Local Search Marketing Part 1: Is it really necessary?
by Tony Gruber, Director of Operations
Marketing is the biggest challenge for most businesses. How do we get the word out to our audience?
This question is even more critical for pregnancy help organizations, because our competition is providing bad counsel to women facing unexpected pregnancies. Few people love these women more than you, so we want to help bring them to your door. We want you to win in this market.
So, how do we win?
Marketing methods change all the time. What worked a few years ago doesn't work anymore. And these days, things are changing faster than ever!
What works today?
Local Search. Local Search is more important than Pay-Per-Click Advertising or organic SEO right now. I say "right now" because no one knows what the marketing landscape will look like in a year, but we are paying attention. If you get Local Search right, your message will be seen, and that gives you more opportunities to save hearts and lives.
Local Search marketing is supported by hundreds of Search Engine companies like Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, and Google. A search engine's goal is to make their search results as relevant and useful as possible, and they are achieving this goal by using "Local Pages."
Most search engine companies have created a "Local Page" for every known business in the world. That's hundreds of search engines making "Local Pages" for your organization. Which means, you have lots of "Local Pages" waiting to be claimed – or reclaimed – and optimized.
Local Pages make online searches more relevant: In the 'old days,' search results were crowded with unwanted and un-useful information. When you entered the word "abortion" on your computer, you got a list of websites that skillfully positioned themselves to pop up in that search. These sites could have been from Russia, India, or Florida; and they might have had nothing to do with abortion.
Today, when you enter the word "abortion" on your computer – or more likely your phone or tablet – you will see 3 types of results:
- Local Pages – Businesses that are close to your current location relevant to abortion
- Paid Ads – Sites that paid Google (or the search engine you used) to be listed in your area when the phrase "abortion" is used
- Organic Search Results – A combination of Local Pages and websites that are listed based on relevance and location
This is how most search engines work, which makes Local Pages essential. The Local Search section is almost always on the front page, usually at the very top.
The good news? - It's much easier to find what you're looking for online.
But please take note! This is a new and quickly changing market; it's not easy to keep up. What worked last year could work against you today. Some firms – well-meaning or otherwise – may demand large fees, then provide service that could actually hurt your site. Success doesn't always come quickly. Making changes can take months when you're working with search engines.
Heartbeat recognized the importance Local Search Marketing, so we asked the Extend Web Services team to find ways to help you prosper in this new market. They hired an expert, launched a pilot program, and developed service options that are affordable and effective.
In the next installment we will share the results of the Local Search Engine Marketing program Extend Web Services piloted.
Right now, Local Search is one of the most effective ways to get noticed. This is how you can help your clients find you when they need you the most.
About the Author:
Tony is a CPA and former CVA, who joined Heartbeat International in 2014. He has 20 years experience as a (CFO or Controller) for aggressive growth companies. Prior employers include Mindleaders.com–an educational software company; SAI–An architectural design firm; and RevLocal–a National Search Engine Marketing firm. He has been married since 1987, and has two daughters.