Marketing moves is, of course, a marketing blog. We cover all topics under marketing, whether they are digital or traditional or anything in between. The world of marketing is a big tent, and we all fit under it. However, being a business student and tuned into marketing as it presents itself to the world, it is easy to see how this is in many ways a misrepresentation. Marketing is not always Mad Men. In fact, most marketing is not Mad Men. Most marketing is small businesses doing their best to survive and thrive, trying to grow themselves in their local market and pick up a few customers. They aren’t spending millions on Super Bowl ads or integrating the newest cutting edge technology into their advertising (not usually, anyway).
For many of these businesses, locally based search engine optimization, or SEO, is a great way to get their brand in front of customers, especially for services that are necessarily geographically restricted. You can’t hire a plumber from California to fix your pipes in Indiana unless you’re willing to pay quite a bit in mileage. Rental industries, handymen, services – these sorts of businesses can thrive when they can get themselves in front of customers that are ready to buy. Since the services are seen similar to commodities a few good reviews is all it takes to get business.
Local SEO then is perfectly aligned to these goals. It is less competitive then national markets so smaller businesses can compete. It is oriented towards services that national companies tend not to be able to offer, or at least not to offer with the advantages that typically come from their economies of scale and reputation. It is also selling to customers that may have some local loyalty or affinity for small business that could potentially provide an advantage to these companies as well. All of these things make local SEO a prime goal for small businesses offering services.
With all this in mind, I spoke with Martin of Dad’s Dumpsters, a Cleveland dumpster rental company. Growing up, Martin saw his dad hard at work in his truck driving career. This inspired Martin to pursue his of CDL when he turned 21. After several years of working with Republic Waste Services, Martin and his dad started Dad’s Dumpsters to compete in the Cleveland dumpster rental market. Ever since Martin has been there to rent dumpsters to whomever needs them. Dad’s Dumpsters is just the sort of local company that can benefit greatly from locally focused SEO.
Think of the last time you were searching for a mechanic, for instance. You probably googled “mechanics near me” or something similar, and a lot of options popped up. Chances are you skipped over the first three sponsored listings and looked straight at the organic results. You probably clicked on the first two or three that came up, checked out their websites, looked at reviews, and went from there. You may also have looked at the box that comes up under the map on Google. You know the box. The one that lists the top three providers of whatever you searched in the area, complete with reviews, addresses, and phone numbers.
Being in that box is worth quite a bit to a local company. Being on the first page itself is a major accomplishment and no small change itself. Consider some recent studies. Search Engine People reports that the first organic result on Google typically receives about 33% of all traffic for that particular term. The amount of money this is worth of course depends on other metrics for your company – lead conversion rate, lifetime value of a customer, contribution margin, etc. – but being number one on Google is a huge source of leads for any business in any industry. That’s why businesses like Dad’s Dumpsters are smart to focus on this as a part of their strategy.
Rather than slogging it out with every other business in the area over limited eye space on billboards and magazine ads, its better to focus on prospects that are already looking to buy. If someone is searching for a dumpster in Cleveland, chances are they aren’t just thinking about using one, they already have a direct purpose in mind. When a business like Dad’s Dumpsters gets to the top page of Google, all those extra leads start coming in with no additional investment needed beyond what it takes to stay on top.
It is always inspiring to talk to entrepreneurs like Martin, especially within the context of marketing. Stories like his inspire me to pursue my own entrepreneurial goals so I too can build up my own business using what I’ve learned while in college. Whatever industry you are in, SEO is sure to be a boon to your business if you do it properly.