How to Get More Revenue from Your Local Sales Network
July 6, 2010
Many of the B2B companies we work with use more traditional sales distribution channels. A local or regionally-based dealer network closes the final sale and provides support. Even with the advent of the Internet as a means to make information more readily-available, many B2B products are distinctly more complex, require local support and maintenance, and require a higher degree of trust before the purchase is made.
However, instant media combined with “old-school” ways to connect people usually creates a disconnect. In this case, a disconnect which can hurt sales and customer satisfaction.
Problems companies face with marketing locally through dealers
Local dealer networks provide B2B companies greater flexibility, but the downside can be the local dealers may not be aggressively marketing themselves. This may be because they do not have a dedicated marketing team member, or their attention could be diluted between several manufacturers.
People are looking for you locally, too
The manufacturer of “X” product may be marketing themselves on a national level, but what about the people looking for the product locally, since they’re used to buying from a local distributor (e.g. googling “blue widgets los angeles”). If your company is in Chicago and your Los Angeles sales agent isn’t marketing themselves online, how would you ensure your products or services get in front of the eyeballs of this potential customer in LA?
Quick fix for local leads – Pay per click
Pay-per-click marketing is the quick answer, because you can “bid” on those keywords in a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and ensure your business is visible. However, you will always be paying for those clicks. What if you could also eventually work your way into getting free clicks for these local sales leads?
Your long-term solution for local leads – SEO
Local SEO is becoming more visible in search engines, as Google/Yahoo/MSN realized certain types of purchases tend to be more local. For this reason you see snippets of maps included in search results. You can influence whether your company appears in these local map listings, and we’ll show you how to do it in a few easy steps.
1) Add your company to Google/Yahoo/Bing business map listings. You probably have your main branch, but get addresses for all your local sales agents. If you don’t want to use their home address, get them a mailbox.
2) Get the new addresses for these agents included in the major databases which supply listings to places like Yellow Pages, local directory websites, 411, etc.
3) Find out who is linking to the websites of your competitors. Search engines rely on the “popularity” of your website to determine if it should be ranked #1, #10, or #100 for a given search term like “blue widgets Los Angeles”. Your popularity is largely determined by what websites link to you. Having more important websites like news sources, industry associations, past clients, etc. linking to you puts you on the fast track for a search engine to consider you as a valuable resource. This piece of research can be time intensive and sometimes complicated to determine which websites linking to your competitors are what is making the difference. Getting these links to your website as well can be a challenge, but the long-term ROI can be phenomenal if your sales team can close deals.
4) Does your company appear to have a concrete presence in Los Angeles? Optimizing your company website so search engines clearly understand your connection to each of these local presences is crucial.
5) Get yourself added to other major directories like Yellow pages, and major local or regional sites. You want to make sure before you start paying for placement though, that the website your considering delivers quality visitors which will give you a positive ROI. Doing initial research on these sites’ potential to provide quality traffic which converts to leads is the first step. After you invest in some short term listings, track the results of these websites in your website analytics software to know which are valuable partners.
6) Get local reviews – some sites like Yelp have new features in place where reviews will only show if the reviewer is a regular contributor to their community, but search engines like Google/Yahoo/Bing allow reviews and a link to read them appears next to your company in the search engine listings. Encourage customers to leave reviews via an addition to your email signature line, in newsletters, or ask your best clients directly. Feedback on your business is another important component for search engines when considering your ranking for a local keyword search like “blue widgets Los Angeles”.
Maximize your online marketing ROI with local SEO
Local Search Engine Optimization can be challenging but the competition is much less than for the same keywords minus the local area (e.g. “blue widgets”). If the search engine results for these nationally-based “big money” keywords are clogged up with competitors much larger than you, going after these local keywords can provide you with much quicker results and a strong return on investment. WSI B2B Marketing offers local search engine optimization services. Contact us today for a free situation analysis and let us help design and implement a plan to get more leads to your local dealer networks.