One of the big challenges for a local business is to get exposure in the surrounding towns. Not only is the business owner likely not registered with that town’s chamber of commerce (thereby not getting a link from the local chamber directory website), but he/she also isn’t getting “citations” (local business directory links) mentioning that particular town. That means that the business owner is missing out on some of the search engine elements which deal with maps-related elements. This can hurt a business looking to attract people from those towns to travel to the business’ location.
It becomes even more challenging when the business performs the primary services at the client’s location. For example, a driveway repair contractor may be fully capable of performing a driveway repair project in a town 10 miles away. He has the equipment, labor, knowledge and previous experience to deal with concrete curing and other specifics related to driveways and asphalt for that town. His physical address, however, might be 2-3 towns away; and he risks not being found by prospective customers in the desired town 10 miles away from his location.
What can he, and local businesses in similar situations, do regarding this situation?
Here are a few suggestions, both having to do with the website and those regarding other properties:
- Create a YouTube video which is optimized for that particular town plus a few nearby ones. Then embed that video on your website (either as a page or part of a blog post), and optimize that post for the desired town. Here is one such example about concrete overlays. The blog post is targeting both Dallas and Fort Worth, even though those cities can be over 30 miles apart depending on where you start measuring. Future link building can target towns in between both cities like Grand Prairie, Irving, Arlington and more.
- For a similar commercial service, one offering concrete and gravel hauling & delivery (plus concrete saw cutting) services, they don’t have a ton of jobs that they have performed in the surrounding towns. They want leads coming from those towns, however, and they may have to pay for pay-per-click advertising to start the phone ringing. Since Google (and other ad platforms) want to give their users a valuable experience (in order to keep using that particular search engine!), at the very least list the towns served like they do here. Some designers have “arrogance” thinking that listing these towns detracts from web design; but this simply isn’t the case. They likely will cost their clients more money when the client ends up paying a “surcharge” that is unnecessary due to poorly-optimized pay-per-click ad spending. This is even more likely to occur if the client attempts to do his/her own PPC management as they likely aren’t familiar with the nuances. The same may apply down the road to buying ad clicks from targeting those desired towns in Facebook; and this is because the ad won’t “speak” to the person who clicked the link and left Facebook. That leads to wasted money.
- If a client is adding a new service, such as offering landscaping for medical buildings, then the client can do several things:
- online press release
- social media sharing
- e-mailing his/her current newsletter list members
- paying bloggers to share the news with the desired audience
- mail outs or other direct mail
- post in a LinkedIn group
- Regarding the landscaping example, this still requires a dedicated page. The landscaper needs to discuss the benefits such as patient happiness (which leads to better patient satisfaction surveys), improved aesthetics when it comes to brochures for marketing purposes, and keeping investors happy should they visit the facility. Before/After pictures and videos can be embedded on such pages at a later date.
- Continuity also is important. For example, consider a moving company which offers a niche service such as rental truck & container loading and unloading labor. If the business is offering a coupon for a discount, free first hour of labor, no trip fees, or some other incentive then everything else must line up with the website’s offering for the promotion’s duration. This can include:
- physical coupons
- direct mail pieces
- online coupon sites
- daily deal sites (like Groupon)
- classified ads mentioning the promotion
- press releass
- social media posts/tweets specifying the terms of the promotion
- An on-site repair service for furniture and antiques that is located a good distance away from where his/her primary customers are located must do a few things:
- find “hidden nuggets” of where the clients may have furniture even if they don’t live in the high-dollar neighborhoods –> for example, targeting those who have lake homes in the areas outside of the suburbs may have need for furniture and antique restoration
- like the loading/unloading business mentioned earlier, making sure that all marketing efforts OFF the website match up with what is ON the website for the duration of any promotion
- leverage before/after images –> the business can make music video slide shows (like this one), use Pinterest, use Flickr, upload the images to a service like Houzz or Angieslist (if permitted by their account status), etc. All of these should at least have a link back to the home page if not a specific inner page on the website
- use the images on classified ads and press releases
- use intelligent PPC, but likely using Google’s Display Network (instead of the Search Network), Facebook ads, YouTube ads and other online platforms to target his/her desired audience without paying a premium for the Google Search Network platform
- Finally, a business which offers both residential and commercial service needs to have its website offer separate pages (or entire sections) due to the nature of its prospective customers.
- For example, this heating and cooling company offers both services
- It also offers 24 hour service for either division
- The website’s keyword tags (<title> and <meta description>) at least should mention once the “24 hour”, “weekend”, “overnight” and/or “emergency” keywords
- Of course, each title or meta tag should be unique, within search engine’s request character limits, and NOT over-stuffed with keyword spamming efforts
- From there, getting links to the commercial-specific section can help the client begin to get found, especially if the links coming from “relevant” pages. These are pages either about heating/cooling, the general geographic area, a directory listing for that particular geographic area and/or an authoritative website on the topic of commercial facility maintenance (or similar topic)
There were several tips mentioned here, so feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts on what you need to help make your phone ring once people reach your website, either through paid advertising or free exposure such as through the search engines. Thank you.