Category Archives: Local Marketing

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The Impact of Understanding Customer Acquisition Costs and Customer Lifetime Value

The Impact of Understanding Customer Acquisition Costs and Customer Lifetime Value written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s post is from Dan Kraus – Enjoy!

Have you heard someone talk about customer acquisition cost (CAC) or customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV)? If you’re in the tech business, and especially if you work with SaaS products, you’ve definitely heard of, and can likely calculate, these values. If you’re not in the tech industry, you should learn about these numbers, as they have enormous value for businesses of every type and size.

CAC is how much you spend to acquire a customer. In the simplest of calculations, it’s the amount you spend on sales and marketing divided by the number of customers you get during the period you’re measuring.

CLV is the net value of a customer to the company–how much money a customer spends during their entire relationship with you, minus the costs of products and services they buy.

Used together, these numbers help drive your overall business strategy, including your marketing approach.

Here’s a simple example. I met with a plumbing services business that cleans out drains as their primary business. We talked about their starter offer (how they get new clients in the door), which focused heavily on emergency clog removal through their 24-hour hotline.

They historically charged $149 for an emergency cleanout. Their loaded cost to do this, including technician time, vehicle wear and tear, and materials, was about $70. They wanted to clear a net profit of 20% ($30). Backing the cost and profit allocation out, we had $49 left to cover marketing and non-allocated overhead. After talking, we determined we needed to acquire a job/customer for $35 if the emergency clog removal was all they sold–a very challenging number to achieve in a market as big and competitive as Charlotte.

So we talked about the lifetime value of a customer. Less than 10% of the customers they worked with bought any other services–on the first service call or in the future–and their additional purchases were around $200. After taking out costs, we determined that their average CLV was approximately $42. They quickly understood that they needed new business strategies if they were going to grow.

They needed to increase the lifetime value of a customer. If they did, they could afford to spend more to acquire new customers. This realization drove them back to business planning because they needed to make decisions about customer service, cross-sell and up-sell plans, marketing to previous customers, and even compensation plans for their techs.

No matter what business you’re in, you can figure out your CAC and CLV and use the numbers to support or change your strategies and tactics. If you’re in professional services, use the numbers to understand if you need to focus on getting more repeat business or acquiring new customers. If you sell products in a brick-and-mortar store, the numbers will help you plan your promotional budget and adjust your product mix. If you’re a local services business–plumbing, car repair, landscaping, etc.–you can use your CAC and CLV values to determine how much you should spend on marketing to new customers versus providing better service to current clients.

John makes the point in this blog post that CLV is unlimited if you have delighted customers because they refer you, and those referrals have no CAC. If those referrals then refer you again, you end up in a virtuous cycle. I couldn’t agree more, but you have to start that cycle somewhere, and that somewhere is understanding where you are now so you can be smarter about where you invest going forward.

So, break out the spreadsheet and get some help from your bookkeeper, accountant, or financial advisor to figure out a basic cost of customer acquisition and customer lifetime value.

Those numbers will help you answer critical questions like:

  • How much should I budget for marketing based on the goals I have for gaining new customers this period?
  • How much should I be investing in customer delight, customer experience, and customer support?
  • Where should I focus my sales team and how should I structure their compensation plans for the results I want?
  • Which products or services should I concentrate on to get the customers I want to work with, and who are also profitable for our company?

Want to learn more? Try these other resources:

The Cost of Customer Acquisition: How Much Can You Spend to Earn New Business?

The Ultimate Guide to Calculating, Understanding, and Improving CAC in 2018

How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value

Dan Kraus

Dan Kraus is the founder and president of Leading Results, a marketing consulting agency based in Concord, North Carolina. Through his firm, Kraus helps business owners develop a marketing strategy that empowers them to be self-sufficient and ensures their long-term success. Find him on TwitterLinkedIn, or on his blog.

Local SEO for Lead Generation

Local SEO for Lead Generation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Justin Sturges
Podcast Transcript

Justin Sturges

SEO tools and strategies are constantly changing. All the while, it’s never been more important that you get found online when people go out there searching – particularly if you’re a local business.

Your website is the foundation for how you get ranked and found locally. It’s important to have a well put together website with unique content that is tailored specifically to the search results you want to show up in.

It is very difficult to rank for your most desired keyword phrases without great content.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Justin Sturges. He is a local SEO, website building & lead generation expert, Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant, and co-author of the award-winning book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation. We discuss SEO, website design and the keys to getting your business to rank.

Being immersed daily in SEO, Sturges knows what works (and doesn’t work) to help small businesses rank locally.

Questions I ask Justin:

  • What are common SEO mistakes that businesses often make?
  • What role do reviews play in your ranking factor?
  • What are some good resources for local SEO?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The driving factors in organic placement
  • Key aggregators often missed in citations
  • How using the right extensions can increase your click-throughs

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Justin Sturges:

Interested in joining Justin as a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant? Find out more about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and attend a Discovery Call here.

Your Guide to – the NEW – Google Search Console

Your Guide to – the NEW – Google Search Console written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The video above is a replay of a recent live webinar I conducted. Combined with the text below you should have a pretty good feel for how to use the new Google Search Console.

There is a tremendous amount of interest in Google tools, especially for small business owners because these are important tools and they change a lot, making them difficult to stay on top of.

One of the tools that deserve a lot of attention these days is Google Search Console, so I thought I’d cover some of the basics here to help get you started.

Google’s Small Business Universe

Google Small Business

Before I dive into Google Search Console, I want you to be aware of the other essential tools Google offers to small businesses:

Google My Business: This tool is especially important for local businesses. Google seems to be putting a lot of energy into making improvements in this space, which, to me, is a sign that this tool isn’t going away. If you’re a local business and haven’t gotten started with this yet, I suggest you begin here.

Google AnalyticsThis is a free tool that allows businesses to understand their traffic and other relevant data.

Google Search ConsolePartnering Google Analytics with the Google Search Console is how you get the most complete picture of what’s going on in terms of people finding your website, clicking on search results, and so on.

Google AdWords: For a lot of small business owners, paid search is the way they generate leads and customers.

These elements all have the ability to be integrated with one another and you should take advantage of this to get a full picture.

A tour of Google Search Console

If you’re relatively familiar with Google tools, you may remember Webmaster Tools. Google Search Console has replaced that (in fact, if you type in “Webmaster Tools,” you’ll get directed to Google Search Console).

In addition, there is also now a new version of Google Search Console but you can still get access to the older version. You’ll find that you’ll jump back and forth between new and old because there are elements in each that are better than the other version.

Dashboard: Old Version

previous search console

In my opinion, the dashboard serves as the landing place when you log in but it doesn’t really provide any valuable or actionable information. The menu on the left side of the page is where you want to focus your time.

Messages: If you have any messages, this is the area where Google will let you know. In my opinion, this is reason enough to have a Google Search Console account. If there is something wrong with your website (including it being hacked), Google will let you know here.

Search Appearance: The sections under Search Appearance include Structured Data, Rich Cards, Data Highlighter, HTML Improvements, and Accelerated Mobile Pages. I personally love HTML Improvements because it will show you the pages Google looks at that let you know if you have duplicate or missing title tags, or that the tags are too long or too short, and so on. It shows you actionable steps you can take to improve your site pages.

Search Traffic: Within this category, there is a tool called Search Analytics that will show you just that, metrics that give you insight into how your site’s performing with traffic, including clicks, impressions, and CTR. It will also give you keyword rankings for terms you’re going for. It’ll essentially show you what’s sending traffic to your site. I look here for opportunities of where to start for places I could rank.

Search Traffic also includes an area called Manual Actions where Google will show you why they may be penalizing your site for various reasons and how you can take action to fix them. Mobile Usability under the same section will show you what’s wrong with your site from a mobile standpoint.

Google Index: This is where you can see what pages Google has indexed (as the name implies).

Crawl: Here, you can see how Google actually sees your pages. This becomes important when you’re trying to see why pages aren’t ranking. This can also show you 404 pages that need to be cleaned up.

Dashboard: New Version

updated google search console

As you can see, there aren’t nearly as many tabs on the left-hand side in this version. It only includes Performance and Index Coverage. They’re useful, but as I mentioned, this tool really becomes useful when you dive deeper, which is why it’s important to jump back and forth between each of the versions.

The Performance Report in the new version, however, has a lot more information than the previous version and I believe it’s the best feature of the new one. You have the ability to look at the past 16 months of data, which can be very useful when identifying trends and patterns.

How to set up Google Search Console

Claim and verify

search console verification

You need to verify you are the owner. Not anybody can just set up an account for any site. You need to go through the process to claim you are the owner or have access to the site.

I usually click on Alternate Methods (see image to the right) and select Google Analytics because this seems to be the easiest way to verify if your analytics account is already set up.

Add sitemap (use Yoast SEO plugin)

This gives Google the opportunity to be able to index the pages on your site. If you use WordPress, the Yoast plugin will automatically produce a sitemap for you and gives you a link to submit to Google (there are other tools that do this as well but I tend to go with this one).

Once you have the link, go to Crawl in the old version of Google Search Console and click Sitemaps, which is where you’ll be able to submit it. You may not see the information populated immediately but it will happen over time.

Check messages

Once your account is set up, go look at your messages immediately. It may take a few days for messages to show up, but you’ll want to see them as soon as they do.

Integrate with Google Analytics

This will allow you to see search term performance data within Google Analytics which isn’t there by default.

Wait a few days!

It may take a bit for information and recommendations to populate, so be patient!

Google Search Console performance

Analyzing the performance of your website is one of my favorite components of the Google Search Console.

Find keyword search rankings

You can see actual search terms people are using to find the pages that they land on on your site. Google Search Console is the only place you can get this information.

Compare performance over time (16 months)

As mentioned this is a great way to see trends, but it’s also a great way to see improvement for your business or your client’s business.

Check out click-through rate (CTR)

This ranking factor isn’t talked about very much, but it’s important. Understanding your CTR and ways to improve it can help you get an extra SEO boost. CTR is where I often spot opportunities for ranking and conversion. On page one, aim for at least 5% CTR. You can view CTRs under the Performance tab on the updated version of Google Search Console.

Looking at a combination of search terms, impressions, CTR, and position on Google can help you identify areas of opportunity to rank and convert. To make a CTR better for any given page, look at the metadata, including title and description, for the page.

While the description isn’t technically a ranking factor, it is an ad for the page. See how you can improve it to make the page more enticing. Additionally, see how you can improve the content and on-page elements of that page to make it more clickable. Consider adding internal links to the page as well to increase dwell time which can also help to boost CTR and rank.

To see what search terms are bringing traffic on individual pages, look at Pages within the performance report, click on the page, and then click on Queries to see what search terms are for that page specifically instead of the site as a whole. Whichever term is bringing in the best results, that’s the one you should consider optimizing the page for moving forward.

The Performance report is really where the new version of Google Search Console shines.

Getting more internal and external links

Did you know your internal linking structure is a ranking factor? So, if you have a page that’s ranking, and performing well, but isn’t quite in the top three spots on Google, linking to it from other pages of your website could give you that extra boost to move you into those desired spots.

In the older version of Google Search Console, click Internal Links to gain valuable information as it relates to this ranking factor. You can see how many pages are driving to a particular link and see what areas could use a boost.

If you click on Links to Your Site in the menu, it will show you sites that are linking to your pages from external sites (another ranking factor). This tool will give you insight into areas of opportunity to get additional backlinks to your site.

The pages that already have a lot of backlinks are what I like to refer to as Power Pages because they have a lot of authority. I’ll often try to use those pages to link to other pages of the site that I’m working on to increase rank.


When I’m in the Performance Report, I want to look at pages that are doing well but are underperforming. For example, ask yourself how you can get your results on page two to rank on page one (these are the low-hanging fruit).

I also like to understand what keywords are driving to a page before I make any adjustments.

In addition, taking a look at mobile vs. desktop performance can be very beneficial. If you have a site where mobile traffic is extremely valuable, but CTR on a mobile device is lower than the desktop version, brainstorm ways to optimize for the mobile version.

While many areas of Google Search Console may seem technical, as you can see, there are other areas that can be extremely helpful without going to deep into the technical side of things if you spend some time playing with the tool.

Dive into the Google Search Console monthly and you’ll start to find information that could help drive your marketing efforts moving forward.

Head swimming with all this?

How would you like us to set your Google Search Console up for you?

Check out our Total Online Presence Audit service where we’ll review your website, content, SEO, reputation, competitive landscape and Google Analytics and Google Search Console – oh, and we’ll also give you a rundown of your highest priority fixes and opportunities – how’s that for getting some peace of mind? – Check out the Audit here.

How to Help Your Local Business Get Found Online

How to Help Your Local Business Get Found Online written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Mike Blumenthal
Podcast Transcript

People say a lot of things about SEO – it’s dead, it’s all tricks, it’s too hard.

Here’s the thing – SEO, including and maybe especially local SEO, is certainly not dead – it’s more alive, necessary and vibrant than ever.

It has shifted to become more of an integrated, foundational and strategic part of the overall marketing pie, but take it lightly or dismiss it and you’ll find yourself needing to pay dearly just to survive.

Here’s the tough part of about local SEO – Google pretty much sets the rules, keeps score, and owns the game, so they will continue to see how they can use local search rankings to make money – there is no getting around this fact, but savvy marketers are still finding gold by applying the techniques that allow them to show up in local and organic listings as the game is played today.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Mike Blumenthal, the undisputed king of local SEO. Blumenthal is the owner of Blumenthals, one of the founders of Local U, as well as GetFiveStars, a review service that helps local businesses. He and I discuss the ever-changing world of local SEO and how you can keep up.

Blumenthal’s goal is to help local business do better and be better through feedback and reviews. He specializes in developing and assessing feedback and review strategies for location-based businesses, local search consulting, Google Maps, and local search optimization.

Questions I ask Mike Blumenthal:

  • What is the intention behind Google My Business?
  • What are the most important local ranking factors?
  • What will the Google 3-pack look like in 6-12 months from now?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why there is confusion around Google local business listings
  • Why local PR is important
  • Why the words used in Google reviews are important for your ranking

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Mike Blumenthal:

Need more local marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Local Marketing.

Tips for Attracting Local Clients

Tips for Attracting Local Clients written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with David Mihm
Podcast Transcript

Perhaps the hottest area in the world of search today is local. I’ve been writing about this topic for about ten years, but Google is finally taking it seriously.

The reason? Plain old AdWords search revenue is starting to shrink and Google is looking to monetize the map and local listings as the next frontier. In fact, they never actually want you to leave the SERPs and are using your website to inform their results with knowledge rather than send traffic.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is David Mihm. He is a digital marketing expert for small businesses, co-founder of, and founder of Tidings. He and I discuss local search trends and why Google may not ever want you to leave the search engine results pages.

Mihm was instrumental in the development of Moz Local and served as Moz’s Director of Local Search Strategy. He has been invited to present on Local search marketing at every major industry conference, including the BIA/Kelsey Group ILM Series, LSA, StreetFight, MozCon, SearchLove, and multiple SMX and SES events.

Questions I ask David Mihm:

  • What’s going on in local right now that people need to know?
  • Should we optimize for Google’s 3-pack?
  • Are we coming to an age where fewer people will land on websites directly?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What you need to know about snippets
  • Why everyone needs a VPN
  • What you need to know about the trend of blending organic and paid search

Key takeaways from the episode and more about David Mihm:

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This week’s episode is also brought to you by ActiveCampaign. This is my new go-to CRM, ESP, and marketing automation platform. With its low cost, any size of business can use it. Starting at $19/month, you can keep track of your clients, see who’s visiting your website, and follow-up based on behavior. Learn more here.

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Why Local SEO is an Important Lead Generation Channel

Why Local SEO is an Important Lead Generation Channel written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Justin Sturges
Podcast Transcript

Justin Sturges

SEO tools and strategies are constantly changing. All the while, it’s never been more important that you get found online when people go out there searching – particularly if you’re a local business.

Your website is the foundation for how you get ranked and found locally. It’s important to have a well put together website with unique content that is tailored specifically to the search results you want to show up in.

It is very difficult to rank for your most desired keyword phrases without great content.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Justin Sturges. He is a local SEO, website building & lead generation expert, Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant, and co-author of the award-winning book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation. We discuss SEO, website design and the keys to getting your business to rank.

Being immersed daily in SEO, Sturges knows what works (and doesn’t work) to help small businesses rank locally.

Questions I ask Justin:

  • What are common SEO mistakes that businesses often make?
  • What role do reviews play in your ranking factor?
  • What are some good resources for local SEO?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The driving factors in organic placement
  • Key aggregators often missed in citations
  • How using the right extensions can increase your click-throughs

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Justin Sturges:

Interested in joining Justin as a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant? Find out more about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and attend a Discovery Call here.

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8 Ways Local Businesses Can Get Started with Link Building

8 Ways Local Businesses Can Get Started with Link Building written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

I work with clients and consultants all over the world, and a common theme I see is that many local businesses don’t know where to get started when it comes to local search, and with that, comes not understanding the importance of link building and how to get started.

Link building has been, and remains to be, an important factor for local search traffic, and it’s not nearly as intimidating to get done as it may seem (takes effort, yes, but intimidating, no).

There are many “SEO professionals” that charge money to do a lot of “evil things” in the eyes of Google to generate links because they’re so important. Don’t do this and don’t hire anybody who does. Google will recognize if you’re being shady and will penalize you in search engine results pages for it.

Instead, consider getting started with link building through the 8 methods below.

1. Conduct keyword research

I use keyword research across various aspects of my marketing, but for link building specifically, I use it to help me understand my audience’s intent when they go out looking for something that I could help them with. It gives me an understanding of what their problems and challenges are and often provides actual questions that they are typing into search engines.

From there, I can come up with shareable content ideas (more on this later) that I should produce as well as the platforms and businesses I should be interacting with to get in front of my audience. This, in turn, increases the number of links driving back to my site.

2. Focus on creating high-quality content

Content is air. Your marketing simply won’t survive without it, and link building is no different. People link to things worth sharing, so if you want to get a lot of shares, you need to create useful content that is valuable to your audience.

This content needs to be educational and informative for your audience and should establish thought leadership. Feel free to be creative with this content, it doesn’t just need to be your standard blog posts, ebooks, or white papers (although those can also be useful). Other ideas include:

Consider adding a local focus to some of the content you create to really capture your chances of backlinks from other local businesses.

While creating content is a necessity, you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Consider repurposing content you already have. You can also take a look at your competitors’ content that’s performing well and think of ways to make it better.

In addition to improving existing content, consider sharing content with your audience that was created by others. By doing this, you’ll increase your odds of them sharing your content naturally.

Lastly, creating the content alone isn’t usually enough to generate links back to your site. You must promote the content in channels where your audience hangs out. Find out what social media channels they’re on, what forums they visit, etc.

3. Be a guest

Guest posting is still a great link building tool, but it should be done by networking, not spamming. If when writing a guest post, your only intent for writing it is to get links directing back to your site, then you’re probably not going to get much value out of it.

Additionally, consider becoming a guest on a podcast. I have found tremendous value from this in regards to link building, and believe in it so much, that I actually joined up with one of my Duct Tape Marketing Consultants, Phil Singleton, to create Podcast Bookers to help people book guest spots on podcasts because there are so many benefits from doing it, including acquiring links back to your site.

4. Leverage strategic and local partnerships

Forming partnerships with local businesses and organizations can be a great opportunity to get backlinks from their websites. These should be local strategic partners that you can refer your customers to when they are in need of something you don’t provide. A great way to supplement this activity is to make sure that you and your local partners are linking to and sharing each other’s content.

If you’ve produced a great piece of content, let them share it with their networks as well, and vice versa. Additionally, consider writing testimonials for your partners and don’t forget to include a link back to your site in the review.

5. Get involved in your community

Consider sponsoring local events in your community to help you get links from the event’s sponsorship page as this can be extremely effective for local SEO. Most of these local organizations have a website and get news coverage leading to higher authority local websites.

In addition to sponsoring events, you can host your own as well and generate links through promotional press releases, social media posts, partner newsletters, and so on.

6. Network

Link building today is very similar to how you would do effective networking. My best advice for getting links is by meeting real people and promoting their content. When you employee effective networking techniques, both online and off, you’ll start to see real link building results.

7. Get added to local citations and directories

If you haven’t already done this, make sure your website is listed in local citations and directories.

Getting your business on Google My Business, Yelp, and local sites like your chamber of commerce or alumni directories, is extremely important in getting backlinks to your site. Just make sure that your name, address, and phone number are consistent across the board to avoid confusion. Use a tool like MozLocal or Yext to get started in the right direction.

8. Pay attention to your competition

It’s a well-established SEO practice to go after the links that might be helping your competition rank in search engine results pages.

Conduct a few searches on the keyword phrases and terms (from your keyword research) that are important to your business. Once you find a handful of competitors, use a tool, like Ahrefs, to get a list of sites linking back to your competition. Use this to see if you can figure out an angle to get a link of your own.

There’s no way around it, link building does take time and effort, but done correctly, the hours put into it will be well worth it.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our Ultimate Local Marketing Guide.

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Why Link Building is the New Networking

Why Link Building is the New Networking written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Link Building

Despite what you may have heard, link building is not some technical SEO-type of under-the-hood tactic. It is the new networking, and no matter what Google does to try to devalue backlinks, they remain an important factor in terms of your site showing up when people search for the things that you want them to find you for online.

The Game Has Changed

Certainly, the game has changed. There are a lot of SEO folks that charge a lot of money and do a lot of “evil things” in the eyes of Google to generate links because they’re so important.

Here’s what you need to remember: People link to things worth sharing. It really is that simple. It’s not some black hat SEO practice or way to trick people into linking to you. You’ve got to work at this.

You’ve got to create something that people want to link to. That’s why I say it’s the new networking because people want to share great content. They want to share it with their audiences, networks, and visitors.

If you give them something to share and target the right people for links, you’re going to acquire the links that you’re going to need to rank, or at least outrank, your competition.

Keep an eye on your competition

The first tactic that I want to talk about in terms of link building is to keep your competitors close. To find the best resources for where you might find great links or people that might want to link back to your content, search and review your competitors, and find out who’s out-ranking you.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the person in your town that you go head-to-head with as a competitor. This is anybody who is out-ranking you for the search terms that you want to rank for whether that’s locally or nationally.

Find those people. Do some searches on some of the things that are important terms to you and you’re going to find a handful of competitors or other high authority sites that rank already and that have links.

How do you find those links? I use tools like SpyFu and Ahrefs. What these tools do is allow you to go to any website or any URL and see who is linked to this site, who is sending traffic to this site, and who is linking to their content.

I like to look at the last 30 days because you want to look at recent activity. It might not be that relevant if somebody linked four or five years ago. Look at the recent activity and start finding the content they link to and then start thinking about how you could make a pitch to this website or influencer in a way that would make them want to link to you.

For example, if you see that a particular site links to a lot of guest posts or writes guest posts, think about pitching them on a similar idea. Take an article from a competitor that has written something and really expand on it and make it better. Introduce them to somebody in your network that might be a good contact.

There are tremendous relationship-building tactics that you can do once you start identifying some of these sites that link to competitors. In many cases, they’ll be very motivated to link to you if you’re producing good, relevant content.

Get added to roundups

I don’t see a lot of people doing this, but this is one that I think can be quite easy and quite effective as a way to both get links and also get people sending traffic to your content. About once a week, I get a request from a content marketer who is working on something called a roundup-style blog post.

What they do is they’ll go out and they’ll try to round up a bunch of experts, tools or resources and create a post, because as it turns out, people love roundup posts. They’re like list posts but with more detail and a little more depth. The search engines like them better as well.

They can also draw a lot of shares and links which are two of the main reasons that I think people produce these roundup posts. Let’s say a post features 20 or 30 experts. The hope is that each of these experts is going to spread the word.

It’s a great link building strategy to find sites that routinely assemble these roundup posts, particularly if it’s in your niche or industry. Network to have them quote you, link to a post that you have or include you in their next roundup article.

To find these roundup posts, just turn to Google. If you were trying to find people that do roundup posts, say for link-building, you would just type in Title, Column, Roundup+link building, and you would find a bunch of roundup-type of posts or a list of sites that run roundup posts.

Once you find a suitable list, you’ll want to spend time networking. Don’t just simply reach out and say: “Hey, include me in your next post.” Follow them for a couple of weeks. Read up on them, comment on them and share them.

Do all the things that equate to networking as it’s an effective way for you to start getting noticed and start building strategies. I’m much more likely to link back to a person, pay attention to what it is they’re doing, or in some cases, think about including them in something that I’m doing or sharing a link to some of the content that they’ve written if they’ve shown prior engagement.

Network with local businesses

This is one of my favorites because it’s just solid business content relationship-building and referral building, and it covers so many areas. It’s particularly effective for local businesses and new business owners that are trying to find people in their community.

One of the things you’ll want to do as a business development and business-building strategy is to start networking with local businesses, particularly those that could be potential strategic partners.

Think about also building an online platform with them. If there’s somebody you work with, buy from, or network with that’s local, think about ways that you could link to and from each other.

Let’s say you’ve produced a great ebook. Think about all the strategic partners that you might be able to share that with and let them co-brand it and send it out to their entire network. Think about writing testimonials for each other.

Think about that business that you love and do business with, and write an unsolicited testimonial which becomes great content. They’ll want to put that on their website and in many cases, they’ll give you a link back. If you expand that whole tactic, there’s no reason you couldn’t be doing eight, ten, or twelve of those a month to start drawing links back to your site.

Don’t forget the organizations you belong to either, including:

  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • Your local chapter of your business organization.
  • BNI groups
  • Charitable foundations
  • Alumni chapters

All of these are great ways for you to get links back to your site. One of the benefits of being able to support charities in your community is that in many cases they will create sponsor pages. Those will automatically generate high-quality links back to your site.

Don’t Forget Local Print and Offline Options

Many print publications have online press release portals for local news. Find these sites and learn how to submit press releases to them. Do this every month and you’ll soon start to see some nice links coming from highly relevant, local sites.

There’s no question that link-building has become a hand-to-hand combat of sorts. But again, it is very much like effective networking, if you think a little bit outside the box with some of these tactics. People aren’t just going to shower you with links because you buy them or because you sign up and list your article in a directory. Those days are over.

Today, Google wants to see what feel and look to them like handcrafted, organic links between businesses that support each other through content producers that are writing and producing great content.

Use these three strategies to really ‘up’ your backlink quotient.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our Ultimate Local Marketing Guide.


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How to Create Local Content for Local SEO

How to Create Local Content for Local SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Pre-internet days, it didn’t take a lot for local businesses to notify a prospect that they are located in the same city. Handing them a flyer with business details and an address was pretty much a giveaway as to where you did business. Running an ad in the local daily newspaper or the Yellow Pages was how you got found in your town.

Times have changed. Search engines are one of the primary ways that people find nearby products and services. In this digital era, it’s not always so obvious where your business is located or who it is that you serve, and this can be a real challenge for local business owners.

While there is a growing list of local SEO tactics that you must implement, one that often goes unnoticed is the use of local content. You must genuinely put in the time and effort to create local content to alert website visitors where you are so that you hit your ideal clients in town, not somebody located across the world.

The problem I often see is that many local business owners either aren’t aware of how much effort goes into making content to make their business known locally online, or they’re aware, but just don’t know where to get started. So, instead of playing the guessing game, below are some helpful hints that could help to point you in the right direction.

Creating local content

I’ve said it often, and I guarantee I’ll continue to say it. . . Content is no longer king – It’s air.

Yes, it’s that important for your marketing. Without it, the ability to get discovered and rise above your competition in search engine results pages becomes significantly harder.

While the majority of your content can be general and focused on your audience and how you can solve their problems, it’s important to sprinkle in some material that also focuses on your community. When doing this, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Embrace the community beyond what you sell – Show that you are involved and know what’s going on in your area, whether it’s supporting a local sports team or discussing neighborhood news and events. Talking about community, customer, and employee-related local news is a great way to mix up your local content in authentic ways.
  • Develop case studies that address the different neighborhoods you serve. Show that you’ve had successes in the areas of people you’re trying to reach.
  • Write about local things that people care about – Don’t just write about what you’re interested in. Write what your audience would be interested in.

One important thing to keep in mind throughout your content development is intent. What do you intend to accomplish with every piece of content your produce? It’s easy to get spammy if you just list a bunch of random local content, so tying it into your business is ideal. Remember, if you want to use content as a tool to drive local traffic then you have to make it useful and local.

A good example of a piece of local content done well was by my client, Jackson Tree Service. They wrote a blog post titled, St. Louis Suburbs Giving Citations for Unkept TreesThis post was educational and helpful for members of the community, but it also tied into their business effortlessly.

Now, you don’t necessarily need to develop all the content on your own. Having local guest bloggers and contributors post on your site is a great way to add content, while also expanding your audience to the contributor’s audience as well.

In addition to blogging, don’t forget to incorporate local content across the rest of your website:

  • Use the names of your city and suburbs across your site pages.
  • Add your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to the header or footer of your site so that it appears on all pages.
  • Add a Google map so that people can see exactly where you’re located and the areas that you serve.

More than ever, your website is at the core of how you get ranked and found locally online. Make sure that your content is tailored specifically to the search results you want to show up in.

Best practices for local content

Link building and keywords

Keyword research is a huge game changer when it comes to local SEO. Be sure to add local keywords to the text used to link back to your site from places like LinkedIn or in article directories. Be sure to also add local keywords in the internal links on your pages as well.

Link building from external sites has changed over the years, and it’s now much more about quality than quantity. Getting inbound links from core businesses in your community, such as chamber directories, tourism directories, and local strategic partner pages, can be huge and a big win for your business.

On-page elements

Be sure to optimize your pages and posts with local keywords in the following areas:

  • Title tags
  • Meta description
  • Body copy
  • Anchor text (linking to other content)
  • H1 tags (Usually your headline)
  • Bold and italics tags
  • URLs
  • Alt text in images

Use rich snippets

By using rich snippets, you can help Google find geographic information, information about people in your business and reviews of your products and services. They essentially help users find your website when it references a local place.

Don’t forget about reviews

Reviews are a form of content that many local business owners neglect. While you need positive reviews for social proof, you also need them as a pillar of your local SEO efforts.

You must put consistent effort into getting reviews. Even a business with raving fans needs to work hard to get reviews from happy customers. The key is to ask often and make it as easy as possible for happy customers to log in to the sites that matter, such as Yelp and Google, and leave a review.

You can repurpose these reviews into other forms of local content on your site as well.

Make creating local content a priority. By continuously putting time towards it and striving to make it better, you should start to see the rewards come in.

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How to Use Google AdWords for Local Businesses

How to Use Google AdWords for Local Businesses written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Google AdWords

Today I’m going to address Google AdWords for local businesses. This is going to be pretty prescriptive. I’m not going to try to teach you everything there is to know about AdWords today. I’m going to outline what I think is the best approach for small local businesses, who are probably on a small, local business budget.

Why AdWords?

First things first: Why Google AdWords? Well, the thing about AdWords is that when somebody turns to Google and types in, “I’m looking for X in my town,” the buying intent is very, very high. Showing up on Google Maps or a mobile device when somebody has very high purchase intent can lead to a lot of new business.

It’s also a great place for you to balance out your SEO efforts. I’m a big proponent of showing up in search engine results pages because you’ve written great content that is very useful for that thing that people are searching for, but in competitive markets, that’s going to take some time. By filling in your SEO efforts with keyword phrases that you know you’re trying to win, that you know have high-intent or commercial intent, with Google AdWords is a great way for you to ‘stack the deck.

It’s also a great way to claim more of the page one real estate. You could show up maybe in the ad; you could show up hopefully in the three pack at some point, or even show up on page one. You overwhelm the page, if you will, by doing this, so it is a great way for you to make sure you are capturing the phrases that you know turn into business.

Do your homework

So, how do you get started with it? Do some research first instead of just going out there and saying, “Well, here’s my product, here’s what I think people search for, I’m going to bid for those terms.” That might lead to some business, but it might also lead to you wasting a lot of money.

So the first place to look is the competition. Now, that’s not always the person that you compete with across the street or across town that you know of. In a lot of cases, what we’re talking about is the people that are already bidding for the key search terms that you want, that maybe are already collecting business because they are in the number one, two, or three spots on Google for the right search terms.

You’ll want to figure out who they are. Click through to where they’re sending people. What does the ad say? What’s the call to action? When you get there, what are they doing to help convert you to a client? Some businesses are an immediate sale, like a plumber. If your pipe breaks, you’re looking to hire a plumber right now. Or let’s say you lose your keys, you’re looking to hire a locksmith right now.

Now, there are other businesses, let’s say a remodeling contractor, where remodeling isn’t something that you’ll do tonight, it’s going to be something that you might do over the next couple months. It takes time. So your strategy for AdWords will heavily depend on your industry.


Looking at who is already bidding for those terms is a great place to start. Now, if you want to dig in, you can see a lot from what Google shows you, but you can also use a tool like SpyFu, that will not only tell you what people are bidding but also how much they’re spending and how many clicks they’re getting.

You can get a real sense of how committed they are to pay per click. In some cases, you’ll find people that are very big SEO competitors and very big pay per click competitors as well, so they’re playing both sides. You’ll also find people who aren’t showing up for organic searches that are very heavily invested in pay per click because in some ways that’s their only option.

So, do your homework first. Find out who’s doing what in your community, find out what they’re doing that is converting or at least attempting to convert people regarding landing pages and such.

Invest time into keyword research

Step number two is to do your keyword research. Now, I talk a lot about keyword research for content and organic search results, but it is extremely important to know what people are searching for when they go out there to find a product or a service that you offer. Again, there are some free tools for this.

The first one Google offers us. So if you have a Google AdWords account, you will find in there, under the tools section, something called the Google Keyword Planner. This is a tool that allows you to play around and put in search terms and then discovers related search terms. Discover how much you might have to bid for that search term to discover the volume of searches related to those search terms.

This is a great way for you to put together your keyword list and to start pruning down and finding what might be the most potent keywords for your product or service. To some degree you probably know what those are, you probably have an idea of what people are looking for, but this tool helps you expand that list and the variations and ways in which people do all of those searches. (Here’s a list of some alternative Keyword Tool options)

Then, you want to start looking at things like related searches. So you even turn to Google, and they will show you searches related to your searches. What you’re trying to do is find keyword phrases that have the most potential to turn into clients. Pay attention to what Google tells you the bid is for those, because in some cases the higher that they’re suggesting you’re going to have to bid, the higher the commercial intent might be. In other words, maybe other people in your industry are ignoring some terms because they don’t ever turn into clients and they’re bidding up other terms because those are the ones that turn into buyers and to clients.

There are some other tools you can employ to round out your search. I love one called Answer the Public to find out what questions people are asking for.

It’s very tempting in your keyword research to think, “Oh, here’s the three or four phrases that get the most, they get all the volume.” It can be tempting to try to win those, but there’s an excellent chance that they’re going to be much more competitive. Maybe they’ll be a little broad. For example, if somebody’s searching for ‘marketing consultant,’ there’ll be a lot of volume in that term, but do I know if they’re looking to hire a marketing consultant, to be one, to know what it takes from a training standpoint? It’s hard for me to know what their intent is from that search.

Look for some searches that are very specific say questions. There may not be much volume in that, but they make it easy to tell what somebody’s after. Part of the game in AdWords is to get your ads as relevant and close to the search that somebody is making. So what that requires is a little extra effort, having small ad groups, having very relevant ad copy, and then doing it over and over again in many types of search phrases. You’re looking to fill out 20 or 30 terms, but you might put those into small groups of four or five keywords that would be very specific to an ad. The closer your ad is to the search, the better off you’re going to be. (Here’s a lesson on keyword research)

UnGoogle Your Campaigns

Now let me go into an area where hopefully nobody from Google is reading because I’m going to tell you how to un-Google your default account. There are a few things that Google has set up to guarantee that you will have to spend more money than you need to, and pretty much stack the deck in their favor.

There are a couple of things when you’re getting into there. The first one is campaign type. There are several places that you can show your ads. You can show display ads on their display network, or you can show them in their search network only. For the most part, you’ll want to start with a search network only. Make sure that is the only box that is clicked in your campaign type because otherwise, you’ll get a bunch of junk.

The next one is match type. As you’re setting up your keyword phrases, there are ways for you to tell Google exactly what type of match you want to make. The match types show your ads to more people, being very broad in their approach, to being very exact. You have the ability to dial that in, and for the most part you want to be more on the precise, relevant side than the broad side, because people type a lot of weird things in when they’re searching, and you don’t want to get caught up in a whole bunch of clicks that have nothing to do with your actual product. So the default type is what is called the “broad match.” That is the default match type that if you just put a keyword in there, it’s going to get you things that are not related.

AdWords match types

The graph above goes down the different match types so that you can get more precise with your match types and you can tell Google that if you sell marketing services like I do, that you want somebody who is searching only for buying marketing services.

If they’re searching for ‘how to learn how to do marketing services, they would not show my ad. Or worse; ‘free marketing services.’ I don’t want anybody that wants free marketing services! So I can dial down my match types so that Google won’t show my ad, even though it had the term ‘marketing services’ in there because it had ‘negative keywords.’

Take a look at the match types. Study it, and remember, for the most part, you want to be closer to modified or exact match. So, broad modified, or exact match, are the ones that you’re looking for. Phrase match is another one that’s kinda in between those two, but never leave it just at broad, or you’ll get a lot of junk.

Optimizing your campaigns

Let’s get into optimizing your campaigns. If you are a local business you want to make sure that you’re very dialed in on the location of your ads. If you serve a full suburban area, you might just want to set a radius. But if there are certain zip codes that you serve, certain zip codes that you know your clients don’t come from, you have a very granular level of setting for location. So you want to make sure that you are setting it up correctly. Location comes back to optimizing our campaigns in our ad groups too.

I already mentioned the idea of ‘negative keywords’ in the match types. You want to make sure that you are building a list if you don’t want your ads to show for those. One of the things that you want to make sure that you’re doing is check your search terms tab. As you roll out your campaign, you’re going to find that there are negative keywords that you never thought of. You’re getting some clicks from things that are not related to what you want. So you can adjust that, and you should certainly adjust that as you optimize and continue to look at your campaigns.

And this is a point where I probably should throw in; this is not a ‘set it and forget it’ type of thing. You constantly want to be monitoring and figuring out what words are converting, what search terms are converting, because in the end that’s all you care about. My experience is that no matter how well we plan out and strategize, there’s always going to be probably 30-40% of your search terms of your ads that just don’t produce the results that you want. You want to make sure that you are monitoring those in a way to cut the losers and maybe double down on the winners.

AdWords ad copy

Now let’s move to ad copy and the things that you can do to make your ads very, very compelling. One of the challenges with Google AdWords, of course, is that you don’t have a lot of real estate. Your headline is 30 characters, and then you get 80 characters in two description lines after that, and then a URL. And that’s pretty much it.

You’ve got to grab people’s attention very quickly, so if you’re in one of those businesses where somebody’s intent is very high, they’re going to want to know, ‘how much is this going to cost me? Can I trust these people? When will they get here?’ Those are the kinds of things that you can cram into your ads to get as much information communicated as possible.

Don’t forget the URL. One of the tricky things in the URL is that you get to put a display URL and then you get to put an actual URL. The actual URL is where people go when they click on your ad, but the display URL can be just about anything as long as it’s on your domain. That’s a place where you can put some extra keywords in there or maybe some extra branding in that URL. So don’t forget to do that.

Test, test, test – no matter how good I think I get at any of this, I don’t always know what’s going to be the best ad.

Do your best attempt to write three really great, compelling ads that you think are going to make people want to click. When you run them, Google will rotate them through for you, and they’ll show you the ones that are getting clicked on. Google wants lots of clicks, so they want you to run the most compelling ad.

They are going to, actually within a few days in some cases, be telling you, “Hey, here’s the ad that you should be running.” If you just let it run, they will ultimately default to the ad that is getting the most clicks, because, again, they want to get paid. What we do with a lot of people is say, “Start with three, test them, but you can always come back, and once you have that winner, there’s nothing to stop you from trying to beat that winner.”

Understanding extensions

Extensions are another topic around optimization. If you enable them, and you should enable as many extensions as you possibly can (there’s a process for doing that in AdWords), Google will make a determination about which of those extensions they show in your ads, dependent partly on the type of search and the proximity of the search and a number of variables. What it ultimately does is it gives you more real estate. It makes your ad look bigger and more prominent. If you’re in a competition, essentially, with two or three, in some cases, other ads, say at the top of the page or even in mobile search, your ad, hopefully, is going to stand out a little bit because you’ve added those extensions to it.

adwords extensions

Now, if you’re in one of those businesses where somebody’s going to be on their phone and they’re going to want to click to call right away, then you also want to have your campaign set up by device type as well. There is an extension where you can say, “I want these ads to run for mobile and I want them to be ‘click to call.”‘ So in other words, somebody wouldn’t even have to type in your phone number or click and then find your phone number, they would click on the ad and they would then call you.

It’s not for every business, and if you’re not one of those businesses that answer the phone when people call day and night, then this may not be for you, but there are a lot of little tricks and settings like that.

Focus on conversions

The last topic I want to cover about is conversion. You want to set it up so that you know precisely what’s working and what’s not working, and the good news is there are a few things that can increase your conversion, and certainly a few things that will help tell you what’s working and not working.

The first piece is something we call ‘landing pages.’ Now, I know this isn’t a foreign concept to everyone, but I find very few local businesses that take the time to set up landing pages for their ads. And what this would mean is that if you run an ad for a very specific set of keywords and your ad has very specific copy, the closer you can match the landing page, the page that somebody clicks through to, to what that search term was, or at least what the intent of that search term was, the higher chances Google will give you a quality score, and the ad will convert, or turn somebody into a customer.

So if you have different products, different services, different offers, different campaigns that you’re running, it helps to build pages specific to those things. Instead of sending somebody to your homepage where they now have to figure out what it is that they’re looking for or even find your contact information, send them to a page that is very, very related to the ad, to the keyword groups, and has a very specific call to action that is related to what that ad was about.

This takes some extra time. You may have to create five or six pages just for your campaigns, but the conversions and the return on investment for your ads spent will go through the roof if you do it.

There are a couple of other things we highly recommend, including call tracking. We use a tool called CallRail and what that allows you to do is if you’re in one of those businesses where you’re trying to generate phone calls, or form fills, so if somebody comes to your website and fills out a form, this will actually allow you to know exactly where those are coming from, all the way down to the ad level to the keyword search term that they typed into Google before they picked up the phone and called you.

This kind of tracking allows you to eliminate the campaigns that aren’t producing for you and again, if they’re turning into phone calls, you can even record these phone calls, you’ll know if those phone calls were good phone calls or great ideal prospects. You could get it to the point where you can find the campaign, the phrase, that is actually producing clients for you.

When you know that, then all of a sudden you can make sure that you bid that up, that you are winning that, that you’re increasing maybe your bids for those key terms and then turning other ones off. That makes you far more competitive for the things that are turning into clients.

You will also need to connect your Google AdWords account with your Google Analytics account, and turn on something they call ‘auto-tagging.’ This will start immediately as people are clicking on your ads and will start producing campaigns inside of your Google Analytics that will help you show what clicks are producing what results.

One of the things that you’ll want to understand and learn how to create are conversion goals in Google Analytics. A simple goal might be to fill out a form or click through to another page where they can find out how to buy that product or service, and by taking that action, they are completing that goal.

Those conversion goals can give you very, very precise information about what your ads are doing regarding goals and achieving those goals.

That’s it for today!

Like this post? It’s part of our Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

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