How to use 'local search' to attract residents
Ever wonder why the Internet was coined the “Information Superhighway”? Just like the highway near you, there is a lot of traffic that navigates the corners of the internet. The speed they travel is SUPER and the quantity of traffic is SUPER.
And guess what? If you look closely on the map of the Internet, you'll notice your own city or town has its very own segment of traffic made up of local people, looking for and buying local stuff. This is called “Local Search.”
I don't think a community in today's age would be caught dead without a sign on their local highway to help capture drive by traffic. Everybody knows site signage is crucial to success.
But, how many communities are forgetting to put a good sign up on their local superhighway? Hopefully by the end of this article, you'll not only realize the importance of having a sign on the superhighway but you'll understand the most effective strategy you can use starting today to begin acquiring new residents from the Internet in an effective and efficient manner.
Recent advances in search engines now make it extremely easy for people searching to find something right in their backyard…including senior living and senior care.
Here are a few interesting statistics about Local Search that every community should know:
- 90% of online commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases (proprietary research / comScore)
- 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore)
- 80% of budgets are spent within 50 miles of the home (DMA / proprietary)
- 74% of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey Group)
- 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google)
- 66% of American use online local search, like Google local search to locate local businesses (TMP / comScore / proprietary average)
- 61% of local searches result in purchases (TMP / comScore)
- 54% of Americans have substituted the internet and local search for phone books (comScore networks)
Local Search is powerful. You should be spending as much time and effort as possible to be as well or better represented on the search engines as you are on your own street.
Assuming you already have a website, there are only 3 steps to remember in order to be successful with Internet marketing:
1. Capture Traffic. Remember the highway metaphor. Right now, people in your community are searching for your services in your market. The traffic is passing by and they'll stop at a website that's represented on a search engine that appears to solve their need or want. You can do this through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and Local Business Listings. SEO, PPC and Local Business Listings all require knowledge and skill to fully optimize. When done properly, you should be listed on the first pages of Google, Yahoo, MSN and as many local search engines as possible. Think of this as putting up a sign to intrigue and capture traffic.
2. Convert Traffic. All the traffic in the world is useless if you can't convert it into a paying customer. Many operators make the mistake of thinking the job is done just because they have listings on the first pages of the search engines. BIG MISTAKE! Once you have the traffic on your website or landing page, you must convert that traffic into a phone call, an email inquiry, tour or visit. After you've done that, you must make sure your staff is HIGHLY trained to convert the sale. You must treat an inquiry coming from the Internet every bit as seriously as someone stopping by, a call from Yellow Pages, direct mail or any other source of leads.
3. Analyze & Optimize. Internet marketing is very easy to track performance on. Through analytics, you can easily see exactly how many people visit your web pages, where they came from, what actions they took and even track which ones become new residents and customers. Always be analyzing this data and optimizing your online strategy. You can see big changes in results by making minor changes to your campaign, which can be done almost instantly due to the nature of the Internet.
If all this seems overwhelming to you, it's OK. You're not alone! Internet marketing is a rapidly changing world that requires constant attention. You can spend a lot of money and get little or no results from your efforts. The best advice I can give you is to outsource this to a company that can prove they know what they're doing in senior living and senior care. Sure, you'll pay a service fee, but if you use the right company it's an investment that you can monitor down to the penny your return on investment.
Kevin M. Williams is the president of SeniorMarketing.com™.