Learn about the top lead generation strategies for optimizing and improving your existing inbound or outbound lead generation process.
There are many creative and technical strategies for increasing local leads for your business. In this post, we offer you eight of the most effective local lead generation strategies, from landing pages and local SEO to community building and networking. We also give you some software that can lighten your workload and take your lead generation to the next level. Let’s help you attract quality regional leads to your business to increase profits.
Local lead generation is the act of attracting regional leads to your local business and converting them into prospects interested in buying your product or service. This typically includes brick-and-mortar companies such as car dealerships, restaurants, retailers, and law offices. However, it can also include businesses that travel and perform work at local job sites, such as contractors, landscapers, and more.
These businesses generate regional leads in various ways: local landing pages, local SEO and SEM optimization, in-store promotions, community networking, social media, and referrals. Next, we’ll take a closer look at each strategy to show you how to generate leads locally. Choose the best one for you or blend together multiple strategies for a full local lead generation process.
There are eight main strategies for generating local leads for your business. Let’s go over the basic principles of each one and help you decide whether it’s a good fit for your business needs.
A local landing page is a web page built to attract potential leads in a specific geographical area to your business. Businesses with multiple locations should have a landing page for each that contains information about that particular location; this helps customers find them. For example, a restaurant chain with two locations in the same city should have two different landing pages, each one highlighting basic information, such as phone number and address.
Two local landing pages from the same business might have different information on each of these categories:
Let’s take an example. If we are feeling hungry and google the restaurant “Copper Still,” the results in the image below come up. As you can see, there are two locations and each has its own landing page, denoted “Website” below. Each “Website” button will take you to the specific landing page that the restaurant has created for that location.
To capture the contact information from the people who visit your page, offer a lead magnet. This is a valuable resource that the lead can receive if they give you their contact information. In location-specific businesses, these offers tend to be in-store discount codes, promotions, free trial codes, or free consultations. Lead magnets not only help you attract first-time leads to your store, but they also give you the information you need to keep them coming back.
In the restaurant example, a common lead magnet is the reservation button. You submit your name, number, and email address to reserve a table. The restaurant has then secured you as a potential customer. Plus, since they have your email address, they can send you offers, discounts, and event updates for future visits. See our guide to learn how to create your own lead magnet that converts.
Creating local landing pages for each of your business’s locations allows you to provide the crucial information your potential leads need when researching your business online. Therefore, you’ll heighten the chances the lead will attend your location. Building a landing page is easy when you have software solutions on your side. Check out our article on the best landing page builders to help you decide which is best for your business.
Dialing in your local SEO means optimizing your business’s web presence for increased visibility in localized organic search engine results. Usually, this means you are trying to get listed in your area on online ratings and review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, or Facebook. Over time, the businesses listed on these sites accumulate positive reviews and clicks. As this occurs, their rankings in search results improve, so more searchers find them.
Here’s how to get your business listed on these three important sites:
Optimizing local SEO helps businesses make their websites more discoverable to searchers in the area and thereby win more leads. Businesses use a range of best practices to convince search engines that their business location deserves a high ranking in the search results. To learn those local SEO best practices, check out Moz’s local SEO guide.
Here’s an example of local SEO in action. Imagine it’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re craving a back massage, but you don’t know what businesses are nearby. You turn to Google and type in “back massage Manhattan.” Google’s ranking algorithm takes into account data like a business’s local content, social profile pages, links, and citations. It then provides users with the most relevant local results.
With SEO, it can take months for your page to rank, but once it does, you’ll start earning free traffic to your landing page or website. Or, better yet, leads will start walking over to your business and saying hello.
Ask your customers how they discovered you with an online or in-person survey. Get their email in-store by offering them a discount card at checkout in return for the email address to which you can send the survey. That way, you can tell which investments are paying off. Often people google “donut shop” and walk to the closest one without clicking the site, making it hard to assess local SEO ROI.
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to running Google Search ads that target keywords relevant to your business. Local SEM is when you target location-specific relevant keywords like “chiropractor San Diego County.” These ads then show up in the top 2-4 search results for the keywords you target. Both SEM and local SEM are a cost-per-click (CPC) model, meaning you pay a small price whenever a user clicks on your ad.
When you set up your Google Search ad, you’ll have to define your budget, select the keywords for which you want to rank, set your landing page, and write your ad. For the complete step-by-step process, read our article on PPC lead generation. One of the most crucial steps is writing a clear and persuasive Google ad. To do so, there are a few methods to try, all of which are exemplified in the example image above.
Specifically, follow these best practices to write an effective Google ad:
The power of local SEM is that your business offer appears in front of searchers who are in a buying mood. Unlike SEO, the results for SEM are often immediate. Once your SEM campaign is live, you can start advertising to potential leads in your area and watching the traffic roll in. However, beware that even though the Google ads show up at the top of the page, users are still more likely to click on organic results.
Most social media platforms offer advertisers the ability to create ads targeted to people in a specific region or location. This means that your ads are appearing only on the news feeds or inboxes of people within a defined proximity to your business location — a certain region, city, metro area, or zip code. You can also target based on other specifications so that you’re reaching only your ideal customers.
Common targeting factors include:
These ads can either tell people to come to your store, or instruct them to click on a lead magnet that will sweep the interested users away to your landing page, where they will submit their contact information in exchange for the resource. Because of how specifically targeted they can be, region-specific social media ads are a staple in most local lead generation campaigns. For more on social media ads and targeting, check out our article on Facebook lead ads.
Building a local organic social media following is essentially the act of building an online social community. You create social media accounts across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or another platform and share content your common buyer will enjoy. If they like what you post, they will start to consume more of your content and grow interested in your business. Trust will develop, and soon enough you will have generated a new lead.
Here are some tips for building a local social media following:
Strand Book Store’s Facebook post below offers up an example of creative and effective local social media marketing. Within one post, they run a content giveaway, involve their followers, and speak directly to a segment of their audience: the artistic types.
Managing and growing a social media following relies on your ability to provide valuable content to them, not on your ability to pitch your products or services. Every fifth post, you can include a call-to-action about an upcoming deal or a new product to get new leads into your location, but avoid relentless selling. Focus the majority of your posts on the three “Es” of social media marketing instead: educating, engaging, and entertaining.
Get out there and start meeting people in your community and telling them about your business. Host events, attend local events where your potential buyers hang out, or build a physical community around your brand. Strike up conversations with local residents and invite them into your business. If they don’t need your product or service, ask them if they know anyone who might. It never hurts to ask. To master the art form, read our ultimate guide on business networking.
Here are some fun in-person networking ideas to meet people:
Take networking a step further and start creating and cultivating new networks, otherwise known as in-person community building. Here, you’re essentially facilitating and cultivating relationships between people with like interests. Host or sponsor events where potential leads will meet each other and participate in a group activity, all the while getting to know your brand and staff. For example, a local fantasy bookstore might hold weekly hour-long readings for kids in the area.
Below are some community building ideas:
The best part about community building is that it’s intrinsically valuable. Even if you fail to generate any leads from your efforts, you will gain priceless value-adds to your life, including leadership skills, a sense of purpose, and friendship. Plus, the people in the area will appreciate the community you’ve created for them, and your brand will therefore be top of mind to them, meaning they could turn into leads and customers down the line.
When you meet someone while networking, avoid pitching them on your business. Sooner or later, they will ask you what you do. Let it flow naturally. Brand awareness and sales will come eventually. Right now, focus on taking interest in them. It’s a lot easier to make connections that way.
Referral (word-of-mouth) marketing refers to marketing campaigns that incentivize customers to tell other people about your business by giving them rewards in exchange for earning you a new customer. It is one of the most cost-efficient ways to generate leads for your brick-and-mortar business. The most effective programs are two-way referral programs in which both the person referring your business and the new customer they generated win rewards.
At a candy store, this referral incentive might look like “Give a friend a free 1-lb candy bar when they visit and you earn 25% off your next purchase.” For help creating a referral program for your local business, check out the software solution Pollen, which tracks referrals and enables customers to refer friends to you from their phones. For more ideas, read our article on the top ways to generate business referrals.
Create savings deals and activate creative pricing strategies, then advertise them to your target audience in the area. Bargain shoppers love buy-one-get-one-free deals, 50%-off sales, or free appetizers with a certain entree. However, it doesn’t have to be about price slashes. You could also hold an in-store event that attracts people to your location, like a book reading from a famous author. Below are some best practices for running in-store promotions.
If you get these deals in front of the right people, in-store promotions can be a great way to draw people into your store or office. Plus, your business can get rid of some slow-moving stock or get a quick boost in cash flow during slow periods.
Take advantage of the law of reciprocity — when you give people something for free, they feel obligated to give you something in return. Think up something free and valuable you could give to people who come into your store, such as a free food sample. Or advertise your free offer online and invite them into the store to claim it. Once they do, they’ll likely stick around and buy more.
No matter which method you use to attract leads to your business, it’s important to remember that successful lead generation is not only about getting them to make a purchase right away, but also about capturing their contact information for further nurturing. When you have their email address or phone number, you can continue to market to them, build their trust, and familiarize them with your brand until they are ready to make a purchase.
From Google Ads to HubSpot Marketing Hub, there are some incredible software solutions out there that can enhance portions of your location’s lead generation strategy. Let’s cover four of the best solutions, what they do, and whether you should use them for your specific business.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform that allows you to run Google ad campaigns and track their effectiveness. It helps advertisers locate and reach their target audience by enabling you to place ads on Google Search results pages for specific queries your customers are searching. It uses a CPC pricing model, but it also gives you control over your budget; you set a monthly budget limit and never breach it. If you are participating in SEM, this tool is essential.
Google Search Console is a web service that helps users optimize their website’s search engine presence. With the search analytics feature, you see which Google Search queries bring users to your site. It also helps you with technical SEO by allowing you to send sitemaps to Google for crawling. Plus, it alerts you on any hard-to-spot website issues, like slow speed or bad navigation, that hold back your website. Anyone involved in local SEO should leverage this tool.
HubSpot Marketing Hub is a marketing automation software that helps you find and attract the right audience to your website and local business. It also has features that provide real-time SEO advice to enable you to create content catered to the traits of your local audience. Lastly, it helps businesses run more effective social media marketing campaigns. Local businesses that want to better define and speak to their target audience can benefit from this platform.
UpLead is a lead database that is great for building lists of leads you want to contact through phone or email. The tool allows you to filter by location and other criteria, like age range or job title, so you can compile lists of only the most qualified leads in your local area. It also provides you with accurate contact information and other personal or technographic data to make the sale easier. Check it out if you plan on doing outbound prospecting for local leads.
Local lead generation is an ongoing process of finding new people who would benefit from your business and attracting them to your physical location. You can do this through various online means, like local SEO or SEM. But don’t forget the human aspect of local lead generation. Your business is a part of the community in which it resides. It supports and benefits the people who live there. So go out and meet those people, learn about them, and invite them in for a visit.