As a local SEO agency, your main techniques of attracting new customers are likely to be online; such is the nature of your own business.
Whether it is local search, general SEO, the use of PPC, e-mail marketing, or a social media campaign, all can be powerful platforms for attracting new clients to your company and growing your business.
While this is sensible, it is worth exploring the opportunities for finding clients via ‘traditional media’ too.
Back to Basics
No, we are not suggesting you start advertising your local SEO services on the television or local radio; that would contradict everything you are trying to achieve! What we are saying is this is where to look for new clients. Prospective clients who are still using traditional media for their marketing campaigns can potentially benefit from the services you provide.
What you are currently doing in terms of your online efforts is definitely the path to follow, but analyzing traditional media in your local area can help you, too. After all, if a business is still using traditional media, there is a chance their online efforts are lacking or non-existent, and they may not have considered local SEO as a potential option. At the same time, consider that they may have previously had a bad SEO experience, whether that is SEOs trying the ‘hard sell’ or not fulfilling a service level agreement, for example.
This is where you can go ‘back to basics’ and get the chance to show the value of local SEO. Those businesses who do not engage online regularly are perhaps unlikely to discover your service, so it is up to you to go to them.
Where should you be looking?
To find potential clients, consider all of these forms of traditional media where a local business might advertise:
- Local newspapers
- Local radio stations
- Local television channels with region specific adverts and listings
- Leaflets, flyers, or community based business listings, such as monthly or quarterly booklets
- Larger scale business listings, such as Dexknows or Yellow Pages
You will be able to find out easily how much all of these mediums cost to advertise on. While businesses can negotiate terms specifically to their needs, you will be able to come up with a general guide price from which you can base your examples around.
Whenever you see or hear an advert, just contact the local paper or radio station, masquerade as someone wanting to place an ad, and ask about fees and the sort of exposure each gets, in terms of circulation, listeners, or if it’s a leaflet, how many doors it gets posted through.
Business listings are easy to analyze. Smaller local directories, and larger ones such as the Yellow Pages, usually have their costs and what you get on the inside cover or one of the first few pages. Look at how much each ad costs, then find one in the book, and ask whether that represents real value against what you can offer with local SEO.
Put together a comprehensive analysis based on your activities above. We have produced this small example as a guide, using the London Borough of Croydon (nr London, UK) as the local area.
|Advertising Platform||What You Get||Audience||Cost|
|Croydon Guardian||Quarter page advert for one edition||c. 60,000 households||£500 including VAT|
|Heart Radio London||4 x 20 second slots per day for two weeks||1.7 million listeners per quarter||Related to listeners, the more listeners, the more you pay^|
|Yellow Pages||Quarter page advert in one circulation||Distribution to 147,000 households||c.£1300 for basic ‘black on yellow’ advert|
(Radio advertising is usually calculated in terms of cost per thousand listeners (PPT). For example, if you agreed to pay £3 per 1,000 listeners, that would equal £3,000 per million)
While some of those numbers are impressive, there are obvious flaws to address with each:
- 54,000 of the Croydon Guardian’s circulation is delivered free through letterboxes
- A radio ad might last for 10 or 20 seconds, what are the chances of a listener being tuned in and in a position to take action during one of your ads?
- The Yellow Pages is circulated free, how do we know how many of these are actually used, and how many end up in recycling bins or collecting dust on shelves?
- It is impossible to measure the success of each one unless you physically ask customers how they came across you
In addition, businesses will need to consider the costs of actually producing the advert, too.
After doing this, add a final row that details your services, mention how local SEO takes away the flaws and represents better all-round value increasing business potential. Once you have completed the grid, the only thing you ever need to do with it is update the figures every six months for relevancy.
Now you can start putting together your proposals so you can approach these businesses. Do not just ‘cold call’ them offering your services, as you will never make a partner that way.
Research Before Approach
Research your target businesses and discover whether they are involved in any existing online marketing efforts, even if they do not have a website but are listed on Google+ Local (aka Google Places), for example, it is a starting point. Build a picture of their existing online activities, if there are any, so you can show anyone you approach that you have already done the groundwork beforehand.
Create the Report
Now, put together a brief report or presentation based on what you know of their current activities. Present them based on your cost grid for your local area, tailor it to the business you are speaking to and what their current marketing activity is, and demonstrate what you can offer them in terms of local SEO services, and the benefits that can bring in terms of web traffic and conversions from the local area.
Remember that some of these numbers might be hypothetical and you may not be able to make comparisons; we know that traditional media is becoming less effective, but you might still find a business that attracts many customers and sees a good return on investment based on their weekly advert in the Croydon Guardian, for example.
Have the Conversation
Approach the businesses in question; visit them in person where possible, or at least make a telephone call to arrange a meeting. Explain what you have done, detailing that you saw or heard their advert, and were interested in what their online marketing activities are. Present your findings based on everything you already know, and as you engage them in conversation around their current marketing, it will soon become clear whether you will be able to do business.
Many small businesses may not have the finance to add local SEO to what is already likely a tight marketing budget, so ensure you present yourself as an alternative to the traditional methods, and all of the benefits and potential that come because of that.
Finding clients online and letting them come to you thanks to your own marketing efforts is a great way to grow your local SEO business. Finding clients offline and introducing them to the potential of online marketing is also a huge opportunity, and one that more local SEO companies should be looking to exploit.
*Sources: Audited Bureau of Circulations (Croydon Guardian)
Rajar (Heart Radio)
Croydon Observatory (Households in the Borough of Croydon)
Image source: adamweitner.com
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