John Lincoln

How to Do Local Lead Generation

A great local lead generation campaign can drive serious clients for a business. 

In this article, you’ll get a in-depth information on how to do local lead generation for your business or a client. 

Local Lead Generation
Local Lead Generation

Determine Your Personas For Local Lead Generation

Before you even go after local leads, you first need to identify people in your target market. You do that with personas. If you haven’t heard about personas, they’re fictitious representations of your ideal customers. How do you create personas? By identifying characteristics of people in your target market and applying them to one or more people. Before you get started with personas, it’s a good idea to first segment your market. That way, you can create personas for each segment. For example, if you’re selling blue jeans, you might segment your market into young women, young men, contractors, blue-collar employees, and so on. Once you’ve segmented your market, you can create one or more personas that fit into each segment. Start that process by listing demographic information about the people in that segment, including:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Income
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Home ownership
  • Nationality
  • Location
  • Religion
Next, identify characteristics about people in the segment as they relate to your marketing efforts. Answer as many of the following questions as you can:
  • What challenges is the person experiencing related to my product or service?
  • What gaps is the person trying to fill?
  • Where is the person at in the sales funnel?
  • Is the person qualified to make a purchase?
  • Is the person capable of making a purchase?
  • How does the person access information?
  • How often does the person use social media? Which platform?
  • What kind of information does the person receive on a daily basis?
  • Who does the person trust for accurate information?
  • What kinds of external events might cause the person to make a purchase?
  • Where does the person spend time online?
Of course, the kind of info that you’re looking for isn’t something that you should just “make up.” You should rely on solid marketing data to help you create personas. Here are a few ways that you can get good marketing data:
  • Forms – When people fill out forms on your website, they’ll often include detail that you can use to construct personas.
  • Interviews – As you talk to customers over the phone or in person, they’ll often let slip nuggets of info about themselves.
  • Contact Data – If you’re using any kind of CRM, you probably have a wealth of demographic info at your fingertips.
  • Sales Team Feedback – When your sales reps make calls, they’ll frequently notice patterns among people who are interested in your product or service.
  • Market Research Data – When you started your market research phase, you almost certainly gathered data about people in your target market that you can use to create personas.
Once you’ve armed yourself with all the data you can muster about people in your various market segments, it’s time to start the process of creating personas. How do you do that? By telling a story. For example: John is a lumberjack who earns $55,000 per year. He’s a race car enthusiast in his spare time. Specifically, John is a NASCAR enthusiast and hangs out at NASCAR-related sites online. As a result of his strenuous work, John frequently ruins his work jeans. He’s frustrated because he has to keep buying new pairs of jeans. John would like a more durable pair of blue jeans and he’s willing to pay premium if necessary. Although that’s a simplistic example, it’s the pattern you should follow. Tell stories about people in your market that also offer clues as to which marketing strategies will most likely reach them. In the case of John, it’s important to reach him with a message about quality and durability instead of price. It looks like the best place to reach John online is with a banner ad at a NASCAR-related website. That’s the kind of work you should do for every persona. Highlight the best ways to reach your ideal customers, both online and offline. Keep in mind: if you have multiple locations, your task of identifying personas takes on a new dimension. Why? Because the characteristics of people who visit one location might be totally different from characteristics of people who visit another location. As an example, let’s say one of your locations is near a more affluent part of town while the other one is on “the other side of the tracks.” In that case, your personas will be significantly different between the two locations. That’s why it’s important that you develop location-specific personas. Then, you can adjust your marketing approach accordingly.

Get Local Listings Set Up For Local Lead Generation

The next thing you need to do, after developing personas, is to set up local listings. What are local listings? They’re online references to your business. They’re also an important part of local lead generation. Typically online listings include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Sometimes they also include profile info. They’re essential for local SEO. The more that Google “sees” your NAP online, the more likely your business website will rank well in local results. Fortunately, there are plenty of online places where you can list your business. Many of them are free. Start with Google My Business (GMB). That’s not only a free place to list your business, it’s also a property owned by the world’s most popular search engine. There’s no reason not to list your business with GMB. Remember, though, that Google isn’t the only search engine around. That’s why you should also list your business with Bing Places. Simply put, Bing Places is Bing’s version of GMB. It’s another free opportunity to get the word out about your business. After that, get a listing on Yelp. That’s because Yelp is one of the most popular online sources of information about local business. As of now, Yelp enjoys more than 140 million monthly active users. So you’re doing your business a disservice if you stay off of it. Next, get a listing on Acxiom. You can get started with that by entering just your phone number in the My Business Listing manager. Following that, get on Apple Maps. That will give you local exposure to the millions of people who use iOS mobile devices to get info about local businesses.
Local Lead Generation
Apple maps will give you local exposure to the millions of people who use iOS mobile devices
Also, get a listing on CityGrid. That’s a great platform for a business listing that also gives API access to developers. Of course, you should also create a Facebook business page if you haven’t already done so. Remember: Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. You’re limiting your reach if you don’t create a business profile on that platform. Next, add a listing on Factual, a company boasts that it’s “the best location data for mobile advertising.” After that, add your business on Foursquare. That’s a local search-and-discovery mobile app that offers individualized recommendations of places to go. Following that, get a listing with Infogroup. You can do that by using the company’s ExpressUpdate tool. And don’t forget about LocalEze. Although you’ll spend some money for the effort, it’s a great investment if it brings you more business. Finally, add your listing on YP and SuperPages. Those are both 21st-century versions of the old Yellow Pages business directories. You can also advertise with both YP and SuperPages if you want to give your business an even higher profile. However, a standard listing is free.

Listing Strategies For Local Lead Generation

In some cases, you can improve your local SEO by just listing your company with certain online properties. You might need to create an in-depth, keyword-profile as well. In other cases, though, you’ll need to do a little more than just create a listing. Specifically, you should develop a local lead generation strategy. Let’s take a look at different strategies you should use for some of those online channels. When it comes to Facebook, you should start by posting engaging content. Remember, though, to produce content that will resonate with the personas you created. The idea with Facebook is to create engagement with people in your target market. That engagement should build brand-name awareness and ultimately translate into new business. Facebook is also a great opportunity for paid advertising. Keep in mind a few things, though. First, you’ll likely only find people at the top of the sales funnel on Facebook. It’s not usually the best place to find people with an intention to buy. Next, Facebook gives you the opportunity to run your ad with laser-like targeting. That means you can reach people who match specific demographics and interests. Get those demographics and interests from your personas. Finally, Facebook usually isn’t usually an ideal channel for B2B businesses. If you’re running a B2B shop, you should probably focus more of your marketing on LinkedIn. Next, let’s look at some strategies for promoting your business on Yelp. First of all, make sure you add all keywords related to your business. You can include them in the “Specialties” section. Next, upload a flurry of photos to the photo gallery. Ensure the photos are professional grade and that they highlight important aspects about your business. Also, try to add some reviews. If you don’t have any, ask your most loyal customers to post reviews. Next, let’s look at some strategies with GMB. As with Yelp, you should also ask your most loyal customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. Also, encourage social check-ins when they’re at your place of business. Next, make sure you choose the GMB category that’s the most relevant. You might have to spend some time going through categories to find the “perfect” match. It will be worth the effort. Finally, make sure that you verify your business listing. That will give you the best opportunity to appear in Google’s search results.

Get Some Professional Help For Local Lead Generation

Although there’s a lot that you can accomplish on your own with local SEO, it’s often an effort best left to trained professionals. That’s why you should use a service like Yext or Moz Local to take your local lead generation game to the next level. Both of those services are designed to maximize your online visibility by building local brand awareness. Yes, you will pay a fee for their services. It’s part of the cost of doing business.

Get on Top Lists For Local Lead Generation

If you’re really serious about local lead generation, you’re going to need to get your business name on the top industry lists. That effort goes beyond the local listings mentioned above. You need to appear on aggregated lists of the top companies in your niche. For example, if you’re offering an online SEO tool, then it needs to appear on a list of best SEO tools like the one created by Brian Dean. That’s one of the best forms of social proof online.
For Local Lead Generation
Making a top list is one of the best forms of social proof online – Local Lead Generation
How do you get on a list? Reach out to the curator of the list (Brian Dean in the example above) and offer your service for free. You’ll find that getting key influencers on board with your business is well worth the small sacrifice you’ll make in revenue.

Have a Great Page on Your Website

Remember, you website is often the first impression people will get of your business. Make sure it’s an outstanding impression. If you have a website that’s basically just a placeholder for your business and doesn’t market your brand effectively, change that today. Hire a professional development team to give your site the polish that it needs to appeal to people in your target market.

Advertising For Local Lead Generation

We’ve already gone over Facebook advertising. That’s not the only channel you should use for advertising. You should also run Google AdWords ads. Specifically, you should use them to find people with purchase intent. How do you do that? By selecting the right keywords. For example, if you’re selling blue jeans, run an ad that appears when people search for “discount blue jeans.” People who use that search term are almost certainly looking to buy right away. You should also make sure that your search ads show up on Google Maps. Keep in mind, to do that, you have to also do the following:
  • Enable location extensions on your AdWords account
  • Use location targeting
  • Bid by location
Once you’ve launched your ad campaigns, make sure that you monitor them to see which ones are performing best. Then, make sure that you invest more heavily in those campaigns to give yourself an even greater return. Discontinue campaigns that aren’t generating a positive return. Finally, make sure that you’re always split-testing your advertising campaigns. Then, check your analytics to see which options yield the best ROI. Specifically, you should test the following:
  • Headline
  • Ad copy
  • Landing page text
  • Call to action location
  • Call to action text
  • Color schemes

Wrapping It Up Local Lead Generation

Local lead generation isn’t something that happens by accident. You’ll have to put some effort into it. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of easy-to-implement local SEO strategies that will boost your brand online.

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About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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