Marketing/Advertising 101 teaches us two basic principles; you need to know your target audience and you need to know how to get your marketing/advertising efforts in front of your target audience. The same applies to Local Internet Marketing.
Most small business owners are local in nature, and with over 2.75 million SMBs in the United States all vying for that coveted spot on the first page of Google, Yahoo!, or Bing in a local search query (which accounts for 20% of all U.S. searches or 3.83 billion a month), knowing how to get found is paramount to a successful online advertising campaign.
Knowing your target audience – Most businesses know who their target audience is and what they are looking for in their products or services. For example, Home Security Systems have three targeted audiences; single women in their mid 30s to mid 50s who want protection for themselves, men in their 30s through 50s who want to protect their families, and elderly who want the extra protection or whose middle aged children want to be certain they are safe. For this business, the average customer earns over 40,000 and owns a home.
To try to determine what your target audience is, you only need to think about your product and who you receive the most calls or walk ins from; women or men? Does the price point require a certain income, marital status, or home ownership? I recently found a good article on About Us that explains the process of understanding your target audience with Internet Marketing.
Reaching Your Target Audience and Knowing How to Get Found
Once you understand your target audience, you need to focus on how to get your business in front of those customers. A well crafted billboard on an untraveled road is not effective marketing. With Internet Marketing and SEO for Natural Organic Results, specifically understanding Search behavior is equal to placing your billboard on a busy highway filled with your target audience. One important way to get your business found is to understand consumer search behavior.
When searching for a local business:
- Males use ZIP codes as part of their Search queries. Does this have something to do with the old belief that males are better at math than women? Not sure, but using zip codes (sparingly) in your content can help drive results to male searchers.
- While zip code searches currently account for less than 3% of Search Engine referrals, as the use of hand held devices increases, so will the significance of zip code driven Search Results.
- Females use Town Name and/or City Name. Including geo targeting by combining keyword/geo or geo/keyword can help if your product or services are directed toward females.
- Younger searches focus on generic search terms without geo modifiers, allowing the Search Engines or Mobile to handle the localization. (see point two in reference to zip codes)
- Older searchers almost always focus their search queries on search terms with local modifiers and tend to take the time to write out a full statement or question. As a result, always including the answer to their question in the content is helpful. For example; Where can I sell my car? What type of plumber fixes leaky pipes? or even the spelling of a state name can help attract the “older” generation.
- Only 6% of all searches include a neighborhood or region, but very few businesses are targeted for these searches, so if you include it in your content, you are likely to get found by those 6%. (ie: Inland Empire, Middlesex County Tri-borough)
- Adjectives and superlatives still help. Remember that understanding your target audience means that you will know what they are looking for. If they are budget conscious, they will be looking for an affordable (maybe even cheap) solution to their needs. If they are quality conscious, then they will desire quality products and services. According to a “marketing” friend of mine, the word BEST is beyond cliché, but words like quality, superior, distinguished, and fine can help not only with Search results, but with conversion.
Wrapping it All Up – Understanding your audience and their search behavior is key to getting found and to growing your business. A well rounded Local SEO campaign should use as many of the “tricks of the trade” as possible, but including too many tactics can result in poor results as you may be seen as scammy. Instead focus on well thought out, targeted content written for the types of customers you want to attract. Build a great billboard on a busy street and they will find you!
John J. Buzon is currently the Content Manager at eLocal Listing, he and his team are responsible for the creation of thousands of pieces of highly ranked content being published on the Internet for thousands of businesses of all sizes.