Specific Support for Local Businesses

Local Marketing & SEO
Are your local customers finding you on the first page of search results? Your location on Google makes a BIG difference. Getting found locally means your keywords are not only found on the first page of search, they are generally found above the fold, circumventing the national competition.
Over 70% of online searchers will look for a bricks-and-mortar business through local search, which means you must have a presence. Let us help you implement an online strategy designed to successfully market your company within your geographic area. Whether you are a local shop or restaurant, or a national business with several branches, we have local SEO services tailored specifically for you that include:
A great Google Map listing — a coveted position among local companies that puts your business in the spotlight. In addition, we’ll utilize location schema to your advantage. These are search engine friendly markups that identify your business location.
A custom Google Plus page optimized for your local geographic area. This social media presence is a must in today’s Google landscape.
The ‘right’ local business directories — optimally positioning your site to be seen by your local community. This can be coupled with a customer review strategy that will drive conversions based on trusted reviews of your services.
How your business appears online is as important as how it looks in person. Is your web presence costing you customers?
We help you get found and make a good impression with tools like an optimized website, local listings, social media, SEO, and more.
Creating a digital marketing strategy for a local business is quite different than creating one for an online-only business. Your local digital marketing strategy should specifically target and appeal to potential customers in your geographic area.
To better reach local customers for your store, restaurant or other locally focused business, take a look at the local digital marketing tips below.
Local Digital Marketing Tips
Have a Mobile Friendly Website
This is an important local digital marketing tip for any business. But for local businesses, it can be even more essential. Customers who are looking for a restaurant, store or other local business are likely to do a search on their phone or mobile device. If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, not only will it be difficult for them to interact with your site, but it will also be difficult for them to find it in the first place.
Tiffany Monhollon, director of content marketing for ReachLocal, said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “Google recently updated its mobile algorithm so that businesses that don’t have mobile friendly websites may not show up in mobile search results when consumers search (and other prominent search engines followed this pattern).”
Optimize Your Site for Local Search
If you want local customers, either on mobile or desktop, to find you, you have to have a comprehensive search strategy. Your website should include information about the products and services you provide, your location, and other relevant keywords.
Have a Clean, Professional Design
Local customers who are browsing websites to decide where to eat, shop or obtain various services are going to make a judgement about your business based on its website. So you need to make sure that it looks professional and offers all the relevant information they might be looking for.
Include Address and Hours
One of the most common things customers look for on websites of local businesses is the location and hours. Make sure that information is clearly marked and easy to find so customers won’t be left guessing.
Offer Multiple Contact Methods
You should also make it easy for people to contact you if they have additional questions. Offer a phone number, email, social media accounts, live chat, or some combination so that people always have a way to get in touch.
Have a Clear Call to Action
The main goal of your website is likely to help your business gain customers. So you need to make it clear to people who visit how they should go about doing business with you. Do they need to call and make an appointment? Should they just stop by during business hours? Have a clear call to action so that customers will know exactly what steps they should take.
Regularly Post on Social Media
This may be an obvious local digital marketing tip as social media can also be a great tool for targeting potential customers online. But you have to actually engage people on those sites. That means you have to post regularly to stay top of mind.
But Always Keep Your Audience in Mind While Posting
You also have to post things that are actually relevant and useful to your audience. If you offer heating and cooling services, maybe that means you could post links to helpful articles about keeping your home cool enough during the summer or warm enough during the winter. That type of content gives people more of an incentive to follow and interact with your business online.
Include Multimedia Posts
Media like photos and videos can also be helpful to your social media strategy. Make sure that they always fit with your overall goals and include a call to action.
Consider Social Media Advertising Targeting Your Area
Advertising on social sites like Facebook can help you increase your reach and gain an audience for your business online. Just make sure that your campaigns target relevant customers in your area.
Leverage Locally Targeted Advertising
Whether you’re advertising on Facebook, Google or other online platforms, targeting is essential. Always target customers in your city or community and use other relevant factors as well.
Monhollon says, “One of the main ways to ensure you are maximizing your budget with local advertising is to leverage targeting capabilities to reach local consumers. That way, you are focusing as much of your budget as possible on people most relevant to your business.”
Use Search Engine Advertising — Again Locally Targeted
Search engine advertising can be another great way to get your business in front of relevant customers. Platforms like Google allow for local targeting. And with the right strategy, you can reach customers that are looking for exactly what your business offers.
Create Locally Optimized Keywords
Part of your local digital marketing strategy should be choosing keywords that are both relevant to your business and your location. Targeting people who are looking for an Italian restaurant in some other state won’t do your business any good. So make sure you include your location information in keywords.
Choose Relevant Landing Pages
When people click those advertisements, you need to think about where you want them to land on your website. Should it be the main page or the page for a particular product or service? You could also create a landing page specific to an advertising campaign if you feel that is necessary.
Refine Your Advertising Strategy Based on Response
Through the process of advertising, you’ll need to monitor your results and make changes based on what’s working. If a particular keyword phrase isn’t bringing you any clicks or actual business, it may be necessary to switch it up.
Monhollon elaborates, “Once it’s set up, you should regularly refine these configurations to those variables and components that are driving the right results — conversions in the form of calls, web form fills, emails, etc. — and not just clicks. A good cost per click rate is important, but it’s more important to make sure that you are driving people to actually contact your business.”
Bring Previous Visitors Back with Retargeting
Retargeting also provides a great opportunity for your business to convert leads who may have been interested before but just didn’t complete a purchase for whatever reason.
Claim and Optimize Your Local Listings
Sites like Yelp, Google and others also provide a lot of information to online customers about local businesses. So it’s important that you claim the listings for your business so that you can control the basic information.
Keep Your Information Continuously Updated
If your business ever changes its hours, location or other information, you need to make sure that those local listings are updated so that customers don’t get confused.
Monitor Online Reviews
Online reviews are also incredibly important for local businesses. Make sure that you regularly monitor sites like Yelp and Facebook to see if any action needs to be taken.
Respond to Negative Reviews When Appropriate
When people share negative reviews about your business, it may be necessary for you to respond. Every situation is different, but an apology and acknowledgement of their experience can sometimes go a long way.
Accept Constructive Feedback
Receiving criticism from online reviewers can be tough. But it can also help improve your business if you allow it. Take what your customers say to heart and see if it can help you make relevant improvements.
Keep an Eye Out for Themes
If online reviewers are constantly sharing the same complaints, you likely need to make a change in that area. Or if they share something positive about your business, that could also help you create some talking points about your business for your marketing efforts.
Share Concerns With Your Team
Share the concerns gained from online reviews or otherwise with your employees. If you need to make improvements, they should know what and why.
Create a Customer-Focused Mindset
But you don’t always have to wait for customers to point out a flaw in order to address it. Try to think like a customer and encourage your employees to do the same. If you do this, you could prevent some of those negative reviews from ever being posted in the first place.
Remind Happy Customers to Share Feedback
Of course, some customers are just more likely to share complaints over positive comments. But you need some positive reviews to maintain your online reputation. So remind happy customers that they can leave feedback on sites like Yelp.
Put Reminders in Follow-up Emails
It can help to remind people to leave reviews or feedback when you send them a follow-up email after completing their purchase. This also helps to ensure that they were happy with the experience and to keep your business at the top of their mind.
Promote Your Online Presence in Your Signage
You can also ask customers to leave reviews or visit your website or social accounts by including that information on the signs at your location. That could increase your reach online and encourage customers to do business with you again.
Tell In-Person Customers Where to Find You Online
Whether you put it on signs, in pamphlets or just tell people, make sure you let in-person customers know where they can find you online in case they have any questions or just want to follow along with your latest business updates.
Target Hyper-Local Customers With Apps
Mobile apps now offer unique opportunities to target customers who are in very close proximity to a business. So if your business has an app, you could use it to send alerts or offers to your customers who are nearby. You could also use other location-based apps like Foursquare to send out such offers.
Measure the Full Impact of Your Marketing Efforts
No matter which local digital marketing strategy you choose for your local business, it’s important to track your progress and find out what is working and what isn’t.
Constantly Tweak Your Efforts Based on Results
Over time, you’ll be able to determine which tactics give your business the best return on investment. This likely means that you’ll want to refocus some of your efforts on those local digital marketing tactics that are bringing you the most customers.
Any business that believes marketing can be divided into neat little categories is destined for failure. There’s no such thing as an online marketing strategy and an offline marketing strategy. Local marketing requires a unified effort, regardless of the medium.
The Rule of Seven
The rule of seven is one of the classic principles of marketing. It says that, in order for a prospect to become a customer, they must see your offer at least seven times. In other words, once a customer has seen a brand’s offer on seven different occasions, they have everything they need to follow through with a purchase.
While the underlying principles of the rule of seven still apply, the number will be larger in 2016 and beyond. Jay Walker-Smith of Yankelovich Consumer Research points out that the average customer was exposed to just 500 ads per day in the 1970s, compared to 5,000 ads today. As a result, the rule of seven may as well be the rule of seventy.
But this is where marketers are going astray. Many assume that throwing a bunch of marketing and advertising campaigns against a wall in hopes that a couple stick is a good idea. “It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers nowadays is to cover every blank space with some kind of brand logo or a promotion or an advertisement,” Walker-Smith says. But should that be the goal?
If you want to satisfy the rule of seven(ty), the goal shouldn’t be to make a bunch of noise and hope that your message rings the loudest. Instead, you should be looking for ways to maximize your reach by going after both online and offline channels. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some specific offline and online strategies that will help your small business enhance its local marketing efforts.
Three Offline Local Marketing Tips
Thanks to the growth of the internet and ecommerce, offline marketing often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So let’s start with this channel and discuss a couple of specific tips and techniques for getting your brand in front of customers in today’s saturated marketplace.
Spend on Signage
“As a famous quote goes, ‘A business without a sign is a sign of no business’ and so, signage should never be an afterthought. You should see it as an investment that will get you a good return in the long run,” says Luke Markey of ShieldCo. “A well-designed and smartly placed sign will attract customers and generate good profits over the course of time.”
Few investments bring as high of a return as physical signage. Think about it! If you’re trying to expose the same customer to your brand over and over again, a physical sign is the best option. People have routines and walk the same streets, drive the same roads, and eat at the same places. Thus, if your sign is on a street corner on a crowded city block, the same 5,000 people are going to see your sign every single day. After just a month, they’ve already been exposed to your brand a handful of times.
Make Sponsorships a Priority
If you’re looking to get the proverbial bang for your buck, sponsoring local events and programs is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of lots of people. Some of the more popular options include sponsoring school sports teams, nonprofit events, and cultural events.
“There are so many other possibilities, such as carnivals, county fairs, beauty pageants, cook-offs, flea markets, walks/runs, concerts, business associations, and trade shows,” marketer Dana Zarcone suggests. “Not only do these sponsorships help get your name out there, you’ll also be building your referral network as you make connections within the organization or group you’re helping.”
Speak at Industry Events
All B2B industries – and most B2C industries – have regular conferences and events that take place at different times all over the world. If you can find a way to earn a speaking engagement at one of these events, you can give your brand some much-needed visibility. In addition to being able to reference your brand and include your logo in print materials, you can also grow your reputation as an expert or thought leader in your niche.
This also represents a great opportunity for a little online crossover. Most events and conferences these days are recorded. Get a copy of the recording and upload it to your website, YouTube, and social media channels to expand your reach.
Three Online Local Marketing Tips
You can’t survive with an offline marketing strategy alone. You also need to invest in some local online marketing to reach people where they spend hours of their time each day.
Here are a few tips:
Move Television Ads Online
Here’s a progressive strategy that will allow you to maximize your ROI: Reallocate any money you’re spending on local television ads to online video.
“ComScore recently found that 84% of people watch videos online. On the flip side, fewer people are watching television, let alone seeing the ads that companies still pay big bucks to have,” cloud marketing expert Gravity4 notes. “To merge these two worlds, more businesses are moving their television ads and messaging online.”
The wonderful thing about online video advertising is that it’s becoming increasingly programmatic and cost-effective. There’s no more guessing which channels, shows, and at what times your customers are watching. With online video advertising platforms, you can target very specific customers and base your decisions on robust insights and analytics.
Put Social Media to Work
Social media is a challenge for many small businesses. It can feel like a huge responsibility and many business owners are too intimidated to invest any time in this powerful engagement resource. You shouldn’t be, though. When properly leveraged, social media is the ultimate marketing tool – allowing for repetitive exposure and meaningful engagement.
Keeping the rule of seven in mind, social media is highly effective because it allows you to control when customers see your brand (as well as how). If you know that your users are most active during the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot, then you can invest all of your resources into targeting them during this time. Contrarily, if you know that your customers don’t get on social media during business hours, then you don’t have to waste your time. Social media puts you in control of the messaging and timing, which is incredibly valuable in the long run.
Split Test Everything
Whereas you need to gather a ton of data, interview customers, and host focus groups to really understand when an offline marketing campaign is effective, you can gauge efficacy online in a matter of hours. The key is to split test everything.
You should be split testing your PPC ads, social media posts, landing pages, blog posts, web design, and everything in between. The information you extract from these tests will help you better understand your customers and produce more accurate marketing materials in the future.
Bridging the Divide Between Online and Offline Marketing Channels
It doesn’t matter if you’re a brick and mortar business or an ecommerce brand, you can’t afford to only target online or offline marketing. Furthermore, you can’t totally separate these two channels. There needs to be some crossover between them. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a chance to maximize exposure in strategic and brand-relevant ways.
Each time you take your business to market, you’re stepping into the arena. To succeed, you need innovative strategies to stay top of mind. Developing a community outreach program is an excellent way for small businesses to gain local traction and up visibility without a huge investment — simply put, a high return on investment. Here are three community outreach ideas for small businesses that add real value to your marketing campaign.
Community Outreach Ideas for Small Businesses
Work with Schools
Approach a school and offer it something that their funding typically won’t cover. It’s a win-win for them, so they’ll rarely decline the offer. What’s in it for you? Schools encompass the entire community. Students connect you to families and families connect you to neighborhoods. At the local level, this is even more effective than social media marketing.
Students are also a great mouthpiece for your brand. They talk and share more widely than most other groups, and your reach is truly limitless if you maintain a long-term relationship with a school—few other groups have new faces cycling in every year. In other words, you can set into motion a chain of brand promotion events with one initial donation.
Work With NGOs
Just like schools, NGOs are often short on funding and open to mutually beneficial partnerships. By offering them products or services in exchange for positive publicity, you’ll build a respected brand image and foster highly profitable relationships. Host a fundraising event for an NGO and you could get your brand’s name on their staff’s shirts and caps, your logo on their marketing materials, etc.
NGOs have high contact rates with the general public. They go place to place, person to person, focusing on attracting interest for their cause, so even volunteering at their events will increase your visibility. It’s also gratifying as a business owner to help an organization make a difference, particularly if you’re passionate about their cause.
Team Up
Pool your efforts with other local businesses. Put on a free event for the public or table at an annual event that attracts high numbers. The more you collaborate with other business owners, the more you get your bran’s name out there. And you mind find business partners for other co-marketing efforts in the future too.
Add Your Name to a Message
This costs a bit more, but it’s also a superb way to build rapport with people. What you need is your brand’s name or logo next to a message. Look around and you’ll easily find people wanting to put up a message. Get this message put up for them, and next to the message, put your logo. Having a catchy name helps. Does it work?
Yes. People often ignore the marketing stuff around them, but they rarely do it with messages. Very few people pass by a message without reading it. In other words, it’s one more area where you get to attract the attention of a large audience without much effort. How to do it?
It’s simple: your name next to the message. Just one catch: make sure the background theme is plain, the message is short and your name is the only thing noticeable on the board other than the message.
A sense of community provides people with a sense of belonging. If you can manage to associate your product with the emotions that a strong sense of community elicit, you will be forging a sense of trust with your prospective clients. Community outreach is a great option for growing your product, but it takes a lot of respect and consideration. Remember, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Local businesses find themselves in a little bit of a silo. Unlike large multinational brands that are tasked with reaching customers in all corners of the globe, local businesses are right in the middle of an isolated market. So, why do so many of these companies waste time doing online market research, when everything they actually need to know is waiting outside?
Say No to Spreadsheets and Pie Charts
For large businesses with lots of resources and pretty predictable national consumer bases, paying a market research firm to conduct in-depth demographic and psychographic analysis makes sense. There’s value in gathering insights and making calculated assumptions based on the data collected. But the same isn’t true for small, local businesses. When a market research firm calls you and asks to speak about general market research, just say no. Say no to spreadsheets and pie charts and instead take a progressive approach that actually uncovers relevant insights.
You’ve heard of Uber, but what about MyUberLife — the business consulting firm? Launched by Winston Peters, Jey Van-Sharp, and Kwasi Gyasi — three guys who look more like powerful nightclub owners or renowned jazz artists than successful Manhattan consultants — MyUberLife thrives on an alternative approach to consulting — particularly when it comes to consumer research.
According to Peters and his partners, successful businesses need to consider elements like “culture spotting and ideation” just as much as other traditional components like management, branding, marketing, PR, sales, finance, and technology.
“Our consulting style analyzes these business elements and the cultural zeitgeist,” MyUberLife explains. “We evaluate your business needs while investigating the cultural phenomenon that matter to your customers through the lenses of fashion, music, art, design, consumer goods, politics, popular culture, emerging culture, and other enigmatic trends. Using this process, we provide you with business solutions and business opportunities.”
Do Market Research by Walking Around
See, instead of conducting formal focus groups and accessing online research to help clients identify strategic opportunities, the MyUberLife consultants spend time at cafes, art galas, bars, nightclubs, and sporting events watching and engaging people to get a better grasp of who people are and what they want. It’s a progressive and innovative approach, but one that has produced incredible results.
Why can’t you take a similar approach? While you may not be able to spend all day and night at local events and parties, there are plenty of small ways you can get out of the office and explore. In doing so, you’ll almost certainly learn more about your target market than if you were in a cramped cubicle or office in front of your computer.
Get Out of the Office
At first, getting out of the office and exploring your city may seem like a waste of time. But when you consider all of the time you spend doing market research in your office, you’ll soon realize that you should be spending some of that time actually immersing yourself in your target market. Here are a few ways you can get out and explore:
1. Ditch the Car for a Bike
Commuting to work in your car is super convenient. Depending on traffic, it can be fast and efficient. It’s also quiet and comfortable. But the problem with driving in a car is that you don’t get a chance to fully experience your surroundings. You miss so many of the sights and sounds that make your city what it is. That’s why you should ride a bike to and from work.
Bikes allow you to explore your city by engaging all of your senses. Suddenly you see the homeless people trying to stay warm underneath the bridge. You smell the fresh aromas from the coffee shop on the corner. You hear people talking about yesterday’s news as they wait at the crosswalk. You notice just how cold it is at 8:00 in the morning. And all of these factors can shape how you view your city and the people in it.
2. Grab Lunch Somewhere New
We all have our favorite lunch spots that we cycle through on a weekly basis, but you should really broaden your horizons if you want to get a feel for the city.
“When we travel we are often forced to try new places and things to eat,” blogger Rebecca Vandemark notes, “so why not do this in your own city? Check out your city and see what the local newspaper says is the best ‘hole in the wall restaurant’? Instead of eating at your favorite restaurant why not try a dinner cruise in your town? Think outside the box and explore your city by trying to eat something new or different just like you would if you had traveled somewhere new.”
Not only will you find yourself eating new food, but you’ll also discover new groups of people. You’ll notice what they wear, how they pay, and what they talk about. Take notes and use your lunch hour as a learning opportunity.
3. Attend Local Events With No Agenda
Small businesses often attend things like farmer’s markets, festivals, and other local events in order to sell or advertise products. But when was the last time you attended one of these events without an agenda?
Next time you see a local event — whether it’s in the middle of a workday or on the weekend — attend the event with no business agenda. Instead, just immerse yourself and take notice of the people and what they’re doing. Talk, listen, and observe. You’ll get an opportunity to see how they interact, which tells you something about which business strategies work.
4. Grab a Drink
While we don’t necessarily want to encourage day drinking during the workweek, there is some value in grabbing a drink at a local bar — perhaps on a Friday afternoon. The key is to go solo. This forces you to actually sit at the bar and interact with the people around you.
People are much more willing to have a conversation with a stranger when they’ve had a couple of drinks. This gives you an opportunity to have meaningful discussions about the city, current events, or whatever else is relevant. You’ll learn a lot from these random conversations.
Piecing it All Together
Research is an important component of running a successful small business, but you don’t have to mindlessly marinate in graphs and research studies. There’s something to be said for getting out of the office and exploring the city where your business operates. This allows you to understand people and better serve their needs. It’s also a lot more fun than sitting in a cramped office for eight or nine hours a day!
Digital marketing is a very broad term that includes website design, social media, online advertising, email advertising, SEO and more. This can be extremely confusing to the local business owner simply looking to attract more eyeballs on their site. They are typically too busy running operations to investigate which digital marketing strategies work best for their business.
In an effort to help local business owners such as restauranteurs, dentists, doctors, lawyers and any other service provider, I have put together the digital marketing strategies that all local businesses should adopt in 2017.
Your Website Is A Convertible Mustang
Just about every aspect of digital marketing is driving internet traffic to your website. This is the mother ship and you need to treat it as such. We still see too many websites that were not created with responsive design, meaning they look strange and difficult to navigate on mobile devices. We are seeing approximately 42% of all client traffic coming from mobile devices and that number is likely to increase.
Your website must look good with easy navigation on mobile devices. Visitors must be able to click on a phone number or an email address to contact you. If they have to zoom in or write down the number then you are likely to lose them to a competitor whose site is mobile optimized. The idea is to convert visitors into either a phone call, an email or a walk-in.
Additionally, Google has been tightening up its algorithm to award higher rankings to sites that are optimized for mobile visitors – and with good reason. You don’t want to be pushed to page two or three of Google’s search results. Get your site compatible for mobile devices immediately.
Implement Rich Answers On Your Website
Chances are that you have probably typed a question into Google to find out how something works. People are changing the way they use Google. No longer do people want to search for information, they prefer Google to answer their questions. Google has recognized this and introduced rich answers to its search algorithm so they can provide more accurate results.
Just about any local business – lawyer, dentist, plastic surgeon – has common questions they often get from their customers, e.g. What is a dental implant? How do you obtain a green card? What is rhinoplasty? It would be smart to implement rich answers on your website so when people are asking Google these questions, your site may appear first.
Use Social Media Wisely
We receive a lot of questions about social media. Many local businesses are confused to what social channels they should be using and how they should be posting. One of the most important rules of marketing and running a business is to know your customer base. Social media is not rocket science. Tune out the social media experts and tune in your customers. Social media can be a huge drain on your time if not used properly. Nobody is looking for a plumber on Twitter or a lawyer on Instagram. They just aren’t. Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn combine to have less than a 5% market share in social media, while Facebook has over 40%, according to Statista.
When it comes to posting on social media, understand that you are creating a voice for your business and often communicating with your most loyal customers, those that chose to follow you. Therefore, you must be careful in overloading them with specials and promotions. We always tell our clients that social media is not an advertising wall and they are not a supermarket; engage with your followers and share information that is pertinent to them.
Don’t Sleep On Email Marketing
Email marketing was kicked to the curb in favor of social media years ago, but now it’s back. For many local businesses, this is a great and cheap way to communicate with your best customers. Facebook and Instagram now show your posts to only a fraction of your followers. They want you to pay to reach more of your followers. If you have customer email addresses, you can send specials, event information and new menu items to all your customers for zero to little cost. Mailchimp allows you to use its email marketing platform for free up to 2,000 contacts.
According to MailMunch, a digital lead generation company, click through rates can be 50 to 100 times better on email than social media. This is an extremely effective and low-cost digital marketing strategy that might be right for your business.
In summary, local businesses should constantly be looking at their own website to make sure it’s easy to navigate, has fresh content and contact information works on mobile. The idea is to turn lookers into bookers. Once your site is up to snuff, you can start implementing some of the other digital marketing strategies that drive traffic to your site, like social media, email marketing and rich answers.
Having worked in the digital advertising agency field for over the past decade, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard local and regional businesses say, “I’ve been burned”, or “we tried digital marketing and it didn’t work”. It’s frustrating to hear the horror stories that some businesses have gone through. Our digital marketing and creative agency has been working with businesses, mostly in the South, the past year and building a solid and loyal client foundation around Louisiana (Shreveport, Bossier City, Lafayette, New Orleans and Baton Rouge) in 2016. The key theme for us is, do good work and always do the right thing.
Let’s take a look at why digital marketing didn’t work for these local businesses.
Most likely, the business was sold a digital marketing package by a local media company. The “digital sellers” include:
Local Newspapers
Local TV Stations
Yellow Page Companies
Pure Play National Digital Marketing Firms (some of these do have great products)
The problem with most of the digital sellers is they often have high employee turnover and don’t actually do fulfillment of digital marketing campaigns in-house, it’s often outsourced to someone so disconnected from the client that they really don’t care about the local business owner.
The markup on the majority of local digital media is extremely high. I’ve personally seen local TV Stations and Newspapers selling display advertising (banner advertising) at CPMs between $10CPMs on the low end and up to $25CPMs on the higher end. The culprits have been able to get away with this because most local business owners don’t know any better and the packages the culprits are selling are boiled down to selling buckets of impressions for X dollars.
Let’s go through three pricing scenarios. A Local TV Station or Local Newspaper Digital Sales Rep goes into a local business and asks them if they would like to select one of the following display packages:
Scenario 1 Buying Through A Local Media Company:
Package 1: 100,000 Display Impressions: $1,500 (active CPM $15)
Package 2: 200,000 Display Impressions: $3,000 (active CPM $15)
For the average local business owner, being able to have your display ad shown locally to 200,000 people for $3,000 doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal, it actually sounds pretty decent, but the devil is in the details.
When our agency runs a local display campaign for a client, we buy directly from the major ad networks and don’t have to go through a half a dozen layers of middle management and brokerage fees, then this is what the pricing package looks like with the same number of display ad impressions:
Scenario 2 – Buying Through A Local Digital Agency With No Markup:
Package 1: 100,000 Display Ad Impressions: $200 (active CPM $2)
Package 2: 200,000 Display Ad Impressions: $400 (active CPM $2)
The pricing and visibility contrast in scenario 1 and 2 are drastic. When a digital advertising agency manages client ad spends directly with the ad network(s), all of the middleman and high margin fees are removed from the equation. The active markup in the Scenario 1 is ~750% and Scenario 2 is 0%.
Scenario 3: Buying through a local digital agency with no markup and the same budgets as Scenario 1
Package 1: 750,000 Display Ad Impressions: $1,500 (active CPM $2)
Package 2: 1,500,000 Display Ad Impressions: $3,000 (active CPM $2)
Which scenario would you choose?
Most business owners want to make sure their marketing is working and won’t want to worry about the details. Local business owners want to have a true marketing partner, not just someone who is going to come in and get their advertising contract renewed. It’s challenging enough to start behind on a digital marketing campaign just because of pricing and not having clear enough business goals.
Learn more about our approach.
Read More: What questions to ask when hiring a digital agency.
Read More: Online Ad Spend to Overtake TV in 2017
Read More: Why Youtube Ads are Better Than TV Ads For Local Businesses
Seth Winterer is Chief Digital Strategy Officer at The Edge Ideas. The Edge Ideas is a Digital and Creative Advertising Agency with offices in Shreveport, Lafayette and New Orleans Louisiana.