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If you're a contractor or service professional, it's important to be familiar with local internet marketing concepts and how they can come together to help you generate leads for your business.
Even if you plan to hire an internet marketing company to do most of the heavy lifting for you, it's still a good idea to at least understand the tools in the toolbox.
There are a number of different local marketing strategies that contractors can use to generate leads. They're usually based on things like your specialty, how active your competition is online and whether you plan on doing the work in house or outsourcing your local marketing services.
Whichever route you choose, there's no downside to digging in and learning everything you can about how to use local marketing to grow your business.
Why Contractors Are Making the Switch to Local Internet Marketing
There's a lot of things you can do to attract new business. Smart contractors start by going wherever their customers are to market their services. Today, that means going online.
And like it or not, when your prospects are in the market for a service you provide, they're going online to do a little research. They'll research you and your competitors to see who's the best fit.
They may read through online testimonials, look up Google reviews or even ask their friends for a recommendation on social media.
The goal of local internet marketing is to develop an online presence and strategy to market your company in your local city, county or region.
Your online advertisements and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques will help you market your business to customers in your geographic region.
Whether you are awake or asleep, you will be able to market your company to potential customers at all times of the day and night.
In addition, online marketing allows you to target your advertisements to a select audience. Instead of paying for newspaper ads that could reach thousands of uninterested consumers, your ads only go to people who might want to shop at your business. You can also tailor your ads for different goals like increasing brand awareness, boosting your conversion rate or generating more leads.
You already know how to run a business. Now, you have to take your company to the next level by reaching out to local consumers online. Local internet marketing can help you boost your company's revenue.
Make Sure You Look Good To Customers On Their Cell Phones
In April of 2018, about 57 percent of online traffic came from mobile devices and smartphones. If your site is not designed for mobile devices, you could be losing potential customers.
People need a mobile-friendly site if they want to research a product, email customer service or make a purchase. If your site does not load properly, your users will move on to your competitors.
Mobile searches are becoming increasingly popular, so it is important to integrate mobile-friendly options into your design. Add a responsive design to your site so that people can use the site from any kind of device. This will help all of your potential users have the same positive, easy experience.
You should also remember the same concept when you create your pay-per-click (PPC) landing page. Once a mobile user clicks on your PPC ad, they will end up on this landing page. Because of this, your landing page has to work for mobile devices. If the site works well, you will get more leads and a better conversion rate.
A decade ago, a mobile-friendly site was just a bonus point for your user experience. In the last few years, it has become a requirement for any website that wants to be successful. After Google made mobile-friendly designs mandatory in 2015, any site that wanted to compete had to adjust.
By now, your site should already be optimized for mobile devices. If it is not, you need to focus on getting a mobile-friendly design before you do anything else.
Steps to Get Google, Bing and Yahoo to Send You Customers
Your next goal is to boost your local SEO. Local SEO is all about connecting with people who either live in your local area or are close enough that they're willing to purchase from you.
There are two different flavors of local SEO. The basics are those things you do on your website. Then there are more advanced techniques that happen away from your website. Both are designed to to help develop a better Google ranking and from there, more leads.
When people search for a restaurant on Google, they often add “near me” or the city's name in their search. This helps consumers find the most accurate, relevant results. Your goal is to make sure you appear in these results through your on-site and off-site SEO.
To start with, you need to make on-site changes to your SEO. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your services and product descriptions. A company blog can also help you show search engines your keywords and overall relevancy.
You should also incorporate keywords into your meta tags, descriptions, content and other parts of your website. All of these techniques help to show the search engine spiders what your company is about.
In addition to on-site SEO, you need to also get off-site SEO to boost your search engine ranking. One of the main ways to improve your rankings is by getting authoritative sites to link back to your website.
For example, having Reuters or the University of Washington link to your site will help to boost your search engine rankings. The presence of links shows that your site has value to the reader. Meanwhile, the authoritative nature of the other sites shows how good your site is.
If you have the time, you can wait and hope that authoritative sites link to your company's page. You can also be proactive by doing activities like guest blogging in exchange for backlinks. You can create a Google My Business listing, make a social media page for your business, submit to forums or partner with influencers to get those important backlinks.
Make Online Word of Mouth Work for You Instead of Against You
Online reviews are extremely important for the success of your business. Your online reputation is potentially more important than your real-life reputation. When you have a positive or negative review in real life, the customer eventually forgets about it and stops sharing the bad experience with their friends. If someone posts a bad review of your company online, it will stay on the internet forever.
When a customer researches you online, they will see the positive or negative review. These reviews impact whether they contact you or go to your competitor. In addition, other websites like Trip Advisor will rank your company according to the reviews. If you have a low score, customers are less likely to see you in the results.
The main thing you can do is solicit reviews from your current customers. When you know that a customer has had a good experience, encourage them to share it online. You can even send out follow-up emails to your clients with links to different review sites. Whether you get a positive or negative review, respond to it. Thank the customer if they gave you a good review. If they had a problem, be genuine, apologize and address their concern. Bad reviews happen to everyone, so use them as an opportunity to show that you care about your customers and want to engage with them.
Remember to ask for reviews on different sites. You want your site to rank highly on diverse websites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook, so do not focus on getting reviews on just one site. Monitor all of your reviews each week so that you can respond to them in a timely manner. These reviews can actually boost your search engine ranking, so encourage customers to reach out and leave feedback about your business.
Use Directory Sites to Be Everywhere They're Looking
The next part of your local internet marketing plan is to get citations from directory sites. These citations are from review sites and local directories. They help your website to rank well in local search results.
To make sure these directories are actually helping your business, make sure your business name, phone number, website and address are consistent across every listing and your actual site. If your name is spelled differently on different sites, it can impact your search ranking and directory listings.
You should also complete your local listing profiles as thoroughly as you can. Whenever you are able to provide extra information like photos or links to your profile, make sure to include it. Adding images is especially important for product-focused companies like restaurants.
While you are not allowed to pay or reward your customers for writing reviews about your company, you can encourage them to write reviews. Send follow-up emails or flyers asking for reviews. By getting more positive reviews, you will increase your ranking. You will also show prospective clients that your current customers are satisfied with their purchasing decisions.
Figuring out the best directories for your site can be challenging. In the beginning, focus on the directories that will make the biggest impact. Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yahoo Local and Yelp are the best places to go to make a listing for your business. For Google, you just have to search for your business name and then claim it as your business. After you do this, you can complete your profile. Local media and organizations like your chamber of commerce are also a good place for a local listing.
You can reach out to local customers in your area using PPC ads. With this kind of ad, you pay for the advertisement when someone actually clicks on it. When you pay for impressions, you end up paying when people merely see the advertisements as they scroll down a page. By paying per click instead, you make sure that you are only paying for customers who are actually interested in your business. This can help you increase your conversion rate. Overall, PPC leads are 50 percent more likely to actually convert into a paying customer than an organic visitor.
When you buy a PPC ad, it is through an ad network like Google AdWords. The idea behind PPC ads is fairly straightforward. Different content producers like blogs and news sites have blank space on their pages. For a price, you can include your advertisement on those pages. When someone clicks on that advertisement, you pay a fee that goes to the content producer.
For your PPC ad to do its best, you have to target certain keywords. If you are a shoe manufacturer, you might target keywords like “black shoes” or “leather loafers.” When someone searches for this exact term or a similar term, your advertisement appears. If you are using Google for your ads, your listing may appear just under the search bar. It may also appear as an image on the content site the user goes to. With either option, your ad is only being seen by someone who is already interested in what you have to offer.
The basic process involves choosing the keywords you want and a bid amount. You choose a maximum bid, which is the largest amount you would be willing to pay if someone clicks on your ad. If you decide that this number is too high or low later, you can always change it. Once your ad campaign is ready, viewers will start to see and click on it.
Using Local Business Sites
Local business sites like Bing Local, Google My Business and Yahoo Local are also extremely important if you want to rank highly in your local search results. Google My Business is basically all of the results you see when you type in a kind of business and a location. For example, you could type “pet shops near Philadelphia.” Then, a list of pet shops in the local area would appear in your search results.
Your Google My Business listing is extremely valuable for your overall marketing strategy. If you want to appear in the top of the user's results, you need to optimize your listing. Make sure your profile is completely filled out with your address, hours of operation and contact information. You will also want to add photos so that prospective customers can see your services and products.
Once your local listing is complete, you will be more likely to appear in local searches. You have put in time, effort and research into developing your business. Now, local marketing can help you take your company to the next level. Through developing a local, online marketing plan, you can start reaching out to customers in your geographic area who are actually interested in buying your products. Local marketing is your ticket to developing new leads, achieving better conversion rates and boosting your company's revenue.