How To Farm for LOCAL SEO Clients!
It appears that after a lot of years spent doing marketing for a large Canuck brewery (admittedly just as much time spent partaking of their products!) I did learn something about channels and consumers and yes, understanding how to search for new business! Here’s the backstory on this tactic…..
It’s been said many times that asking for business from a prospective client can be difficult for many SMB owners. This “feeling” is very prevalent in all industries across all channels and a simple visit to a business networking event shows all. Watch the folks who know “how” to work a room…and notice what they’re doing? They are NOT there at the Chamber or Board of Trade or business network group meeting to “hunt” for new business. Instead they’re “farming” for same….expecting fully that who they meet and the cards they gather will not bear fruit tomorrow, but instead at some point in the future. Farming works, simply put…whereas hunting doesn’t.
That lesson was drummed into me time and time again back in the 80’s when I worked for that beer company’s external marketing division and I learned that yes, if you do spend the time to let a new, prospective lead get to know you first, then they’d think of you when the time came to make a buying decision in the future. Simple, and while I didnt’ get to “ring the bell” often at the offices (when you get a signed contract, you rang a bell out in Reception and everyone came out to cheer you on — a great motivator AND you didn’t buy that nite at the local pub!) what it did do was set up a ring for the future.
I still believe in that principle, and perhaps that makes our SEO marketing campaigns somewhat “different” than the types I see so often out there on the web!
And what does that have bearing on early in 2010 you might ask? Hmm…well, it’s like this, ie this is how I’ve been looking for new SEO business….
I’ve begun to think about expanding in our LOCAL SEO marketplace and so I’ve been running serp reports for various channels. I picked some pretty major ones….like lawyers, funeral homes, wineries, HVAC firms and accountants for example. I picked what I judged to be about the top 10 firms in each channel, then went to each home page to see what they were offering up a prospective buyer of their products or services. I then plugged the top 20 keywords/phrases into our ranking software as well as those top 10 firms and ran a channel report on same.
And I’m amazed…as NO ONE in any of those channels does ANY SEO campaign to speak of. I got more zeros than I’ve ever seen before on page after page of the reports, and we’re talking some pretty big missed opportunities here, eh?
- Hamilton personal injury or civil litigation lawyers for the lawyer group? Nada!
- Hamilton funeral services or low cost funerals for the funeral homes? Again nothing!
- Hamilton hvac or furnace maitenance for our local HVAC firms? Still othing!
- Niagara wineries or cabernet sauvignon for our local wineries? Again nothing!
- Hamilton accoutants or tax services for our local accountants? Sadly also nothing!
Now, isn’t that odd, I thought? Let’s say your a lawyer and you think to yourself, “hey, maybe I should try to at least gain some traction from our fancy schmancy website by getting some new traffic of prospective clients?” That’s a good thought and a basic for anyone who wants to increase their lead generation using the power of their website. So, why havent’ you, is the question I’d like answered?
With at least thousands of local law firms, you’d have thought that someone at some firm would know about SEO and how marketing for new leads using this kind of strategy can work for your firm? Least I’d have thought so! Oh, sure, there are firms who do rank for that keyword phrase, don’t get me wrong…but I know SEO and NOT A ONE OF THEM has used any SEO best practices tactics to gain that ranking…which means what? No one owns that channel, is what!
So, what’d I do? Yup, I sent out exploratory emails to some of these firms, with URL links to their own firms SEO Benchmark Ranking reports to show them that yes, they weren’t taking advantage of the huge hole in their channel and did they want to investigate that opportunity? I was polite, yet pointed out that their competition was also not in the game and that the first one to take advantage would own that LOCAL channel…and guess how many replies I got?
Few. I won’t say how many (names changed to protect the innocent is the line I believe) but I can tell you that discussions are progressing with very very few of these firms in the listed 5 channels, while we’ve actually signed three new clients from this kind of farming approach. We didn’t push using that hunting strategy, instead we took our time and we planted the opportunity that took awhile, but paid off in the end. And while I expect that some may become never ever become clients, some others stilll might too. And that’s okay…but I can tell you this above all…
That anyone who DOES use solid, SEO best practices can OWN their channel, as there is no LOCAL competition at all here that counts.
Google gives….and all one need to do to gain that new business, is to farm their local marketplace to earn respect and “top-of-mind” awareness!Google