All traffic is not equal, and its worth pointing out that site goals are equally if not as important in analysing success, and indeed in building profit and business off the back of your web efforts. If you are concentrating on a niche geographic audience, you’ll have to work especially hard to generate local traffic to your site.
For some sites, this targeted type of traffic is an absolute must to actually win business online – this is particularly true within the service industries. This is all too often overlooked when we are talking about generating traffic. No point in having 50,000 visitors a month from Russia if you are selling a localised product.
As someone I was speaking to recently on the subject, on the web local is the new global. So how do you capitalise on and target local markets online within your niche?
Local traffic channels
Piggybacking off local websites in your area is the next easiest way after search traffic to gain local traffic. So how do you go about finding them? One of the easiest ways is to take stock of the major online directories such as Google , Dmoz, and Yahoo scour them for local sites. Disclaimer – the Google link reflects Dmoz – but with added value in that you can see the pagerank score of the sites.
E.g. Targetting something in Northern Ireland?
This link list in order of importance according to Google and lets you see potential link partners. If its unlikely that they will offer up a link – find out why they are popular in the first instance, run a Yahoo Site Explorer backlink check on it to see if it offers up any others. Targetting your new content towards these people also gives you a fighting chance at obtaining the backlinks you need from sites like these. Analyse where they are missing content, and where you can add to their existing content.
Directories that are specific to your region can be found easily enough via Google. The magic formula for searching for them goes something like this “Placename local directory” or “Placename directory listing” – if you are still stuck on that one. I’ve previously qualified some of the best local UK directories to get listed in, but this won’t necessarily apply to US people.
Targetted Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way of at least filtering region specific contacts who have visited your site. If you can offer a newsletter or other value added service or offering to visitors, in exchange for some data i.e. a postcode or region – you are half way there. Having this sort of information at your fingertips allows you to do region specific marketing, and also allows special offers and promotion to a particular segment of your audience. Which in some cases is invaluable as it guarantees localised traffic hitting your site.
In addition to that – there’s one aspect of email marketing that often goes un-missed. A secret underground pot of gold for traffic that is rarely targetted. Linkbait directly via email.
Instead of creating your content online on a web page, simply draft it into an email with your web address or brand tied in some way to it.
With a high proportion of the web being office bound, and locked away behind a firewall, there are opportunities to target the office worker with baity content, that they will forward to their mates around the office – and further afield.
I find this trend is particularly relevant of people in the 40+ bracket, who aren’t as technically / web savvy – but are much more comfortable with email as a medium. Not your typical Digg users.
Keep an eye out for sneezers (people who have a habit of forwarding emails to others) – inside your own sphere of influence that statistically do this more often, and record their details in a spreadsheet. Take Note – These are the people who nine times out of ten are getting on the I.T departments nerves, for consistently break communication policies at work for forwarding 5MB joke emails, and they are priceless to online marketers.
Ask the sneezers for other people in their network who often forward them stuff. Your friends relatives and contacts will all have sneezers amongst them that can help to propel your message via email instead of through the traditional social media channels.
When you are targeting local traffic this is especially useful, as the contacts that you have inside your own sphere of influence will all be local anyway. you can initially start the ball rolling there, and roll out to contacts by group mail within Facebook to give an extra reach to your campaign.
Thankfully, Google is getting smarter. It knows firstly where you are in the World based on your IP address – AND when you are looking for a local search. In particular when map results were integrated into the SERPS, they knew that local business listings would be an important part of their strategy. Now searching for a business on Google will often bring back a localised one.
The basic formula they are using for this is “Business or Service + “in OR near” + “Location” – will return localised results. Here’s another one to illustrate the point – Pizza near Omagh, this means that getting your business added to Google maps is really important. If you’ve already gone and done that, then regional qualifiers within your web copy are the next step. You should include them in the basic onpage places for SEO.