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Local Leads: A Primer

Many businesses make a big mistake in their quest for local leads. These businesses fail to realize that online lead generation is no longer limited to those businesses with an internet based business whose ads appear all over the country (or the world!) when a particular keyword is queried . Rather, Google now lets a business’s online ads appear only when a search term is typed by someone living in a particular geographic area, like a state, city or even a zip code. This is great news for businesses like real estate agents, restaurants, florists, insurance agents, gift stores, pharmacies and more. Some of these businesses are only seeking local leads – they want customers who can come see them in person and purchase the business’s products and services locally. Many of these businesses are ignoring the power of online lead generation, quite often because the business owners do not know how it works. As more and more people use online search engines such as Google for their “first look” when seeking the services of a local business (Google is replacing the Yellow Pages in this respect), those owners who ignore this powerful medium are in danger of losing business to more savvy competitors. When looking for local leads, business owners still have several options. They can place an advertisement in the local newspaper. They can use direct mail or hand out flyers. They can place an ad in the Yellow Pages. They can run radio or television spots. They can hand out their business cards. And yes, they can have a landing page (or a complete website) and run pay per click campaigns. Not all of these methods are right for all local businesses. The trick is to find the right medium for your particular business. The first step towards doing this is to know your customer. The way to do this is to ask your current customers how they found you. Did they see an ad in the Yellow Pages? Were they referred by a friend? Did they hear a radio spot? Or did they go online and type in the particular product or service they were seeking? More and more often, local businesses are hearing that their customer’s first query was on Google. Google know makes it possible for businesses placing ads to target local leads (or lead local) only by allowing the advertiser to limit the area where the ad will be shown to a particular state, city or even zip code. Local leads are the lifeblood of certain businesses. How could a real estate agent survive if not for the power of local listings? Restaurants need patrons. Florists and gift shops need customers. Before a customer becomes a customer they are a prospect, or, a lead. Businesses that cater to local leads have both a distinct advantage and a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace. The advantage is that when your customer is local, you are able to meet them face to face. If you have a good business and are able to portray trust, the odds are that your potential customer will give you a shot. If you treat them right, they will return again and again. The disadvantage of local leads is that your list of potential customers is limited to those people living in a particular geographic area.

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