When it comes to marketing your business in the local space, it can seem a bit daunting. There are so many options on offer promising to increase your lead count each month. The harsh reality is, most of these large directories & marketing agencies have no real interest in seeing your business grow. They don’t care about the quality of leads they send your way, nor do they limit themselves to only working with one business in one location and industry. The larger directory sites use their powerful websites as lead magnets and sell the leads on to 6-10 businesses in the same area. The ridiculous part is, these 6-10 companies all have to pay up front for this lead that is being shared with other businesses. Due to their large sales teams they are able to fool businesses into thinking they are getting high quality leads each and every month, which is just wrong. I won’t mention any names but i’m sure you probably know who they are (If you don’t then message me and I’ll disclose the companies to stay away from!).
Over the years myself and my team have developed a system online that allows us to dominate the local space across multiple niches. We implement the same process across all our campaigns and continue to get great results. Over the last 2 months for one of our clients, we drove 150+ new customers phone calls using these channels & processes. This guide shows exactly what processes & channels we use generate exclusive, high quality leads every month for our clients (For obvious reasons, I can’t disclose our systems but the info in this guide is more than enough to get you started).
Website Structure & On-Page SEO
Before you get started with any of the other channels I recommend, getting your website designed & structured in the correct way is essential. Firstly, having a well designed website is beneficial from a user experience (UX). A website that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate is bound to attract and retain customers on your website, greatly increasing the user experience, that in turn keeps them on your website for longer. Having users on your website for longer puts out great signals in the eyes of google and is just one of the many ranking factors in googles algorithm.
On-page SEO is probably the most important aspect when it comes to ranking a website. One problem a lot of web designers and SEO experts face is getting the balance right between UX and properly optimized content on your website. Without being too technical, when it comes to optimizing your content on your website, typically you’ll need to make sure you are building at least 1000-1500 words of unique well written content on each service & location page. This content needs to have the right balance of keywords and Geo-relevant keywords, allowing google to understand what it is you actually offer and in what location.
Be careful not to over optimize your keywords as this can lead to google penalizing your website, making it impossible to rank for those in keywords in the search engine. Then you’ll also need to take into account the H tags & H tag structure on each page, whilst also providing well written, keyword optimized meta titles and descriptions. Having a properly optimized website, makes your off-page SEO strategy a lot easier when it comes to ranking. You are welcome to reach out to me if some of this is not making sense. If you are a business owner, I would advise getting someone else to take care of this, as it may not be a good use of your time in your business.
Local Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is another fundamental process we undertake when getting results for our clients. SEO is not a short term solution, however in the long term it trumps all other types of local marketing in my opinion. Having your website at the top of the 1st page for keywords that get hundreds of searches per month is absolute gold dust and be the catalyst for real growth in your business. One of the main processes with off-page SEO is ‘Link-building’. Link-building is the process in which you obtain ‘back-links’ (other websites linking to yours) over a period of time. Having a strong back-link profile has been proved to dramatically increase rankings in Google. Many ‘SEO experts’ tend to buy links from a number of sources. This can be incredibly risky as a lot of the time these paid links can be from poorly managed & spam filled websites that can only hurt the rankings on your website. When trying to obtain links for a local website it is important to keep these things in mind:
- Make sure the link is somewhat industry relevant
- Do some research using tools such as Ahrefs or Moz to determine if the quality of the linking domain clean and not filled with spam. Also to check if the website has existing authority.
- Try to make sure the link is location relevant (within the same areas that your serve)
If you get these 3 things right, it means you’ve got a decent link! One of the best ways to go about doing this, is something called ‘manual outreach’. This is simply the process of emailing desired websites you want links from to see if they wouldn’t mind linking to your site. In return you can offer them a well-written piece of content for their blog or in some instances they will want payment. I’d always recommend just offering them some good content unless it’s a very powerful website! Again, a lot of what I’m talking about should be managed by a professional but it doesn’t mean to say these things can’t be learned. Remember, not all links are good links, do your due diligence before agreeing to have a website link to yours!
Google Maps SEO
Google maps is one of the main sources of leads in the local market. It is often over-looked and under-served by other SEO agencies & digital marketing companies. From experience of ranking lots of Google My Business listings in the top 3 listings, I can say, it is one of the leading sources of leads in the local space. At the start of the guide I said we’d driven 150+ phone calls over the last 2 months for one of our plumbing clients, 85 of which came via their Google My Business listing being at the #1 spot in the map listings. So that really does show the power of having a well optimized and highly ranked listing in maps.
Different rules apply when undertaking ranking in the maps section as opposed to ranking in the organic section. There are 3 areas that determine where you rank in the maps section:
The first point being relevance refers to how relevant your maps listing is to the user searching for a specific service. Having your listing show up at the top when it comes to relevance, means that both your maps listing and your website need to be fully optimized and identify ALL the services you offer. This goes back to on-page SEO, making sure you have a host of pages on your website about each service you offer, with well written content in each of those pages. You’ll need to also list all of these services in your Google My Business dashboard too. Without getting too technical, their are other off-page techniques you can utilize such as, embedding your google map business location on a number of websites. Google sees your listing being shared on these sites and more often than not, rewards your listing with a nice ranking boost.
Secondly there’s prominence. This refers to how close you are to the user searching for the service they require in your area. If you are on the other side of the city from where the user searches, then it is highly likely your listing will not show up. However, there are ways in which to manipulate what google shows in each area. You can do this by creating location based pages of the suburbs across the city on your website. This ties in with relevance as now your website is showing relevance to each part of the city, giving Google more signals that your business operates in this area. This is just one of many things you can do to beat the prominence filter, we also do many off page techniques that also allow us to show up in the 3 pack across the whole city, however that would need a whole other article.
Lastly there’s Authority. This ties in with the general SEO of your website and how strong/authoritative it is. The stronger the back-link profile on your website, the more likely Google are to reward your google listing with better rankings.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Google are giving more and more power to their Ads platform. More and more space on the 1st page of Google is being taken up by ads. Instead of blocking this out and neglecting ads all together, you’ve got to incorporate it into your marketing arsenal. At the end of the day, when done right a well optimized google ads campaign is an excellent source of leads in the local market. Most fail to gain any real benefit from Google Ads simply down to the fact, it is being done all wrong. Optimizing a Google Ads campaign takes time as you are looking to build up as much data as possible, which will allow you in a few weeks time to corner your target market and kill off any of the poor performing keywords that are not giving you a good ROI. From experience with all our local campaigns we use Google Ads to run along side all the other marketing angles we are undertaking, as it can yield some fast results. When you consider SEO can take months to see any results, Google Ads is a great way to get increase your leads in the short term. Once the SEO results are kicking in and you’ve got a good ads campaign ticking along, as you can imagine the amount of leads that these both bring in can be staggering.
The most popular social media platform in the world. Full of ready to buy customers in the local market, true? In some cases yes, but in others certainly not. It really depends on the Niche. Medical treatments, Beauticians and Dentists? definitely! Roofers, plumbers, legal services? Probably not. I’m sure some people will be able to prove me wrong but from my own experience with my agency, I have found Facebook to be pretty poor especially in the home service industry. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t use it, it just means I don’t use it to generate new leads. Rather we use it to re-target existing potential leads. You see Facebook is classic interruption marketing, whereas google is user-intent marketing. The customers using google are actively searching for services & products as with Facebook they aren’t and are enticed by media highlighting a businesses services. As I said previously, with our local campaigns we use it to re-target potential customers. We do this by installing a Facebook pixel on our clients website. This pixel collects data that allows us to then set up a re-targeting campaign in Facebook ads. We know that the data in the pixel is reliable as the user must have reached our website by searching for a service in their area. The pixel automatically allows us to target all these people who visited the website, allowing us to show them a highly targeted advert with an enticing offer to use our clients services. The results are great and would recommend to make sure your pixel is set up as soon as you can, so it can collect as much data as possible.
I hope this guide gave you some good insights into what’s working for us at the moment and why. The sheer power of all channels & processes given above, working towards the goal of generating new leads and increasing phone calls for our clients has been the reason all our clients are dominating their local market and gaining the lions share of customers. If you’d like to speak with me directly, feel free to send a message via LinkedIn or reach out to me directly via JRJ-Consulting.co.uk.