One of today’s greatest challenges facing service area businesses or brick & mortar businesses is their ability to generate leads. Where once yellow pages used to work, or advertisements in local papers was a thing and direct mail used to draw swarms of customers, the game seems to have shifted. As a result, traditional marketing methods are simply not as effective as they used to be. The truth is, any business wishing to stand out in today’s highly competitive environment needs a well-planned, online local lead generation plan to have a fighting chance.
What Is Online Local Lead Generation?
Online local lead generation is not entirely different from traditional lead generation. It entails focusing your marketing efforts on digital strategies geared towards attracting the local community who make up your largest customer base.
Online lead gen provides local businesses with a plethora of data that can be harnessed to help your brand stamp its authority and help reach new local audiences who are likely to purchase your goods or services. This is also a highly recommended strategy for small business lead generation.
A lead is an individual who has shown interest in a firm’s products or services. Local lead generation is the process of sending prospects through a lead generation funnel to turn them into high intent leads who are most likely to become paying customers of your company’s products or services.
If you are a local business, you should invest in generating high-quality leads that will maximize your chances of securing customers for your products. This article focuses on digital strategies you can apply in generating local leads.
What Are The Best Online Sources For Local Leads?
You will be pleased to know that generating local leads for your business is relatively easy when compared to national or international lead generation. However, you need to have carefully strategized and planned as the whole process requires planning and attention. It is important to focus your attention on a particular geographical location that matches the service area for your business. Think in terms of a 15 to minute journey time radius around your location.
You will need a strategy that will generate leads rapidly while minimizing your costs. Your lead generation strategy needs to be versatile, cost-effective, measurable and it needs to get you the results that you want.
Below are 4 of the best digital sources for local leads…
1. Organic Search Engine Results
When someone is in need of a local service, they search for it on Google. Google is by far the most used search engine. Yes, there are others but Google is number 1.
Now, just because you have a website it doesn’t mean that your website will appear on page 1 (and the higher on page 1 the better) of the search results. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your rankings for relevant searched for phrases within the search engines.
Google 3-pack is an excellent way to generate local leads and sales for your business. But you’re going to need to optimize your profile to get into the top 3!
SEO is a long term strategy compared with PPC ads. But once your website starts ranking, you will notice that lots of high intent search engine traffic flowing your way in the form of leads, calls, and purchases.
2. Google Ads For Local Searches
Closely related to organic search engine results are Google Ads for local searches. This is a PPC (pay per click) strategy or to put it another way, pay to play. They are based on paying to appear at the top of search engine queries and map results. This means that they target the same audience as the organic search results. Google Ads are great for targeting search phrases that your website does not rank for or just to make sure that your site appears at the top of the page for certain keyword phrases.
You can also use Google Ads to appear at the top of the results within the local map results…
There are a host of benefits for local businesses associated with using Google Ads. These include…
- more website visits
- increased calls
- increased store visit
3. Facebook Paid Ads For Your Local Business
Did you know that Facebook allows you to target ads at people within your local area based on criteria such as location, age, sex, interests, and much more?
PPC Advertising on social media (do not get confused with posting to your social media account or “boosting posts”) is classed as interrupt marketing. The intent of the target audience is very different from that of the target audience of Google Ads. As mentioned, Google Ads target those people who are already searching for a service or product that you supply. Whereas, people browsing social media are not at that point searching for your products and services. therefore you need a strategy that interrupts their scroll and entices them to click on your ad.
Advertising on Facebook (and Instagram) produces results faster than SEO and is a lot cheaper than Google PPC ads. But it needs to be done correctly. If you are a local business that is not using paid advertising on these platforms then you are missing out on a lot of new business. Finally, the cost of PPC advertising on social media platforms is only going to rise.
The below image shows that it is possible to get a good amount of leads using PPC ads on Facebook for a local brick & mortar service business. These 51 leads were generated in 16 days at a cost of $1.64 per lead.
4. Social Media
Today, social media platforms are some of the highly visited platforms and their impact on local businesses cannot be wished away. Social media allows people to know, like & trust your business. And if your business has enough social media following, then these platforms offer a great source for local leads. This makes social media one of the best mediums for advertising in the digital marketing world.
You do not control or own the platform. This means if the social media platform decides to change the rules or restrict the reach of businesses on it, there is nothing you can do! If you do something against their ever-changing rules, you could be banned. Remember when your business posts got hundreds of likes, shares, and comments on Facebook? Then over a period of a few months, the reach & engagement dropped to almost zero? Use social media but do not have your business 100% rely on it!
Marketing has changed. Local businesses need to embrace and adapt to new digital marketing strategies to generate new sales. Local lead generation is pivotal for the success of your business. You need leads to make sales. And without sales, you do not have a viable business.