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Is it Worthwhile to Advertise on a Local Community Website?

Is it Worthwhile to Advertise on a Local Community Website? 531-daily-golden-nugget-1057
In this edition of the Daily Golden Nugget, I'm going to explain an often overlooked way to advertise your website locally. It comes at a lower cost, and with a higher return, than most other online advertising methods.

It's very easy to get swept away by the hype of online advertising methods like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and to buy into the claims of large online advertising agencies. While you can get a lot of good results from agencies, Facebook, and Google, there might be much less expensive local online advertising opportunities available in your community website.

Do you have a local community website? These sites are often managed by local news stations, chambers of commerce, town business associations, and tourism bureaus. Many times these websites don't advertise that they even exist, and the only way you would know about them is if you personally searched for your town name.

These sites offer a lot of broad information about local restaurants, places to stay, tourist places of interest, family activities, things to see, and where to shop. Some of these sites have editorials with ads, some have simple lists of places, while others are directories with a lot of information. These sites usually provide better information about a local community than what sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages could do.

Many of these community sites rank very highly for the towns they service because of the quality local information they provide. Community sites with detailed information about every business can be a really good source of referral traffic for you every month.

Take a look at your Google Webmaster Tools search query reports you will see that "jewelry stores in {town name here}" and "jewelers near {town name}" are always among the most often searched phrases. Your local community website will often appear within the results for those same searches. In fact, the expanded listing for your own store has a good chance of appearing right along with your Yelp and Yellow Pages listings too.

These sites might not seem valuable to everyone; someone searching for jewelry in your local town is more likely to click on your store name directly than on one of the community sites. Regardless how it happens, these sites always produce a considerable amount of consistent referral traffic for local businesses.

Their monthly advertising fees are usually a small flat rate compared to other advertising methods. Sometimes the listing is free if you are a chamber of commerce or business association member.

Like all online advertising, it's difficult to exactly determine how valuable these community sites are for supporting a local business that doesn't offer e-commerce. It's always easy to track ROI on e-commerce sites through referral links and online analytics, but when it comes to measuring results in physical stores, you have to rely on employees to quiz the customers. Employees might forget to ask and customers often times forget how they found you.

The only suggestion I have to help you get the most out of these referral customers is to make sure you follow up with them immediately when they contact you through your website.

One approach to a fast follow up would be to include Google Analytics UTM variables in the URL you use on the community site. Then track those UTM variables all the way through to your online contact form.

With this approach, you'll be able to see the referral source when you receive their email, which should be a strong motivator to reply back to them immediately. A fast reply to an email you receive in the morning could turn into a new in-store visit from that person that same afternoon.

AT: 08/12/2014 09:35:25 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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