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16 Tips for SMBs That Are Starting to Use Geolocation Advertising

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

Get the most out of this marketing approach with tips from those who've used it.

Geolocation is gaining in popularity, and for good reason. Marketing is much more effective if you can create different ads for specific areas – whether that's from town to town, block to block or the area close to your store. While this can be a fantastic tactic for getting information in front of people who can use it, you have to know what you are doing before you get into the thick of things.

To help you figure out the ins and outs of geolocation advertising, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) discuss some of the more important factors to keep in mind. Here is what they advise:

1. Know your audience.

"If you want your geolocation advertising to be successful, you first need to know exactly who your target audience is. What is your demographic? Where are they located? What venues do they hang out at? For instance, if your target audience are parents of young children, they probably won't be hanging out at nightclubs, so you'll want to exclude those types of locations." – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

2. Focus on habits.

"Put simply, geolocation allows for a more streamlined and easily navigated path from the consumer's position to the seller's products by allowing the seller to relay more relevant information to customers based on their past habits. Businesses should be aware that geolocation advertising is not an automatic fix to suffering sales but can help increase targeted ads and consumer interest." – David ChenSharebert

3. Utilize additional targeting information.

"Location alone is not a reliable metric when targeting customers. Instead, use geotargeted ads that also layer on other consumer data points – age, education level, household income and more – to effectively target shoppers who are more likely to purchase from your brand. This will improve the efficiency of your spend so you don't waste ad impressions on the wrong audiences." – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

4. Start with the customers you already know.

"Facebook, Google and ad tech platforms have so much data that it can be tempting to want to jump in headfirst. Despite what the ad tech companies may advertise, their geolocation targeting services and audience characteristic targeting is only so accurate, and can be misleading for new advertisers. Start with the customer you know, and build out more complex campaigns from there." – Josh MeyerGot It Digital

5. Get help with tools.

"One of the best ways to use geolocation advertising is around store locations or to promote geographically specific events. If you're a store or a restaurant, you need to target people in your vicinity as they are most likely to respond and actually visit. If you use tools like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, it's easy – you can just create a targeted region for your ads to show up in." – Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

6. Use relevant content.

"Remember to also focus on the content of your advertisements. All marketing, including geolocation advertising, needs to be relevant to your target audience. It certainly helps to target specific locations with your marketing campaigns; however, to be successful, you also need relevant content to attract consumers. – Matthew PodolskyFlorida Law Advisers, P.A.

7. Exclude areas you don't want to target.

"Too many advertisers focus on defining the target (opt-in) area they want to reach. Sometimes it's more effective to exclude the (opt-out) areas you don't want to target. This can help you avoid high ad rates for in-demand areas. It can also help you target markets based on seasonality. For example, a movie theatre that targets college students may exclude the college area during summer break." – Shaun ConradMy Accounting Course

8. Make sure you know the process.

"Just like paid online advertising, geolocation is a powerful marketing tool best implemented by professionals. Still, insist to your agency or consultant that you want to learn the ins and outs of the process so that you can hold them accountable for their work. Ultimately, the greatest sticking point to geolocation is knowing how the process works instead of blindly relying on the advice of others." – Ryan BradleyKoester & Bradley, LLP/White River Consulting LLC

9. Keep track of the statistics.

"Geolocation advertising can significantly improve your sales and conversions, but you have to keep an eye on your statistics from day one. Patterns emerge quickly, and the best way to stay up to date on your ad trends is by monitoring your statistics. For example, if you notice an audience not responding to a certain location, you may want to create multiple smaller campaigns." – David HenzelLTVPlus

10. Explore your options.

"There are various ways you can use geolocation advertising depending on your niche and marketing goals. Before you begin, make sure you explore your options, and pick the best strategy for your business. I've seen multiple companies jump on the location advertising train before looking at their options, and they lost revenue due to their poor choices." – Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

One way to make the most of geolocation advertising is to use tools such as Google Trends to gain regional insight. Specifically, Google Trends allows marketers to track certain keywords in a region to identify any potential niches, related topics and products in an area, as well as current regional trends. Be aware that keyword data in one region won't always apply to all regions or countries." – Shu SaitoFact Retriever

12. Try targeting events.

"Instead of targeting multiple different locations within a town or city, try starting out by targeting just a specific event. For instance, maybe there's an upcoming festival in your town that a lot of people are expected to attend. You can target just the festival to try out geolocation during a time when many of your ideal customers are in the same place at once." – John TurnerSeedProd LLC

13. Utilize social media.

"Using social media for geolocation advertising isn't as daunting or difficult as it sounds and is a great way for anyone to get started on the strategy. Different social platforms have different rules, which will help you understand how social works to provide geolocation advertising to businesses. Because social media is so important for brand success, learn how it works for geolocation first." – Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

14. Start with a small test group.

"When you're implementing geolocation advertising for the first time, always start with a small test group. If you decide to use this tactic for everyone and the system glitches out, consumers could get strange messages that advertise the wrong location and that might cause them to think twice about browsing your website." – Blair WilliamsMemberPress

15. Practice with your location first.

"When learning about geolocation and how to add this into your strategy, use your own location to practice how you're going to market to your target audience. This will give you a good idea of what this strategy entails and how you can use it to get to your customers." – Jared AtchisonWPForms

16. Start with mobile.

"Most people use geolocation features on their phone when they're out and about searching for businesses to spend money on. Your best bet is to study geolocation advertising through mobile before anything else so you get a good idea of how it works, whom it caters to and how you can apply it to your own marketing strategy to get the best results." – Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization comprising the world's most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

Image Credit: Akhenaton Images/Shutterstock
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber Member
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.