What Is Geotargeting and How to Use It for Conversions

Are you curious about how to use geotargeting to reach more customers with your website content?

Geotargeting is an incredibly effective way to reach the right people at the right time with the right message.

In this article, we’ll learn what geotargeting is and how to use it to drive up your conversions and sales.

Table of Contents:

What is Geotargeting?

Geotargeting is displaying personalized content on your website based on users’ geographical location. Users can be targeted by country, region, state, zip code, city, and other positional data.

Think about the last time you went to a different part of town or even a different country. You probably saw ads for local businesses as soon as you arrived. That’s a great example of geotargeting.

There are many ways to use geotargeting online to boost your conversions:

We’ll explore these use cases in more detail in the next section.

Benefits of Geotargeting

Geotargeting’s primary advantage is its ability to personalize the user experience. Each of us may see dozens if not hundreds of websites and ads a day. Personalization can go a long way toward influencing purchases.

Here’s how geotargeting can benefit your business:

Offer Better Promotions

With geotargeting, you can open up new avenues for creating special offers that attract more clients.

Some offers, like free shipping or delivery, may only make sense for certain locations. For example, Sportique has a special partnership with UberRush that allows them to offer same-day delivery for San Francisco customers.

Rather than annoying shoppers outside those areas with an offer they can’t use, you can use geotargeting to only show that promotion to users within the designated location.

Personalize the User Experience

The more familiar you are with your customers’ needs, the more likely they are to trust your brand. Geotargeting can personalize the user experience (UX) based on where they’re located.

For example, PodBike used geotargeting to create this popup promoting a test drive event in Germany. With geotargeting, only users located in Germany see this promotion.

Reach More Customers

It may seem obvious, but people from different locations speak different languages and follow different cultural customs. So why would you want to show the exact same content to everyone?

Libratone’s multilingual site detects the user’s location and shows them content and promotions in a common language from that location. You can’t buy from a website you can’t read, so geotargeting can help you reach more customers with the right content.

Recommending locations near them or automatically showing content in a local language can instantly make your brand more likable.

Improve Local Search Positioning

Geotargeting is proven to help improve local search positioning. A study showed that 50% of all web users only do business with the top three search results. So using geotargeting to boost your local search position can increase your traffic, leads, and sales.

How to Create Personalized Content With Geotargeting (Step by Step)

If you’re looking for geomarketing tools, OptinMonster is a good choice.

Our geo-location targeting feature lets you target visitors with geographically relevant offers.

With OptinMonster’s geo-location feature, you can:

  • Show offers to visitors in different languages to target the 75% of people who’d rather see content – and buy products – in their own language
  • Create culturally aware marketing campaigns that accommodate different holidays and customs
  • Ensure campaigns are relevant so you’re not marketing winter coats to Florida residents
  • Combine geotargeting with other advanced targeting rules like page-level targeting, exit-intent technology®, and device-based targeting

You can also trigger geolocation marketing campaigns at specific times with campaign scheduling. And you can assess the success of your strategy with OptinMonster’s built-in conversion analytics dashboard.

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

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Let’s see how to build a geotargeting campaign step by step using OptinMonster.

  1. Create Your Campaign
  2. Enable Yes/No View
  3. Customize the Copy and Images
  4. Set Geotargeting Rules
  5. Schedule Your Campaign

For example, let’s assume that you’ve seen an increase in overall searches for “how to become a nurse” and “how to get into nursing school” from users in St. Louis, Missouri. You have a course covering that exact topic, so let’s target St. Louis, Missouri visitors with a special offer.

This is what our campaign will look like when we’re done:

1. Create Your Campaign

First, log in to your OptinMonster dashboard and click Create Campaign to start building a new campaign.

Choose a campaign type. We’ll use the high-converting Popup campaign.

Select Popup as the campaign type

Select a theme. We’re going to use Fashion. You can search for this template or browse to find one you like.

om default fashion campaign

Name your campaign, and add the website you want to use it on. Click Start Building.

name your campaign

This’ll take you to the OptinMonster campaign builder, where you’ll see the campaign template.

om default fashion campaign

2. Enable Yes/No View

We’re going to use a campaign structure that converts really well because of the Zeigarnik Effect. The Zeigarnik Effect simply means that when people start a process, they’re more likely to finish it. Rather than immediately asking them to subscribe or buy the course, we’re going to ask a simple yes/no question. If they say yes, they’re already primed to take the next step.

To enable the Yes/No view, just click on Yes/No in the footer bar and then click the Enable Yes/No for This Campaign button.

You’ll see that the campaign looks just like the default campaign you saw when you first entered the builder, but instead of an email entry field and a submit button, you have 2 buttons. The first button says “Yes, I want to subscribe,” and the second says “No thanks.”

default yes no view

3. Customize the Copy and Images

Add an image related to your campaign by clicking on the image block. If you need help finding images, try one of these free image sites.

Select or click on a text area to edit it. Editing tools will appear in a popup menu, allowing you to change the font, text size, color, alignment and to add bullets and numbering.

Alternative Method: Use Smart Tags

Instead of just targeting the local customer base, you can target a broader audience and personalize your campaigns based on the location your visitor comes from by using OptinMonster Smart Tags.

Simply click on a text area you want to edit. In the text toolbar click on the Smart Tag button. It looks like 2 curly brackets next to each other: { }.

You’ll see a list of smart tags that you can add to your campaign.

Let’s add the {{state}} smart tag to our campaign because licensing laws vary by state. This tag will automatically detect the user’s state and display it in the campaign content.

Now let’s customize the Yes/No view we made in the last step.

Click on the Yes/No buttons. This will take you to Editing Yes/No Element toolbar on the left where you can edit the text and formatting for your Yes/No buttons.

Next, since we want to redirect visitors to the course website, we need to enter that as our Yes button action.

To do that, make sure you’re on the Yes button, then click on the Action section. From there, set the Button Click Action to Redirect to a url and enter your URL in the Redirect URL field.

You can follow the same process to edit the No button. In this case, the button action will be Close the campaign.

Save your campaign by clicking on the Save button in the top right corner of the builder.

save your campaign regularly

4. Set Geotargeting Rules

If you’re using Smart Tags, you don’t need to configure geotargeting rules as it will dynamically display offers based on users’ location. If you’re NOT using Smart Tags, follow this step.

Next, let’s put the geotargeting settings in place for our campaign. Go to the Display Rules tab and click the dropdown. Search for location or click on Physical Location.

Set a condition to If visitor’s location is and enter the location you want to use in the text field. In our case, we’re using St. Louis. Then click Validate.

set optin to show based on visitors' location

Once you click Validate, a list will come up. Choose the location you want from the list. In our case, only one result came up.

choose location from list

Save your campaign. All done!

You can publish to any website via an account-wide embed code, and can also publish your campaign via a shareable MonsterLink™, Shopify or WordPress. There’s also campaign-specific embed code you can share with your web developer.

5. Schedule Your Campaign

If you wish, you can make your geotargeting campaign even more specific by making the campaign available at a particular time of day in the visitors’ home time zone (or your own).

To enable this, go to Display Rules and set a condition to show the campaign based on the current time. You’ll have options like is before, after, on or before, and more. Then, you can set the time you want.

you can use display rules to set time restraints on when your campaign appears

Geotargeting Best Practices

Like any marketing strategy, it’s not enough to just install a geotargeting plugin on your website and wait for the sales to roll in. There are best practices that will help you get the best results. Here’s what we recommend.

1. Know Your Audience

It’s always helpful to start by defining your audience and understanding what they need and want.

Your analytics software should be able to find how many of your visitors come from specific geographical areas. In Google Analytics, you can navigate to Audience » Geo » Location to get an overview of the countries your visitors are from.

ga audience geotargeting countries

Click on a country name to break the chart down by local areas. For example, in the screenshot below, we’re looking at US states.

ga audience geotargeting states

Click again to see areas within a state:

ga audience geotargeting areas

You can also add secondary dimensions, for example, to see mobile users in a particular area.

ga audience geotargeting mobile

Obviously, it’s not enough just to know where your audience is. You’ll need to conduct further customer research to understand their buyer journey, but location information can help you see trends and patterns.

2. Combine Location With Other Customer Data

Location is important but isn’t everything. There are thousands or millions of people in any given city, state, or country. So you want to look at not just where visitors are coming from, but also their other behaviors and attributes. This will help you craft truly personalized content for geotargeting.

Perhaps you get a lot of repeat customers at a certain retail location compared to others. This suggests that those customers live or work nearby and can therefore visit frequently. It would make sense to highlight deals and offers specific to that location. You could also use language like “Next time you’re here…” to acknowledge their repeat visits. Such language and offers would be less appropriate for locations that get more one-time customers.

You might sell a product that’s seasonal in some regions but year-round in others. In that case, you’d want to target seasonal ads in the appropriate areas. Don’t waste your ad budget trying to sell snow pants when it’s hot outside!

Again, it’s all about understanding how your customer’s life is affected by their location, not just knowing the location itself.

3. Set Goals

It’s also important to figure out in advance what you’re hoping to achieve with geotargeted ads. Typical marketing goals related to geotargeting include:

  • Getting more sales from a particular store or location
  • Increasing brand awareness within a region
  • Successfully promoting a local or regional event to increase signups, subscriptions or attendees
  • Getting more traffic from a certain geographical area
  • Improving lead generation from a town, city, or state

You may also want to target new customers, launch new products and services, or build a presence in a new market.

Be specific about your objectives for your geotargeting campaign so you can easily measure success when it’s done.

4. Optimize Content for Local Marketing

Next, set up your website and content for local marketing:

This will make it easier to use a range of geolocation marketing methods, such as Facebook geotargeting or AdWords geotargeting.

You can also use this data to create local landing pages as destinations for consumers in particular areas. See our expert tips on landing page optimization for more guidance.

5. Time Your Campaigns

When you have location data and start to see patterns, you can display campaigns at the right time to get your audience to take action.

There’s no point in showing promos for breakfast deals when people have already eaten. On the other hand, if you know that certain users are in a specific area at lunchtime, that’s the perfect moment to tempt them with a discount lunch coupon.

Similarly, if your target audience is workers in nearby offices, your campaigns might do better when shown at the end of the workday rather than during morning meetings.

Timing geotargeting campaigns properly makes them even more relevant, and relevance drives interest and sales.

Geotargeting Examples

Now that we’ve seen some of the general best practices for geotargeting, let’s take a look at some specific examples.

1. Speak the Customer’s Language

One of the best ways to connect with your audience is using the language they’d use. This applies not just to specific words and phrases your customers are using, but also the language they speak.

If your online store sells internationally, consider creating multiple copies of the same campaign. You can then change the language in the campaign to reflect the official or common language of your visitor’s region.

For example, you could have one popup in French for customers in France, and another in Italian for customers in Italy.

Here’s a great example of a popup that was targeted to users located in Greece:

OlyPlant_OptinMonster_Strawberries

This kind of personalization obviously makes your campaigns easier to understand for visitors who speak different languages. It also goes a long way in building trust and credibility because it shows that you know and care enough about your customers to serve content in their preferred language. Ultimately, this trust and credibility can drive sales.

2. Offer In-Store Giveaways, Events or Promotions at Local Shops

Over the last several decades, online shopping has exploded. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place left for brick and mortar stores, either.

Instead, you can use your website to generate more visits to your store’s physical location. This is especially useful for businesses selling products or experiences that depend on the individual customer’s preferences. Many customers still want to try on clothing, perfume, or makeup in person.

To bring in more customers, you can run in-store giveaways. Promoting those giveaways on your website to nearby customers can bring them into store.

A good example would be something like this:

Geotargeting contest to boost participants

You can also create special coupons that are only redeemable in-store. This will encourage website visitors to come in.

And since you can target your campaigns to people in specific locations, you never have to worry about showing irrelevant campaigns to visitors who are too far away.

That means more relevant messaging for your online audience and more customers for your physical store.

3. Remain GDPR Compliant

Increasing your profit doesn’t just mean taking in more money. You also have to keep the money that you make!

Violating GDPR can cost your business heavy fines. So you want to make sure all of your marketing campaigns are 100% compliant with GDPR.

But the problem is that GDPR compliance usually means adding extra steps to your optin forms, such as a consent checkbox or double optin email confirmation. This added friction in the optin process can cost you leads.

Fortunately, OptinMonster allows you to quickly and easily use geotargeting to create 2 sets of campaigns:

  • One for EU countries that are GDPR compliant (with an added step)
  • Another for all other regions that don’t follow GDPR guidelines

GDPR consent EU operator

For more information on this, we recommend checking out this article: How to Add GDPR Consent to Your Email Optin Forms.

4. Personalize the User Experience (UX)

Effective marketing means personalizing UX as much as possible.

If you can make your customer feel valued (rather than another metric in your system), you’ll get more sales. Period.

With OptinMonster, you can use Smart Tags to incorporate your visitor’s physical location in the messaging:

Smart Tags with Geotargeting

Like using their first name, this level of personalization will build a deeper connection with your visitor and create more trust with your brand.

In the end, this tactic is sure to get you more leads and sales.

5. Provide Localized Shipping Deals

As we discussed earlier, sometimes you can afford to offer deals to people in specific regions that don’t make financial sense to offer customers in other areas. This is especially true with shipping.

But if you’re able to add free shipping to some customers, it’s a great way to boost sales from people in that region. As such, you should take full advantage of the opportunity.

With geotargeting, you can create free shipping campaigns that are targeted to specific regions. Those would look something like this:

Geotargeting floating bar for free shipping

Geotargeting allows you to offer free shipping to select customers so you can still make a profit.

And people from outside that region won’t feel like they’ve “missed out” on the deal because they won’t see it in the first place.

6. Retarget Local Customers

Most customers won’t buy something on their first visit to your site. They’ll window shop a few times before finally deciding to purchase.

That’s why the idea of retargeting is so crucial for online marketing. Retargeting is a way to mark visitors to your website and then show them ads for your business on another platform.

When you combine retargeting with geotargeting, you can really supercharge your advertising strategy.

After creating your campaign with the geotargeting rules in place, you can add retargeting pixels from your favorite PPC (pay-per-click) advertising platform like Google or Facebook.

Then, as your regional visitors interact with the campaign, you can use that data to build better audiences for your paid ads.

That way, you can be sure to get the most bang for your buck as you advertise local promotions to people who are close to your store’s physical location.

7. Make Seasonal Product Recommendations

If you have a retail store or have a seasonal sales cycle, you can make product recommendations based on your customers’ location.

For example, the seasons are reversed between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. A January campaign in Australia might look like this::

Geotargeting example with summer wear

But for your customers in Canada, January is the middle of winter. They would have totally different clothing needs. So you’d want to show them a popup that looks like this instead:

Geotargeting example with winter clothes-min

With geotargeting, you can create both of these popups, but only show the relevant one to your customers.

That means targeting product recommendations that make sense for the customer and, in the end, more sales for you.

8. Run Deals to Country-Specific Holidays

Another thing to remember is that each country and region will have specific holiday celebrations throughout the year.

Thanksgiving in the United States, for example, is in November. But in Canada, Thanksgiving is in October.

So running a Thanksgiving special in November is great, so long as your entire audience is based in the United States. But those campaigns won’t be appealing to people in other countries. They might even feel excluded, which means your conversion rates may suffer.

If you really want to use geotargeting to personalize UX, you can run promotional campaigns by country to recognize their local holidays.

This will make all of your audience feel more valued, give you more reasons to run promotions throughout the year, and generate more sales for your business.

9. Boost Reviews on 3rd-Party Sites

Part of running a successful store is getting positive reviews from platforms like Google My Business or Yelp.

This is even more important if you have a physical store or restaurant. Potential customers are looking for authentic opinions when deciding whether to spend their money with your business.

With OptinMonster, you can create campaigns to invite people in your area to leave you positive reviews on these 3rd-party sites.

To sweeten the deal, you can incentivize users with a free coupon or discount for your products and services.

A campaign could look something like this:

Geotargeting for 3rd party reviews

Just be sure that you make it clear the coupon can be redeemed for both positive AND negative reviews. Otherwise, this may come across as paying for reviews, which can damage your credibility.

9. Redirect to Location-Based Content

Products aren’t the only thing you can recommend based on a user’s location. You can also show users location-based content.

Content that works well with geotargeting can include:

  • Product reviews for items that work in specific climates (such as raincoats or sandals)
  • Local restaurant reviews
  • Travel destinations that appeal to people from specific regions, such as warm vacation spots for travelers stuck in a snowy winter
  • Listicles of local attractions

Again, the best way to increase conversion rates is to show your visitors content that matches their interests.

Geotargeting lets you deliver the right content to the right people at just the right time in their customer journey to get you the most sales possible.

Now let’s look at the easiest way to start using geotargeting on your website.

Learn more about this in our tutorial on how to schedule marketing campaigns.

That’s it! Now you know how to use geotargeting to boost conversions among visitors from different locations.

Next, try integrating geotargeting into your travel industry and restaurant marketing, which are two areas where geotargeting can really help win business.

Get started today with geotargeting in OptinMonster.

And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube for more in-depth guides and tutorials.

Jennifer Duann Fultz
Jennifer Duann Fultz is a content writer and course creator. She has a passion for helping small businesses grow sustainably and ethically. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys writing fiction, cooking, and exercising.

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