Marketing Your Local Business Online


Tony Pfitzner

Tony Pfitzner has been assisting local businesses with online marketing since 1995.

Question 1: Is your local bricks-and-mortar business losing out to competitors online?

Most people search online for products or services prior to buying – whether or not the final purchase is made online. Some marketers calls this initial reconnaissance the Zero Moment of Truth, a name which reflects the importance of this time in the sales process.

The old days when the yellow pages were vital for advertising local business – and winning the Zero Moment of Truth – are long gone. Print advertising can still be effective, but it is expensive. Likewise for TV and Radio.

If your competitors – whether they are other local businesses like yours or country wide or even global traders – have a better online marketing strategy for your local area, then they will be getting more customers than you and at a lower cost. Your competitors will be winning the Zero Moment of Truth, and if you do not fix this situation:

  • your business will have limited growth
  • you will miss out on valuable market feedback
  • your business may become uncompetitive

If your answer to Question 1 above is “Yes, I need to improve my online marketing” then read on. I will explain what is required to be competitive in local markets. These are not vague concepts about web design, SEO or social media marketing, but the key elements of a strategy that is applicable to nearly all businesses servicing a limited geographic area.

Google Local Business Search

The Zero Moment of Truth usually starts with online search


Question 2: If you could (at least) DOUBLE the number of online sales leads, how big a difference would this make to your profitability?

For most business owners, the answer to the above question is “a lot”, but some – particularly with service related businesses – make statements such as “I get plenty of business from word of mouth.” or “I am flat out servicing my existing customers, and don’t want to employ any more staff.”  Even these latter sceptics would benefit from more sales because they would be able to pick and choose each job, and achieve greater price leverage.

In general, increased sales leads provide greater profitability through:

  • Higher gross revenue
  • More sales reducing fixed costs as a proportion of sales
  • Greater price leverage
  • Ability to concentrate on the most profitable products or services

Question 3: If you could QUADRUPLE the number of sales leads for your local business would that be worthwhile?
You might think this sounds like an inflated claim, or that it might work for some but not for you. I am going to show exactly how this level of improvement in the performance of your website can be readily achieved with the right local business marketing package.

Local business marketing package

 

A Google search covering local business websites marketing turns up a lot of information about the benefits of WordPress, and search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, even the Cloud, but amongst all the jargon few hit the nail on the head for a package which will quickly and simply deliver sales leads.

A package for local business needs to deliver the following:

  1. A website that will efficiently convert traffic to sales leads
  2. Initial SEO of the website and maps listing
  3. A means of tapping into local searches for relevant products or services i.e. pay-per-click
  4. Mobile version of the site
  5. Install Google Analytics, create benchmarks
  6. Ongoing SEO, pay-per-click support, and conversion optimisation

Here are the reasons why these 6 points are so important.

Point 1: Conversion

Your website must be able to convert traffic to sales leads efficiently otherwise nothing works. Advertising costs per sales lead will be high. Revenue will be low. If your competitors have better converting sites, then their costs per sale will be lower than yours. They can then afford more advertising – and so on.

Conversion rates on poorly performing sites can easily be improved by a factor of 2, through attention to site layout, visitor psychology, and a strong call to action. (“Visitor psychology” refers to a buying sequence defined by; problem, promise, proof, offer, action.)

Point 2: Initial SEO

Initial SEO means setting the site up correctly for the search engines. It includes:

  • Research keyword searches relevant to the business
  • Setting up page titles, descriptions, page addresses, navigation and page content according to research
  • Provision of a sitemap
  • Google maps search listing
  • Install Google analytics
  • Integration with social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – as appropriate
  • Other housekeeping, including registration with webmaster tools for the various search engines etc.

SEO is an ongoing process, but this initial work will ensure things kick off on the right foot.

Rent-a-TRUCK was up and running quickly with a local business marketing package targeted for Rockingham and Mandurah in south west WA.


Point 3: Local business advertising with Pay-per-Click

Pay-per-Click advertising through Google or Yahoo Search Marketing represents a major opportunity for local business, which is often under exploited. Many businesses are either unaware of it, are concerned about the cost, or think it is unnecessary as they are already at the top of the organic search engine rankings for economically significant keywords.

However, pay-per-click advertising is pretty much a no-brainer for local business for one reason, and that is geographic targeting.

Google and Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) – YSM includes both Yahoo and Bing in Australia – have systems which allow for ad campaigns only to be shown to online searchers in specific geographic areas. By using this facility, in addition to developing campaigns based on keywords including relevant geographic locations, advertising can be delivered with a high degree of accuracy only to likely prospects in your area. This reduces costs and improves the quality of website traffic.

In my experience, pay-per-click will increase targeted traffic levels by at least 40% even for businesses ranked number one for a particular keyword.

Costs can be managed very precisely through the use of budgets and keyword bid prices. Pay-per-click campaigns do require support and ongoing tuning, but they can make a massive difference to sales leads.

Point 4: Mobile version of the website

There is plenty of data around about the massive increase in use of smart phones, tablet devices and the like for local search.

Up to 25% of people do not have regular access to a notebook or desktop computer, but nearly everybody has a phone.

Smart phones are also used a great deal for local navigation. When this trend is combined with that of local search, we have a compelling case for local business to exploit this mobile explosion with appropriate web infrastructure and advertising.

The first requirement is a website correctly set up for a wide range of mobile devices.

Point 5: Install Google Analytics, goals and benchmarks

Online advertising has a huge advantage over traditional forms of advertising such as TV and print media – that is the ability to track visitor behaviour, set measurable goals, and accurately measure the costs of campaigns. For these things to be achieved a traffic analysis package needs to be installed. Google’s Analytics package is free and state of the art. It needs to be properly installed, along with goals such as sales or lead tracking.

Once installed, it is possible to accurately measure progress against set benchmarks.

Point 6: Ongoing support

Let’s face it, management of pay per click campaigns, search engine optimisation, business directory search listings and strategic online marketing advice are areas requiring skill, experience and ongoing mastery of rapidly developing technologies and social trends. As a local business owner, you need to get on with growing your business without fear of falling behind your competitors.

It is important that this support is not outsourced in such a way that quality is compromised, through lack knowledge of your business, or local factors such as culture or language.

How to Quadruple Sales Leads

Our third question above was “If you could QUADRUPLE the number of sales leads for your local business would that be worthwhile?

If you look at the example below it is easy to see that a doubling of two factors – traffic and conversion – results in a quadrupling of the number of sales or sales leads. This is not rocket science.

Local business marketing leads

So how do we achieve the doubling in these two factors?

Firstly, traffic. We have already shown that a pay-per-click campaign can increase traffic to a local business website by 40%, even when the website is already ranked number one for a keyword. This accounts for nearly all of the traffic increase required to reach 2 x. A little more – only another 10% – from some SEO or social media and we are there.

Secondly, conversion. For a website that is converting poorly, it is fairly easy to double website conversion rates using the call-to-action and basic psychology principles outlined above. In addition to this the pay-per-click campaigns are likely to convert at much higher levels than incidental website traffic. This is because pay-per-click traffic is highly targeted.  

An Offer from Tony Pfitzner, Senior Consultant

I will provide you with a FREE phone consult outlining exactly how we would tailor a package to the requirements of your business. This is potentially worth a lot of money, as you will gain valuable insights into how best to move forward with your strategic plan. I normally charge well in excess of $100/hr for this type of strategic information. After this you can either go with us or take the insights to another web marketing team.

Act now

It is getting more expensive every day to gain market share for your local business online. Rising advertising costs, coupled with the rapid growth of mobile search, mean you need to get moving now so you can gain market share and the skills and infrastructure needed to keep it.

Get up and running within less than 30 days! Request a Free Consult

Be Sociable, Share!