ask yourself why locals or visitors to Duluth choose your business over competitors; define your Unique Value Proposition (UVP -This is something you have that competitors cannot effectively copy) and plan to highlight it. Think about how people interact with your business and the type of content you would like to share with them about your business or offerings. If you are a Duluth Hotel you may want to highlight the views from your rooms over Lake Superior. Duluth restaurants may want to highlight the local or gourmet nature of their cuisine. It’s best to find out what customers like and value about your business and work from there.
- Customers/Targeting – Do you want to target people here in Duluth? Or are you looking to target areas outside of Duluth, where you know many of your customers are from through google analytics or in-store applications? How old are your customers? If you offer luxury hotel rooms, expensive boat rentals or other high ticket items it is probably unlikely your customers will be in the 18- 24 category. With these high end and tourism related items it is also unlikely you would want to target locals with your ads either. This is just one example of the in-depth analysis you will need to make to accurately target your ads. The best way to optimize your targeting is to build a persona of your customer. What interests them and what demographic segments do they represent, why do they choose you — then drill down further and further until you feel you fully understand who your customers are. Another option is to use Facebook Remarketing, which allows you to show ads on Facebook to people who have visited your website and shown a prior interest.
- Goals – So now you know how you want to market your business and who you want to market to, it’s time to choose and objective for your Duluth advertising efforts. Are you a new business, do some customers say they didn’t know you existed, or do you just want to create a following and build a social community? If you answered yes to any of these, a Facebook awareness campaign is your best bet. Awareness campaigns should let users know what your product or service is, but their primary purpose should be to engage users. If you are a hotel or other business with a great view of the lift bridge or Lake Superior use that imagery in your awareness campaign in combination with your services or products.
The consideration category of Facebook ads can be particularly useful for promoting local events (like the Duluth Homegrown Festival or All Pints North), increasing traffic and awareness of your website (these ad types are great for getting out of town visitors to your website and then to your brick and mortar location in Duluth), or getting leads or volunteer signups for your business or organization. Consideration Facebook ads in Duluth are perfect for events, building out of town email lists, and getting volunteers. These ads need to have a why, and/or what statement. Why should users consider your website or event, what are they going to get if they sign up or give you their information?
The last group works best for e-commerce stores offering local Duluth swag or to get people to visit your location with a boosted promotional offer through Facebook. The conversion ad group focuses on getting a user to take a specific action and follow through. Whether that is buying a Duluth branded T-shirt from your e-commerce store or stopping buy your store to claim a deal (e.g. 10% of a T-shirt). Conversion ads are the best sales driver of the three types.
- Monitoring – So your Facebook ads are up and running, but now you need to know if they are effective as is, or if they need to be tweaked or better targeted. Your most effective tools for this will be your Facebook Ads Manager, your insights page on Facebook, and Google Analytics on your website. These three items, if properly setup and managed, will allow you to fully track and understand the effectiveness of your ads and also show you the quality and type of users who engage with or convert, through your ads.
Pay Per Click – Search Advertising in Duluth
Pay Per Click advertising (Find out what PPC is) allows businesses in Duluth to directly reach locals and visitors who are actively searching for their products or services. Where social media advertising is targeting users to spur them to action, Search ads allow businesses to reach users who are already actively taking action, which means a boost in conversion rates over social, but also an increase in cost per click. For many businesses this increase in CPC may well be worth it, and for Duluth advertising campaigns we tend to favor Search only campaigns in AdWords, but there are other effective methods as well.
- Search Only PPC Ads: These are the ads you see at the top and bottom of google search results. They can be a very effective advertising and marketing medium for a wide variety of business types. Google Search ads can help a new restaurant in Duluth generate awareness and traffic to its website and location. Search Ads can put a hotel at the top of google search results when it might not even be on page one in organic search, they can put a Duluth law firm ahead of their competitors, and much more. Other than SEO they are your most powerful tool in driving traffic from google.
- Campaign Set Up – Your first step will be to set up an AdWords account (Start Here), which in itself is a simple and straightforward process. Setting up your campaigns and ad groups correctly will not be as simple. You will have the option to set up a wide variety of targeting factors ranging from location, time, device type, bid strategy and much, much more.
For your Duluth Advertising strategy we recommend starting with a Standard Campaign, with location targeting based on whether or not you are trying to reach users: in Duluth (Use location targeting), Searching for Duluth businesses (forgo location targeting if you are using long tail phrases with Duluth in them), or Searching for Duluth from a particular location or area (Use location targeting to focus on just these areas). There are several more detailed levels and factors that can be important to consider when setting up your location targeting but we lack the space to illustrate them all here (Detailed Location Options). There is also the option of Search Ad Re-targeting, which can be a powerful tool, especially for local eCommerce sites and lead generation.
Now that you have chosen your location strategy, the next important step is to select a bid strategy, for first time or inexperienced AdWords users we recommend starting with a Manual CPC strategy combined with Enhanced CPC, allowing you to limit the maximum amount you are willing to spend on a click while allowing google to optimize your bids within that limit, saving you time.
Finally you will reach the Ad extensions portion of the campaign setup. You should check all boxes and fill in all of the relevant extension information, this gives users more information and a greater number of reasons to click your ads. By filling out the location information you also ensure your business can be seen in google maps ads, where users searching for a business in google maps will see your business highlighted, at the top of the maps results.
- Ad Groups Setup – Ad groups make up the subsets of your campaign. For instance, you run an outdoor company in Duluth and you want to promote your Rentals (Campaign), you would then break up your rental equipment into individual ad groups – kayaks, SUP’s, Canoes, Etc. You would then select the page you want your ads to lead users to (landing page), this should be your kayak rental page for your Kayak ad group and so on (you can also set this up at the individual ad level).
Now that you have your individual ad groupings selected and defined you should begin to choose keywords that are closely related to each. If you are using local targeting you do not have to put Duluth in your keyword selections, you can just use Kayak Rentals Etc. and aren’t required to use the long tail, (Phrase or exact match) Duluth Kayak Rentals. You will want to use long tail variations if you are not using any targeting, you will also likely want to use long tail keyword phrases if you are targeting specific locations outside of Duluth as well, because using the broad match kayak rentals, will likely get you a lot of clicks that are not relevant to your Duluth rental business. We recommend using no more than 15-20 keywords per ad group -more keywords denotes an unfocused topic that can probably be broken up into more than one ad group. Choosing the right keywords, keyword types and matching them to your location targeting is extremely important in ensuring you stretch your budget and effectively reach the most relevant searchers.
- Ad Creation – Your ad groups are set up, it is time to begin creating your individual ads. Starting out we recommend a minimum of 3 ads per ad group, each with different copy. Try to place your primary keyword within these ads and their display URL. Creating multiple ads for each ad group allows you to effectively test which ad(s) is the most effective at converting users and driving quality traffic. Once there is enough data to accurately choose the most effective ads you should pause the other less effective ads and replace them with new ads to test against your top ads, and continue the process until you have a number of high converting quality ads in each ad group. Remember, what works this week, may not work next month. Continually test and work to improve your ads.
- Monitoring – Again as it was in Facebook advertising, monitoring will be the most important part of your Duluth Advertising and Marketing efforts in AdWords. You will want to set up conversion tracking and link your AdWords account to your google analytics account. So you can see how visitors who clicked on your ads are interacting with your site, and tailor them to be more effective at driving sales, signups, calls or in-store visits. The more comprehensive your monitoring efforts are the more effective you will be at optimizing your AdWords account.
Merchant Advertising for Duluth Businesses
Googles Merchant Center is perfect for local business that offer consumer goods through e-commerce. The Merchant Center allows local retailers to run Google shopping campaigns, which allow images of products to be shown at the top of search results and under the shopping tab in google search results. This can be a powerful marketing and advertising tool for businesses in Duluth, especially those that offer products that are Duluth branded and unique to our city. Google Shopping Ads will require a deep knowledge of coding to effectively implement. Unless you are comfortable in the back-end of your website you will require the assistance of a developer to implement this format of advertising. There are several different Shopping ad types we will explore further.
- Local Inventory Ads –This shopping ad type can become one of your Duluth Advertising campaigns most effective tools for driving foot traffic to your store from online searches, and increase sales, because 83% of users will be more likely to visit your store if they can see you have the items in stock they are looking for. Local Inventory ads function similar to regular Shopping ads but they display based on the users location, so if someone searches for T-shirts and they are located in Duluth, a business using local inventory ads will appear at the top of search results with an image of their product and the distance from the user to the in store location. When a user clicks this ad it will lead them to a specialized google page with your businesses contact information, directions, and product description.
- Standard Shopping ads – These ads are the standard ads that display product images relevant to a search query at the top of the page on google, and link directly to the page containing that product on your website. They are extremely effective for driving awareness and online purchases of your products, because they show the exact product users are looking for and allow them to make a purchase in fewer steps, reducing cart abandons and increasing Purchases.
- Dynamic Remarketing Shopping Ads – These can be one of the most powerful advertising methods for e-commerce websites. With additional coding each of your products can be tagged with remarketing code. When a user views a product but does not make a purchase, their browser will store a cookie linked to your remarketing code. You can then show them ads of the product they viewed but did not purchase across the internet. For instance, you have an e-commerce store that sells t-shirts, a user visits your website and ads one of the t-shirts you offer to their cart but abandons it without making a purchase. They have now however been tagged by your remarketing code. Later in the week that user visits the Star Tribune (or another website that permits ads), and sees an ad for the exact product they were about to purchase, spurning them to click the ad and finally purchase the product they otherwise may have forgotten about. This is an extremely powerful tool for driving more sales on your website.
The continued and growing online interest in the Duluth area makes Advertising and marketing your Duluth business online an attractive proposition, offering a variety of methods to increase your potential for sales and leads from potential clients you may otherwise have never reached using traditional advertising and marketing methods. With search growth in the Duluth area increasing by ~22% yearly, and more and more users going online to finds products and services, a Duluth advertising campaign can help your local business succeed in the growing competitiveness of our local economy and expand the reach of your business.
By Benjamin Henniges
Digital Marketing Manager