Local SEO is a hot topic right now. Some 20% of all searches done online have a local slant to them (for example, “city, keyword” or “keyword, state”), and that percentage skyrockets when you look only at mobile searches.
And as much as we’d all like to think that we can reach these local searchers through organic measures (good content marketing, citations, etc.), having a paid strategy has shown to be the best way to reel in local customers.
The formula of a paid strategy is pretty simple: promote an ad, get visitors to click on that ad to visit your site, revel in the conversions.
But here’s where most business owners fail:
They craft an ad with compelling copy and images. This ad does a great job attracting a segment of the population. But then the ad leads visitors to some pre-existing page on the business’ website (like the homepage).
This is, easily, the worst thing you can do for your local SEO strategy. When developing ads, chances are you’re creating messaging that’s highly specific based on a user’s demographics or behavior.
Can you honestly say your homepage, or even one of your services pages, is the right landing page to convert folks who click on that ad?
Take, for example, a law firm that creates an ad targeting folks looking for representation following a dog bite.
The ideal flow would go something like this:
Person gets bit by dog > Want to find an attorney > Your paid search strategy targets this user once they start searching online for an attorney > The ad you create compels this person to click > The page they land on is a continuation of both the language and focus of the ad > This continuation makes it easy for them to convert.
That’s the key: continuation.
When you send folks from a paid ad to, for example, your homepage, you’re creating a jarring experience that will likely prevent these visitors from ever converting.
So, first thing’s first: ditch the idea that you should be funneling folks from a paid ad to an existing page on your website. Chances are this is not the best approach.
Instead, you should be creating specific landing pages that serve as the punchline of your paid ads.
While the look and feel of a landing page can change based on industry, messaging, and audience, there are typically a few elements that you should incorporate, no matter what (a visual breakdown of a local landing page is available at the bottom of this post).
Not to exaggerate here, but your headline is everything. If you don’t have the right headline, folks will bounce from your landing page in milliseconds.
But what makes the “right” headline? There are two specific components to consider:
- Strong/clear word choice – You want the reader to know why they’re here, and why they’re better off clicking your button. This isn’t the time to get cute or creative.
- Match the intention of your ad – I can’t emphasize this enough. Your ad served as a pre-screener. It only attracted folks of a very specific segment. Don’t alienate this group now by trying to speak to the masses. Stay focused and consistent.
The sub headline
Think of the sub headline as the back of a paperback book – those few lines that compel the consumer to buy the book. Your sub headline gives you more room to really expand on your unique selling proposition. You should include a CTA here (more on that further down) so that you have an actionable button above the fold (before the user has to scroll down).
Every consumer in the world has one question running through his mind: what’s in it for me? Your job is to answer that (which you’ve done, in a way, with your headline and sub headline). Your benefits section will make it abundantly clear why your prospects’ lives will be better by clicking on your CTA.
A simple bulleted list could be your best option here.
Outlining the benefits speaks to the heart and emotions of your consumer. That’s great! That’s where very conversion begins. But sooner or later, the consumer wants to know specifics on what makes you different from all the others.
This is why you go over your features, to help differentiate yourself from the competition.
Again, emotions help entice consumers to convert, but logic, data, and proof put them over the edge. That’s why showing your audience the successes you’ve had (testimonials, data) can be a key toward increasing conversions.
In fact, combining both a testimonial and some type of data-based research just before your call to action is a proven way to increase conversions. That’s because, in the moments just before a CTA click, a consumer is subconsciously thinking of ways not to convert.
Using both emotional and logical strategies – just before or near the CTA – will appease these doubts.
Call to Action
Your CTA should be very specific and action-oriented. Whatever result take place following a click – that’s what you should use as your CTA language.
For example, if your CTA gets your visitors started on a new program, then use GET STARTED in your button.
You might also want to test out several button colors to see which one converts.
Other features you might want to consider
The folks at Wishpond created a wonderful Local Landing Page checklist (below) that you can use for inspiration. But I’m not entirely convinced you need to incorporate every section that they suggest.
For example, Wishpond suggests you add a “MEET OUR TEAM” section. While in theory there’s nothing wrong with that, my goal with landing pages is to keep it as simple as possible. To me, a TEAM section isn’t a priority.
Wishpond also suggests adding a Contact Us section, alongside a Location Map. For the most part, I do see this as a benefit, both for the users and SEO.
However, what I’d suggest is not creating any type of “contact us” button. The only actionable buttons on your landing page should be the ones designed for the conversion goal you have in mind.
You might consider simply adding your phone number, website, and email address under a Contact Us section, just as reference. In fact, if you do add this section, place your second CTA here; you might just earn a few extra conversions from folks who initially wanted only to contact you.