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Boost Local SEO With Content Marketing

For most local service businesses (e.g., painters, plumbers, electricians, cleaners, etc.), getting found by high-quality prospects is the key to generating more leads and making more sales cost-effectively.

If you have been tracking your traffic sources or asking your customers how they found you, you’d probably notice that many leads came from online searches.

As such, dialing in your local SEO strategy is instrumental to getting found by more potential customers and generating more business:

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One of the most effective ways of leveraging the power of local SEO is content marketing, which allows you to get found on local searches by prospects that are looking for the exact services you’re offering in your local area – in the right place and at the right time.

Here’s how to boost your local SEO with content marketing:

Optimize For Local Keywords

Start by researching relevant local keywords for which to optimize all of your online content, such as website copy, blog post, online profiles, etc.

You can use a variety of keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, to identify search terms that are relevant to your business and have high search volume in your target location(s).

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Also, look for locally-relevant phrases, events, news, or trending topics that are most likely used by your prospects in their searches. This will signal to Google that your website is relevant to users in your area and improve your SEO ranking.

Create Relevant and Helpful Content

High-quality content that’s useful to your target audience helps drive traffic and generate engagement, which can improve your SEO ranking. You should also publish fresh content regularly because it signals to search engines that your site is current and relevance.

Having to generate new content week after week may seem intimidating at first. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, there are great topic ideas everywhere you look:

  • Trending or seasonal topics in your area that are related to your services.
  • Your business’s participation in local events and activities.
  • Commonly asked questions about your area of expertise, appropriated into content pieces.
  • Write-up of customer case studies and interviews.
  • Topics that are tangentially related to your business but frequently searched for by your ideal customers.

Structure Your Content For On-Site SEO

Great content won’t achieve the intended results if people aren’t reading it or search engines can’t index it. Here’s how to structure your content for both visitors and search engines:

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly as more consumers are searching for local businesses on their smartphones and tablets.
  • Incorporate local phrases and locations in your content to signal relevance to both readers and search engines.
  • Format your content pieces so they’re easy to read on all devices. Also, ensure that all images and layouts are displayed correctly.
  • Use schema markup, which is a global standard vocabulary used by search engines to understand website content.

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Implement a Local Link Building Strategy

Publishing a variety of content and sharing it on high-authority websites can build backlinks that will boost your SEO. This will also help you drive more traffic and gain exposure to new audiences. Here are a few ways to build backlinks:

  • Implement a guest posting strategy to generate backlinks from local websites with audiences that overlap with your ideal customers.
  • Identify local businesses that share your target market but aren’t direct competitors. You can guest post on each other’s site and/or cross-promote your content.
  • Claim online local listings, such as Yelp and Google My Business, which allows you to post your links, share updates, boost your credibility, and reach more people.
  • Participate in local online communities, such as Nextdoor, to share relevant content when appropriate.

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Promote Your Content

The most successful content marketers spend 20% of their time producing content and 80% of their time promoting it. Having a content promotion strategy is the key driving traffic and boosting your website’s SEO. Here’s how to effectively distribute your content to a local audience:

  • Share links to your content on your social media updates and use it as a starting point to engage your followers in a conversation.
  • Add social sharing buttons on your website and ask your readers to share the content with their friends and neighbors.
  • Join local groups on social media (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn) and share links to useful content on your website when appropriate.
  • Seek out media opportunities on local news outlets. For example, by getting featured on local papers’ resident or business spotlights and include a link back to a relevant piece of content on your website.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is one of the top strategies for improving your search engine ranking so more high-quality prospects can discover your business.

However, it’s not enough just to write something and hit publish. Since 95% of consumers only look at the first page of search results, it’s important that you also invest in the effort to optimize and promote your content so it gets a high ranking.

Although driving traffic is a key benefit of content marketing, don’t overlook the many other benefits of this strategy. A well-crafted piece of content can help you build trust and cultivate relationships with your audience while positioning your business as a relevant and helpful resource so you can stay top-of-mind.

In fact, the best content marketers focus on using content to drive engagement. When search engines see that your visitors are spending time on your website and returning for more information, your SEO ranking will improve automatically.

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How To Optimize Conversion For Your Local Service Business’s Landing Page

Are you investing in SEO and PPC ads to promote your local service business and drive traffic to your website? Are website visitors contacting you for a quote or engaging your services?

To make the most of your marketing dollars, you need to turn as many visitors into leads or customers by optimizing the webpage on which they land when they click through your online ads.

Otherwise, you’d be paying for the clicks with little to show for. Here’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you get the biggest bang for your bucks:

What’s Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

CRO are tactics that encourage website visitors to take an action (e.g., request a quote, sign up for your email list) by designing and modifying certain elements of a webpage. Often, the goal is to turn visitors into leads or customers before they leave the website.

While CRO can be applied to every page on your website, dialing in the landing pages you use for PPC ads has the highest impact in converting online traffic into prospects and customers.

CRO helps you make the most of your existing website traffic sources so you can turn more visitors into customers without increasing your marketing budget.

How To Optimize Conversion On Your Landing Pages

By definition, landing pages are designed to elicit a specific action from visitors. They’re set up to minimize distraction by removing the standard navigation, simplifying footer information, and removing all hyperlinks except the call-to-action (CTA.)

Creating dedicated landing pages that match the messaging and offers on your PPC ads can help maximize results. Optimizing the conversion rate on these landing pages allows you to get the most out of your online ads.

Here’s how to make a landing page work harder for your local service business:

Hone In the Copy and Messaging

Most local business websites are rather generic – they have the essential information and are optimized for relevant keywords but fall short when it comes to making visitors feel that the content is speaking to their needs.

Here’s how to fine-tune your landing pages’ copy and messaging to increase conversion:

  • Ensure that the messaging matches the copy on your ad. For example, if you’re promoting “20% off” in the ad, include the discount in the landing page copy.
  • Mention specific information that’s relevant to the local market or conditions to highlight the relevance of your services.
  • Write a distinctive title that’ll capture the attention of your visitors. Again, include local references if appropriate.
  • Tell the visitors why they should respond to your CTA by highlighting the benefits of doing so.
  • Be succinct – focus on the pain points and desired outcomes of the audience segment you’re targeting on your ads.
  • Incorporate local and long-tail keywords in your copy to signal relevance to both search engines and the visitors.

Direct Attention To the CTA

The purpose of a landing page is to get as many visitors to take the desired action as possible and you can do so by directing attention to the CTA on the page.

Here’s how to make your CTA more appealing to visitors and entice them to respond:

Arrange the landing page’s content to follow the F- or Z-pattern, which is how most people’s eyes travel when reading a webpage. This will guide the readers from the title through the copy and to the CTA.

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  • Use a heat map application to track how visitors interact with your landing page and place your CTA where their eyes naturally go.
  • Use visual elements and images to direct visitors’ gaze to the CTA (e.g., a model looking at the direction of the CTA, a graphic that points toward the CTA.)
  • Use CTA copy that’s relevant to the landing page message and make it action-oriented. For example, if your landing page is aimed at getting visitors to sign up for a video series on DYI house-painting, your CTA text could say, “Learn How To Paint Like a Pro Now.”
  • Experiment with the size and color of the CTA button, which can have a significant impact on the conversion rate.
    • Place the CTA close to the top of the page to minimize scrolling. If you have a long landing page, put another CTA at the bottom so visitors don’t have to scroll back up.

    Optimize For Mobile Experience

    Did you know that 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase? In fact, mobile-friendliness is now the top priority for local businesses to convert online traffic into leads.

    Here’s how to optimize your landing page for mobile users:

    • Improve page load speed – a 1-second improvement can lead to a 27% increase in conversions! You can do so by using a mobile-first template, optimizing images, and making sure that the code is clean.
    • Include your phone number at the top of the page and add a tap-to-call feature to make it easy for prospects to get in touch.
    • Leverage geo-fencing technology to deliver the most appropriate content and auto-fill function to streamline form submission.
    • Ensure that the page is displayed properly on all browsers and devices. The fonts should be legible and the key information should be shown at the top of the page.
    • Reduce complexity in your CTA to make it easy to take action on the small screen. For example, request only the information you need immediately (e.g., an email address to download a lead magnet) – you can ask for more information later.
    • Remove intrusive pop-ups and interstitials that will not only cause visitors to leave the site but also impact your SEO ranking.

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Consider the Entire Customer Lifecycle

Your landing page is just one component in the buyer’s journey. You also need to consider what happens after visitors have taken the action on your landing page so they’d turn into customers:

  • Set up a lead nurturing email sequence if you use the landing page to capture visitors’ email addresses.
  • Contact prospects immediately if the CTA is to request a quote.
  • Use a tracking phone number for each campaign to deliver a consistent experience (e.g., offering the same promotional package) when visitors call your business.
  • Set up retargeting ads that match the messaging on the landing page to drive visitors that haven’t converted back to your website.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Marketing Budget

Conversion rate optimization strategies can help you increase ROI by making the most of your current market and existing traffic sources.

After you have implemented these CRO tactics for your landing pages, conduct A/B testing to find out what works and what doesn’t for your specific audience so you can fine-tune the copy, page design, and CTA.

Don’t forget to dial in other components of your online marketing strategy – from PPC ads and social media to online review and monthly analytics – so they work together synergistically to optimize results and maximize your marketing ROI.

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Get More Leads at Less Cost – Target Cost-Per-Acquisition Smart Bidding

If you have been driving traffic with PPC ads for your local service business – great job!

But…

Do you know how much you’re spending on acquiring each lead?

After all, if you’re spending more on acquiring leads than the profit you generate from those leads – you’re losing money!

Thankfully, Google can help you control how much you spend on lead acquisition using machine learning technology to make sure that your PPC ad campaigns are profitable.

This smart bidding strategy is based on the concept of cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and we’ll show you how local service businesses can best leverage this feature.

 

What’s Cost per Acquisition (CPA)?

As a marketing concept that calculates the cost of acquiring new customers, CPA helps you determine if your PPC ads are attracting and retaining customers profitably so you can maintain a healthy ROI.

For many small businesses without sales people and the associated overhead, CPA is proportional to lead cost. Lead cost is the amount one pays for leads. If you win 1 in 3 leads, your close rate is 33%, and without sales overhead, your CPA would be 3 times your lead cost.

For instance, if you are a painting company and your average lead cost is $40, and you close 1 in 4 leads, then your CPA is 4 x $40 or $160. Each job you win costs you an average of $160.

How To Determine Your CPA?

Start with your average transaction value, which is the gross revenue you generate from each sale. Subtract the cost of delivering the service and fixed costs involved in running your business (excluding ad spending) from the gross revenue to get the gross profit before advertising.

Next, determine how much net profit you want to make from each transaction. Subtract this number from the gross profit and you’ll get the maximum CPA you should target for acquiring a new customer.

Keep in mind that some factors may affect this final target cost per acquisition (TCPA). For example:

  • If you have a high customer retention rate and high customer lifetime value, you may be able to afford a higher TCPA for the initial transaction so you can stay competitive and get the right customers in the door.

  • Your TCPA can vary based on the service area or type of service. Also, some customer segments may convert more easily so the cost associated with selling to the different prospects may vary.

Applying TCPA To Your PPC Ads

Thanks to Google Ad’s Target CPA bidding feature, you can easily set TCPA for your PPC ad campaigns. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s Target Cost Per Acquisition Bidding?

Formerly called Conversion Optimizer, this is a smart bidding strategy within the Google Ad platform that optimizes bids so you can get as many conversions for the TCPA you set for your campaigns.

You can determine the conversion event (e.g., a click, a request for a quote, a purchase) and set the TCPA as a standard strategy for a single campaign or a portfolio strategy for multiple campaigns.

Google’s machine learning technology uses historical data from past campaigns and combines it with contextual signals present at the auction time (e.g., the user’s location, type of device, remarketing list, time of the day, etc.) to determine the optimal cost-per-click (CPC) bid based on your TCPA.

Setting TCPA In Google Ads

If you have historical conversion data from past campaigns (at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days,) Google Ads will make a recommendation on TCPA, which is calculated based on the actual CPA performance during the previous few weeks.

Here are some bid settings you’ll encounter as you’re setting up your campaign:

  • Bid limits: for most advertisers, Google doesn’t recommend setting a bid limit because it can restrict the platform’s automatic optimization of your bid. It could prevent Google Ads from adjusting your bid for each auction to the amount that best meets your TCPA. However, if you have a limited ad budget, you can set maximum and minimum bid limits to avoid overspending. This feature is only available for portfolio level use.

  • Device bid adjustment: you can prioritize conversion by setting adjustments for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. For example, if you want to prioritize spending on mobile searches, you can set a bid adjustment to +30% — in this case, if your TCPA for the campaign is $10, it’ll be raised to $13 on mobile devices.

  • Pay for conversions: use this setting if you want to pay for conversions, instead of clicks, in your Target CPA bidding. You’ll only pay when visitors convert on your website or app.

Your TCPA can influence the number of conversions you get from the campaigns. For example, if you set the number too low, you could be shown on fewer search result pages and miss out on clicks that could lead to conversion.

To gauge whether your TCPA is performing optimally, you can review a campaign’s performance using the Target CPA Simulator, which shows you how an ad could have performed if the TCPA was set differently.

A Few Things To Know When Using TCPA Bidding

Since Google Ads determines your TCPA based on historical data, make sure that your conversion tracking is set up correctly. Otherwise, the data won’t be accurate and this will likely affect your TCPA bidding.

In addition, you should have accumulated a good number of conversions (e.g., 30 to 50) for Google to accurately estimate your TCPA.

If you’re just getting started, set realistic initial goals so you don’t limit the auctions you can enter. For example, if your average CPA is $50 in the past few months, setting your TCPA at $25 is likely to be too low and prevents you from taking full advantage of the smart bidding feature.

Also, note that you’ll probably go through a learning phase during the first two to four weeks. Setting a slightly higher TCPA can give you some room to find your footing and then you can bring it back down to your goal TCPA.

Using TCPA Bidding For Your Local Service Business

There are some nuances when it comes to using TCPA bidding for your local service business.

Let’s say a carpet cleaner wants to advertise for his various offerings, such as carpet cleaning, rug cleaning, and upholstery cleaning, which may have different margins and cost associated with delivering the service. Also, certain towns may be more profitable, due to factors such as a shorter travel distance or larger average job size.

As such, the carpet cleaner may be willing to pay $35 for carpet cleaning leads but only $25 for upholstery cleaning. Meanwhile, he may be able to afford a higher CPA for town A than town B.

In this case, the carpet cleaner can set TCPA for carpet cleaning leads at $40 for town A and $30 for town B so he can stay competitive in each location without spending unnecessary ad dollars.

The Biggest TCPA Challenge For Local Service Business

As we discussed earlier, Google needs the right conversion data to recommend optimal TCPA.

This is technically more challenging for local service businesses thanks to the often-complicated buyer’s journey. For example, most prospects would click on a PPC ad, visit the website, and then call to make an appointment.

As such, more clicks than Google recorded have likely turned into leads. If you don’t provide that conversion information to Google, the recommended TCPA can’t be optimized properly.

99 Calls has devised a specific solution to help contractors accurately track conversion (i.e., clicks turning into leads) and supply the data to Google Ads.

Our system is set up to track each click and call, match them up, and then mark clicks that have turned into qualified leads on Google as a conversion. This allows Google to learn how to get more clicks that are most likely to turn into leads.

In addition, 99 Calls can run Google Ads campaigns to target a specific lead price, a specific ROAS (return on ad spend,) or simply get as many leads as possible for a given budget – depending on your business objectives.

See how we can help you optimize your PPC campaigns here.

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Key PPC Metrics for Local Service Businesses

As more local service businesses (e.g., painters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, cleaning services, etc.) are using PPC ads to get in front of prospects and drive traffic to their websites, it’s not enough just to run a few online ads and hope for the best.

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” If you want your PPC ads to yield the results you want, you need to measure their performance so you can adjust your strategies and fine-tune the results.

However, for many local service providers, plowing through a PPC ad campaign report is no walk in the park.

Which metrics actually matter? What should you focus on to move the needle?

Measuring the wrong metrics is at best a waste of time and at worst, it could derail you to spend your time and resources on improving numbers that won’t translate into profits for your business.

In this article, we’ll explore the PPC metrics you should focus on and what they mean for your online marketing. You’ll also learn the one simple metric that shows whether your ad campaigns are profitable and what you can do to make them work harder for you.

PPC Metrics That Matter For Your Local Service Business

Here are some key PPC metrics and what they can tell you about your PPC campaigns:

  • Impressions: it refers to the number of times an ad has been displayed on search results pages and it’s an indication of visual awareness. Getting prospects to see your ads on relevant search result pages is the first step to raising brand awareness and getting clicks.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): calculated by dividing the number of times an ad was clicked with impressions, CTR is a good indicator of the ad copy’s effectiveness. A low CTR means searchers are seeing your ads but aren’t compelled to click through – which could indicate a message mismatch between the keywords or audience you’re targeting and the ad copy.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): the total cost of all clicks divided by the number of clicks and is an essential metric for evaluating the ROI of the campaign.
  • Conversion rate: it measures the completion of an action by a searcher after clicking your ad, such as completing a form to get a quote, calling a tracking number, or scheduling an appointment. If you have a high CTR but low conversion rate, you should make sure the messages on your ad and the landing page are consistent and the landing page is optimized for conversion.
  • Cost Per Conversion: also called cost per acquisition (CPA), it shows you the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer. A low CPA is a good indication that your ads are yielding high ROIs while a high CPA means your PPC strategy probably has room for improvement, e.g., by lowering the bids, using more specific keywords, and improving the ad copy.

The Most Important PPC Metric You Should Know

While the various metrics discussed above can help you gauge the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and fine-tune the different components, they don’t directly answer the most important question – is the PPC ad campaign profitable?

After all, if a campaign is driving traffic or even generating sales but the revenue isn’t covering the cost of the ads – you’re losing money!

If you only track one number, make it the ROAS (return on ad spend) of the PPC ads because it tells you whether your campaigns are generating profits.

How To Calculate ROAS

To calculate ROAS, simply divide sales by ad spend: ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend

For example, if you spend $20 on an ad and generate $100 in sales, the ROAS is 5.

ROAS shows you the amount you spend on a PPC campaign in relation to the sales resulted from the ads. Simply put, if you aren’t making enough profit, you should tweak your tactics or stop running the ads.

How To Determine Minimum ROAS

To find out if an ad campaign is profitable, you need to determine the break-even point, which is represented by the minimum ROAS.

You’ll just need a few numbers to figure out the break-even ROAS:

  • The revenue generated by the ads.
  • The cost of the services sold by the ads.
  • Other fees involved in the sales (e.g., transaction fee.)
  • Profit per sale.

Then you can calculate the minimum ROAS for the PPC campaign. For example:

If the revenue is $100, the cost of delivering the service is $50, and the fees are $5, then the profit will be $45 (Revenue – the cost of goods – other fees.)

If your ad spend is lower than $45, the campaign is making money; if it’s $45, you’ll break even; if it’s higher than $45, you’re losing money for every service package sold.

In this case, the minimum ROAS is ($100/$45) = 2.2.

Keep in mind that ROAS doesn’t cover other costs that you may incur in running the campaigns, such as hiring a copywriter or a graphic designer, which you’ll need to take into account when evaluating the ROI of the ad campaigns.

As such, your target ROAS should be higher than the minimum ROAS in order to generate a profit.

How To Track Your ROAS

ROAS is campaign-specific and can be set up to evaluate the effectiveness of an individual campaign, ad group, or keyword.

To correctly attribute each sale to a traffic source/ad campaign and calculate the ROAS, you need to set up conversion tracking.

This is where things get more complex for service-based businesses because unlike eCommerce websites, the conversion event may not be an immediate online transaction. Also, both online and offline interactions are often involved before a sale is made.

However, with the right tools and some thoughtful planning, you can set up conversion tracking on your website to collect accurate data:

First, you need to have a lead-generation website with Google Analytics installed. Then, set up goals on Google Analytics to track conversion events, such as form submissions, phone clicks, or email clicks.

From there, you can associate the conversion event with the specific PPC ad that brought the visitor to your website and track the prospect’s subsequent interactions with your business using a CRM system.

Due to the less linear customer journey, it’s more challenging to map a prospect’s interactions with your business from an online channel to an actual sale – especially for local service businesses that also use other offline marketing tactics, such as word-of-mouth, print ads, or billboards.

For instance, a PPC ad may generate brand awareness but a prospect may finally call using a tracking number on a print ad. Or he may be seeing your company vehicles around enough to build trust before he searches online and clicks on your ad.

To understand how these online and offline tactics work together, you can ask your customers how they learn about your business and what prompted them to get in touch so you can fine-tune your ads to match the customer journey.

How To Improve ROAS For Your Local Service PPC Campaigns

One of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns is to focus on maximizing their ROAS.

Remember ROAS = Sales / Ad Spend? In order to increase ROAS, you need to increase sales and/or lower ad spend. Here’s how:

Increase Sales and Revenue

Generate more sales by driving high-quality traffic that’s most likely to convert by doing the following:

  • Improve ad copy to attract high-quality prospects that are ready to engage your services. For example, mention a special offer, include social proof, highlight unique selling points, and add a compelling call-to-action.
  • Match ad content to the target audience segment and make sure the messaging on the landing page is consistent with the ad copy.
  • Review your search query reports to identify “cost-effective keywords” so you can allocate more budget to those that generate the most conversions.
  • Include keywords that indicate high purchase intent, e.g., business name, specific service category, or brand names of products you use.
  • Target local keywords, such as the specific areas you service or local conditions.
  • Improve your website’s mobile experience as more consumers are using mobile devices for local searches. In fact, 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile-friendly site.

Reduce Ad Spend

Here’s how to allocate your ad budget strategically to lower ad spend:

  • Review your search term report to identify keywords that are getting clicks but don’t result in a conversion event. Add these terms to the campaign’s list of negative keywords so they won’t trigger the ads.
  • Improve your Google Ads quality score, which often translates into lower ad cost, by making sure the ad copy and landing pages are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
  • Optimize your bidding strategy, e.g., only show the ads when your target audience is most likely to be searching for your specific services. Experiment with Google’s Smart Bidding feature, which automatically adjusts the bids based on various auction-time signals such as device, location, time of day, remarketing list, and operating system.

Final Thoughts

PPC advertising is a great way to get in front of more prospects and you can augment its effectiveness by using marketing strategies that foster trust and credibility with the community, e.g., by building a strong and recognizable brand and proactively managing your online reputation.

Meanwhile, the various PPC metrics associate each ad with the revenue it generates to offer key insights that will help you understand the effectiveness of your online ads.

By closely monitoring your PPC campaigns and leveraging the right analytics, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy and make accurate data-driven decisions to improve your ROI.

Lastly PPC advertising can be a highly productive and cost-effective way to generate leads for local service businesses. However successful PPC ad campaigns require time, effort, and hard-earned expertise. As a local service business leader, you can choose to roll-up your sleeves and dive into the details of PPC. Or, another option, outsource PPC advertising to a local lead generation expert such as 99 Calls.

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Top 3 Online Logo Makers For Local Service Businesses

In a previous article, we talked about why you need a well-designed logo for your local service business (e.g., painter, electrician, landscaping, house cleaning) and how to effectively apply it to your marketing materials to enhance your local presence and make your brand instantly recognizable.

If you’re ready to take a stab in creating a logo for your business, there are many online tools you can use to generate a logo that you can apply to all customer touch points.

Here are 3 popular online logo makers and how they stack up against each other:

VistaPrint Logo Maker

  • Choose from a list of designs and explore different icons, colors, and layouts to narrow down your options.
  • Personalize the template with your business information and customize the design to meet your needs.
  • Use the logo on any VistaPrint products at no additional cost or download the files for $20.
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LogoMix

  • Enter logo text, such as your business name.
  • Choose up to 3 logo styles (e.g., badge, text, icon, or initial,) up to 3 fonts, and up to 3 logo layouts.
  • Select a template and edit the design by entering your business information, choosing the font, and adjusting color options.
  • Save and download your files.

BrandCrowd

  • Enter your business name and the application will generate a series of logo ideas. Or you can choose from designs based on industries or keywords.
  • Select a template and customize the design by changing the colors or fonts. You can also add a tagline.
  • Download your logo file.

Logo Makers Comparison

When selecting an online logo making tool, you should consider the ease of use, template variety, customization options, file format variety, cost, and future application:

Ease of Use

All three logo makers offer a simple step-by-step process that involves not much more than choosing a template, colors, and fonts.

In addition, VistaPrint allows you to filter logo ideas by style and BrandCrowd offers the option to choose from a list of industries or filter by keywords.

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Design Options

Get started on VistaPrint or BrandCrowd by choosing from a wide range of design templates as a starting point from which you can customize the text, colors, and fonts.

LogoMix offers fewer layout options and you can begin the process by choosing a style, color, and font.

Customization Options

All three logo makers offer templates you can use as starting points to customize your design with their editing tools.

Brandcrowd offers the most user-friendly editor with many options to adjust text, fonts, layout, background, icon, and shapes.

Output Variety and Cost

You need the ability to download the final design files in a variety of formats and resolution so you can apply the design to different marketing materials (e.g., website, print, etc.)

You can apply the logo you have created with VistaPrint’s logo maker onto its own products at no additional cost or you can download the files, including color and black-and-white versions, icon-only versions, landscape and portrait layouts, and high-quality PDF and JPEG for $20 each.

BrandCrowd is free to use and you can purchase your logo in a standard package ($45) that includes high-resolution PNG and JPG files (for web), vector SVG, EPS and PDF files (for print), files with transparent background, and multiple logo variations.

For $39.95, you can download high-quality source files you can use for documents, business cards, and websites from LogoMix. The logos are available in multiple sizes, black & white, and transparent formats.

Future Usage

VistaPrint and LogoMix allow you to apply the logo you have created using their logo makers to business cards, brochures, shirts, stationery, website, promotional products, labels, stickers, etc. directly on their website so you don’t have to spend the time to download and upload the assets.

Keep in mind that printing can be tricky because the colors you see on the screen may not be the same as it comes out on paper, especially if you use different vendors. Having the same service to design and print your logo can minimize unpleasant surprises, saving you time and money.

If you plan to use different vendors, check that the file formats provided by the logo maker are accepted so you don’t get locked into a single provider.

Final Thoughts

The various online logo makers offer easy and affordable options for creating a visual identity that can help you build brand awareness in your community and attract more customers.

Your logo, when applied to various customer touch points such as website, social media, third-party review sites, and offline promotional materials – can help you deliver a consistent customer experience that’ll help you augment your local presence and build trust.

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How To Supercharge Local SEO With Branding

You have read up on local SEO, done your keyword research, and optimized your website for search engines.

All good! But… why isn’t the search engine ranking for your local service business skyrocketing?

The truth is, your competitors are getting SEO savvy too. Everybody is chasing after the same keywords and reading the same how-to articles.

Now, we’re not saying don’t get your SEO ducks in a row – that’s the absolute minimum you need to do to thrive in today’s competitive market!

After all, your online traffic could suffer dramatically if you don’t get onto the first page of Google since 90% of searches don’t go past the first page of search results.

Meanwhile, spending a lot of money on ads may get you temporary results but they’re not nearly as cost-effective in the long-run as optimizing your website for organic searches.

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However, simply doing the basics is no longer enough to help you stand out from a large pool of service providers in local search results.

How can you capture the attention of your potential customers… and Google?

Turns out, they’re not that different!

Google considers user behavior as a signal of relevancy and uses it as a ranking factor, so what works for your audience will work for Google too!

How do people decide that they can trust a product or service provider?

In today’s crowded marketplace, we don’t have time to compare and research every single product or service. We take a shortcut by choosing those that we recognize.

We take a recognizable brand as a shorthand that we can trust the product or service. Have you noticed that when you’re looking for a product online, you often type in a brand name instead of the generic name? (E.g., Band-Aid, not self-adhesive bandages.)

When a website gets a high amount of brand queries (i.e., people use the brand name in their searches) compared to their competitors, Google takes it as a signal that it’s preferred over the others.

Since consumers prefer and search for brand names, Google gives them higher priority for all the terms they’re optimized for. As such, Google considers these sites to be more relevant and therefore, will rank them higher in relevant search results.

So, what can you do to build a brand for your local service business?

How To Create a Successful Brand For Your Local Service Business

First, keep in mind that establishing your brand is a long game. It’s not about making immediate sales.

The goal is to stay top of mind and position yourself as an expert. You want people to recognize your brand, remember it, and trust it. So when they need the services you provide, they’ll search for your business name.

Here’s how to build a brand that’ll capture the attention of your prospects and Google alike:

1. Choose a Unique And Memorable Business Name

If people can’t remember your business name, they won’t enter it into Google, right?

Your business name should be easy to recall and hard to misspell. For example, if you print out the website URL on a poster or say your URL on a radio ad, will your prospects be able to remember it clearly and spell it correctly?

When naming your business, also consider the names of your competitors. For example, if your business name is very similar to that of more established competitor, you’re likely to lose out on the SEO ranking.

In addition, include keywords in your brand name or URL if possible. This will not only aid recall but also signal to Google that your website is relevant to the search terms.

2. Deliver Great Services And Leverage Word Of Mouth

Providing outstanding services is the key to getting known for your expertise and building a stellar reputation that’ll benefit your business for years to come.

If you deliver great results, then your existing customers are likely to look you up online when they need your services again. Or they’d share their experience with others, who’d then search for you online. As a result, your brand queries will increase and Google will take notice.

Also, leverage the power of word of mouth by asking your happy customers to post online reviews about your business. This will increase your brand’s visibility on third-party sites, build brand recognition, and boost your credibility.

3. Create Value And Share It Everywhere

Creating value is one of the best ways to build trust and nurture relationships with your prospects and customers.

Publish relevant and helpful blog articles regularly (e.g., once a week) and don’t skimp on the promotional efforts. Share the content with your email list and on social media to build credibility while driving traffic back to your website.

You can also create videos to engage viewers and build a personal connection. It also helps you get found on YouTube and leverage the increasing popularity of video content on social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram.)

Select topics that allow you to showcase your expertise. Focus on helping your audience solve their problems rather than talking about your services – nobody wants to watch a 5-minute infomercial!

4. Engage With Your Community

As a local service business, you can enhance your brand by building relationships with the local community online and offline.

Participate in and/or sponsor local events and take advantage of the in-person interactions to build rapport with prospects. Take photos and videos then share them on your website, email newsletter, or social media to boost your local presence.

You can also join online neighborhood communities, such as Nextdoor, in which you can participate in conversations, add value, and become a trusted resource for topics in your area of expertise.

Conclusion

Establishing a unique and memorable brand can help you create a virtuous cycle that drives more traffic and improves your search engine ranking.

Of course, just building a brand and driving traffic isn’t going to bring you customers. You also need to dial in your lead generation and lead nurturing strategies to progress prospects down your sales funnel.

That’s why a lead generating website is such a critical component of SEO – when you drive traffic to your website, you want to get the highest ROI by capturing visitors’ information so you can follow up and close the sale.

Here at 99 Calls, we not only help you drive high-quality traffic but also build an optimized lead generation website to optimize your conversion rate. Learn more and request a free demo here.

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Grow Your Local Service Business With Multi-Channel Marketing

Is there a “right” marketing channel for promoting your local service business?

The truth is, it’s no longer enough to use just one or two marketing channels. Consumers are interacting with brands across a variety of platforms at different stages of their customer lifecycles and they expect to do the same with local service providers.

How can you be “everywhere” and meet your customers where they are?

What’s Multi-Channel Marketing?

Multi-channel marketing is the strategy of communicating and interacting with prospects and customers across a variety of channels, such as website, online ads, social media, direct mail, email, mobile app, print ads, etc.

It allows you to stay accessible to your target market and deliver your marketing message in the right place and at the right time.

Why Multi-Channel Marketing Works For Local Service Businesses

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to establish a presence on a variety of marketing channels, consider these benefits of multi-channel marketing:

  • More than 70% of consumers look up businesses in three or more channels before making a purchase. It’s important that prospects can find your information on the platforms of their choice.
  • Being present on multiple channels will allow your information to be found by more prospects.
  • People need to see a marketing message more than 10 times for it to have a long-term effect. Showing your ads on multiple channels increases exposure, reinforces your brand image, and helps you stay top of mind.
  • Different channels have different advantages. For example, digital channels can deliver personalized promotions in real-time while offline channels are effective for building brand awareness.

The Most Effective Marketing Channels For Local Service Businesses

The next question, of course, is which channels to use. Here are the marketing channels most suitable for local service professionals:

Organic Search (SEO)

Did you know that 97% of consumers search online for local businesses? Getting found on relevant local search results by optimizing your website for SEO is one of the best ways to reach more prospects.

While Google is the most popular search engine, don’t forget to consider other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo.

Of course, driving traffic is only the first step. You also need a well-designed lead generation website so you can capture the leads and turn them into clients.

Relate article: Top SEO and PPC Trends For Local Service Businesses, Google E-A-T: the Key to Improving SEO For Your Local Service Business

Online Advertising

PPC ads allow you to set up highly targeted campaigns that are shown to prospects located in your service area and triggered by specific keywords in their searches. They can drive high-quality traffic that’s most likely to engage your services right away.

To optimize your PPC campaigns, you need to select the right keywords, target the right audience segment (e.g., by location, demographics, etc.), and optimize your bidding strategy.

Besides typical text ads, you can use Google Local Services Ads (LSA) to get your information shown in “position zero,” above all other paid and organic search results to capture searchers’ attention and generate more clicks.

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Related articles: How To Dominate First Page Of Google Search Results, How To Increase the Effectiveness of Your Local PPC Ads

Third-Party Review Sites

Consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and neighbors. Establishing a positive online reputation on review sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau) can help you attract prospects and increase conversion rate.

Since these sites have high domain authority (aka, “Google juice”,) your listing is more likely to appear close to the top of search results while the backlink to your site will help boost your SEO.

Start by claiming your business listing and optimizing your business profile on these sites. Then, implement an online review strategy to get happy customers to post reviews and manage your online reputation.

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Related article: How To Leverage Online Reviews To Grow Your Local Service Business

Online Communities/Local Listings

Target prospects in your service area, establish a local presence, and build relationships with the community by using sites such as Craigslist and Nextdoor.

These platforms give you a no- or low-cost way to reach the local community. You can get in front of prospects that are searching for the particular service you provide or build trust with your target market.

Due to the different nature of these sites, they have varying guidelines. Follow the rules and develop a strategy for each platform so you can reach the right audience with the most appropriate messaging.

Related article: How To Generate Leads For Your Local Service Business on Craigslist and Nextdoor

Lead Generation/Pay-Per-Lead Services

Platforms such as HomeAdvisors, Thumbtack, CraftJack, etc. connect local businesses with customers that are looking for service professionals in specific geographic areas.

These services vary from one vendor to another, e.g., pay-per-lead vs. monthly fee; exclusive vs. shared leads; verified vs. non-verified leads. You should select the type of service based on your needs, budget, and resources.

Here are some top lead generation sites for plumbers, painter, electricians, HVAC contractors, handyman, and carpet cleaning services.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to nurture customer relationships, increase credibility, stay top of mind, and build loyalty. In fact, it’s almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in customer acquisition!

Sign up for an email service (don’t send email campaigns from your personal email account!) to ensure high deliverability and leverage various features such as mobile-friendly templates, automation, segmentation, and analytics to optimize your results.

Use emails to share valuable content, deliver personalized offers, and ask for reviews. Be consistent with your mailing schedule to stay top of mind and nurture relationships with your subscribers.

Related article: How To Use Email Marketing To Promote Your Local Service Business

Social Media

Since most consumers are already using social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) to connect with friends and ask for recommendations, you should make it easy for prospects to look you up and interact with you on these platforms.

Set up a business page and complete your company profile. Research local keywords and use the appropriate hashtags to increase exposure to users in your service area.

While you can use PPC ads on social media to promote your services, don’t forget the “social” part! You should focus on interacting with your followers, increasing engagement, and building relationships on these platforms.

Mobile Apps and Text

More consumers are interacting with businesses and making purchases via their mobile devices. Mobile apps, messaging apps, and SMS are great ways to reach prospects and customers in real-time to deliver the right message in the right place and at the right time.

SMS messages have a 98% open rate and you can also use it to boost engagement on other channels (e.g., email.) Meanwhile, mobile apps allow you to send push notifications and leverage other mobile-specific features (e.g., geo-fencing, autofill) to improve customer experience and increase sales.

Offline Channels

There are many offline marketing channels you can use to increase brand awareness and build relationships with your customers, such as:

  • Local events: boost your local presence by hosting or participating in community events. You can use the opportunity to showcase your services, build your email list, and get prospects to connect with you through other online channels so you can continue building relationships.
  • Direct mail: done strategically, direct mail has almost 4 times the open rate when compared to email. Choose the right kind of format that’s appropriate for your budget, offerings, and target audience. Don’t forget to write engaging copy to drive conversion.
  • Signage: vehicle decals, yards signs, branded apparel or products, billboards, local print ads, and posters are just some examples of signage you can use to build a local presence and increase brand awareness. Include your website URL or a QR code whenever appropriate to drive traffic to your website and capture leads.
  • Yellow Pages: you can claim a listing for free or pay a small fee for a highlighted listing (which is different from an ad.) The fee depends on your location and you can also get priority listing on YP’s online directory.

Keys To Multi-Channel Marketing Success

Multi-channel marketing is highly effective since you can create synergy among the different touch points to amplify results. Here’s how to make the most of your multi-channel marketing efforts:

  • Research about your audience to create the most effective marketing message and offers.
  • Choose the right channels to meet your target market where they’re at.
  • Be consistent with your brand image and messaging across all channels to deliver a seamless customer experience.
  • Integrate your campaigns across channels to increase engagement and exposure.
  • Use retargeting ads (e.g., on Facebook) to show specific offers to prospects who have already visited your website.
  • Use both online and offline channels to enhance each other for a seamless customer journey.

You should have a lead-generating website to which you can direct online traffic and capture prospects’ information. This will allow you to continue to build trust and nurture relationships through other channels (e.g., email.)

Last but not least, track your traffic source and conversion rate to see which channels yield the best results so you can focus your budget and efforts.

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How To Design and Use a Logo To Market Your Local Service Business

There are many things to juggle when you’re running a local service business (e.g., painter, plumber, electrician, cleaner) and designing a logo may not be at the top of your to-do list.

However, a well-designed logo is a key component in your marketing toolkit. It helps you establish a consistent presence in the community and become instantly recognizable to prospects and customers.

Here’s what you should know when creating a logo for your local service business:

Why Should You Have a Logo?

In today’s crowded marketplace, a standout logo design can help you capture prospects’ attention while communicating your brand value and expertise effectively.

Here are some benefits of using a well-designed logo in your marketing:

  • Create a strong first impression: Americans are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day and brands have just 2 seconds to pique prospects’ interest. A visually appealing logo builds brand awareness and increases brand recognition so you can stand out from your competition.
  • Deliver a consistent customer experience: a logo creates a sense of familiarity that builds trust and fosters customer relationships. A consistent brand presence also helps improve customer loyalty and retention for your service business.
  • Enhance brand recognition across customer touch points: most prospects and customers will interact with your brand online and offline. When you use a logo on the various online platforms (e.g., website, social media, online directories, review sites) and offline marketing materials, you can establish a consistent presence that builds brand awareness and reinforce your brand identity.

DIY Logo Design For Your Local Service Business

If you want to take a stab at creating your own logo, follow these steps to set a solid foundation for the design process:

  • Get inspiration from logos of other businesses in your industry.
  • Consider your ideal customers’ preferences and use design elements that speak to the target market. E.g., what represents “expert” or “trustworthiness” to them?
  • Express your message and brand identity in the logo design.
  • Make the logo clean and functional – it should be scalable, easy to reproduce, memorable, and distinctive.
  • Use production-friendly color options. E.g., a five-color logo may look great but the printing cost will be very high.
  • Consider how your business name affects the layout of the logo.
  • Illustrate the key benefits of your services with graphic elements.
  • Avoid using clip art and trendy looks.

There are many online “DIY” logo design tools you can use to create your logo. When selecting a logo maker, consider its usability, variety of templates and design elements, customer support, downloadable file formats, and the availability of other branding tools (e.g., business card template.)

Here are some of the top online logo design services:

  • Vistaprint Logo Maker – https://www.vistaprint.com/logoMakerService: choose from a variety of general logos and then customize as you wish for only $20.00. Of course, Vistaprint will try to upsell other products, but if you want business cards, letterhead, or even shirts, or pens, this is a one-stop shop.
  • LogoMix – https://www.logomix.com/step1: similar to Vistaprint, LogoMix offers a large variety of semi-customizable logos for $39.95, though they often have promotions to lower this price. And like Vistaprint you can get your new logo printed on all kinds of merchandise.
  • BrandCrowd – https://www.brandcrowd.com/: for more variety, have a look at BrandCrowd. BrandCrowd lets you design logos online starting at $45, or if you wait a day or two, you may get an email for a discounted rate.
  • DesignCrowd – https://www.designcrowd.com/: get a custom designed logo starting at $109. If you know what you want and willing to pay for it then consider DesignCrowd for that custom design.
  • FreeLogoDesign: choose from a variety of logo templates and create your logo with its user-friendly editor. The free plan gives you a 200×200 pixel transparent PNG file and for $49, you’ll get high-resolution files (PNG and JPG), a resizable SVG file, the ability to update and re-download, and the option to add on a social media kit.
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  • Canva: use your own graphic elements, choose from its range of logo templates, or design from scratch with the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. The entire process is free if you use your own images and graphic elements. Otherwise, use Canva’s free elements or access the premium graphics for just $1. You can download the design in popular file formats or invite others to collaborate with you on the platform.
  • Tailor Brands: streamline your branding process with this comprehensive toolbox. Besides logo design, you also have access to business card tool, branded business deck, presentation template, and more. The Basic plan costs $3.99 per month and Standard plan is $9.99 per month. If you cancel the subscription, you still keep the rights to the assets.
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  • 99designs : create a “contest” and choose from a variety of concepts submitted by multiple designers. You’ll then provide feedback and hone your favorites before choosing a winner. The Basic package starts at $299 and you’ll get production-ready files for your other branding projects.

How To Apply Your Logo To Your Marketing Materials

A logo is a “visual shorthand” that helps enhance your local presence and make your brand instantly recognizable to clients and prospects.

Here’re how you can leverage your logo to reinforce a consistent brand image and promote your local service business:

  • Put the logo on your online properties, such as website, email newsletters, and mobile app. Use the logo design (e.g., color palette, font) to inform the look and feel of these customer touch points.
  • Use the logo as the avatar and/or cover photo for your company’s social media profiles, e.g., Facebook business page or YouTube channel, to build a consistent omnichannel presence.
  • Upload the logo to your online directory listings and profiles on third-party review sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, BBB) to increase brand recognition.
  • Put the logo on t-shirts and have your employees wear them when they’re on the job. This will not only make them your “walking billboards” but also reinforce a sense of professionalism.
  • Create items such as magnets, pens, mugs, etc. with your logo and contact information to give to your customers.
  • Apply the logo on decal or vinyl wrap for your vehicles to augment your brand’s local presence wherever you go.

Conclusion

A well-designed logo is a key component in your branding and marketing strategy. It helps you stand out from your competition and attract the right clients to your business.

When used in all the customer touch points, a logo helps you bridge your online and offline presence, stay top of mind, and reinforce relationships with your market.

Don’t forget to leverage the brand recognition you have built up to drive traffic to your website and capture prospect information with an optimized lead-generating website so you can follow up and close the sale.

Uncategorized

How To Optimize Your Local Business Website For Voice Searches

As a local service business (e.g., painter, plumber, electrician, landscaper), you may wonder how you should focus your marketing resources to get more leads and generate more sales.

You probably know by now that most people search online for… pretty much anything! In fact, 97% of consumers go online to find a local business.

SEO marketing isn’t news but here comes the plot twist – voice search!

Did you know that 58% of consumers have used voice search (e.g., Alexa, Siri, Google Home) to find local business information within the last year while 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily?

Not to mention, an increasing number of consumers are using mobile devices to look up local businesses and voice searches now account for 20% of all mobile searches.

In order to get your local service business found by high-quality prospects that are ready to hire a professional like you, it’s becoming more important to get featured in voice search results.

The biggest challenge, however, is that voice searches only deliver the top ranking results. Businesses that can get to “position zero” in relevant search results have a much better chance of being mentioned in voice searches.

It’s, therefore, more important than ever to get your SEO ducks in a row so your website gets top rankings in relevant local search results.

Here’s what you can do to move the needle for your local SEO ranking:

1. Format Your Content For Featured Snippets

Google’s featured snippets (or answer boxes) are prominently displayed in “position zero” of SERPs and used as answers in many voice searches.

To format your content so it’s shown as featured snippets, you should use the appropriate header tags, include relevant long-tail keywords in the headers, use lists or short paragraphs of text, and put data in tables.

Also, keep the content for featured snippets concise – the most common length is just 40 – 50 words long.

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2. Create Content Based On Commonly Asked Questions

Consumers’ search habits have evolved dramatically since the days when users would type a bunch of keywords into a search box.

Today, searchers typically ask the voice assistance a question – just like they would to another human being. Therefore, your content should be written conversationally based on natural language questions.

Research how your ideal customers phrase their queries and identify the long-tail keywords they’d use when asking questions related to your topic of expertise and the services you provide.

For example, you can survey your customers, read social media posts, and look at customer reviews to find out the relevant key phrases to incorporate into your website content.

3. Increase Prominence With Online Reviews

Getting listed on Google’s local pack and having favorable star ratings gives you a better chance of being featured in voice search results.

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Claim your listings in online directories and ask customers to rate your business on third-party review sites (e.g., Yelp, BBB) to increase your business’s prominence. In addition, boost your credibility and improve your SEO by getting your business mentioned in the local press or publications.

Don’t leave your online reputation up to chance – manage it proactively by optimizing your online profiles, responding to comments or reviews, and implementing an online review strategy to get more good reviews.

4. Optimize Your Website For Mobile SEO

Since Google has implemented mobile-first indexing, websites optimized for mobile user experience tend to get ranked higher in search results.

To improve mobile SEO, you should use a responsive website template, optimize all the assets, remove unnecessary images, and reduce site load time. Also, ensure that all the content is legible on the small screen and keep your content concise since most mobile users want to get quick answers while on the go.

In addition, you can leverage mobile-specific features, such as tap-to-call, location services or geo-fencing, and autofill to further streamline user experience while making it easy for prospects to get in touch with you.

5. Include Local Information

To increase the relevance of your content, incorporate local information, keywords, and verbiage to signal proximity to search engines so your website will more likely be featured in voice search results (e.g., when users ask questions such as “[ service ] near me.”

Insert local key terms into the title and meta description tags and use long-tail keywords to delineate the content topically and geographically. Put the local keywords as close to the beginning of a tag as possible to avoid it being truncated in search results.

Keep your website fresh by publishing timely local content. For example, a landscaper can create blog posts on topics related to the local weather conditions and how it affects plants.

If you’re sponsoring or participating in local events, publish a write-up on your blog. You can also piggyback on local news events and share insights related to your area of expertise.

6. Keep Your Content Focused and Simple

Piling on keywords is no longer the best way to get ranked in search results. Instead, focus on a small list of keywords that’d make the most impact on your ranking.

You should also understand the search intent of your ideal customers so you can target search terms that are not only relevant but also match the searchers’ customer journey.

In addition, you can append modifiers to common keywords associated with your services (e.g., “best plumber in [ city ]” or “top electricians in [ town ]”) to match the way many consumers phrase their queries.

Conclusion

The popularity of voice searches presents a great opportunity for local businesses that can rank high in search engine results.

The key is to stay current with the latest SEO best practices so you can consistently improve your website, content, and online presence to get the top rankings in relevant search results.

Also, ensure that your website is set up to turn the online traffic into leads so you can maximize the ROI of your marketing budget.

Sounds like a lot of work? We get it.

That’s why here at 99 Calls, we stay up-to-date with the latest in Local SEO marketing and Local PPC advertising so you can focus on servicing your clients and doing what you do best.

We help local service area businesses, not only get found online by high-quality prospects but also ensure that they have a highly-optimized and mobile-responsive lead generating a website to maximize conversion rates.

Learn more about our Local SEO and Local PPC services or request a demo to see how 99 Calls can help you get more leads.

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Top SEO and PPC Trends For Local Service Businesses in 2019

As a local service provider (e.g., plumber, contractor, electrician, landscaping service) you may find it rather challenging to keep up with the many changes that Google has recently introduced to both its advertising platform and search algorithms.

With limited time and resources for SEO marketing and PPC advertising, what should you do to make the most of your budget?

What are the most impactful tactics you can use to move the needle?

Google has developed many new features to support local businesses and help them get found by potential clients. It’s therefore important to understand the latest SEO and PPC trends so you can stay competitive and stand out from your competition in 2019 and beyond:

1. Optimize Website For Mobile Users

As more and more consumers are searching for local businesses on their smartphones, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices.

In fact, 88% of consumers that search for local products or services on a mobile device call or visit a business within 24 hours. In addition, Google’s mobile-first indexing gives higher ranking to mobile-optimized websites in search engine results.

To boost your website’s mobile SEO, use a mobile-responsive template, remove interstitial popups, reduce page load time, optimize all assets (e.g., images,) improve the content’s legibility, use HTML 5 for video and animation (instead of Flash), and leverage mobile-specific features such as tap-to-call to enhance user experience.

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2. Optimize Content For Voice Search

50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 while 2 in 5 adults are already using voice search at least once a day. Not to mention, voice searches account for 20% of all mobile searches.

Since voice searches only present the top entries, it has become even more important to create content that will rank high in relevant search engine results.

To increase the chances of getting found on voice searches, you should create content based on commonly asked questions, write your copy conversationally, position and format the content to signal relevance (e.g., by using header tags and bullet points) keep the content concise, use long-tail keywords, and include local information or keywords.

3. Create Content Based On Google’s E-A-T Guidelines

Google’s most recent Page Quality Rating Guideline focuses heavily on E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s used as a ranking signal when determining a website’s position in search results.

Local service businesses can improve their E-A-T by publishing unique high-quality relevant information. You can also leverage relevant user-generated content to signal credibility and share personal experience or success stories to position yourself as the subject matter expert.

In addition, you can increase the trustworthiness of your website by getting listed and rated on third-party review sites, such as BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Yelp. You should also invest in your site’s technical security, e.g., by installing an SSL certificate and including trust seals on transaction pages.

4. Leverage AI-Driven Features To Optimize ROI

AI-driven technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, are used by many PPC platforms (e.g., Google and Facebook) to analyze user data and help advertisers optimize ad spend.

Thankfully, most of these platforms are doing the work for you so you don’t have to worry about parsing through an endless stream of data or purchasing expensive technologies.

For example, you can optimize conversion rates and ROAS (return on ad spend) with Google’s automated bidding feature, which adjusts the bids automatically based on real-time data. You can also leverage Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), which use machine learning technologies to optimize ad copy by showing contextual content and increasing the reach of your ads.

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5. Implement Customer-Centric Targeting

Customer experience will become an increasingly important factor that affects consumers’ decision-making process. In fact, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer experience.

PPC ads and SEO copy need to be audience-centric rather than keyword-focused. For instance, audience targeting (e.g., by geographic location) will take priority while search intent will be used as a factor to help deliver the most relevant information to searchers.

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Customer-centric targeting also gives you the opportunity to go beyond just making a one-time sale. You can also cultivate brand awareness and build brand affinity to stay top of mind – which will help you not only increase conversion rate but also improve client retention and boost customer lifetime value.

6. Don’t Overlook the Basics

Text ads are still one of the most effective formats in PPC advertising. However, one size doesn’t fit all when you’re using today’s sophisticated segmentation technologies, which allows you to deliver a highly personalized experience.

Create copy and tailor the CTAs of your text ads to speak to each audience segment (e.g., based on specific search terms or location) in order to deliver a coherent and highly relevant user experience that will help optimize ROI.

In addition, if you’re using responsive search ads (RSAs), make sure that all the headlines and descriptions can work well together regardless of how they’re combined to avoid a disjointed experience.

7. Use Remarketing Ads

Retargeting ads are highly effective in increasing click-through-rates and conversion rates. They allow you to reach prospects that have already visited your website and shown interest in your services.

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For most businesses, Facebook and Google Display Network offer the greatest reach for remarketing campaigns. Just like any other PPC campaign, your ad creative should be aligned with the objective (e.g., drive conversion, build brand awareness) the users’ previous interaction with your business (e.g., the content of a page they have seen) and the landing page content to get the best results.

For example, for a visitor who has read about a particular service on your website, your ad should mention the same offering. This can help increase your conversion rate by delivering a coherent user experience.

8. Leverage New Features

PPC advertising platforms, especially Google and Facebook, are constantly rolling out new features to help advertisers generate more engagement from their ads.

Stay current with the latest ad formats and audience targeting options so you can increase the effectiveness of your ads.

In particular, ad extensions work well for local businesses. They allow you to include additional links, such as location extensions, call extensions, and site link extensions (e.g., to highlight your services) while increasing the real estate your ad occupies on the search results page without additional cost.

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9. Get Shown In “Position Zero”

Google has been creating more opportunities and offering more features for local business to get ranked favorably in search results.

You can gain more exposure to local searchers who are looking for your services by getting your ad onto “position zero,” which is above the regular text ads and organic search results.

For example, by claiming your Google My Business listing, your information can be displayed in the “local pack” at the top of search result pages. You can also place Local Services Ads (LSAs), which is Google’s pay-per-lead advertising platform for local businesses. It will put your ad at the very top of relevant search results, above other text ads and the local pack.

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Conclusion

Optimizing for local searches is the key to getting found by prospects looking for your services and generating more high-quality leads.

Besides getting your business ranked high on local search results and driving traffic, you also need to ensure that your website is set up to capture leads and generate sales. Otherwise, your SEO and PPC efforts will be all for naught.

That’s why here at 99 Calls, we not only help you rank high in search engine results with a mobile-optimized website and by getting listed on key review sites but also set up a lead generating website that’ll help increase your conversion rate.

Learn more about generating leads for your local service business or request a demo to see how we can help you maximize your online advertising dollars.