If you’re trying to generate leads for your business, it doesn’t make sense to employ the same lead generation strategies as companies that operate on a global scale. Instead, you would do something called local lead generation.
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into people who have indicated an interest in your company’s product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.”
There’s a wide variety of lead generation strategies available, including tactics specific to social media platforms and lead generation through paid-per-click (PPC) ads.
A solid lead generation strategy is an invaluable asset for a business of any shape or size. So that brings us to the point of this article — how can doctors, dentists, smaller law firms, contractors, construction companies, and any other business that operates regionally turn prospects into leads?
More bluntly, how can a local business construct and leverage an effective lead generation infrastructure?
Local Lead Generation
On a fundamental level, local lead generation is just another category of lead generation. You’ll be using the concept’s same core principles, but you’ll apply them within specific parameters. Here are some important factors and tactics to consider, and what they mean in the context of local lead generation.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the process of expanding a company’s visibility in the organic search results on engines like Google. Its endgame is to drive more visitors to a company’s site, increasing chances for more conversions.
To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.
There are several strides you can take to ensure that your local SEO strategy is optimal and effective. These steps include improving your website’s internal linking structure, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, engaging with customers on social media, and ensuring your contact information (NAP) is consistent online.
SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is using paid advertising to ensure that your business’s products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result of that searchquery.” It’s the process of placing targeted advertisements on search engine pages.
The practice can be leveraged by businesses of any size and provides another excellent avenue for local companies to generate leads. Like SEO, targeted search engine ads are rooted in search interest — meaning high ranking SEM ads generally bring in already engaged prospects.
If your ad placements can rank well for regional search inquiries and keywords, you should be in a good position to generate local, interested leads.
Landing Pages, Forms, and Offers
Landing pages — website pages specifically dedicated to turning visitors into leads — are central to almost any virtual lead generation effort. A landing page contains lead forms that ask visitors for their contact information, but they won’t give that information up for nothing.
The process is transactional. Prospects can’t be expected to dole out their phone numbers or email addresses without receiving something in return. That “something” is known as an offer. It’s some sort of incentive that is designed to drive interest in a company while establishing its credibility.
Offers are often content-based. Whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars are all examples of potentially compelling offers. But offers don’t always have to be content-specific — particularly when it comes to local businesses.
Local companies might get more out of offering a discount or a free consultation in exchange for a prospect’s email. No matter how your business operates, well-constructed landing pages and compelling offers are crucial when it comes to converting an interested website visitor into a legitimate lead.
Effective local lead generation strategies can put your business in touch with your exact market.
Targeted Facebook lead ads
With 2.41 billion users and unparalleled targeting capabilities, Facebook is the best way for local business owners to find their people.
For instance, let’s say you’ve just opened a new dance studio in Seattle. And let’s say it’s around Valentine’s Day. Facebook advertising will enable you to target men in a relationship within the Seattle area specifically. Your message could be something to the effect of, “Valentine’s Day is coming up. Get her the best gift ever!” Simple.
But what if your dance studio only has classes in April?
You need to start getting prospective students now to fill those classes.
And that’s where Facebook lead ads come in.
There are a couple of options when talking about lead generation on Facebook:
- Run an ad with the “Conversion” objective and send everyone who clicks to a landing page on your website where they submit their contact information through a form.
- Run a Facebook lead ad.
What’s a Facebook lead ad, again?
Step 1: A prospective lead scrolls through their Facebook News Feed. They see your ad (for a Valentine’s Day gift of dance lessons), and click the call to action.
Step 2: A form opens within the ad, right in the News Feed. The prospective lead fills out their contact information (whatever fields you select).
Step 3: The lead submits their information. That information is automatically sent to your previously-integrated CRM.
Here’s what a Facebook lead ad might look like in the Facebook Ad Manager for our “Seattle Salsa” example:
The best part is that Facebook lead ads work: Facebook lead ads convert the people who click 19.77% more effectively than Facebook ads that send people to a landing page:
Top Tip: Facebook lead ads are far more effective if you don’t have to do the manual export. Instead, connect your Facebook ad account with your CRM to send your new leads there directly and automatically.
Local contest or giveaway
Perhaps the most reliable way to generate exclusively local leads is to run a contest that gives away a prize in your area. Contests are similar to lead magnets, in that they provide a reason for a prospective customer to provide contact information. In this case, though, you give them a chance to win a prize they want to win.
When running a local contest or giveaway, though, there is a single best practice though, that makes all the difference: Give away a prize related to your product or service.
Let’s say you’re marketing a gym. If you create a contest giving away a trip to Barbados or $1,000, cash, you’ll get thousands of leads. Everybody wants a trip to Barbados or $1,000.
And that’s the problem.
Remember, a single lead who becomes a customer is worth more than 100 leads who don’t. Like social media followers or blog subscribers, the number of leads is (ultimately) a vanity metric. By giving away a prize directly related to your business, you may get fewer leads, but those leads will be worth something to your business.
- The countdown timer. Countdown timers add urgency to any promotion. They’ve been shown to increase conversion by as much as 332%. They work perfectly in contests because they’re real. Your contest really will end at the end of the week, and if people don’t enter, they can’t win.
- The headline. Front, center, and large, the headline tells exactly what you could win. Put the value at the top.
- The value of the prize. A dollar value helps your contest entrants understand what they stand to win if the value of your prize isn’t inherently understood. This is usually the case when giving away a product or service.
- The form fields. This contest asks for nothing more than a name and email address. It’s (generally) best practice to ask for no more information than you need to contact your leads. More form fields tend to equal a lower conversion rate on your lead generation page.
- The call-to-action button. Make sure it’s high-contrast and eye-catching so there’s no confusion about where to click to enter this contest.
- The lack of external links. This contest page is an effective landing page. As such, it’s optimized for a single conversion goal. That means there are no links off this page to distract visitors from that goal.
Not sure what to give away? Here are a few local lead gen contest prize ideas:
- A date night package (especially valuable if you team up with another local business)
- A “winterize your car” package
- A home staging package
- A family photoshoot
- A holiday-themed makeover
- Fitness classes and fitness gear
- Product giveaway (themed)
- Pre-wedding spa treatment
Top Tip: You may notice the social share boost the reach of your local contest or giveaway by adding share buttons incentivize your entrants to share your promotion with their network to earn additional chances to win.
Create a localized landing page
If you target multiple local markets or have local branches, create landing pages specific to those local areas to generate local leads.
For instance, let’s say you run a large law firm in Michigan. You may have your flagship office in Detroit, but another office in Lansing and another in Grand Rapids.
Your prospective clients—prospective leads—will be far more likely to engage with their local branch.
There are two things here:
- Focus on local SEO. You want to show up when someone types “Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer” into Google as well as “Lansing” and “Detroit.”
- Build a lead generation campaign that targets those areas (you can use Facebook ads for this) and then sends them to a landing page specific to their area and the partners or attorneys you have in it.
If Cactus Club were to run local Google ads, they’d convert searchers far better if they directed people to their closest branch than to the generic homepage.
Google’s geo-targeted ads enable marketers to target searchers with pinpoint accuracy. Here’s a snapshot of how specific you can get with it: