Direct Marketing Article
Expand Your Business by Thinking Global, but
By Heather Lutze
Many small business owners think that in order to be successful, they must
dominate the world. After all, their product is just a good for people in
Ohio as it is in Nebraska. But often, the real business is right under your
nose - right in your own backyard.
For many small business owners, though, understanding the nuances of how to
attract and capture a local search audience and convert them into paying
clients is a big challenge. Fortunately, you can increase your Findability,
dominate web search results, and attract new customers in your own hometown.
The question is, how do you stay competitive in a local market where
competition is fierce and your company offers the same perceived product or
service as everyone else in the area? How do you achieve a real competitive
edge in a localized market? Often, it's about two key things:
-- Getting Social
-- Getting Local
If you want to stand out in your local market and increase your web ranking,
following are some key ways to get social, get local, and get a whole lot of
Social Media Marketing is an excellent tool in an Internet Marketer's
toolkit. It gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate how your company is
different, and it gives a real voice to your online presence. Many
businesses that do some social media marketing do a good job of helping
consumers find their social media platforms off the main website. And, for
the most part, they do keep their accounts updated with relevant, high-value
information. However, in order to really harness the potential of these
platforms, you need to make a few changes with a localized spin that will go
a long way for search engine marketing.
Tip #1: Get everyone - and everything - on the same page.
Your blog is the most important social media element your company can
create. As such, it needs to be a part of your main web site and it must
support your brand. Just having a blog up somewhere on the World Wide Web
doesn't cut it. In fact, you can have the most informational, well-organized
blog in the world, but if it isn't an integrated part of your web site, it's
Unfortunately, most businesses have a blog that acts like its own website
and that is totally separate from the company's main web site. As such, the
blog often gets more traffic and better web rankings than the main site. The
blog gets all the credit for the business owner's well thought-out, regular
posts, and the web site gets none. Ideally, you want your web site to get
everything. The goal is not for consumers to read your blog; it's for them
to read your blog, and then visit your web site and take action.
Therefore, port your blog directly into your main web site. Ideally, users
will see the same header and footer as the main website, making it very easy
for them to jump from a blog post to a relevant section on your website.
Tip #2: A little keyword research goes a long way.
If you are going to take the time and effort to keep your social media
platforms up-to-date and informational, then you probably want your
potential customers to read them. The true power of social media marketing
is the ability to gain search engine ranking by optimizing your platforms,
thereby getting found in the search engines and getting traffic to your
Chances are you've already done the hard work. You're giving great
information, uploading videos and images, and giving customers a real
value-add. Now you simply need to pick one strategic keyword per post and do
a little post optimization, and you'll have search engine ranking. For each
blog, use a keyword tool (such as Google's free one - https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal,
find a keyword with good search volume, and simply add it into your post
title and throughout the content.
Now, here is the trick for using a keyword tool to localize posts. You
probably won't see the tools diving in deep enough to get search volume for
Fairfield, Virginia, or for any town for that matter. However, what works
for Americans, works for “Fairfieldians." This means if there is great
search volume under "Cosmetic Dentistry," for example, then there is
probably good search volume under “Cosmetic Dentistry, Fairfield VA." So
think global, but act local with your keywords.
When it comes to marketing on the Internet, the sky is truly the limit for
really narrowing in and getting in front of your target audience. Local
searching is no exception. Here are a few tricks of the trade that can help
you dominate local search results.
Tip #1: Use Geo-Targeting carefully.
Many local businesses that do Pay Per Click advertising use Geo-Targeted
criteria, which means your PPC ad will only show if the searcher has a local
IP address in the geographic area you've defined. The biggest gap in running
only a geo-targeted by IP address campaign is that people who are not
physically located in your area when searching won't see your ads. So if
someone lives around the corner from you, but this week they happen to be
across the country visiting their Aunt Betty and using her computer to find
some local businesses to call next week when they're back in town, your PPC
ads won't show.
For this reason, Geo-Targeted Pay Per Click accounts need to have two
campaigns. Campaign 1is the localized campaign that only shows ads to
consumers in your area, and Campaign 2 is a state-wide or national campaign
with keywords that have local modifiers. Using our cosmetic dentistry
example from earlier, in Campaign 1, you could show ads for keywords such as
“cosmetic dentistry," knowing that only consumers in the surrounding areas
would see them. For Campaign 2, you could show ads for keywords such as
“cosmetic dentistry Fairfield VA," knowing that regardless of where that
person is currently located, they have a need for a dentist in Fairfield.
Tip #2: Use Local Business Center ads.
Local Business Center ads are a fantastic way to gain additional, localized
ranking in the search engines. Setting up a Local Business Center ad account
in Google is free - all you need is a local address and you are good to go.
Local Business Center gives you the opportunity to connect your local
listings with your Google Adwords account, meaning that when someone
searches for your keyword in your local area, your listing will appear with
an address and phone number under the standard ad text. Even better, Local
Business Center ads can be optimized. For example, if one of your local
listings is titled “Fairfield Dentist," you could label it “Fairfield
Dentist, Cosmetic Dentistry" and gain ranking for someone searching for
cosmetic dentistry in Fairfield. By using a keyword tool and including your
keyword in the local listing, small business can take full advantage of a
local Internet Marketing approach.
Tip #3: Get the right local domain for the right audience.
As much as we are targeting local keywords and local listings, there is a
fine line between local and too local. For example, some businesses put
their phone number or address (or part of it) in their domain name. Whereas
an address and/or phone number is certainly local, it is just a bit too
local. Searchers definitely identify with localized keywords; however,
typically they don't search down to the street-number or phone number level
until they are looking for directions or a specific provider. Therefore, get
a web site address that is local-keyword rich. A small change in your web
address can make a very big change in your search engine Findability.
Dominate your Local Market for Results!
Yes, you can dominate your local market. By utilizing the strategies
covered, you can up your game on the local competitors. Ideally, you want to
be the ONLY provider in town as far as the search engines are concerned.
With so many people going online to get their local needs met, this is one
area of your web marketing campaign you can't afford to overlook.
About the Author:
Heather Lutze has spent the last 10 years as CEO of The Findability Group,
formerly Lutze Consulting, - a Search Engine Marketing firm that works with
companies to attain maximum Internet exposure. A nationally recognized
speaker, she is the author of, "The FindAbility Formula: The Easy,
Non-Technical Approach To Search Engine Marketing" (Wiley and Sons). Heather
is a lead speaker for Pay Per Click Summit, and previously spent two years
speaking for Yahoo! Search Marketing. For more information, visit