How to Track Local Marketing Efforts in Google Analytics

How to Track Local Marketing Efforts in Google Analytics

Most local businesses suck at marketing. Not trying to be mean, but they do, and you know it. I don’t blame them. Local marketing (online or offline) isn’t easy, and owners are already busy managing the business. I’m hoping that with the few simple tips listed below, local business owners can learn how to track and measure some aspects of their local marketing efforts using nothing but Google Analytics and a little elbow grease. If you need help setting up Google Analytics, check out Google’s guide or contact us. Buckle up. Here we go…

Local marketing impacts (and how to track them)

Local search traffic

Local visitors are the ones that have the highest probability of becoming customers and frequenting your business. Segmenting them and figuring out how to best cater to their specific needs is wise. Moreover, gaining a local SEO ranking can be easy with a moderate investment of time. Also, unlike PPC, you don’t have to pay to be listed or per click. It’s pretty sweet. See a little local SEO how-to here.

How to track local search

Google Analytics has this powerful feature called “Advanced Segments.” Don’t let the name scare you; segments are simple to set up and powerful if you’re using them correctly. (Pay attention here because we’ll be discussing segments a lot.) Let’s set up our first advanced custom segment. Instead of writing it all out, I made a quick little video.

To summarize real quick:

  1. Login and hit “Advanced Segments” in the top left corner
  2. Click “New Custom Segment” in the lower right corner of the expanded area
  3. Name your segment whatever you want (“Local organic traffic” we used)
  4. INCLUDE + REGION (type it) + CONTAINING + Your State (type it)
  5. AND (click it)
  6. INCLUDE + MEDIUM (type it) + EXACTLY MATCHING + ORGANIC (type it)
  7. Create filter

That’s it! Simple right? From here, you can navigate your favorite Google Analytics reports and get the skinny on how local traffic finds you, how they behave once they get there, how they convert, etc. You can track local PPC/SEM traffic in the same way except… Instead of “INCLUDE + MEDIUM + EXACTLY MATCHING + ‘organic’” Use “INCLUDE + MEDIUM + EXACTLY MATCHING + ‘CPC’” (CPC is ‘cost-per-click’ – Analytics language for AdWords traffic)

Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) traffic

For a lot of local companies, IYP traffic is the unsung hero. IYPs are sites like AngiesList, Yelp, CitySearch, SuperPages, InsiderPages, etc. Like local search visitors, these people are usually ready to buy, making them valuable prospects. You’re probably getting traffic from IYPs right now, though you probably don’t know much about them. Determining the quantity of these visits and then calculating the ROI on this traffic segment should be your first step. You’ll likely be pleased, making the next logical step a targeted effort to get more local traffic from this segment of visitors. The steps to tracking IYP traffic are the same as organic and paid search traffic, but there’s one little twist. You don’t know which IYPs are sending traffic. There are 100s of them. This means you first need to figure out which ones are sending traffic and then create a segment using a regular expression to include multiple IYPs in one segment. Sorry, that was probably confusing. 

Web traffic from offline marketing efforts

Most local businesses do offline marketing like print advertising, direct mail, etc. The best way to track this is by directing people to a specific landing page (i.e., that is impossible to access from any other way. With this configuration, all visits to that page are generated via the specific effort. Having a separate microsite (even if it’s just a single landing page) will increase the percentage of people that go to the site you want them to. Once you change the URL shown in the advertisements, you can create custom segments to include just traffic to those pages, as we did here today. Build it as follows: INCLUDE + PAGE (type it) + EXACTLY MATCHING + (type it). Of course, if you have an entirely separate site to send people to, you’d have an Analytics profile setup just for that site, eliminating the need to use an advanced custom segment.  Once you’ve set up custom segments, you can do all types of cool stuff. You can build custom reports to splice and dice data however you want; you can set up retargeting campaigns and advertise only to local traffic – the world pretty much becomes your oyster.