Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

6 Steps For Selling Local Search Products To Businesses

Posted by Dan Vigil on January 30, 2008

Step 1. Choose The Right Prospects:

Search engine marketing (paying for keywords) is not for every business. With effective small business packages ranging from $150 to $2000 per month, the cost is significant for small businesses. You have to ask the ROI question when approaching a small business. How much revenue does the average sale generate? If you’re a flower shop or a dry cleaner and your average sale is $25, it’s going to take a lot more clicks to get a return on your investment. Use a 2% conversion rate to determine if an advertiser will make enough money to cover the cost of the campaign. If it costs $150 for 50 clicks ($3 per click) and you are getting a 2% conversion, each customer costs $150. It’s true that repeat business might result in future payback but prepared to explain that when selling to business owners with small ticket items. Paid local search campaigns are better suited to businesses that are selling high ticket items or service organizations such as home improvement services, legal services etc. Here’s a list of industries that tend to have a higher ROI on local search campaigns. Pick a category and go after it.

Step 2. Lead In With The Major Players:

Forget the name of your product, program or SEM company. Businesses have never heard of you. Lead in with “Google” and “Yahoo”. Remember, as an SEM salesperson,  you’ve “partnered” with these companies. Let your prospects know that first and you’ll be more likely to get the appointment. Try cold calling 10 businesses by telephone and you’ll see that there’s a genuine interest in marketing on Yahoo and Google. Most businesses may not know what “SEM” or “SEO” stands for but they use the major search engines every day.

Step 3. Print Search Results Before The Appointment:

Conduct a local search for the business you’re going to see and print out the results. Try searching for at least two keywords or phrases for the business. For example, if its a flooring company in Los Angeles, search for “carpets Los Angeles” and “tile floors Los Angeles”. It’s also good idea to run searches in surrounding cities, especially if the prospect comes up high in the organic (free) results when you run the first search. Put the printed results in a folder to take with you on the appointment.

Step 4. Prepare Sample Keywords & Geotargets:

This is a “suggested” list of keywords and geotargets (cities, areas etc.) that the client can use to start the campaign. 10 to 20 keywords and 5 cities would be ideal. The easiest way is to think of words that consumers might search for when looking for the clients products or services. There are also some on-line tools where you can pay anywhere from $269 to $599 per year to find effective keywords see Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery .  It’s a significant investment, but for the seasoned salesperson it’s well worth the cost to ensure the success of a campaign that can result in repeat business. The search engines themselves also offer free alternatives. Check out Google Suggest or Overture’s keyword selector tool (currently under construction). Once you have the list print it out and put in the same folder with the search results generated in step 3.

Step 5. The Presentation:

Don’t forget the folder! Take your time educating the client about local search. It’s helpful to show a generic search results page while explaining the difference between “Paid” or “Sponsored” results and “Organic” or “Free” results. Don’t be afraid to explain to the client that they can go directly to the search engines themselves and engage in the bidding and tracking process that your service provides. After they realize how much work and time is involved, they’ll appreciate the service your solution provides. Even if they’ll be paying $1 to $2 more per click, the hands on service and attention they receive will be well worth the investment. Lead into your search results pages (from step 3) by explaining that there could be local consumers right now searching for their products or services without knowing that the client exists. Hand the search results pages to them. You’ll find that most clients will take their time perusing the list for their competitors. After you’ve gone over your packages and pricing you can close the presentation and open the relationship with your suggested list of keywords to kick off the campaign.

Step 6. Follow Up:

Most sales executives will drop the ball here. Local search programs provide detailed reports, including keywords searched and clicks generated  on at least a monthly basis. The best programs will include customized landing pages with unique call in numbers which allow the campaign to be tracked from the click through to a call from the consumer. If these are not available you need to insist that the client track the source of incoming calls and sales. After 30 days of data you can make adjustments to the campaign, fine tuning the keywords and geotargets for better results. Effective campaigns will run for at least 90 days so you’ve got plenty of time to make adjustments if the campaign seems to be under-performing initially. If everything goes well you’ll be increasing the package at the end of the first 90 day run.

Here’s some other documents that might be helpful in your efforts to sell local search:

Nielsen Report On Local Search

Local Search Advertiser FAQ

“The Word Is Alive”
Sphere ItAddThis Social Bookmark Button


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