For the most part, managed services is a local business. The majority of MSP’s operate with almost all of their business coming from within 30 miles or so of their office.
And for good reason.
Although service delivery can now be done anywhere fairly easily – given the availability of remote control tools and networks of contractors – the sales and marketing of managed services is still more easily done on a local basis. Getting referrals, meeting people in person, etc. – all easier locally.
Even though most MSP’s are focused on their local markets, many are still ignoring one of the most important factors in getting found locally – having a local domain name.
What do I mean by a local domain name?
Local domain names are domains that include some reference to your market, such as BostonITSupport or ITSupportBoston. Instead, most MSPs tend to buy domain names that stress some particularly technology or their brand name. I did this for years at Everon, without ever taking advantage of local domain names.
Why such a big mistake? I’ll give you two reasons:
- Ease of getting ranked - it is far easier to get a local domain name ranked for a local business than it is to get a non-local domain name ranked. I’ve tested this and proved it over and over again, having achieved first page ranking in competitive markets in a week or two. This, of course, is not always the case – and is ultimately up to the search engines – but my experience is that generally it’s the rule.
- Rate of conversion from search to opportunity – this is the BIG reason. I was shocked to find in my analytics report how much higher “local” searches were converting to inbound leads versus “non-local” searches. I’ll provide some data to illustrate.
As you may know, I’ve spent a lot – well over half of a million dollars – marketing managed services online via Google AdWords and other platforms. I’ve also done a ton of optimization and content building for my sites to make sure they show up organically.
Thanks to the beauty of analytics, I’ve been able to run reports to see which keyword searches actually convert into good prospects and eventually paying customers. Here is what I found:
For my top performing non-local keyword searches – phrases like IT Support, IT Services, etc. – I had an average conversion rate of right about 2.7%
Now get this – for my top performing local keyword searches – phrases like IT Support Boston and IT Support Denver, etc. – I had an average conversion rate of about 53.77%
My local search terms convert at about 20 X the rate of my non-local search terms!!!
Talk about an eye-opener! It makes sense – people searching locally are clearly demonstrating the intent to find someone local to work with, so they take action when they find a good match in the search engine. Those using non-local terms are most likely much earlier in the buy cycle and not as focused on finding a short term solution.
If you aren’t using local domain names to get ranked for local search terms, you are missing a big opportunity.
PS – If you are a MSP that sells EHR services, or a physician shopping for EMR software for your practice, make sure you check out Electronic Medical Records Companies, a new informational site from Kutenda.
We are officially launching our Local Accelerator program to the Colorado public. Designed to accelerate online lead generation and sales for Colorado small businesses, this program promises to offer a complete Internet marketing makeover to one lucky local business every month!
The program combines fulfillment services with access to Kutenda’s Internet marketing tool-set and training to get your company successfully marketing online. We’ll be choosing one lucky company every month … Selected companies will receive over $9,000 in services at no cost and 3 months of free Kutenda access.
If you’re based in CO, submit your company here: http://kutenda.com/accelerator.html
According to new projections from Outsell, Inc., digital/online marketing will overtake print in 2010. Companies are projected to spend $119.6 billion on online and digital strategies. For small businesses, marketing online is a known challenge due to the intense learning curve, budgetary constrictions and the lack of available software. Kutenda has set out to change that with it’s Internet marketing tool-set for small businesses and the Local Accelerator program is making the extra leap locally by offering tools, services and training for free.
The Local Accelerator program includes all of the foundations for a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy that will drive leads and sales. We begin by creating a website or optimizing your existing website for lead generation and search engine rankings. Companies walk away with a list of campaigns, content and the tools, training and support to pick up where Kutenda’s fulfillment process ends.
• Promotional landing pages with automated response emails
• A prospect-focused email marketing campaign designed to convert
• Customizable email templates
• A search advertising pay-per-click campaign
• Live local search listing
• Optimized keyword list for specific products / services
• A knowledge base of Internet marketing best practices
In order to qualify, companies must be based in Colorado. We’re accepting submissions at http://kutenda.com/accelerator.html via a short form. Each monthly winner will be contacted directly by Kutenda’s director of training, Alex Ross. We are allowing companies to resubmit monthly for another chance to win.
Suggestions for increasing your chances of being chosen:
1) cross your fingers
2) grab your rabbit-foot key chain
3) send your intern on a hunt for the perfect four leaf clover
4) maybe eat a bowl of Lucky Charms… whatever it takes…
It’s always nice to get to know your neighbors — We here at Kutenda love doing just that! Our very own Online Marketing Coordinator, Emily Thompson, has a guest blog post on the Affinity Track Internet Promotion Blog! Affinity Track is located just around the corner from us here in Colorado.
Affinity Track focuses on providing quality search engine optimization and marketing services to their clients. By utilizing both organic SEO and effective paid search campaigns, they help businesses improve their performance online and get real results.
Emily’s guest post focuses on some of the key components needed to create a successful local online presence. From local listings to on-page techniques, the tips are designed to be bite-sized pieces to help you begin right away. Check out the post and get started with your local search campaign today!
Follow Emily on Twitter: @ekthompson
Kutenda announced today that the team will celebrate the company’s first birthday with a free webinar, Kutenda Exposed. The live event will focus on exposing the inspiration behind Kutenda and CEO Mike Cooch’s journey to make an idea reality. Kutenda’s Internet marketing software will also be on display with a detailed demo of the entire toolset.
Join the Kutenda team next Tuesday, February 2nd at 1pm ET. Limited space – Register today.
During the webinar, Mike will discuss the challenges he faced marketing Everon, his first business, and how Kutenda evolved into a solution we’re now able to share with other small businesses.
We’ll also have Kutenda’s Director of online marketing, James Omdahl, on to discuss the power of Internet marketing and how you too can harness a seemingly unapproachable marketing practice.
Stay on for a live look inside the Kutenda toolset and a Q&A session with Mike Cooch, James Omdahl and our director of training, Alex Ross.
Reserve your spot on the webinar today and find out what we’ve been up to for the last year!
When you create a new listing in Google’s Local Business Center (LBC), you may be prompted if there are existing listings for your business. For those unfamiliar with the LBC, it’s where you create a business profile that shows up in Google Maps, as well as the natural search listings. Here’s an example:
Why would there already be a listing for your business? Because Google sometimes creates listings for businesses that have not yet created their own, and it does this by pulling information from sources across the web, including human-powered directories. It’s common that these Google-gathered listings have errors—for example, you may have changed your phone number or relocated since Google gathered its information.
There is often much confusion on what the proper steps are when you discover more than one existing local listing for your business in the search engines. The thing to do is claim and edit the existing listing.
It’s important to remember: For each physical location of your business, you should have only one listing. Having more than one can negatively impact the position of all of your listings, decreasing your visibility among local prospects (bad).
What if there are multiple listings? Google has recommended some steps to take to properly handle multiple listings for their Local Business Center:
- Choose the listing that you’d prefer to keep in your account. Make sure that you have all your enhanced content (photos, business hours, description) attached to this listing and this listing only.
- For duplicates of this listing in your account (the ones you want to remove), remove all enhanced information. Keep only required information, like the business title, address, and one phone number.
- Submit these changes and verify as necessary.
- Now, sit tight for a couple of weeks – just for good measure.
- Delete the duplicates from your account, choosing Remove this listing from my Local Business Center account.
The key point to remember is that it’s crucial to have one optimized listing for your business. This entry should have all of the additional information and be as close to 100 percent complete as possible. Local search has a ton of potential for small business and creating this optimized listing can dramatically increase your visibility among your target market and create a steady stream of free inbound leads.
Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s free webinar on SEO:
Dec. 9 @ 2 p.m. ET: SLEEP Your Way to the Top of Google’s Search Results, Pt. 2
We had an excellent turnout for the first installment of our free three-part webinar series on search engine optimization (SEO). We also had some excellent questions at the end. If you have questions of your own, be sure to register for part two now!
In part two, Kutenda’s director of online marketing, James Omdahl, will expand on his novel ‘SLEEP’ method (search, leverage, evaluate, estimate, perform) for generating inbound leads through SEO.
Part II: On-Page Optimization and Tracking (Evaluate, Estimate)
* How to evaluate your web site and tips to optimize
* What the competitive landscape looks like for your business
* How to measure progress by tracking your results
If your business isn’t ranking in the search results for key terms, you’re missing a huge, cost-effective opportunity to drive leads and fuel growth. Our webinar series will help you seize this opportunity.
Who should attend?
Business owners and marketers who want clear, practical guidance on using SEO to increase leads, sales and revenue. Maybe you need a refresher on key SEO principles. Perhaps you’re brand new to search engine marketing. Either way, you’re guaranteed to learn something you can use to grow your business!
What if I missed part one?
Don’t worry. Each installment is designed to stand on it’s own. Register here.
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