How Paid Search Can Take Your Business to a New City

Rachels Locations Post
Rachel Lehn
April 6, 2016

Remember when you started in Chicago (or New York City, or San Francisco, or Austin) as a tiny startup? Let’s say you were in an incubator for a while. Then you grew into official offices in River North. At first, the view of the Chicago River inspired you, but now you’re aching to reach new horizons. How about growing to a new city?

Expanding to new locations is a common business goal. A new city can be both daunting and exciting—but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge financial risk.

By using paid search strategies, you can painlessly test new markets before fully investing in expanding to that area. Google AdWords campaigns can allow you to test a new location and minimize the monetary risk that your business takes during expansion.


A real (and really awesome) example of paid search helping a business expand to new locations

We recently helped one of our clients, the New York Code + Design Academy, successfully expand into several new cities using Google AdWords campaigns.

NYCDA first researched their expansion by choosing three cities to test. They started offering a limited number of classes in those cities. Then, paid search came in. (Learn more about our paid search services here!)

Our team tested data about the profitability of conversions in each new city. We built out ad campaigns targeting each city, along with content and landing pages for those ads. Next, we set a budget for testing and we optimized ads for the established budget.

As the ads ran, we continuously updated NYCDA on the conversions the ads brought in. For NYCDA, the key metric that would encourage them to further the expansion process was lead generation.

After the test for the first city brought in quality leads, we moved on to the next city. By the end of the tests, NYCDA had valuable data on which cities were viable for continuing their expansion. They used this data to make informed decisions about expanding to certain cities, minimizing financial risk in the process.

In addition to testing new locations for NYCDA, The Perfect Search team also drove down NYCDA’s cost-per-lead by 40% in one year. Find out how. 


How your expanding business can take advantage of paid search

If paid search drives the majority of traffic to your website, it makes sense to use paid search to test new markets.

This strategy works well for companies that already have one established location and are interested in seeing if other locations will be viable. By offering limited services in a new city, paid search can test whether you’ll get viable traffic for that area. Then, your business doesn’t have to spend a lot of money fully expanding to a new location without data that suggests it’ll be a worthwhile investment.

Let’s think this through with a totally fictional example. If you have a jelly shoe shop in Denver (they’re definitely coming back) and you want to expand, you’ll need data before you decide whether Austin is a good city for jelly shoes.

But how should you begin? One strategy would be to have a pop-up shop and use paid search to drive traffic to a landing page about the event.

You could create ads with awesome, engaging copy targeting both jelly shoes and Austin. Aim to get a certain number of conversions who actually sign up to go to the pop-up shop opening. From the conversion data, you’ll be able to gauge people’s interest in buying jelly shoes in Austin.

Of course, this isn’t the only strategy your jelly shoe business (or any business!) should take before expanding to a new city. There’s a lot of research that should be done on things like demographics, competitors, and brand awareness before you take the plunge.

Still, paid search is a fantastic method for testing and gathering valuable data on new locations that can work for many businesses—like NYCDA or the (again, fictional but totally hip) jelly shoe shop. Once your jelly shoes become the hottest thing in Austin, you can thank us.


Have you ever used paid search to test new locations for your business? Do you have any other strategies for expanding to a new city? Aren’t jelly shoes making a definite comeback? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search.

For more information on digital marketing, check out our primer on digital advertising channels.

Rachel Lehn
Manager, Business Operations

Rachel originates from Kansas City, Missouri (go Royals!). She grew up riding her horse Tinkerbelle and she has a secret knack for making really authentic puppy noises. Two of her greatest wishes? Driving a Tesla and becoming fluent in Russian.

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