One of the objections we hear the most from potential clients is that their primary means of finding new clients is through word of mouth. Upon hearing this, it used to be that we’d push back saying that local SEO is a much more effective way of being found by clients who don’t already know your business. Over time however, our views have evolved quite a bit.
Below I’m going to talk about just how important digital marketing is and just how strong the tie between that and word of mouth marketing is.
Tactics such as setting up a cool social media ad or experimenting with AI in ecommerce may sound more exciting (and like quicker wins). (originalwordofmouth.com)
First let’s look at how a customer’s research is a factor in word of mouth marketing; according to BrightLocal customers say that positive reviews of a product or company make them more likely to use that business a whopping 91% of the time in the B2B space. What happens after that though? Things like Google, Google My Business, a Google Map and a ton of other aggregators and review sites take over. That’s because things like Google My Business are simply word of mouth in the digital space and a campaign there can have a more targeted and direct reach on platforms like Google.
Typical behavior suggests that those potential customers then learn more about a product – and this is where local SEO efforts plays a massive role. For instance, when it comes to roofing in our area, a Denver SEO expert will tell you that there are about 5,000 roofers licensed to work in Colorado. With all that interference out there, if your local SEO isn’t working for you and you don’t get found in organic Google search or Google My Business, review effectiveness will fall off significantly. Second, how do we get those reviews for a local business?
Finding a good local SEO agency will tell you that getting found for the things that people search Google for – not just your company name – is vital. With the best local SEO campaign firing on all cylinders, Denver SEO for local businesses like roofers will have them showing up in top positions in search engines for things like, “roofers Denver CO” which gets 500 searches per month on average.
Once a business brings aboard a client they then have the opportunity to help them build their reviews. This includes Google Maps and Google My Business optimization which are key places that online reviews are shown. This also includes Facebook reviews in addition to other social media outlets.
We all know Google, and how it has its fingers in every part of the online pie, but what is Google My Business? (yoast.com)
Google My Business, Apple Maps and Bing Places – among other interactive map platforms – have quickly become some of the most powerful places where a person finds business listings – including your competitor down the street. These platforms harness the knowledge of information in a business profile and couple it with reviews from customers near a particular zip code so the learn and become more informed. They also provide a business owner with a way to respond to client compliments or negative reviews which keeps their online presence transparent and their customer service tactics open.
Another advantage of these platforms is providing a local citation and a bit of local link building. For each business listing there is an opportunity to improve a local ranking factor in search engines with local links back to your businesses website which improves organic search and is one of the SEO tools and tactics which can bring new customers to your online or physical location through Google.
With a massive decrease in the amount of face-to-face interactions due to Covid-19 over the past several months, online reviews and requests for recommendations has become even more important for local businesses. The same holds true for local SEO – the more online research people do for a business, the more information they’re able to find. Google My Business is often the first stop in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Statcounter reported in 2020 that Google’s search engine market share worldwide is a whopping 92.18% (SOURCE)
A business should be hiring a local SEO company to help navigate those waters so that they can focus on actually running their business. At X3, we are a local business too and when we see someone like a plumber or roofer being dominated by a competitor, we know that the person running that business is a person we can help. It is our job to make sure that search engines like Google show your website and Google My Business shows your business listing first and moves your competitor or product to the second spot. We make sure that a searcher finds you using local keywords which contain things like your city or zip code.
Ever wonder where this whole Google Local thing came from and how it’s changed over time? Then come on in! (moz.com)
The final thing we’ll point to is cost. Let’s face it, on its face word of mouth marketing costs – zero. But does it? In terms of time and effort to share local business values, know how and service with a new client, there is a ton of work that goes into a business growth strategy to find a potential customer. Every minute spent on marketing takes away from a business’s ability to be involved in actually running that business. The cost in sweat equity can quickly go through the roof. This includes trying to do the complex task of managing their own SEO and social media. In fact, even as we go through this article, things like mobile search grow more and more important and a local keyword becomes more impactful since your phone knows your location. Your local ranking is the first thing you want someone nearby to see since many more people shop close-to-home (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) than anywhere else.
However, when local businesses are looking for affordable local SEO services we love showing an actual example of how the ROI on SEO works. Here’s a quick example:
There are an average of 50,000 Google searches focus on roofing, roof repair, roof replacement, product, etc. in Colorado each month. So let’s say that 5% of those local searches find a particular roofing company, 5% of that 5% become leads and 50% (typical rate of conversions for Denver roofing companies) of that 5% become customers.
50,000 (searches) X 5% = 2,500
2,500 X 5% = 125
125 X 5% = 6.25
6.25 X 50% = ~3.125 new clients per month
With the average Denver roof replacement price being about $15,000 that means an estimated ~$550,000 in a year.
When broken down like that, hiring an expert local SEO company with their tools to drive traffic, reviews and more word of mouth is certainly affordable. Your marketing efforts should be focused on the overall value of improving your local search ranking since the return can be so high.
The Bottom Line
Word of mouth marketing is a vital part of establishing trust with both existing and potential clients. However, the effectiveness of much of that trust is the ability for people to then find a business through utilization of the best local SEO services available. Reviews and local search engine marketing work hand in hand to drive revenue and success with any business.