By Stephen Ebert
We talk to ReachLocal, which provides a tailored approach to making pay-per-click services work for SMBs.
As businesses increasingly make their way online, competition for customers continues to grow, and for small businesses, targeting them becomes more and more difficult. That’s where ReachLocal comes in. Introducing a customised consultation process combined with a tailored approach to pay-per-click searches for small local and medium businesses.
Anyone taking their business online has a number of tools available to make use of in order to turn a profit. A common tool is pay-per-click campaigns and keywords. Webmasters and online business owners are able to direct traffic to their website using keywords. The advertiser then pays the website owner if their advert is clicked on.
It’s a system that works better for some than others. But with so many online users around, those clicks don’t always generate into sales.
The key to increasing sales is to instead target locally, by understanding what those closest to you are looking for, and then figuring out how to provide it.
“ReachLocal works with new businesses in regards to the objectives they have,” John Mazur CEO of Europe for ReachLocal told BizGene.
At the core of ReachLocal’s strategy is search, and one-to-one consultation with the aim of discovering more about how to help each business. It’s a tailored approach that, with a little long term investment has proven to work well.
“We believe search is the number one vehicle in the UK market for businesses to put their first pounds into. And the reason is because its measurable through our platform.” Mazur says.
“From as little as £300 – £500 we can take their product or service and do a very targeted campaign, and measure the result both in terms of search interest and time spent on the website, and offline conversion. From there, if we start to get results we can help build the budget.”
It worked for Rupert Crawford, CEO of Six Physio. After spending money on pay-per-click with little return, he turned to ReachLocal. Since using its services, Six Physio is enjoying a 70 percent conversion rate from those that get in touch, adding 20-25 new customers each week.
The process for helping SMBs
“We have an internet marketing consultant (IMC) who goes through a training program for a period of two weeks. We have Google visit our training programme, work with them and they go out and visit a small business and assess objectives in that business,” Mazur explained to BizGene.
“Lets say for example, a physician is spending £1,500 a month. In that first month we will see every search that resulted in a visit that was abandoned or a visit that ended in an appointment. It’s the key words and search terms that are driving the visits and the appointments that matter. The system will look at what key words are resulting in these post click activities twice a day and start to reallocate the budget,” Mazur says.
Like any business plan, the ReachLocal process requires its share of patience if businesses are to fulfill long-term objectives. There’s no point in going in for the short term. Businesses need to look at the wider picture to guarantee results.
“Over time what the businesses see is the number of calls they are getting for the budget is going up. The number of calls and emails and patients they’re getting is going up”, Mazur explains.
According to Mazur, the focus, and key to creating and maintaining a successful online campaign is to deliver the kind of personal service currently lacking, preventing business and website owners going down the much-tried trial and error route to online marketing.
“We do an online campaign, and instead of looking at the clicks and instead of looking at your position on Google and Yahoo – it’s looking at every click and saying what is that click leading to? Is it a visit? How long are they staying on the page? Are they coming back to the website? Are they calling the business and scheduling an appointment?
“The entire focus is on what happens beyond that click. Our product in its essence sets up these tracking capabilities to track phone calls, to track emails to track form submissions and tie those back to the key searches people are doing that make those.
And far from being restricted to email and phone calls, the ReachLocal service is a personal one, where consultants visit business owners in person to discuss the strategy.
“We go and visit the business, we train our consultants, they have to really understand what the business does. We see how the programme is performing, how keywords are performing, how the business is performing and it goes from there. We learn as much from them as they learn from us,” Mazur was keen to tell BizGene.
One thing that Mazur is keen to point out is that good results don’t happen over night and that this process takes some time for SMBs to see any positive effects. But having said that once companies do start to see the benefits, they rarely look back. As Mazur explains, “The process is different for every business. If we can keep them for 60 days they stay with us for a long time. And it’s because of the results they get.”