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by DP Taylor | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 – First published on May 18, 2022
Image source: Getty Images
Few things are more rewarding than building a successful business in your community. Instead of shipping products to faceless names and addresses around the country, you’re seeing the smiles of your customers and hearing their compliments.
Lead management at the local level has a lot of similarities with a moral global model, but it also has a lot of differences. And it’s those differences you can take advantage of to create an incredible local business that you will love running.
If you’re just getting started with a local business or feel like you’ve plateaued and need a lead generation business model, this guide will help you get more local business leads.
Local lead generation is the process of identifying potential customers in specific geographic areas, usually in proximity to the location of the business. Businesses use local marketing focused on the surrounding community to find high-intent leads and turn them into customers.
These businesses will then attempt to turn them into loyal patrons who will return to the business when they have a need. Examples of companies that rely on the local community for the bulk of their sales include restaurants, mom-and-pop stores, and realtors.
So in this global business world, why should you care about local lead generation? Here are a few advantages that show the value of this approach.
Local lead generation requires a super-targeted approach with people you can meet face-to-face. It’s easier to develop relationships when you can meet up with a customer for coffee rather than converse between time zones over email or the phone. Being a recognizable part of a community leads to a familiarity that builds trust in you and your brand, and it’s also more cost-effective than trying to reach a broad market.
You can also use lead scoring and leverage a specific customer profile to further refine your approach.
By becoming a trusted member of the community, your customers can easily market for you through word of mouth in a way they couldn’t if you weren’t working in a localized area. You’ll spend less time on lead qualification, and your return on investment (ROI) will increase as you spend less on marketing and more time on developing relationships.
Your marketing campaigns will require less and less financial investment, and your conversion rates will go up (and therefore so will your revenue).
It’s one thing to connect with a logo or name, but it’s another to connect with a real person. When you focus on a local community, you can connect with potential customers directly. People will automatically associate your products with you and be more likely to buy as a result.
You can further drive brand recognition by supporting local businesses and becoming active in the community — something you can’t really do when your business depends on national or even international sales.
If you’re wondering just how to generate leads locally, here are a few traffic sources you can start with.
Search engine optimization is an excellent way to start generating leads because you can localize it so easily.
For example, if you were a realtor in Fresno, CA, you could write blog posts and record videos focused on keywords such as “Fresno CA open concept homes” or “Fresno lakefront real estate.” This will cause your company name to rise in search engines and increase the likelihood that customers will click on your website and fill out a form.
Social media allows you to connect with locals in a way you can’t otherwise. Create your own account and post pictures of your business, and start interacting directly with locals in a way that isn’t sales-y — use it as an attempt to start a relationship. Over time, they’ll come to know who you are and how involved you are in the community, and may start paying attention to your business.
Local lead generation ads on the internet are effective because you can target people in specific areas. Google Ads and Microsoft Ads both offer ways for advertisers to target ads at people located in certain areas, ensuring that you’re only spending ad money on customers who can realistically buy from you based on their location.
When it comes to generating sales leads at a local level, you must use the following five tools to maximize your chances of success.
When you’re dealing with local leads, nothing can take the place of good old-fashioned research. Really understand the marketplace. Talk to locals about their needs and wants. Find out what they’re searching for online, and how their tastes are evolving. Look at what is popular locally and ask how you could emulate that.
Building an email list is an effective method of lead generation. Invite potential customers to join your email list and offer them information they can actually use (it’s not time to try to sell stuff yet). Develop relationships with your customers this way and over time, they will naturally become interested in what you have to sell. This results in more trust and a higher rate of conversion.
Because you’re local, you can conduct demonstrations of your product or share some knowledge the community values, like showing people how to fix a leaky u-bend if you run a plumbing business. But this can be done online as well through YouTube videos or webinars. Post these events on social media and harvest customer information to build future relationships with them.
Just because you’re local doesn’t mean you don’t need a website. A website is a great place to send people after you’re done interacting with them and they want more. Create a website that is simple, easy to use, and makes it clear what you offer. Make sure it’s usable on desktop, tablets, or mobile phones for maximum reach.
Sometimes, it makes sense to just buy some leads. Be careful, though — you’ll waste your money if you just purchase a list and try to get the individuals to buy right off the bat.
Purchasing leads should be the start of a strategy that involves finding the right people and building relationships with them. If you want to get a head start on collecting leads, this is a good way to do it, but you’ve got to have the follow-through to make it worthwhile.
Lead generation at the local level is all about legwork. You’ve got to take the time necessary to build deep relationships with your community. That means talking with customers, attending events, and making yourself an essential part of the local scene. When you do that, the local sales leads will flow like wine.
You can’t do that if you’re constantly stuck inside your business, scrambling to keep up with the day’s tasks. That’s where software comes in — specifically CRM software, which will help you balance the time-consuming tasks of managing your leads. The Ascent has reviewed some of the top CRM options, so take a look at a few to see if they might be able to help you in your business.
DP Taylor is a business software expert writing for The Ascent and The Motley Fool.
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