Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Local SEO Lead Generation: Mining Gold In Your Own Backyard

Because search engine optimizers (SEOs) and marketeers (SEMs) live in the web world, we often overlook the opportunities in our own community. Almost every commercial outlet has a website that’s been collecting digital dust since ’02. Most of these business owners don’t recognize the expanding use of local search and personalized search to find businesses close by.

Local sites can include (at no additional cost, btw), printable maps showing the location of the outlet, written directions, a snapshot of the store front and other helpful features that drive residents of the region to actually visit the local outlet.

Local search is growing by leaps and bounds and local businesses need SEO. Here are some suggestions for generating some local buzz-worthy biz.

1. Advertise in the local newspapers. Yes it’s a dying medium but it’s also one of the best way to reach local business owners. And because the local rag is headed south you can often negotiate better terms for more insertions. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

2. Teach an adult education course on SEO. Solid gold. The folks who sign up understand the importance of on-line marketing and you (in the context of an authority on optimization) are bound to pick up a few clients over the course of the course.

3. Contact local service organizations. The Elks, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club – your community has branches of these service organizations that meet monthly for lunch. And they’re always looking for guest speakers. So, not only do you have the chance to demonstrate your knowledge before community and business leaders, you get the rubber chicken on the house.

4. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. The crème de la crème of the local business community and one of the best networking-lead generation steps you can take. (As a side benefit, your local CoC should offer health coverage at group rates – a little money-saver.)

One final suggestion: In all your local promotional efforts, offer a FREE SITE ANALYSIS. It’s something you’d do any way and it immediately creates a value-added offer. Be straight up in your analysis. If the site’s all set, say so. Don’t use SEO-babble to create a problem where none exists.

However, offer prospects a menu of on- and off-site optimization opportunities. Low cost options like adding revenue streams (there are 10 of them), content syndication and, of course, optimization for local search.

Most small business owners are unaware of the power of the web and lots of those business owners operate in your neighborhood. So, when prospecting for prospects, consider local businesses.

You may even get a free lunch out of the deal.

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