Through years of developing and perfecting online marketing strategies, I have found that Google AdWords is an effective way to drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, it can also be a huge money pit if you don't know what you're doing.

For me, it's all about finding the balance between generating more traffic and not spending too much money. One way to do this is by targeting a specific geographical area. To help you do this, I have added some tips and techniques I have developed through the years.

Know where your customers are and where they want to be.

When establishing an AdWords campaign for your local business, you must avoid wasting marketing funds by advertising to an overly broad geographical area. Building a strategy that ensures your ads will appear locally is necessary.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by using the geographical targeting tools offered by AdWords. With this, you can determine where your ads will appear -- you can set it for a radius around a certain point, city, country, or a combination of these.

Remember, when someone searches for something in a local area, they will likely add the area where they are searching. You must ensure you add these geo-specific words to your target keywords.

Review and improve your AdWords campaigns often.

Your AdWords campaign is not a set-it-and-forget-it marketing strategy. In fact, it's one that you should review and alter regularly. I have had countless clients come to me claiming their efforts aren't working, and I find out it's because they haven't changed anything for weeks or months. This is also a complete waste of money.

You have to monitor what is working among your AdWords efforts and then take steps to duplicate it with other ads. While this takes time, reviewing and altering your ads will help you achieve more success.

For example, if you have one ad that is getting more traffic than another, look at what's different between the two. Is there a way to change or improve the second ad based on what's working in the first? If you aren't sure, just start changing one element at a time, let the ad run for a few days, and see if there are any improvements. If not, you can make additional changes until something clicks and the ad takes off.

Don't underestimate the power of locally targeted PPC ads.

Google AdWords is a powerful marketing tool that can be used to target your customers locally. However, building successful ads is quite challenging. Because of this, you must take steps to get your ad campaigns right. Use my tips and years of practice to help implement a successful campaign right away. This is something that will pay off and ensure you get the desired results for your business and the marketing dollars you have invested.