Most of us can remember the day like it was yesterday. The day we decided to invest in ourselves and our family’s financial future. We decided to be done with the norm and we stepped out with a huge burst of confidence and started a small business venture that had huge potential to bring financial freedom to our family for generations to come. Unfortunately, most of us underestimated the amount of effort and focused skill it would take to actually bring in the leads and sales and suddenly our confidence vanished just as quickly as it appeared.
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With no knowledge of where to start or who to seek help from doubt starts to creep in. With a limited budget and little to no marketing knowledge we began to feel helpless. Now, overtaken with overwhelm and confusion, we started to rethink the decision to step out of that comfort zone into this unknown world of marketing, which we had no idea would be so complicated and stressful… Sound accurate?
While some of us have now found solutions to this common dilemma, most of us have not and are still struggling to gain some steam in our businesses. But there’s good news, learning the skill of marketing your business really isn’t that complicated. Sometimes the most difficult part is finding the right up-to-date training and information to start with.
The five step process covered below is a proven local lead generation process for getting consistent leads and sales for your local small business in 2016. These steps are a basic SEO strategy that, when implemented correctly, can bring you results in a relatively short amount of time. Most people cringe when they hear the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but fear not. once you learn the fundamentals once, you will agree that it’s not that hard. Let’s get started!
STEP ONE | OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE
The very first step in this process builds the foundation to the remaining steps and must be done correctly for the best results. The purpose of this step is to let Google know, in the clearest way possible, exactly what your website is about. To properly optimize your website you will need to write a keyword optimized homepage article with all of the best search terms that are currently being used by people looking for your products/services on Google. This may take doing a little research to determine what your main keyword should be, as well as additional keywords to include.
Once you pick your keywords, place your main keyword in the title of your article, in the first sentence of the article, and in the title tag of the page. You will need to write a lengthy article (500-1500 words) in order to gain an authoritative edge on the competition. A good rule of thumb is to always write at least 100-300 words more than your competitor has on their site. Rinse and repeat for any other service pages. Before you move on to step two be sure to place your business name, address and phone number in the footer of your website, site wide.
STEP TWO | MAKE YOUR WEBSITE — USER FRIENDLY
Having a website that is easy to navigate and has clear cut calls-to-action, is very important if you want people to stay on your website and become leads and customers. Be sure to have a phone number that is easy to find and a contact form at the top of your home page and all of your service pages as well.
Having an easy to use website is also very important to Google. On April 1, 2015 Google made a huge update to their algorithm which people are calling “mobilegeddon”. In short, any sites that are not mobile optimized will lose authority and fall back in the rankings. Google is always looking for ways to improve the quality of their search engine and as a result they only want to show mobile optimized sites at the top of the search results because of the continued rise in the percentage of people browsing the internet using mobile devices.
STEP THREE | VERIFY YOUR BUSINESS ON GOOGLE
This step is probably the most neglected step of all. Verifying your business on Google does a few things. When you verify that you are a real business at a physical location, Google will give you a shot at getting a spot in the map pack. What is the map pack? Whenever you search for a local business that has a physical address, Google will show three top results in a map listing that stands out above the rest of the oganic listings on the first page.
If you do all of these five steps correctly, including this one, you will be able to gain one of these top three spots which will get a huge amount of traffic, leads and sales to your website. To verify your business you will need to visit Google.com/places and sign up for a free account. The most important part of this step is to create a nice Google business page with lots of pictures and a lengthy introduction article. Once you’re all set up, verify your business by requesting a post card in the mail. Before you move on to the next step get some of your friends and family members to leave a few five star reviews on your page.
STEP FOUR | GET HIGH QUALITY CITATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Citations are like footprints that you leave all over the web to let Google know you’re popular, you’re a credible business, and you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. A proper citation includes your business name, address and phone number and can also include pictures/videos and a short description of what your business is all about. A few examples of citation sources are Yelp.com, Yellowpages.com and Yahoolocal.com just to name a few.
You can find 100’s of niche related citation sources on whitespark.ca but you should only need 50-150 strong citations depending on the competition in your niche. To create your citations you simply need to register at each website and fill in the necessary information about your business. Some citation websites will require you to verify your business by phone so keep an eye out for phone calls.
The most important thing to remember when creating citations for your business, is to consistently list the same name, address and phone number in the same exact format at each citation source. Once you’ve created a few listings you will start to get phone calls from marketing companies trying to sell you SEO services, don’t waste your money!
STEP FIVE | GET POWERFUL INBOUND LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Now for the grande finale! Getting good inbound links is one of the most powerful steps in this whole process and can give your website a massive boost in the search engines. This strategy is called backlinking, link building and many other things but to keep it simple, getting a powerful website to link back to yours is basically like getting a vote in favor of boosting your website’s rankings further up in the search engines. The more votes you get from authoritative websites the closer your site will climb to page one for the keywords you optimized for in step one.
There are many different ways to get good inbound links but for the sake of simplicity I will only be covering two basic ways. The first way is guest posting on blogs that are niche relevant and leaving a link with your keyword as the anchor text. The second way is commenting in website forums that are talking about things relevant to your industry and leaving a link. You will need to do both of these strategies, interchangeably, 1-5 times a day for 30 days for best results.
As a rule, whenever you use these methods you want to always make sure to give as much value as possible. Never leave short useless posts or comments as this will result in getting your content rejected. Once you’ve completed this step and all of the previous steps your website should continue the slow steady climb to the first page of Google. If at any point it stops short of the first page, create some more inbound links. Keep this process going until your site gets to the first page and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!
There are a number of ways to rank a website and all of them are effective, but when it comes to getting leads and sales, for your local business, in the quickest most efficient way possible, this five step process is the most effective and will ultimately bring in a consistent flow of new customers for years to come. In fact, this exact process is what I personally use for my own business and for my clients. If you have any questions about this local lead generation process, I will be happy to chat. You can get in contact with me over at my website BlackBeltLeadServices.com.