Would you try to sell boys’ baseball shoes to a woman with no kids or women’s shorts to a retired fellow? Probably not. But if you’re not careful about audience targeting, you could be doing just that.

With unlimited ad budget comes the freedom to broaden targeting. Since you probably have strict budget limitations, it is important that you focus your advertising efforts on your key audience. Here are some tips to help you narrow the target audience of your campaigns for maximum impact.

1. Start with Your Audience Persona

Great audience targeting starts with rich audience personas. This semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer lays the foundation for how brands develop, sell, and market products and services. Personas are foundational to ensuring a successful paid search campaign and providing your audience with personalized, relevant experiences.

The key elements of an audience persona include behavior, demographic, and context. Analyzing past behavior across websites and search can help you assess consumer interests and how likely they are to make a purchase. Knowing the age, gender, and locale of your audience helps narrow your targeting further. Finally, knowing the context of where, when, and how consumers are searching can help you find your audience. Search networks enable you to target by all three factors.

2. Align Keywords to the Customer Decision Journey (CDJ)

Your next job is to understand the importance that each stage of the CDJ is to your target customers and how they are searching. By doing this, you can select the right long-tail keywords.

Paid search marketing is driven by keyword targeting. You select keywords you think will align well with your target customers’ searches. The keywords you select should be as specific as possible. This means using long-tail keywords (keywords containing two or more words) and specific match types. Long-tail keywords helps narrow targeting and reduce the risk of clicks from unqualified users.

For example, consumers who are comparing boys’ baseball shoes may be using keywords such as “reviews of boys Adidas cleats” while consumers who are ready to purchase may be using keywords like “coupon boys Adidas baseball cleats” or “deals for boys Adidas baseball cleats.” Using these long-tail keywords will increase the impact of your ads.

3. Apply Location Targeting

By targeting specific locations, your ads are more relevant to the consumers who will see them. Additionally, narrowed targeting greatly reduces competition for ad ranking and the cost of that ad rank. You have several options for targeting your ads in the campaign settings.

Location targeting is set up at the campaign level. There are targeting strategies to choose from depending on your business and goals. Options may include targeting by zip code or city or by a specific radius around your business address. You can even exclude certain locations.

Incremental bid adjustments allow you to take location targeting a step further by increasing or decreasing your max bids based on where the searcher is located in relation to your address. For example, you may want to increase bids when potential customers are within a one-mile radius of your storefront. These people are likely worth more on average to your business, which means paying more for top ranking is worth the investment. Alternatively, you may want to adjust bids based on location performance.

4. Take Advantage of Additional Targeting Tactics

Take advantage of location extensions and other tactics for engaging your target audience. Use device targeting to connect with consumers based on how they are searching (PC, phone, or tablet). Got a big promotion coming up? Use day and time targeting to serve up ads at just the right moment. Looking to woo users back to your website? Try remarketing.

Don’t forget about extensions. Use location extensions to ensure consumers find your store and not your competitor’s. This is especially important for mobile searchers who are ready to buy. You can also use call extensions to make it easy for consumers to click-and-call your location. Take advantage of flyer extensions to make your coupons easily accessible.

Once you have your persona set up, there are plenty of ways to maximize your budget and impact of your search campaign through targeting. To learn more, review the Bing Ads ebook, The Growth Marketer’s Guide to Search.

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