Local Business Internet Marketing: 3 Website Improvements to Generate More Local Leads
One of the benefits of my work as a content marketing strategist is the opportunity to review websites for local businesses wanting to use Internet marketing strategies to get more attention online. As someone who supports “shop local,” it’s exciting to see how big brands are marketing online and seeking opportunities to translate those strategies into reaching a local audience.
Creating a lead-generating website is the vital first step in local business Internet marketing. But, most websites I see are leaving money on the table by not implementing a few simple strategies to get more results from their site.
Here are three improvements that I recommend to all local businesses that want their website to generate more leads:
1. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Your website has to be found by the right prospects before you can generate leads online. The main way this happens is through keyword searches in a search engine such as Google.
Let’s say you own a catering company in Sarasota, Florida. You would want your site to be found for searches such as “Sarasota catering,” “wedding catering in Sarasota” or “corporate event caterer in Sarasota.”
Each of these searches come from people who want to do business with a company like yours.
To get found for those searches, you need to update your site to target these keywords. This is done in two ways.
a) Updating Metadata
Metadata is the hidden information about your page that signals to search engines that your site is relevant. Metadata has three main parts: Title, Description and Keywords. Every page of your website should have different metadata.
Here is an example for the Sarasota catering company homepage.
Title: Sarasota Catering
Description: CaterSarasota is a Sarasota catering company specializing in weddings and corporate events.
Keywords: Sarasota catering, Sarasota catering company, Sarasota catering for weddings
While metadata alone won’t help your site get found, it’s important to have it in place to show that your site is relevant.
b) On-Page Content and Formatting
To get found on search engines, the written content on your page should also use the keywords that you want to be found for.
The way you format the content is just as important. There are headline tags you can use to create a hierarchy in your content. Creating a proper hierarchy makes it easier for the software that will scan your site to understand what your site is about.
Don’t try to game the system and stuff your page with your keywords and use tags everywhere. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to page optimization.
2. Add a Testimonials Page
When prospects start to find your site, you must also persuade them why you’re the one they should choose. The most effective way to do this is through social proof in the form of testimonials.
Testimonials give your business credibility. They are the stories that your customers tell about your business, which can influence visitors’ buying decisions.
You’ll recognize this social proof if you have ever bought anything from Amazon. Reading reviews of books and other products helps you determine if you’re making a good investment of your time and money or if you should look for something else.
All of us are influenced by social proof, so your site should highlight, as much as possible, your testimonials and why people do business with you.
3. Start Capturing Email Addresses
Websites in themselves are not effective relationship building tools – and relationships are essential for sustained business growth. You can’t always expect people to visit your site, pick up the phone and decide to do business with you.
Let’s return to the Sarasota catering example. If a newly engaged couple is planning a wedding, they’re going to look at multiple catering websites to decide which company is best for them.
By capturing an email address to keep in contact with this couple, you can follow up to show them why you’re uniquely qualified to handle their wedding. You can share testimonials, wedding planning guides, wedding food trends and more through email.
Sharing content and helpful information will make you more memorable to that couple – putting you in a prime position to be their vendor of choice for their wedding.
If you don’t get their email, they may never visit your website again and you will have lost the opportunity to build this relationship and make the sale.
The Wrap Up
In every website analysis I do, I notice that the local businesses that have these three items are the most successful at generating more leads and converting those leads into customers.
Which of these improvements to your website are you going to make first? What other questions do you have about local business Internet marketing?
Jeff Machado is a content marketing strategist at Fiore Communications. You can follow him on Twitter for more local business online marketing tips.