Over the last few years, one of the biggest trends in online marketing has been local. Instead of aiming for short tail keywords, businesses have focused on smaller areas, targeting their city for keywords related to products they sell and services they offer.
This is a great strategy for small cities and towns, where prospective customers are more likely to search for city-related geographical keywords than specific neighborhoods.
In big cities like Los Angeles, one of the most effective ways to generate leads, sales and ROI from SEO is to go hyper-local. This level of targeting involves breaking your SEO efforts down into specific neighborhoods and suburbs, instead of city-wide terms.
We’ve implemented hyper-local SEO for many of our clients, always with positive results that, in the majority of cases, exceed those achievable with traditional SEO.
Here are a few reasons why we’re big fans of targeting neighborhoods and hyper-local areas for SEO:
- It’s less competitive. Most businesses don’t optimize for their local area, instead opting to compete for “big” local keywords. Since there’s less competition, you can get closer to the top of the search engine results pages and drive more traffic to your website.
- It’s faster. Since there’s less competition for hyper-local search keywords than for local keywords, you can build and promote pages that rank within a few months, instead of a few years.
- It’s better. Since hyper-local marketing is focused entirely on your immediate area (or the areas your business serves), it tends to generate more specific, focused leads that convert into customers at a higher rate than leads from regular local SEO.
- It’s cheap. Because competition is lower, there’s much less of a need to promote your content and spend your budget on traditional outreach and link building campaigns for hyper-local search.
- It’s much more targeted. In big cities like Los Angeles, city-wide targeting often results in leads that are outside your service area. With hyper-local SEO, you have more control over the areas in which you market your business.
- It’s easy to scale. Once you reach the number one spot for a short tail local keyword, it becomes hard to scale. WIth hyper-local SEO, you can quickly and easily scale to other neighborhoods, districts and suburbs to expand your reach.
One of the biggest advantages of targeting specific neighborhoods is that it’s extremely easy to implement. For most businesses, all that’s needed to reach the front page for hyper-local search keywords is a short, helpful page that covers the specific topic.
Since competition for hyper-local keywords is so much less intense than for local keywords, you can often rank purely on the strength of your website as a whole, with little or no link building or outreach required.
How to identify hyper-local search opportunities?
If you run a service business that operates in a specific area, one of the easiest ways to start a hyper-local SEO campaign is to break the area down into suburbs and sections.
For example, if your business is located in West Los Angeles, you can divide it into sub-cities such as Culver City, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. You can even break it down to target specific neighborhoods, such as Playa del Rey and Venice.
One way to target specific areas is by using ZIP codes. You’d be surprised to learn how many people search for local businesses by adding their ZIP code to a keyword, and how effective a quick mention of a specific ZIP code in your page title can be.
The more specific your targeting is, the smaller your potential audience becomes. However, as your keywords get more and more local, you’ll also find it easier to outrank your competitors for the top spots.
Can your business benefit from hyper-local SEO?
In big cities, hyper-local SEO is a valuable, underutilized source of leads and revenue. Our Los Angeles SEO company specializes in finding and capitalizing on local search opportunities that can help your business drive traffic, leads and sales.
Conversion optimization can seem difficult at first, but once broken down it often becomes a process of addition and subtraction. Elements that increase conversions are made more prominent, while those that reduce conversions are eliminated.
While certain page elements – from testimonials to clear calls to action – can raise your landing page’s conversion rate, others can have a significant negative effect on its conversion rate and your return on investment.
In this blog post, we’ll list five frequently ignored on-site elements that can hugely reduce your website’s conversion rate. If you notice any on your landing page, run an A/B test with and without them to see if they’re affecting your conversions.
Look at the signup forms used by sites like Facebook and Instagram – they’re only just as long and detailed as they need to be. Think carefully about how much data you really need; a lot of it can be acquired after a new user has registered.
As a general rule, aim for a maximum of five fields in your signup form. Obviously checkouts and sales-focused signup forms can be more detailed. In every case, it’s best to avoid unnecessary fields that complicate your signup or registration form.
The goal of your landing page is simple: to encourage visitors to call your business, join your email list, sign up for your product or community or make a purchase. If your landing page is filled with links, achieving this goal becomes more difficult.
Why? Because as readers make their way down your landing page, they’ll be more likely to click away to read the content that you’re linking to. Because of this, it’s a good idea not to include blog-style inline links on your landing or checkout pages.
Remember that you’re creating a path for the user to follow. Links, videos and any other on-site elements that lead them off the path you’re creating all tend to have a negative effect on your total conversion rate.
‘Busy’ website design
Is your website clean and simple or cluttered and confusing? Many businesses – B2B companies, especially – use websites that haven’t been redesigned in years, built on outdated design principles.
From cluttered navigational bars to content that’s too dense to read easily, having a ‘busy’ design often reduces your conversion rate. The most effective landing pages tend to be clean, simple and designed to optimum readability and navigability.
A great rule to follow is the squint test: if your page elements aren’t clearly visible when you squint, your landing page is too cluttered. If you use Google Chrome, you can check your landing page’s design simplicity using the Squint Test extension.
If you sell a product or service and accept payments online, sending visitors off your website could be affecting your conversions. Most of the time, on-site checkouts (an order form hosted on your website) have the highest conversion rates.
Examples of off-site checkouts include the PayPal off-site interface, which redirects users to PayPal’s checkout before returning them to your website, and other third-party payment processors such as 2Checkout and Google Wallet.
Whenever possible, keep your checkout on your website in order to maximize your conversion rate and avoid lost sales. Many customers will drop out of the process if they’re sent off your website to a checkout platform that looks unfamiliar.
Generic calls to action
The best calls to action are targeted and specific, expressing everything the user is required to do in order to complete an action. Using a generic call to action – Click Here!, for example – could be hurting your conversions more than it’s helping.
Whenever possible, your call to action should directly relate to the content on your landing page or product page. Instead of “Click here to buy,” a better call to action on a product page would be something like “Check Out Now.”
Be descriptive, straightforward and action-focused. The more closely your calls to action mirror the action that the user will be taking, the more likely it is that they will increase your conversion rate.
It’s easy to make mistakes in online marketing, from focusing on features when the bulk of your copy should deal with benefits to creating a sales funnel that’s just too aggressive and forward for the type of customers you’re targeting.
Thankfully, many of the most common online marketing mistakes made in B2B are easily corrected. In this blog post, we’ll share seven B2B sales and marketing lessons to help you get the most out of your company website with as few issues as possible.
The B2B sales process can move forward very slowly
B2B sales take a long time, especially online where your competitors are all but one click away. Because of this, it’s important to prepare an email sales funnel that gives your customers weeks – or even months – of time to prepare to make a purchase.
Likewise, leads collected from your website can take months to mature. A company that inquires about a product or service in February may not make a decision until June. This makes detailed CRM tracking and follow-ups very important.
The more information your website provides, the better
Many B2B websites withhold key product information in the hope that prospects will send an email to request it. Far more often than not, they’ll simply leave your website and navigate to one of your competitors’ websites instead.
Be as transparent as possible about product information and include as much high quality content on your website as you can. The more pages you have of detailed, in-depth content targeted at your customers’ needs, the better.
Spending on design and optimization will save you money
A small investment in modern, highly optimized web design can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in conversions every month. If your website is out of date or poorly optimized, it’s always worth investing in an update.
It’s also important not to think of updates and optimizations as static things that you can do once every few years. In order to maximize your online B2B conversion rate, you should constantly be A/B testing variables and making new optimizations.
In inbound marketing, it’s better to be helpful than ‘salesy’
Far too many B2B websites focus on achieving the instant sale. They use persuasive, emotional sales copy that’s better suited to B2C products and make every effort they can to close the deal then and there.
It’s always good to be accessible in case a prospect is interested, but it’s generally a better idea to be helpful than salesy. Decision-makers like to have access to helpful information online, and they’ll remember you when it’s time to make a purchase.
Your website’s goal is to answer your ideal customer’s questions
Who is your ideal customer? Are they a small business owner or a manager within a larger organization? You should have an ideal customer profile for all of the people your website targets and their characteristics should influence your content.
The goal of your website (aside from producing leads and sales) is to answer all of your ideal customer’s questions. Aim to have at least one hour of content (either in text or video form) on your website so that they’re fully engaged and interested.
Every landing page should be thoroughly A/B tested
Every B2B website needs to have a landing page, whether it’s an online form or the classic contact page encouraging prospects to reach out to you. Each and every one of your landing pages should also be thoroughly A/B tested for conversion rate.
In many B2B fields, traffic is valuable but hard to come by. Because of this, it’s best to gather data slowly and optimize once it’s statistically significant. This can take a month or more – be patient and keep testing, as the results are always worth it.
All pages should have clear and easily identifiable goals
Every single page on your website – from your homepage to your FAQs – needs to have a clearly defined and easily identifiable goal. This goal could be to answer an important question, collect a customer’s email or encourage sharing a blog post.
Goals are the key to online marketing success, and understanding your website’s goals will help you better understand its structure. Without clear goals, visitors to your website won’t intuitively know which page to navigate to upon arriving.
Does your company blog? If so, you’ve created not just a great platform for teaching customers and prospects more about your business; you’ve also built an incredible platform for generating email list signups, leads and conversions.
By adding a unique call to action to each of your blog posts, you can drive sales and turn your blog – something that many brands view as an informational asset – into one of your most profitable sales tools.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the reasons to add a call to action to each of your blog posts, as well as the best ways to customize your calls to action to match the content of your blog posts.
Why your blog posts should feature a call to action
When readers reach the end of one of your blog posts, what do they do? When you delve into your Google Analytics data, which pages are most frequently visited after readers leave your blog?
Blogs have some of the highest bounce rates – the rate at which visitors leave after viewing just one page – of all website. In fact, many blogs have bounce rates similar to landing pages and product pages – two far less informational page types.
This is because many bloggers focus entirely on creating content and spend barely any time on optimization. As readers come to the end of a blog post, there’s no path guiding them towards the next step in the website’s sales process.
Because of this, it’s essential that every blog post on your website features a call to action that guides users towards another page. This page could be a landing page, a long-form sales letter, a contact page or even another blog post.
Customizing your CTAs to suit your blog content
While most bloggers don’t add any CTAs to their blog posts, others add a generic (or sometimes, automated) call to action to each of their posts. This is typically a byline that links readers to a category page or a landing page for a specific product.
This is better than nothing, but far from ideal. If your blog covers a wide variety of different topics – from purely informational How To guides to the latest news – it’s important to have a call to action that matches the content you’re publishing.
Calls to action for informational blog posts
Informational blog posts – How To guides, case studies, and more – are typically the bulk of most company blogs. They’re designed to educate and inform and generally appeal to people who want to learn.
Because of this, it’s best to use a call to action that directs readers towards more of your informational content. Readers of informational blog posts are there to learn; they’re unlikely to respond to a link advertising a product or service.
Instead of directing readers towards a product page or landing page, send them to a similar informational blog post. You can also use an email newsletter signup form – if you have great content to share via email, many readers will register.
Calls to action for product-related blog posts
Not all of your company’s blog posts will be purely informational. Others might talk about a specific product or service that you offer and outline its advantages for your target audience.
The ideal call to action for this type of post is obvious: a link to the landing page for the specific product or service you’re talking about. Since readers are primed to the product or service’s benefits, they’re highly likely to click on your call to action.
In this case, it’s best to think of your blog post as a pre-landing page. In addition to informing customers of what your product or service offers, it also ‘soft sells’ them so that they’re less likely to bounce upon clicking through to your landing page.
Calls to action for news-related blog posts
Does your company blog cover recent news developments? If you report on events and developments in your industry, your calls to action should be designed to make readers subscribe to your email list.
Why? Because the type of readers that tune in to a news-focused blog are generally less interested in your product or service than readers that tune in to a post which specifically discusses a product or offers information.
In short, they’re temporary visitors who aren’t as likely to return unless a certain news event draws them back. By encouraging them to subscribe to your email list, you can create a communication link that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Does your blog use customized calls to action in each post?
Every blog post you publish with attract a different audience, from your passionate supporters to people who only recently became aware of your business. Appealing to all of them with the same call to action is easy, but it’s far from effective.
By using a customized call to action for each post you publish, you’ll maximize the results your blog generates for your business. Before you click “Publish,’ for your next blog post, make sure the call to action matches the post’s target audience.
Ask a successful entrepreneur the key to their success and they’ll probably tell you about the importance of having a unique idea, being able to execute a strategy and manage a large team.
While these are all important aspects of business success, they all revolve around a far larger, more important element of success in business, and particularly in digital marketing: understanding your prospects.
Understanding your customers (or, in this case, your potential customers) lets you craft your marketing message to hone in on their needs, solve their problems and provide an answer to their questions.
In this guide, we’ll share five tactics that you can use to increase your understanding of the problems your prospects face, the questions they need answered and the way you can position your business to better serve them.
Poll your existing customers
One of the best ways to learn more about your potential customers is by polling or surveying your existing ones. Why? Because since your business targets the same people as it already works with, their needs are very likely to overlap.
Send out a survey to your existing customer list and ask for their feedback on what your business is doing right, what you’re doing wrong and what they would like to see in the future. With the right questions, you’ll learn a lot from your customers.
Put yourself in their shoes
One of the best ways to understand the shortcomings of your product is by putting yourself in your customers shoes – literally. Purchase your competitor’s product or service and see what they do better – and what they do worse – than you.
By studying the marketplace you operate in from the perspective of a customer, you will gain a deeper understanding of what your prospects respond to. This will allow you to tailor your product, service and marketing to better align with their needs.
Use PPC ads to collect data
PPC advertising platforms like Google AdWords are wonderful tools for promoting your business. They’re also fantastic tools for collecting data on what your audience responds to.
From product names to price points, use PPC ads to assess the level of interest your audience has in certain variables. By monitoring your clickthrough rate, you’ll easily see which of your ideas has the most commercial potential within your market.
Make an educated guess
Not all business decisions need to be data driven. Many of the most successful ideas in business have been the result of a hunch or guess. If you understand your market very well, sometimes your intuition is the best source of insight on a prospect.
Study your target market in detail and try to familiarize yourself with the needs of your prospects. With the right level of information at your disposal, a guess is often a better source of information than an in-depth, data-driven study.
Pay attention to trends
Trends are more than just wonderful marketing tools; they’re also incredibly useful for research and product development. By looking at the trends that are occurring in your industry, you can better understand the needs of your prospects.
Pay attention to what’s popular in your industry – and in complementary industries – and think about how you could position your business to take advantage of it. This is a great strategy for finding holes in the market and positioning your brand.
Building an email list is one of the smartest decisions your B2B business can make. A properly maintained email list allows you to directly connect with your prospects on your own terms to promote new offers and alert them to new opportunities.
In short, it gives you a direct link to the people most likely to do business with you – a link that no Google algorithm adjustment or change in PPC bid prices can sever. An email list that’s properly engaged is worth its weight in gold, especially in B2B.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of creating an email list for your B2B business to engage your existing customers, market to your prospects and grow your business online without having to depend on Google.
First, three things you shouldn’t do
Before we get into what to do, let’s cover what not to do. Many B2B businesses make the same mistakes when they get started with email marketing. We’ve listed some of the most common email list building mistakes below:
- Never buy, rent or borrow an email list from another company. It’s never as profitable as you think, and it’s also against the terms of service of the vast majority of email service providers.
- Don’t just add people to your list without asking them first. If you frequently email your customers already regarding business, adding them is alright. On the other hand, acquaintances and occasional emails shouldn’t be added.
- Never send misleading or spammy emails. The key to a successful email list is trust, and sending emails with misleading subject lines or spammy content is a great way to lose the trust of your list and increase your complaint rate.
There are many ways to build your email list, from including a checkbox as part of your checkout to making a note of your email newsletter on product packaging and in brochures. Below, we’ve listed five of the easiest ways to build your email list:
- Add a call to action to the end of your blog posts and informational pages that lets people enter their name and email address. If your content is engaging, a large number of your readers will be eager to join up and receive updates.
- Add a modal pop-up box to your website that’s programmed to pop up when a user reaches the end of a page. While slightly annoying, pop-up boxes have great response rates and can help you rapidly build your list.
- Add a checkbox to your checkout or registration page that opts customers in to receive promotional emails. Make sure you clearly note the purpose of the opt-in box so that customers understand what they’ll be receiving.
- Guest post on popular blogs and online communities. Instead of using guest blog posts for SEO, use your author byline to direct readers to your subscribe form and add them to your email list.
- Add an opt-in form to your website’s sidebar. This gives users a passive and easily accessible way to join your email list without feeling too aggressive or ‘in your face.’
The power of gradual email list growth
Once you add some (or all) of the above elements to your website, you might begin to notice an email subscription trickle in every day or two. Growing an email list is often a slow process, with several months required to develop a valuable list.
There are several ways to speed up the process of growing your list. One is to blog frequently and share content that attracts potential subscribers. Remember, most people will subscribe to access more of your content; not for your products.
Blogging frequently in order to generate email subscriptions has the added benefit of giving you content to send to your email subscribers. The more blog posts you’ve got published, the more content you have to link to in your emails.
Although it might seem fruitless to check your email software and only see one or two new subscribers per day, over time your email list will grow to become one of your most valuable marketing tools.
After all, three new subscribers a day means 1,000 subscribers over the course of a year. That’s a valuable audience to market to, especially when you sell a B2B service or product with a high per-sale value.
Does your business have an email list?
Email marketing is one of the most profitable forms of digital marketing for those in the B2B field, but it’s also one of the most frequently ignored. Many businesses look at the slow growth involved and write it off in favor of instantly rewarding PPC.
While email lists can take a while to ‘mature,’ they’re immensely valuable once they come of age and start producing conversions. If your business doesn’t have an email list yet, now’s the perfect time to start building one.
As a business owner, it’s easy to write off blogging as something that’s peripheral to the major goals of your business. After all, blog posts inform and educate users, and not directly market your product or service to them.
While blog posts typically aren’t as commercial or ‘salesy’ as the copy on your other pages, they’re still valuable sales tools for your business. They also have huge value from an SEO standpoint, helping your business rank higher for a range of keywords.
In this blog post, we’ll share five ways that consistent blogging helps your business generate more leads and conversions, increase its online exposure and improve its search engine rankings.
Consistent blogging keeps you in the spotlight
The more frequently you blog, the more frequently readers will visit your website to catch up on your latest posts. Writing two or three blog posts a week might feel like a time-consuming activity, but it’s surprisingly simple (or surprisingly inexpensive.)
As well as keeping your business in the spotlight with your readers, publishing fresh content keeps your brand in the eyes of online influencers. From journalists to other bloggers, frequently updated blogs are often read by people that can help you grow.
Consistent blogging synergizes with social media
Do you often struggle to think of things to post on your company’s Facebook Page or link to from your Twitter account? When you have two or three new blog posts each week, you’re never short on content for your social media profiles.
From industry updates to How To guides, blog posts are the ideal subjects of social media updates. If your content is evergreen, you can also link to it every few months from Facebook to drive fresh traffic and give your website a promotional push.
Consistent blogging gives you more pages to rank
Many digital marketers focus on vertical SEO – ranking the few pages that they have as prominently as possible. Blogging allows you to practice horizontal SEO; since the total size of your website is larger, you can use blog posts to target small keywords.
Instead of building a strategy around short-tail, high-traffic keywords, blogging lets you expand your SEO strategy using ultra-targeted blog posts that rank for focused and specialized long-tail search keywords.
Consistent blogging creates a content-to-sales funnel
Think blogs are purely informational? Think again. With the right combination of design and content, your blog can drive traffic to your product and services pages, towards your email list or even straight to your checkout.
Add a call to action to the end of each of your blog posts that directs readers to the parts of your website that are monetized and optimized. From email capture forms to links to your new product, blog-based calls to action can be hugely effective.
Consistent blogging makes your brand an authority
If you were comparing two different businesses, which would you trust more: the one that last published a blog post two years ago, or the one that’s updated its blog five times in the last month, each time with an engaging and interesting post?
The answer is obvious: the frequently-updated blog wins every time. Blogging isn’t just a promotional or informational strategy for your business; it’s also a great way to increase your target audience’s level of trust in your business.