In the world of marketing, your biggest goal is to generate leads that ultimately convert into paying customers. While the goal itself is simple enough, the process of bringing people down the sales funnel is far from easy. In fact, local, small businesses often say that their inability to generate leads is among their greatest struggles.
But here’s the thing: it’s not uncommon for local businesses to feel like a needle in a haystack when it comes to potential customers finding them online and on top of that is the notion that the only way to get found is to spend a lot of money with Google on ads. In a way, it can feel like Google is stealing your money, so oftentimes it’s easy to stay away from search engines.
However, this is why it’s so important to understand how to make the internet work for you, not against you. If you’re trying to generate leads for your local business, it doesn’t make sense to utilize the same lead generation plans that national companies do; you need to employ local lead generation tactics to attract the people who are right in your backyard.
But, how do you do that? Let’s take a look!
What is Lead Generation?
Before you can begin to generate leads, you need to understand what we mean when we talk about this subject. In short, local lead generation is the process by which you attract the highest quality prospects who live within your service area to your brand and convert them into paying customers. It’s about finding the right prospects (those that allow your business to grow profitably) and not just any prospect who is interested in your services. You can grab the interest of your audience using a number of strategies, such as blog posts and other online content, coupons, and live events.
Businesses of all sizes—and in all industries—need great lead generation strategies. This is how you keep new people coming through your door. After all, you can’t just rely on your regulars to pay your bills.
Best Practices for Generating Local Leads
Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to converting potential consumers into loyal customers, there are some tried-and-true things you should think about as you develop your strategies.
Define Your Audience
Everything starts with knowing your audience. Before you can create great content that speaks to the pain points of your customers, you need to understand who you’re talking to. To make this point, consider the fact that segmented email campaigns—that is, those that are curated to customers’ specific buying behaviors, demographic information, and other details—see 100.95% higher clickthrough rates than non-segmented email campaigns.
Of course, you can’t segment your lists until you understand your audience, which is why this is the first step.
Incorporate Local SEO Tactics
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, this is the process by which your brand befriends the search engines so you can gain organic traffic from the likes of Google and Bing. When delved out properly, SEO will send qualified leads your way because your keywords and high-quality content will be put in front of the people who are already interested in the products and services you offer.
Ranking well on the search engine results pages (SERPs) is one of the most important factors for local lead generation, but the process works much differently for locally owned businesses than those that operate on a national scale.
When gathering information for local searches, Google looks for certain signals, such as:
- Local content
- Social profile pages
We could talk about local SEO all day, but here are the three main things you need to focus on:
1. Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a must-have for all local businesses. By creating a GMB account, you’ll be able to easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps. To optimize your Google My Business account, follow these best practices:
- Write a compelling business description. This page is likely the first thing potential customers will see, so make sure it’s compelling and informative.
- Choose the correct categories for your business. Try to find as many categories as possible that relate to your business, but be sure they’re all relevant and true to what you do. Accuracy is important.
- Include your NAP, hours of operation, and high-resolution photos. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. It’s vital that this information be correct, as this is your online business card that people will use to find you when they’re researching products and services online. Adding your hours and high-resolution photos will not only help your ranking with the search engines, but it will make your profile more viewer-friendly.
- Include customer reviews. Customer reviews are an important part of an overall SEO strategy. By curating as many five-star reviews as possible, you can help boost your rankings for local keywords.
2. Fully Optimize Your Website for User Experience and Mobile Users
Did you know that 60% of people who use smartphones have contacted a company directly using the search results (such as the “call here to connect” option)? Or how about the fact that mobile web traffic has accounted for around 50% of all global web traffic since the beginning of 2017?
In other words, your customers are on their phones, and if you want to generate qualified leads, you need to make your website as accessible to them as possible. As it turns out, 80% of local searches on mobile phones convert. The key is to make sure your mobile design showcases the fact that you care about your business and the people who might become customers. If a company’s mobile site is difficult to navigate or doesn’t offer the information searchers are looking for, they’re likely to go find another company that cares enough to design a user-friendly website.
3. Optimize Your Social Profiles
So your customers are on their phones, but they’re also on social media. These two things often go hand-in-hand, after all. Local businesses need to take advantage of the raw lead generating power that social media provides by optimizing their social media presence, engaging with followers, and sharing content that their audience will enjoy.
How to Nurture Leads Down the Funnel: Strategies, Tools, and Tactics
So now you’ve optimized your content and attracted potential customers. How do you nurture your leads down the sales funnel in a way that converts them into loyal, paying patrons? Here are a few strategies, tools, and tactics you can use:
Don’t think about the spammy, intrusive popups that existed back in the ‘90s. Today’s popups are designed to alert potential customers about your offers, build your email lists, and generate qualified leads. They’re a great way to help you capture the information you might not have obtained otherwise.
If you’re just starting out with this process, consider using an entry popup—that is, one that appears as soon as viewers arrive onto your homepage. Remember to keep your content concise, as popups aren’t designed to deliver tons of information; you need to convey the benefit of the offer you’re advertising quickly.
Landing pages are known in the world of lead generation as top-notch providers of inbound information. That’s because they work!
Landing pages give you just enough space to convey your messages and communicate a lot of information in ways that can generate as many local leads as possible. Remember to keep the following tips in mind when you’re creating your landing pages:
- Keep it simple. You don’t want to overdo the content on your landing pages by being too wordy. Stick to the important information.
- Keep your form fields short. You’re trying to get information from qualified leads, but you don’t need people to write novels about their lives. Only ask for the information you actually need. If you’re trying to build your email lists, a name and email address might be all you need.
- Clearly highlight your benefit or lead magnet. Are you offering a free consultation? Maybe you’re running a promo for first-time customers. Whatever the reason you’re bringing people to your landing page, make sure it’s highlighted and easy to understand when people get there.
You can embed forms into your blog or website so you can get more leads from local searchers. Embedding enables you to gather information from visitors without redirecting them to another page or introducing a popup—both of which can distract audiences from their learning processes on your web pages.
Contests can be some of the most effective lead generation tools you can have in your marketing toolbox. Consider creating sweepstakes, photo contests, or referral contests to create buzz around your brand. Be sure to incentive sharing on social media, and follow up with contestant entrants who didn’t win when the game is finished.
Local Marketing Automation Tools
Surefire Local offers local marketing automation tools that will help you get more web traffic, referrals, five-star reviews, and quality leads using a custom-built platform. Marketing is a lot less overwhelming when you have everything all in one place.
Why Surefire Local is Your All-in-One Local Marketing Platform
Surefire Local makes it easy for you to manage your business presence and lead generation all in one place. Our platform was created as a way to help small businesses get more attention from their local communities. We provide cost-effective, locally-focused marketing services. Reach out to us to learn more!