Sell Global, Think Local

By Brooke Horowitz, Account Supervisor

As one of the fastest growing verticals in search, people are starting to see the value local search can provide to their lead generation and costs. Not exactly sure what classifies local search? It’s basically targeting your audience by region to drive more relevant visitors who are more likely to convert.

This year we’ve seen everyone become more localized – all of the big search engines enhanced their local targeting and maps features. Internet yellow pages are now dominating the paid search landscape and phones allow you to easily search on the go.

We’ve also seen enhanced local data, helping us determine how and where to target consumers – Google Insights for Search and Google geographic performance reports are just a few. With all of these tools at our fingertips, we wanted to help our clients take advantage. Since local search works best for retailers with many locations, we thought putting all of this together into a local search plan would be easy… Months later we were close, but not yet there.

What was the hold up? We were developing a unique solution for the national brand’s corporate contacts. However, we also needed to consider one minor factor – the local sales people that would be buying into this solution. To make this work, we had to determine how to help the big brand empower their sales channels to take advantage of local search. Below are some tips:

Step #1 – Engage the sales channels. We helped develop a co-op program where the corporate channel would match dollars invested by their local sales branches. This let the sales channels know that they would continue to receive corporate support, on top of their individual investment.

Step #2 – Educate the local sales channels. We presented the solution directly to the local sales people during planning meetings, instead of only having the corporate contacts pitch for us. Since paid search knowledge ranged across each branch, we included a search 101, trends, historical performance, insights into how we develop a local search campaign and what our solution would do for their business.

Step #3 – Encourage fresh local content. Landing pages that are constantly updated with locations, maps, promotions, store hours, phone number and competitive advantages help engage the potential customer.

Step #4 – Adjust response tracking. While we continued to track leads submitted from the website, potential customers are more likely to call the brand directly in a local environment. We set up local search tracking numbers to gauge lead volume to each individual branch location. We also tracked additional on-site actions that may drive foot traffic to the brick and mortar stores.

Step #5 – Ramp up reporting access. Local sales channels are like small businesses, who want immediate access to how their dollars are performing. By providing the knowledge, the branch salespeople are more comfortable with their investment.

Step #6 – Seek feedback. The local sales person is the expert in what works in their area regarding local neighborhood language, products and competition. This is information that even the best search tools may not be able to provide accurately.

Step #7 – Communicate success. In a time when companies are taking a closer look at ad spending, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the entire organization knows the results of the program. This will help with buy-in from sales channels that are not yet sold.

It will take time to see how this strategy plays out in 2009. However, by showing the big brand that we can create a solution tailored to their local needs, we’re already taken a step in the right direction.


Copyright © 2008 Resolution Media, Inc. All rights reserved.