|"Has the Web Gone Local?"
I live in the snow belt of Rhode Island, USA. No, it's not
Siberia but so far this year we've received our share of heavy
snow. Which leads me to today's marketing tip...
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When the last snow storm arrived I decided I would have a snow
removal service handle my long driveway instead of plowing it
with my small tractor. So I looked in my telephone directory
under "snow removal" and "snow plowing". Unfortunately, there
were none listed who serviced my particular town.
So off to my computer I went, in hopes there would be just ONE
company wise enough to be gathering local customers via the web.
After an hour of surfing all my favorite search engines, and
local business directories, I gave up. Not a one. Zero. Zilch.
So, what's the story here? Hasn't the web reached the level
where local businesses can benefit? After all, some 80% of homes
in my area have Internet access.
This got me thinking...
I decided to try a little experiment in hopes of proving that it
IS time for local businesses to start promoting via the web.
A client of mine has a local day spa that just opened a few
months ago. As with most new businesses, she has very few
customers so far. And since it is a "local" business with a
physical location to visit, I thought it would be perfect for
this experiment. If I could use the web to bring new customers
to her day spa, then it would prove that web marketing CAN work
for businesses with a localized service or store.
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First I considered how potential customers might try to find spa
services in her area. I assumed they would search on "day spa
Rhode Island", "Rhode Island spas" and the like. I verified the
presence of these web searches and found other related keywords
Once I had a list of verifiable searches being performed online,
I filled her website with these keywords and phrases. Then I
submitted her site to all the major search engines.
(Note to my members: For a list of recommended submission sites,
Next, while I was waiting for her site to get indexed I opened
an overture.com account. This would allow her to could bid on
some of those targeted keywords that were being search on.
Upon doing so I quickly learned that her site could be
positioned within the top three results of many of those keyword
phrases, and it could be done very cheaply. This was not really
a surprise since only local day spas would be interested in such
narrowly focused keyword phrases as "Rhode Island Day Spas".
(Localized businesses ANYWHERE in the world may find this to be
the case with their keywords as well!)
Now we're cookin'...
Securing a few keyword phrases in the top 3 of Overture.com came
with another added bonus. Since the high-traffic Yahoo!
directory was partnering with Overture, it was showing
Overture's top 3 search terms at the very top of their site.
This meant my client's site zoomed right to the top of Yahoo!
immediately. Needless to say, this resulted in an instant
To make a long story short, this "local business" really started
to click. Not only were local customers finding her website
easily and frequently, she quickly learned that people all over
the country were searching for holiday gifts for relatives in
Rhode Island. So next we popped up some gift certificates at the
site and bingo, $3000 worth were sold over the holidays at my
Rhode Island Day Spa website, :-)
Let's sum this up...
Have I proven to you that the web can be used for marketing
Now I know many of you are thinking, "Hey my business is not
local, it is web based only. How does this help me?"
Well for starters, if you have a web marketing related business,
you'll certainly have clients with localized businesses. You
just learned a great new way to get them some superb traffic.
And believe me, they will be willing to pay you for it.
Are you a web designer? Now you can offer your localized
businesses an optional traffic package and generate additional
income. The possibilities are endless if you use your
And remember, I've just touched on the surface of marketing a
local business via the web. In addition to the strategy above,
businesses can use email to stay in touch with customers, send
special sale announcements and more. Again, the possibilities
are limited only by a business owners imagination.
I hope you've learned some valuable marketing lessons today. Now
you can do me a favor...
If any of your clients plow snow, tell them to drop me a line.
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