To find your ideal consumers you will use several different targeting methods to reach them. Starting with where they are Geographically located.
Depending on your business services and or products, you may be able to reach a nationwide audience, or your services are only locally based.
Either way, you still need to analyze where the consumer is and why they need your services or products to being with.
If you are targeting the user that will be visiting your brick and mortar location to purchase your product or obtain your service. Your geo target area will be determined on how long the customer is willing to travel for that service or product. In this case you would be using a radius targeting method. [Examples would be: dentist, auto body repair, chiropractor, child care, and more.]
Radius target method is effective because you can decide for example, that someone will travel about 20 minutes to retrieve the needed product or service. You know that you can start your internet ad campaign targeting 20 miles around your store location in every direction.
After analyzing the traffic that visits your website, and those customers that visit your store. You will be able to learn if you need to shrink your targeting radius or increase it because there are several people coming from the outside ring of your targeting area.
If your provide a service to your customers, then your targeting approach will be based on how far you decide to go for a new customer. Most times companies decide based on the county they are in and surrounding counties. In this case you would target those counties in your ad campaign. Always review your website traffic data to learn where your customers really come from. You may need to adjust your geo target area based on them. That is fine to do, you created your business to get customers, so you must go where they are.
Lastly, which is going to be targeting cities or zip codes, that you feel has consumers that are in need of your products or services. Using Google AdWords, you have the ability to be extremely specific to where your ads are found. You can add and delete targeting areas when you see data that supports that update.
To be clear, you have a couple of options with all of these different targeting plans. You can target users that are searching about the location you are targeting or you can define it that the user must be physically located in your target area. These options allow you target your audience effectively.