This guide will teach you how to implement an effective local B2B lead generation campaign.
We will show you how to use listings, content, and technical SEO techniques to craft a consistent, accurate, responsive, and professional online presence. All recommendations in this guide tie into these four principles.
The goal is increased visibility in local listings, ideally which jumps above other results in SERPs. See below: Takk appear first in the ‘three pack’ of local listings, which appears above the organic results for ‘coffee Manchester’. They rank 8th for this query but, thanks to an optimised local presence, they are at the top of the SERP.
What is B2B local lead generation?
It is the art of attracting targeted and relevant leads to your business, and is necessary to increase customers and cash flow.
With an optimised listing you are making the journey from click to brick as streamlined as possible. The goal is to attract people to your physical premises, encourage them to pick up the phone, or to click through to your website. You are also establishing yourself as part of a geographical network which often brings benefits outside of B2B lead generation.
By removing ambiguity about where you are and what you do, you instil more trust in potential customers.
Why is B2B local lead generation important?
Google penalises businesses who do not have up to date information, and this will correlate with lower rankings, traffic, and cash flow. An increasingly large emphasis is being placed on local ranking factors. In short, every business should be on top of their local presence (although most aren't!).
We recommend checking what your competition are up to, then replicating the best bits and aiming to have a better online presence than them. If your competitors are all slacking, this is not an excuse to slack as well.
More specifically, local lead generation will help businesses who:
- Are looking to build networks
- Are looking to attract custom from businesses in specific locations
- Are looking to create and implement expansion strategies to new areas
This guide is just as relevant to a sole trader selling artisan cupcakes on Etsy as it is to a national company with several physical locations. While the nuance will be different - national companies won't take part in link swaps or local Facebook giveaways - the overarching goal is the same: to optimise your local presence.
What an effective local B2B lead generation campaign looks like
This section outlines the methods for improving your local presence via listings, content, and technical SEO techniques.
You need to communicate effectively to two different audiences: human users, and search engines. (When we say 'Google' in this piece that can be understood as a catch-all term for all search engines). Some recommendations are purely for the benefit of search engines (under the bonnet, 'codey' stuff), others are geared more toward humans (photos, reviews, etc), although Google will consider these too.
Our first tip: create a document to keep track of your efforts, and keep it up to date. If things change, this will let you quickly update all instances of your old address (or phone number, opening hours, social media accounts, etc).
At this stage you would also benefit from doing a quick search of all old addresses (if relevant), and adding these to your list to be updated (remember: consistent).
Google My Business
Claim it: head to Google.com/business, and click ‘Start now’. This service is set up so you retain ownership of your listing rather than any partners or agencies, keeping control in your hands if these relationships end.
Verify it: ensure the pin on the map is accurate, then complete the verification by receiving and returning a letter to your listed address(es). Don't be put off by this verification: if Google makes you jump through this many hoops, the implication is that they value and will use the data.
Curate it: make sure all information is correct and up to date. Upload photographs which show your premises, products, and staff. You are trying to show users that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business, so high quality photographs are recommended.
Manage it: Google will send you handy updates and insights from your listing while it is live, which can be used to refine it further.
Repeat the above steps for Bing Places.
Other local directories
While these carry less clout than Google and Bing, local directories like Yelp, Foursquare, Merchant City, and CitySearch will strengthen the local presence of your business, and put it in front of the users of these sites. Newspaper directories and chambers of commerce are worth investigating too: the latter often have other opportunities for businesses, including newsletters, meetups, legal support, link directories and more.
Facebook and other social media
There are many social media platforms to choose from, and instructions for each is too much to go into in this guide. For now we'll give this advice: invest the same effort and attention in creating and maintaining accurate and up to date social media presences for each platform you choose to use.
Clearly define your geographical focus,
Your copy should have a healthy and natural distribution of local keywords. As with all keyword recommendations, write with human readers in mind, and don't spam. Google will beat you down if you have something like this on your website:
Clearly communicated geographical location on your contact page
Make this unambiguous, use a Google map if possible. These can be created with brand colours to maintain your site aesthetic.
Encourage your customers to write them, promote the good ones, and respond professionally to the negative ones. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy a product or service if they have read a trusted review, so don’t skimp here. Use the platform most relevant to your business: restaurants and attractions benefit from TripAdvisor, whereas Google, Yell, Feefo, or TrustPilot may be more suitable for other businesses.
Location pages or blog posts
If you operate in several locations, consider creating a page outlining which products and services are offered in each. If there is not much variation, give a bit of information about each office, some information about the teams, and, where relevant, an overview of your activities in each region. This content provides semantic signals to Google by associating your business with the geographical areas it is active in.
This is a framework designed to label elements of web pages, so that search engines have a better idea of the content and context. Google acknowledges this and has extensive support pages on their Developers website, implying the information is used.
Local business schema is recommended: the hope being that the address provided through schema will overwrite any confusion if multiple addresses exist online for your business (note: this does not let you off keeping things up to date).
Location is most relevant to the goals of this guide, but we recommend tightening up all schema on your site.
This gives search engine users an at-a-glance description of your site, so make sure it conveys your local focus.
Converting prospective customers into leads
Once people arrive at your site, you need to give them the opportunity to become leads. You’re in luck because we’ve written a separate guide about creating landing pages that convert. Here’s a sneak preview:
Calls to action.
Signpost what you want users to do ("DOWNLOAD" "BUY HERE!" "INQUIRE NOW!"), and make it easy for them to do it.
Provide clear contact information on each page, either in the header or footer. Ensure phone numbers are clickable on mobile to prevent people having to copy and paste. Provide a range of contact methods to appeal to as many user preferences as possible, consider using live chat popups.
If you want customers to part with their money, clearly visible trusted payment logos are a must. Other things like your company registration number and VAT number demonstrate more credibility.
You will benefit from an accurate and up to date online presence, and this guide will help you achieve it.
Imagine you're looking to buy a new phone. One shop in town is slick and professional. It's easy to find, it's immediately obvious what they sell, and the staff know what they're talking about. You can pay by cash, card, or Paypal, in full or on credit. The other shop is scruffy and tucked away in a back street in the bad end of town. Most of the phones on display have cracked screens or some type of damage, and the owner doesn't seem to care. You can only pay by cash.
The tips in this guide are to make your business feel more like the former.