Every day I talk to small business owners who want to know how to better take advantage of the web to drive more traffic. The question is nearly always framed the same way, "I have a website but no one goes there, how do I get more traffic to my website?"
The answer is really somewhat complex and yet simple at the same time. First, even if they get there will your website be compelling enough to get them to take the next step? Second, once they are there will they be able to figure out what to do next? And finally, can they even find you when they are looking for products in your category?
Google Adwords local allow you to choose to only display ads in a certain geographic range around your business. MOST small businesses don't need a global reach with Google adwords yet that is exactly what too many pay for then they are quick to say "adwords don't work or they are too expensive."
My wife owns two day spas in Boise, Idaho called BREATHE Wellness Spa. Her most expensive cost per click is around .10 cents, she spends less than $100 a month on Google adwords and can track typically 10X her investment per month back to Google.
What you have to realize is that for many people searching for things locally Google is a very close second to the phone book for finding a local business. If your ad isn't showing, you are losing a tremendous amount of business that you should get. The other important point you'd better realize is this: Most people who go to the phone book to find you probably already searched on Google to get more information and DIDN'T find you so they are looking in a book crowded with competition and you are hoping they'll pick you out. If your website did a good job of educating them, telling them what to do next and calling them to action and they still went to the phone book, seeing you there will be very reassuring and further the likelihood that they'll choose you.
Re-evaluate your local Google adwords strategy right now if you own a small business serving local consumers. I don't care what your business from dog groomer to physician or dentist and everything in between. Take advantage of the traffic that is desperately trying to find your door. Then, serve them well and they'll come back often.
Here's one last trick, if you are not sure which keywords you should be buying on Google, use their competitor Overture. Overture to see what keywords people search for most often when looking for your business. Go here and type in the category that your business is in or a keyword that people might use to find you and then see what other words and search terms they are searching as well. It will give you many new ideas and a lot of new and less expensive phrases and keywords.