Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Think local… Act local... Trade local



The big point I want to get across with this post is to not fall in to the trap of thinking because you have a website you have to act like a global or even a national service provider.

If you want to trade on a national level it will cost a lot of money and there will be a lot of big fish out there to compete with. If you get work further afield, great, but my advice would be not to go chasing it too hard too early.

Why…

  • Local advertising is significantly cheaper than their national counter parts and a lot more targeted, which leads to…

  • Reduced waste. This refers to waste in terms of the people looking at the advert as well as money. If you only supply services to Yorkshire, then having the advert seen in Cornwall is a waste of your money.

  • There is much less competition. For example on Google the search term “bouncy castle Nottingham” brings back 37,000 results whereas “bouncy castle” displays a massive 1.42m results.


How…

  • Your local British chamber of commerce and business link organisations are gold mines for both business resources and putting you in touch with potential customers.  A good idea is to find out when they have their events to put local suppliers in touch with potential customers and go along. Also research whether they send out emails to local businesses you can advertise on.



  • Optimise your website’s SEO for the geographic locations you are targeting.  For example instead of <title>Bouncy castle hire</title> be more specific and use <title>Bouncy castle hire Nottingham, Derby & Leicester</title>

  • Directories such as the ‘ic’ or ‘touch’ networks tend to be displayed prominently in localised search engine results. Research the most popular online directories for your area and niche and submit your site.

  • With relatively small geographic locations from which to report the news, many local papers are news hungry and if you have an event, promotion, new product, re-launch etc to promote you could get yourself in.

  • Put an advert or at least a free entry in the Yellow Pages (both online and traditional book directory) and BT’s business phone book. A lot of buyers still use these to find business suppliers.

  • Google AdWords does not have to be a national medium. Use the ‘geographic targeting’ options to only show ads to people in your target area (i.e. no ads shown in areas you can’t supply therefore no wasted clicks etc)

  • Buy a list of geographically targeted email addresses from companies such as www.marketingfile.com and use a HTML mail shot to promote your services. (You can find a good article about designing HTML emailshere)

  • After you finish a job always post the invoice and put in a collection of business cards so they can pass them on to their contact


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