Let's imagine you manage a balloon animal artist collective in Omaha, Nebraska. You notice your company's growth is plateauing. You mostly serve a strange crop of repeat customers who throw a lot of parties and really like balloon animals, but they can only do so much for you.
You realize you need new business and decide a base of interested contacts would be a great place to start. In other words, you need to generate new leads, but you're not sure what you're supposed to do.
Your company isn't some multinational balloon animal conglomerate — it's just a collective that features three of the top ten most celebrated balloon animal artists in the greater Omaha area. And you only book customers in Douglas County (that's where Omaha is — I just looked it up.)
If you're trying to generate leads for your business, it doesn't make sense to employ the same lead generation strategies as companies that operate on a global scale. Instead, you would do something called local lead generation.
Let's get a picture of what that concept is and how to do it right.
Before understanding what local lead generation is, it might help to know what lead generation itself is. As per HubSpot's own definition, "Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting a strangers and prospects into people who have indicated an interest in your company's product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content."
A solid lead generation strategy is an invaluable asset for a business of any shape or size. So that brings us to the point of this article — how can doctors, dentists, smaller law firms, contractors, construction companies, and any other business that operates regionally turn prospects into leads?
More bluntly, how can a local business construct and leverage an effective lead generation infrastructure?
Local Lead Generation
On a fundamental level, local lead generation is just another category of lead generation. That might sound obvious, but it's still helpful to keep in mind. You'll be using the concept's same core principles, but you'll apply them within specific parameters. Here are some important factors and tactics to consider, and what they mean in the context of local lead generation.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the process of expanding a company’s visibility in the organic search results on engines like Google. Its endgame is to drive more visitors to a company's site, increasing chances for more conversions.
Ranking well on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is one of the most important factors for local lead generation, but ranking locally is a different process than ranking nationally.
To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
There are several strides you can take to ensure that your local SEO strategy is optimal and effective. These steps include improving your website's internal linking structure, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, engaging with customers on social media, and ensuring your contact information is consistent online.
This is obviously a very high-level overview of local SEO. For a more thorough, technical explanation of the optimization process, check out this article.
HubsSpot defines SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, as "using paid advertising to ensure that your business's products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query." In a nutshell, it's the process of placing targeted advertisements on search engine pages.
The practice can be leveraged by businesses of any size and provides another excellent avenue for local companies to generate leads. Like SEO, targeted search engine ads are rooted in search interest — meaning high ranking SEM ads generally bring in already engaged prospects.
If your ad placements can rank well for regional search inquiries and keywords, you should be in a good position to generate local, interested leads. To learn more about SEM, check out this article.
Landing Pages, Forms, and Offers
Landing pages — website pages specifically dedicated to turning visitors into leads — are central to almost any virtual lead generation effort. A landing page contains lead forms that ask visitors for their contact information, but they won't give that information up for nothing.
The process is transactional. Prospects can't be expected to dole out their phone numbers or email addresses without receiving something in return. That "something" is known as an offer. It's some sort of incentive that is designed to drive interest in a company while establishing its credibility.
Offers are often content-based. Whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars are all examples of potentially compelling offers. But offers don't always have to be content-specific — particularly when it comes to local businesses.
Local companies might get more out of offering a discount or a free consultation in exchange for a prospect's email. No matter how your business operates, well-constructed landing pages and compelling offers are crucial when it comes to converting an interested website visitor into a legitimate lead.
There are also various kinds of software available to aid your local lead generation efforts.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub's suite of features can assist with your audience targeting efforts. It contains resources that provide real-time SEO suggestions to help you tailor a content strategy to your local audience.
It also enables more sophisticated and effective promotion over social media and other online marketing avenues. Businesses can also leverage the platform to design compelling calls to action and personalize messaging based on location, traffic source, buyer persona, and more.
Ultimately, The HubSpot Marketing Hub is an affordable option for local businesses looking to attract and garner interest from prospects. It provides the necessary resources for any local business to get a picture of who its customers are, how they're interacting with its marketing efforts, and what it can do to translate prospects' interest into legitimate leads.
Google Search Console can be an invaluable asset to any local SEO strategy. The software brings data about where your content appears in Google’s search results to light and shows how often search visitors are interacting with your site when it appears on search result pages.
The console's reports provide legitimate, quantifiable visibility into the impact of your content marketing, considering factors like clicks, impressions, and page rank. It also offers insight into keywords or phrases people are searching for when your site appears on the results page — a powerful resource for coming up with new content ideas based on the keywords your prospects are actually searching.
OptinMonster is a conversion optimization toolkit that features resources to generate leads, gain subscribers, and ultimately provide sales opportunities from your site's traffic.
It contains templates to create offers and a powerful targeting and segmentation engine — taken together, these tools can identify when to show the right visitors offers relevant to their interests. It also has analytics resources to measure the efficacy of your campaigns.
Google Ads can be one of the most mission-critical components of a local business's SEM efforts. And the software's HubSpot integration allows companies to identify and reach highly-targeted local audiences.
It can use any CRM data point to serve as a reference for targeted messages — an asset to local businesses looking to pinpoint who and where their potential customers' interest is coming from.
It also lets small businesses set their own advertising budgets by offering insight into which ads are most effective — allowing local companies to keep careful tabs on the ROI of their paid ads.
Typeform allows you to capture more leads with engaging interactive forms. The software features mobile-ready contact forms, surveys, quizzes, and more — all from premade or custom templates.
Its automatic tracking tools allow you to pinpoint where your most engaged audience is coming from — whether it be specific social media channels, your website's home or contact page, or any other source that feeds leads to your business.
No matter the shape, size, or nature of your company, gaining exposure to interested prospects will always be in your best interest. Local businesses still need to grow, and new customers are central to that process. Companies with any sort of online presence should always be looking to generate new leads — no matter how far or wide their geographical reach extends.
So when you're ready to take your balloon animal collective to the upper echelon of the Omaha, Nebraska novelty party entertainment scene, be sure to look into the different local lead generation strategies explored in this article.
Originally published Mar 26, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated March 26 2020