22+ Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers

This post originally appeared at 22+ Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers via ShivarWeb

Fitness Center & Gym Marketing Ideas To Find More Customers

Most fitness center & gym owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good customer. But it’s hard to find a good customer if you don’t have calls & emails coming in.

Some gyms have a location that brings in applications with nothing but a sign in the window. But for most fitness center managers, you have to go out and market your gym to get a quality pool of potential customers.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, locally based business. Based on those experiences, here are some fitness center & gym marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more customers.

Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For many gym customers, city searches are too big, street searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood searches are just right.

Google Suggest - Neighborhoods for Gyms

That may sound obvious, but most local businesses that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you list multiple locations on your website, simply organize them by neighborhood (i.e., make neighborhoods your category).

If you have a single gym location, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “gyms in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of gym customers have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “gyms with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] gym with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

Google Suggest - Amenities for Gyms

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Google Suggest - Amenities for Gyms

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Google SERPs

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving or visiting your city. Create lots of them.

Google SERPs

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Google SERPs

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Local Listings for Gyms

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With fitness center & gym marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Note – This is where the big guys – Planet Fitness, Orange Theory, LA Fitness, etc are useful. See what they are doing in [large city] and steal their tactics.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

Gym Link Building Ideas

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in what’s going on. In Atlanta, where I live, we have Creative Loafing, Porch Press, Atlanta Voice, Atlanta Parent, etc.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All local blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, local trends, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

Local Magazine with Gym Links

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, rental listings, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested customers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once. Be sure to take advantage of Facebook’s Lookalike ads. You can target your *exact* customer (ie, those who like CrossFit, Jillian Michaels, etc) and live in a specific neighborhood.

Be sure to also browse Facebook’s Ad Library to get ideas for solid local gym ads.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best customer is someone who searches for “gyms in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Review websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Gym Review Websites

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising fitness center manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for gyms. NextDoor also has a new early adopter ad program.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for gym owners for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram

Think about how you can take workout & equipment photos & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think you should simply post listings on every platform, but instead use photos from actual workouts and fitness equipment to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

For example, suppose you have a unique piece of gym equipment. Post a tutorial on how to use it! So much gym equipment is useless to members because they don’t know how to use it. Take that opportunity to educate and help followers envision themselves in your gym space.

Develop a Local Workout Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to improve their lives. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, guides, etc from real workouts to provide ideas. Promote local trainers, businesses, etc.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. And your prospective customers all will want a gym coming or going from their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Fitness Professionals

Local fitness professionals (trainers, nutritionists, sports instructors, etc) usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network.

If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the professionals.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your customers will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% occupancy. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target customer.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for gyms. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of equipment & workout tutorials.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of gym marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., access numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for gym & fitness center owners. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients

This post originally appeared at 22+ Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients via ShivarWeb

Bank Marketing Ideas To Find More Clients

Most bank managers would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client But it’s hard to find a good bank client if you don’t have account applications coming in.

Some banks have a local name brand or location that brings in new clients with nothing more than a “Submit Application” link. But for most banks (especially local banks competing against MegaCorp), you have to go out and market your bank to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing with one of the largest FHLB banks in the country in addition to many local businesses. Based on those experiences, here are some bank marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For prospective clients, location searches are usually fraught & confusing. I’ve never seen a bank with a good Branch Locator…even though customers are searching based on their city / neighborhood.

That may sound obvious, but most financial firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods or cities. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you have multiple branches, use those branch pages to rank for “bank [city / neighborhood] search. Don’t just depend on a single Branch Locator page. Build a specific page for each branch, including information about the surround area.

If you have a single branch, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “bank in [neighborhood]” or “bank near me” searches.

Create Niche Offering Pages

Lots of prospective customers have specific features and/or requirements that they want from a bank. Instead of listing your offerings in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “bank with [offering]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] bank with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk like this example for “atlanta apartments”.

This idea might be tedious. But it can be fast and scalable. You can use the same template over and over – just customize the details of the service.

Because here’s the thing – a lot of your potentially best customers are already searching out banks with these different services. But they are having to ask about them in random forums and long Google Searches.

Last week, I listened to a podcast episode about searching out banks that do house rehab refinancing loans. The podcast host gave a long tutorial about subscribing to CoreLogic and tracking down banks that did these loans…but what if the bank just had an explainer page about these loans in the local market? You’d be much better positioned to bring in these customers than putting the research work on them.

I personally chose my financial institution because they provided Health Savings Accounts – and had a clear explainer page about setting one up.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to or just trying to learn more about to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what financial terms people are searching for in your city.

Again, people are doing this research already. Without pages on your site explaining these topics, you are leaving these customers up to the influence of big financial websites where big banks can compete with $$$ ad money.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With bank marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries and the Megacorp bank making a big local push.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see from the local car industry.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

If you drop in a national bank, you can sift & sort their local mentions. If a national bank has gotten attention from a local source, then you should have an extra shot at the same attention as a local bank.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has local publishers and bloggers that get traffic simply because they are local.

In Atlanta, where I live, we have a popular Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All these blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links. Mine your loan information or business network for tips & local trends. Use those to get attention.

You can also use a Content Explorer tool from SEMrush, Ahrefs, or BuzzSumo to see what news has driven social media shares.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, offering pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

You know more about the neighborhoods with retirees moving in. You know about the popular and growing dealerships. You know the local business networks.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested customers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best customer is someone who searches for “bank in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an advantage – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

In other words, Google will reduce your cost per click for a query like “local atlanta bank” compared to Chase or Bank of America because your landing page can actually match that query better than they ever could.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Bank & financial review sites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Or – track down the sites that currently show up for you brand name and work on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising bank manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for financial firms. They also have an early adopter advertising program for truly local businesses.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for bankmanagers for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

*Personal aside – this route is how I found my local financial institution. Delta Community Credit Union had high praise on multiple Atlanta subreddit threads.

Develop a Local Financial Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking for local financial tips. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, sites, etc from your own customer experience to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, businesses, events, etc.

Identify Government Resources

Think about how you can leverage your financial and local status to get more attention. There are tons of government and financial websites where you can get a link & profile.

These profiles might not drive much direct traffic, but they will absolutely help your ranking & visibility in search engines and other marketing venues.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. And your prospective clients all will want to bank close to their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Non-Profits

Non-profits usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the non-profits.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your clients frequent lots of local businesses. And those local businesses also would love to have a local financial partner. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target customer. This strategy is basic bank marketing (think appraisers, real estate agents, etc), but taken to the digital world.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like openings, financial courses, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for banks. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

You can also sponsor local events and make sure that you are included in all of their social media promotions. You’ll get a lot more visibility compared to only at the event visibility.

Use Local or Industry Focused Videos to Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video with a local take.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of bank marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., account numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for local bank managers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Dental Marketing Ideas To Serve More Clients

This post originally appeared at 22+ Dental Marketing Ideas To Serve More Clients via ShivarWeb

Dental Marketing Ideas To Serve More Clients

Most dentists & dental practice owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good, consistent patient. But it’s hard to find a good patient if you don’t have new appointments coming in.

Some dentists have a location or word of mouth that brings in appointments with nothing but a Dentist sign on the curb. But for most dental practices, you have to go out and market your practice to get a quality pool of potential patients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for many local businesses. One of my first clients was a family dentistry practice in Illinois. Based on those experiences, here are some dental marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more appointments.

Create City & Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For patients, metropolitan area searches are too big and “near me” searches are too small. City & Neighborhood searches are just right.

Google Location Results for Dentists

That may sound obvious, but most small local businesses that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you list multiple locations on your website, simply organize them by neighborhood or city (i.e., make neighborhoods your category).

If you have a single location, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “dentists in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Service Pages

Lots of patients have specific services and/or needs that they want. Instead of listing your services in a giant list, make detailed pages about each service. Try to rank for searches like “dentist with [service]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] dentist with/that” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

Google SERPs Services for Dentists
Dental Insurance Examples

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

FAQs for dentists

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk. Here’s an example report for a local business.

Create Local & Dentistry Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.

Local Dental Resource Pages

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city. Focus on healthcare needs. Laws, options, and providers vary wildly from city to city and state to state. Become the go-to resource for local FAQs about dentistry and healthcare. And if you don’t find enough local questions – you can always create content around broad questions.

Dental FAQ pages

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka appointments) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With dental marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries. For dentists, it’s often easy enough to just check out what the top hospitals or top business practices are doing. Find what you can copy and go from there.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

For example, if a local hospital gets attention in the local newspaper for providing a journalist with consumer trends – see if you can do the same. Or if a local doctor has a profile with a local healthcare directory, go get that same listing for yourself.

Work with Local Blogs & Magazines

Every city, no matter how small, has niche publications and blogs. In Atlanta, where I live, we have Atlanta Parent magazine in addition to the AJC Health Section, Best Self Atlanta, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and niche blogs / social media accounts.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All these blogs & social media accounts act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalists. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

Niche Magazine Example for Dental Marketing

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, local listings, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

In other words, the links & write-ups won’t necessarily bring customers. But it will help you stand out in marketing channels that will bring in customers.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested patients.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “dentist in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if the ad is more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

Google Health Display Ad

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Local review websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key local review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising dental practice. They also have an interesting new ad product for early adopters.

These local social networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for geographically limited businesses like dentists.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for dentists for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

*Personal Note – I actually found my children’s pediatric dentist on the Atlanta subreddit.

Post Visual Educational Content on Instagram

Think about how you can make your Instagram feed useful instead of promotional & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think an office-centric or promotional feed is the route to go. Instead, be a professional curator of dental education and factoids to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

Develop a Local Resources Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to decorate & upgrade their living. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused healthcare-oriented Pinterest board.

Use local photos, lists, resources, etc from real listings to provide ideas. Pull from the local data pages mentioned earlier or visual explainers of common services.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your patients are all working somewhere. And your prospective patients all will want a dentist near their job if they can’t have one near their home.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential patients nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing patients and try to understand where those tenants came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Healthcare Professionals

Local healthcare professionals usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote your fellow healthcare professionals.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your patients will likely spend money or time nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% booked appointments. Look at the businesses in your shopping center or block. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target patient.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for many local events. They can be the same for dental practices, especially since events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square. Think of events that you can hold – even if it’s as simple as a career day for the local high school.

Use Video Behind The Scenes To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of your office, tools, and behind the scenes.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of dental marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., customer numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for dentists and dental practice owners. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Credit Union Marketing Ideas To Grow Membership

This post originally appeared at 22+ Credit Union Marketing Ideas To Grow Membership via ShivarWeb

Credit Union Marketing Ideas To Grow Membership

Most credit union managers would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new member. But it’s hard to find a good credit union member if you don’t have account applications coming in.

Some credit unions have a company tie or member bond that brings in new members with nothing more than a “Submit Application” link. But for most credit unions, you have to go out and market your credit union to get a quality pool of potential members.

I’ve consulted on search marketing with one of the largest FHLB banks in the country in addition to many local businesses. Based on those experiences, here are some credit union marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more members.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For prospective members, location searches are usually fraught & confusing. I’ve never seen a bank with a good Branch Locator…even though customers are searching based on their city / neighborhood.

That may sound obvious, but most financial firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods or cities. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you have multiple branches, use those branch pages to rank for “credit union [city / neighborhood] search. Don’t just depend on a single Branch Locator page. Build a specific page for each branch, including information about the surround area.

If you have a single branch, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “credit union in [neighborhood]” or “credit union near me” searches.

Create Niche Offering Pages

Lots of prospective members have specific features and/or requirements that they want from a credit union. Instead of listing your offerings in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “bank with [offering]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] bank with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk like this example for “atlanta apartments”.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to or just trying to learn more about to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what financial terms people are searching for in your city.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With credit union marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see from the local car industry.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

If you drop in a national bank, you can sift & sort their local mentions. If a national bank has gotten attention from a local source, then you should have an extra shot at the same attention as a local credit union.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has local publishers and bloggers that get traffic simply because they are local.

In Atlanta, where I live, we have a popular Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All these blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links. Mine your loan information or business network for tips & local trends. Use those to get attention

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, offering pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested tenants.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “credit union in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an advantage – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

In other words, Google will reduce your cost per click for a query like “local atlanta bank” compared to Chase or Bank of America because your landing page can actually match that query better than they ever could.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Review Websites

Bank & financial review sites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key review websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

Or – track down the sites that currently show up for you brand name and work on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising credit union manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for financial firms. They also have an early adopter advertising program for truly local businesses.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for credit union managers for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

*Personal aside – this route is how I found the local credit union that I use. Delta Community Credit Union had high praise on multiple Atlanta subreddit threads.

Develop a Local Financial Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking for local financial tips. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, sites, etc from your own customer experience to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, businesses, events, etc.

Identify Government Resources

Think about how you can leverage your non-profit and credit union status to get more attention. There are tons of government and financial websites where you can get a link & profile.

These profiles might not drive much direct traffic, but they will absolutely help your ranking & visibility in search engines and other marketing venues.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your members are all working somewhere. And your prospective tenants all will want to bank close to their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential tenants nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate (even if they don’t want to add to your member bond).

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Customer Sources

Take previous & existing members and try to understand where those members came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Non-Profits

Non-profits usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the non-profits.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your members frequent lots of local businesses. And those local businesses also would love to have a local financial partner. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target tenant.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like openings, financial courses, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for credit unions. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Local or Industry Focused Videos to Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video with a local take.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of credit union marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., account numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for credit union managers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

This post originally appeared at 22+ Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients via ShivarWeb

Spa Marketing Ideas To Get More Clients

Most resort & spa owners would agree that there’s nothing like a full appointment booking. But it’s hard to fill appointments without a regular flow of new clients coming in.

Some spas have a location or reputations that brings in clients with nothing but a phone number. But for most spa owners, you have to go out and market your business to get a quality pool of potential clients.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for many local businesses and beauty business. Based on those experiences, here are some resort & spa marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients & appointments.

Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For clients, “near me” searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood / city searches are just right.

That may sound obvious, but most local businesses that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

Create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “spa in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of clients have specific amenities that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “spa with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] spa with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk. Here’s an example of how the data is displayed. Just type in “[city] spa” or even just “spa”.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people learning more about your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for among your amenities – and then put a local spin on it so that you aren’t competing with large publishers.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With resorts & spas, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Tourism Agencies

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in tourism. And spas / resorts are a core part of any tourism package. Make yourself known with local tourism officials, websites, and guides. Too many “local” spas are missing out on a good TripAdvisor profile.

Find those and become a regular fixture.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Recruit Local Guides from Google Maps

Google Maps dominates local search. They have had a Local Guides program for some time now. They are people who leave frequent, useful reviews. People can subscribe to them to find recommendations.

It’s worth finding Local Guides in your area that are active and pitch them on your spa.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “spa in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Blogs & Travel Guides

Local blogs are often a dime a dozen. The key is to find the ones that are popular – or appear where you want to appear.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising spa owner.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for local services. They also have new Groupon-style advertising options.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for local businesses

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram

Think about how you can take listing photos & repurpose them across different platforms. Spas have a unique opportunity to create an interesting, relaxing, soothing feed for potential clients. The key is to only be rarely promotional. Make it a feed that is interesting to follow on its own.

Develop a Local Relaxing Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to live better. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, recommendations, experiences, etc from real local experience to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, etc.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your clients are all working somewhere. And your prospective clients might be a little stressed out and looking for an accessible provider.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential clients nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Businesses & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and businesses.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood business & amenities.

Identify & Market Popular Client Sources

Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your clients will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% bookings. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target client.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, specials, holidays, etc are marketing staples for resorts. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of your services & property.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of apartment marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes, or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for spas and resorts. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers

This post originally appeared at 22+ Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers via ShivarWeb

Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers

Most golf course owners would agree that there’s nothing like fully booked tee times. But it’s hard to book tee times if you don’t have golfers calling or landing on your website.

Some golf courses have a location or reputation that brings in golfers with nothing but a phone line. But for most golf course managers, you have to go out and market your course to get a solid roster of regular tee times.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several local businesses large and small. I’ve also consulted for search marketing for one of the largest golf equipment retailers in the US. With that experience in mind, here are a few marketing ideas for golf courses.

Create City-Specific Website Pages

For golfers, regional searches are too big, “near me” searches aren’t quite right, but city searches can be just right.

That may sound obvious, but any golf courses still don’t try to lock down their local area.

It can be tedious, but having local pages that target different areas surrounding your actual location can be useful.

If you have a single apartment complex, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “golf in [city]” searches.

Automate Tee Times + App Integration

There is an adage in retail that if you don’t have it, your customer can’t buy it. For golf courses, an analogous adage is that if you don’t have the tee time, you don’t have the customer.

There are dozens of golf course software providers. Find one that can automate and digitize your tee times if you haven’t already, and make sure that they feed into every popular app on the App Store.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of golfers have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “golf course with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “golf course with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With a golf course, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

For golf courses, you can even take local golf retailers or sporting good stores and try to dovetail off their efforts.

Work with Local Tourism Agencies

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in tourism. And golf courses are a core part of any tourism package. Make yourself known with local tourism officials, websites, and guides. Too many “local” courses are missing out on a good TripAdvisor profile.

Find those and become a regular fixture.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your city pages, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested golfers.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “golf courses in [city]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Golf Guides

Golfing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But there are a ton of them.

The key is to find a few key apartment websites that are popular in your area – and focus on those.

You can use Google Trends, customer interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising golf manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for local businesses. They also run Groupon-style deals and local sponsorships with high engagement.

Advertise / Post on Golf Review Sites

Golf Course review sites are interesting because they not only send customers themselves, but they also feed reviews / ratings to local websites.

Do what you can to grow your presence there, especially if you attract a lot of tourists or new customers.

Develop an Interesting Instagram Feed

There are some businesses that don’t really belong on Instagram. But golf courses absolutely do belong. Golf courses are inherently scenic.

Work on developing an Instagram feed that is genuinely nice to scroll past. Spend some money commissioning 100 or so professional photos. Schedule those out for the next year on Instagram and balance them with specials or other local photography. Respond to comments and use local hashtags. Invite players to submit their own photos.

Develop an Email List w/ Tee Times

Capture emails with tee times. Use your email list appropriately to bring those players back and leave reviews.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your customers are all working somewhere. Despite the decline in work-related golf outings, golf still makes for a great outing for acquaintances.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential customers nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Sports & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources like schools, colleges, associations, etc.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood recreation opportunities.

Identify & Market Popular Referral Sources

Take previous & existing customers and try to understand where those customers came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Sports Retailers

Sports retailers make a perfect match for local golf courses. Look for collaboration. Even if you technically compete with them via a pro shop, you have a lot more to gain from working with them than against.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your customers will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you are packed. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a direct draw with customers (ie, a sit-down restaurant or resort facility).

Remember that even a simple link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Tournaments To Get Social Media Attention

Events like tournaments, youth training, fundraisers, etc are a golf course staple. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure.

Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of your course. Recruit drone enthusiasts and budding videographers with free access in exchange for promotion & free videos.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of golf course marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., like raffle tickets), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for golf course managers. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

22+ Property Management & Apartment Marketing Ideas To Get More Leases

This post originally appeared at 22+ Property Management & Apartment Marketing Ideas To Get More Leases via ShivarWeb

Property Management Apartment Marketing Ideas

Most apartment & rental unit owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good tenant. But it’s hard to find a good tenant if you don’t have lease applications coming in.

Some apartments have a location that brings in applications with nothing but a For Rent sign on the curb. But for most property managers, you have to go out and market your property to get a quality pool of potential tenants.

I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, regional residential real estate service companies. Based on those experiences, here are some property management & apartment marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more leases.

Create Neighborhood-Specific Website Pages

For tenants, city searches are too big, street searches are too small, and ZIP code searches are not relevant. Neighborhood searches are just right.

That may sound obvious, but most real estate firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on neighborhoods. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.

If you list multiple apartments on your website, simply organize them by neighborhood (i.e., make neighborhoods your category).

If you have a single apartment complex, create a neighborhood & next to your neighborhood pages to try to rank for “apartments in [neighborhood]” searches.

Create Niche Amenity Pages

Lots of tenants have specific amenities and/or requirements that they want. Instead of listing your amenities in a giant list, make detailed pages about each amenity. Try to rank for searches like “apartments with [amenity]”.

You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] apartments with” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.

You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.

Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.

If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.

Create Local Data Pages

Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.

Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.

Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews

You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.

But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.

First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.

Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.

You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.

Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka lease applications) from Google Maps.

Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses

I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.

No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.

With property management & apartment marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.

Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.

Here’s what you’ll see.

It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.

The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.

Work with Local Real Estate Blogs

Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in real estate. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Real Estate, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.

Find those and become a regular fixture. All real estate blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalist. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.

That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.

Your neighborhood pages, rental listings, amenity pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.

Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads

A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.

Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.

Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested tenants.

Additionally, Facebook operates Facebook Marketplace, which is one of the largest local listing places online.

You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.

Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads

Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best tenant is someone who searches for “apartments for rent in [neighborhood]”.

But that search click will be very costly.

But like Facebook, you have an “in” – Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.

Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.

Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads

Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.

Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.

But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.

List on Locally-Popular Apartment Websites

Apartment listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.

The key is to find a few key apartment websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.

You can use Google Trends, tenant interviews, SEMrush, or simply looking at the Google Search Results to see who is more popular for your city / neighborhood.

List on NextDoor & Local Forums

NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising property manager.

These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for real estate.

Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits

Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for property managers and landlords for a couple of reasons.

First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.

Second, they are the first place for people to plan a move visit to ask specific, local questions.

Now, they are decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.

However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.

You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.

Post Listings w/ Photos in Instagram

Think about how you can take listing photos & repurpose them across different platforms. I don’t think you should simply post listings on every platform, but instead use photos from listings to create a truly interesting feed on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

For example, suppose a unit has an excellent skyline view. That should be a post. Suppose you put in native landscaping around your unit. That should be a post. Do further research around hashtags to make sure that your post shows up in listings.

Develop a Local Real Estate Pinterest Board

Pinterest is an incredible resource for people looking to decorate & upgrade their living. You can get in front of prospects with a locally-focused Pinterest board.

Use local photos, decor, etc from real listings to provide ideas. Promote local artists, makers, etc.

Identify & Market Local Employers

Your tenants are all working somewhere. And your prospective tenants all will want to be close to their job.

Identify all the largest employers & sources of potential tenants nearby. Create resource pages for those employers (especially if they are large).

Create discounts, bonuses, etc. Get in touch with those employers to see if there is a way to collaborate.

Identify & Market Local Schools & Amenities

Take what you did with local employers and do the same with local amenities and resources.

Create pages that act as resource hubs for neighborhood amenities & schools.

Identify & Market Popular Tenant Sources

Take previous & existing tenants and try to understand where those tenants came from and how they found you.

See if there is a way to build off that success.

Cross-Promote Local Real Estate Agents

Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote the agents.

Cross-Promote Local Businesses

Your tenants will spend money nearby. Figure out what other businesses do well when you have 100% occupancy. Offer a way to cross-promote, especially if they have multiple locations or a presence with your target tenant.

Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.

Use Events To Get Social Media Attention

Events like open house tours, openings, holiday showings, etc are marketing staples for apartments. But events have a bonus effect online.

You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.

Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media

Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of listings.

Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.

Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth

Referral fees are also a staple of apartment marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.

Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., apartment numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.

Find & Sponsor Local Charities

Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.

First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.

Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.

Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.

Next Steps

There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for property managers and apartments. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.

Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.

“”

14+ Unconventional Ways To Find New Keywords To Outsmart Your Competition

This post originally appeared at 14+ Unconventional Ways To Find New Keywords To Outsmart Your Competition via ShivarWeb

find new keywords

Traditional keyword research has a tragedy of the commons problem. The more people that use a common keyword research sources, the less valuable those sources become.

When everyone is using Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Google Autosuggest – the keywords from those sources will become either too difficult or will lose their intent. Big players, or Google itself, will show up and rank for those keywords.

As a small to mid-size publisher – you have to either become more creative, become more “long-tail,” or seek out more sources to find new keywords.

I’ve written before about “pre-qualifying content.” That process used different sources to confirm your own keyword ideas.

Finding new keywords from new sources is the reverse. It’s finding keywords that you have literally never heard of.

You would never know the root, modifier, or topic. It’s doesn’t show up in Google Suggest, and you’d never know how to search for it in traditional keyword tools.

Here’s where I’ve been looking lately.

Bing / DuckDuckGo Search

Bing and DuckDuckGo are usually seen as Google alternatives. But they have audiences in their own right.

And those audiences are different enough from Google that you can usually find new, interesting, and different keywords there that you won’t find on Google.

Head over to Bing / DuckDuckGo and try out their autosuggest with broad modifiers (how to, what is, etc).

Search within a broad topic that you are looking at and explore their related searches.

Lookalike Online Publishers

You might be familiar with the idea of a lookalike from Facebook Ads. They take a person that you want to target and tries to find other people who share that person’s characteristics. It’s a powerful idea.

And it’s an idea that you can use to find keyword ideas.

Many SEOs know to look at the big industry publisher for keyword ideas, but never think to find “lookalikes” of their big industry publisher…in an adjacent industry.

And adjacent industries can be a goldmine for both keyword roots and modifiers.

For example, imagine that you own a small fishing website. You probably know the trick for mining Field & Stream for content ideas.

But what about looking at the Field & Stream equivalent in the backpacking, boating, or wildlife magazine segments?

If you had a Venn diagram, you’d see that they all have an audience overlap, even if they don’t have a keyword overlap. And that represents an opportunity.

Remember, the best keyword research understands the question behind the keyword. Explore those publishers to find content strategies and audience questions that you could use.

Look at their top performing content and think about what you could swap in that would fit your website.

If Backpacker magazine did a profile on the top trails in the Southeast US, why wouldn’t a profile on the top rivers in the Southeast US work for your fishing website?

I would argue that it would. And best of all, any new keywords, headlines or modifiers that you find function as pre-qualified content, since you know it has already worked for someone else.

Wikipedia Analysis

I’ve written an entire post about using Wikipedia for SEO & Content Marketing. But Wikipedia is an especially good place to find keyword ideas because it is structured.

The process is to pick a category and systematically explore all the entries along with how they are related.

Read entries with an eye for keywords and concepts that need further exploration.

YouTube Search

YouTube is a popular place for How To’s, tutorials, and visual content. You can (and should) use YouTube autosuggest to mine for keywords. They’ll have a different dataset from Google search.

But I recommend that you go a step further. Look at (or scrape!) top ranking videos. Read their transcripts, tags, comments, and descriptions with an eye for new keywords and concepts.

If the video narrator uses a term that needs context or further explanation, note it. Look for how the narrator and video presents information.

Even the best YouTube videos leave gaps that need to be filled. And those gaps usually produce Google Searches.

It’s a great way to find high-volume, long-tail keywords.

I wrote an extended guide to use YouTube for SEO & content here.

Pinterest Search

I would argue that Pinterest is one of the top search engines on the Internet, even though it is thought of as a social network.

Millions of people use it to start their search and bookmark their favorite answers.

While it does work better for some segments than others, I think it’s worth checking out for nearly every industry.

Like YouTube, you should look at both their autosuggest and their suggested topics. But go a step further and look at top performing pins & boards.

Note any unique keyword angles, audience questions, etc. Usually, they have a completely different angle from Google that will provide a window into an audience’s true intent – which, again, will help you answer the “question behind the keyword.”

I wrote an entire guide to use Pinterest for SEO & Content here.

Instagram Search

Unlike Pinterest, Instagram is a pure-play social network. But it still throws off a lot of keyword data, especially for consumer industry segments.

Use the autosuggest on Instagram for modifiers, but also check out the Explore to find trending hashtags.

Take those hashtags and use them to understand trending topics, angles on existing keywords, and to find new, trending ideas.

Twitter Search

Using Twitter search for keyword research is a bit like using Instagram, except that it’s heavily biased towards right now.

Twitter doesn’t have the same breadth that any other tool has. But Twitter’s speed and recency and analytics can help you keep your content up to date and cutting edge.

Quora Search

I’ve written a full guide to use Quora for SEO & content. But the short version is that Quora has a bunch of experts answering specific questions with plain, human language.

You should mine both the topics and the keywords that contributors use in their answers.

Quora Drip Tray

As a bonus, if you sign up for Quora Ads, you can see the exact search interest that a question has.

Reddit Analysis

You can use Reddit with a similar process as Quora. I’ve written a guide to use Reddit for SEO & Content here.

But the short version is to find one or several subreddits that your target audience is interested in. Sort by Top or Hot and start mining both titles and responses.

Everything is written in plain language, so you’ll find plenty of keywords that your audience uses, but that might not show up in a keyword research tool.

Content Ideas from Reddit
Some noise, but also some great ideas

There are also plenty of automated Reddit research tools like Keyworddit.

Amazon Reviews

Next to Wikipedia, Amazon probably has the largest repository of user-generated content on the Internet.

Their reviews are a goldmine for finding keywords that your audience uses while searching for products. In other words, they have the intent to purchase, which is critical for many publishers.

Amazon Read Reviews

I’ve written a full guide to using Amazon for SEO & content here. I recommend starting with the Bestsellers in your category, and then manually looking through the user reviews and their questions.

There are a few tools that can automate parts of this research, but it does not work as well as manually read reviews & questions.

Google Scholar Autosuggest

Google Scholar is one of Google’s most powerful, but least understood products. It searches the universe of scholarly journals, magazines, patents, and more.

9 Google Scholar

In other words, it searches content that is actually rigorous and right. It’s a huge opportunity to find academic jargon, theories, data, and more.

Podcast Directories

There is a universe of podcasts that cover every niche, market segment, and industry. But episodes are not indexed or analyzed in any systematic way.

Head over to any of the big podcast directories including Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher. Look for podcasts in your industry. Look through top episodes, reviews, and descriptions. Listen to episodes that catch your eye.

Harvest & use any new keywords that you find.

Physical Books & Magazines

I cannot stress how underestimated physical books and magazines are for keyword research. They are structured, comprehensive, edited, fact-checked, and exist in every industry for every market segment.

The problem is that they are inaccessible for quick research. You have to, you know, read them? But that’s your competitive advantage over big publishers working at scale.

Buy some physical books and magazines specifically for keywords and topics that are not coming up in your traditional keyword research.

There are a couple of ways to speed this process up. One way is to use ebooks. Convert them to HTML or text. Search them quickly, or use an algorithm to parse it.

Another way is to use Google Books. I wrote a guide to using it for SEO & content research here.

Customer Surveys

Google Surveys and Survey Monkey both make customer surveys much more accessible than ever in the past. They are still fairly costly, but can be a good value when planning an expensive content or ad campaign.

One idea here to ask open-ended questions and word association type questions to help trigger unique, qualitative keywords from real people.

Next Steps To Find New Keywords

There are a million variations of the cliche that “if you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get what everyone else has.” Keyword research is no different. It takes work to find new keywords.

If all you do is go to SEMRush or Ahrefs, drop in a big keyword and sort by keyword difficulty…then you’ll never get ahead. Same with Google Autosuggest or Keyword Planner.

But searching out new sources to find keywords that your audience is using, but that you don’t see will help you get ahead.

“”

SEMRush Review: Pros, Cons & Use Cases

This post originally appeared at SEMRush Review: Pros, Cons & Use Cases via ShivarWeb

SEMRush Review

SEMRush is a suite of digital marketing software covering organic search (SEO), paid search (PPC), social media, and more. The company has been around for more than 11 years, and is a mainstay among many marketing agencies & consultants.

See SEMRush’s Current Plans & Pricing

I’ve been and off & on user of SEMRush for more than 7 years. While I’m a current subscriber of Ahrefs, one of their semi-direct competitors, I’ve recently reactivated my subscription due to volatility and massive changes among marketing data vendors.

What is SEMRush?

SEMRush is a suite of tools for digital marketers, so it’s hard to say precisely what it is. It’s almost like a Swiss Army Knife – a general purpose data & analysis tool for digital marketing.

Background on SEMRush

Their tools revolve around their backlink index, their keyword index, and their domain database. Their tools mix, match & cross-reference all these datasets to help marketers make better decisions about building content, building links, running ads, and running social media campaigns.

For example, their Keyword Explorer takes keywords that people are searching for in Google and cross-references their backlink index & ads index to determine how difficult any given keyword will be to rank for.

Here’s their official overview of their products.

SEMRush has been around for a long time. They have seen their share of controversy and can generate some extreme opinions among the digital marketing community.

Their one thread of consistency (and the reason they are still around) is that they have a very good sense of their target market. They have always sought to be the best all-around, single toolset. This will be the general theme and tl;dr of the pros & cons below.

They are not the “best” for any single one of their tools, but their strength is that they are really strong across a bunch of different tools…and they bundle it all into one.

How SEMRush Works

SEMRush has three subscription tiers. The higher tiers are meant to almost exclusively appeal to agencies with more reporting options and sharing limits…which they helpfully explain right on their pricing page.

Once you sign up, SEMRush revolves around Projects. Your website would be a single project. All the tools revolve around auditing your current domain, finding domain competitors, understanding your current link profile, your current keyword targeting, and all your opportunities.

SEMRush works by pulling data and attempting to help you convert that data into actions that you can take to improve your marketing.

Their Dashboard is busy & cluttered – but does show all the tools that you have available. They show all the use cases & example tasks that you can do to prevent decision overload.

Like a Swiss Army Knife, their tools work best if you know exactly what you want to do. It helps to start small to solve a single marketing problem.

For example, I needed a way to audit and share local citation opportunities with a client. SEMRush not only has that dataset, but it also provides recommendations on what to do – and it will create an automated, white-label PDF report to send my client.

I’ll get into these examples in my pros / cons, but in general, SEMRush works by taking your problem request, pulling data, converting that data into potential actions, and letting you take those actions to improve your digital marketing.

Pros of Using SEMRush

The broad upside of SEMRush is that it’s a full toolset from dataset, to recommendation engine, to automation tool, to reporting tool.

They are consistently focused on being the *one* tool that any agency, freelancer, or in-house marketer can buy and dramatically speed up their marketing operations. Here’s how that general upside plays out.

Feature Breadth

SEMRush has an incredible breadth of features – much more than I can write out and summarize.

They really lean into the “but wait, there’s more!” vibe.

Usually, a customer (like myself) joins for a specific tool, but quickly finds out that they have much more to offer.

For in-house marketers, it’s useful to have SEO, PPC, Social, PR, and Content tools all in a single software suite.

You are likely running multi-channel campaigns, so to have PPC & SEO keyword metrics are useful…but also to have link building & prospecting tools.

For solo freelancers on a budget, it’s useful to have a variety of tools to solve whatever marketing issue that you’re dealing with at the moment.

It has all the tools from a social media scheduler to toxic backlink checker to site auditor so that you can solve & diagnose any marketing issue that a new client is having.

For growing agencies, it can be shared by your PPC and SEO team to cut costs. Additionally, the reporting tools are invaluable for saving time and money while increasing client value & transparency.

They even have a lead generation tool to help agencies recruit new clients.

Here’s what the SEMRush Dashboard looks like –

Here’s what their backlink tool looks like.

It’s interesting how they not only pull basic backlink metrics, but also categorize them for you. It provides a quick snapshot of whatever domain you’re looking at.

Their link building tool takes your existing backlink index and generates ideas for new link building campaigns.

Here’s what their CPC Map tool looks like to help you generate new CPC ideas.

Here’s their local SEO tool – which is truly a “but wait there’s more” tool for any agency or freelancer.

Local clients are very hard to work with & scale due to the limited (and usually expensive) tools on the market. The fact that this tool is bundled is huge. It competes with Moz Local, but I found it to be solid.

Here’s their Market Explorer tool to help gather a better picture of any given industry so that you know who to copy, who to avoid, and who to learn from.

Again, I could go on. SEMRush’s biggest strength is their breadth of tools. No single tool can compete with a direct competitor, but on whole, they are a solid fit for the people most likely to use / need their product.

Feature Depth & Accuracy

Now – SEMRush has a wide breadth of tools. But even on their own, their tools are solid and have industry-leading depth & accuracy to them.

With their SEO tools, their backlink and keyword indices are not necessarily the best, but they are industry-leading. Comparing backlink indices is notoriously difficult. I will leave the academic research to others.

But from a day to day keyword research and link building perspective, SEMRush is good enough to do almost any job.

They are at that point where the person using the tool matters more than the tool itself.

I use Ahrefs on a day to day basis. They consistently have a more useful, and more complete keyword and link database than SEMRush.

But I also know how to effectively use Ahrefs’ data. In fact, one reason that I pay for both Ahrefs’ and SEMRush is that I like to collate their data with my Search Console data. Having 3 indices is better than 1.

But either way – SEMRush is a solid #2 or #3 in keywords & link database world…and they have depth in their PPC, Social, and Content tools.

Their PPC tools have a universe of data that other SEO-focused tools like Moz and Ahrefs (or Majestic) simply do not have. It has data that only Google’s Keyword Planner has.

But again – it’s a top tier dataset & PPC tool that also comes with SEO and everything else.

Having a range of robust tools might not be the best fit for everyone, but it’s a good fit for many others. With a growing agency that cannot afford multiple subscriptions, SEMRush has everything all in an overall value bundle. And that’s a huge pro.

Consistency Over Time

SEMRush has been around since 2008. For a marketing SaaS company, that is positively ancient. And that’s a good thing. There are lots of marketing software companies with a good product, and a good culture…but don’t really make it.

They get distracted and overextended. They try to become more than they should. They take venture capital and try to go beyond what their core market wants.

SEMRush has always been focused on the same core market with the same core suite of products. I was using them as a freelancer in 2011. The agency where I worked at in 2013 used them for their PPC and SEO teams. A friend who runs an in-house marketing team uses them today.

Their software suite has gotten bigger and better through incremental improvement and customer feedback.

They have been a bit tone deaf in their product launch communications and their own marketing tactics, but it’s never been a distraction from their main product suite.

When I commit to a tool, I want it to be around for a while. The fact that SEMRush has been around is a solid advantage.

Reporting & Recommendations

Marketing data can be just undecipherable noise unless you’ve worked at an agency or spent some time learning from someone who does digital marketing for a living.

That’s a huge problem with a lot of tools. There are two responses to this. One is to provide all the education and training yourself. That’s what Ahrefs does. They have the best SEO & content blog on the Internet.

The other response is to build in recommendations and reporting. That’s the route that SEMRush takes. I’ll get to the downsides of this approach, but overall, it’s really helpful.

If you are an in-house marketer or freelancer who juggles lots of marketing responsibilities, it’s incredibly useful to have reminders, recommendations, and reporting built into your software.

It provides actions in addition to education so that you can make fast decisions and understand the value of the data.

Cons / Disadvantages of Using SEMRush

There are a *lot* of highly charged opinions about SEMRush online. They have certainly courted plenty of controversy in the SEO community with their own “gray-ish hat” marketing tactics.

But they do have some downside and negatives as a tool set. Most of these are simple tradeoffs that they’ve made to get the pros that they have. But it’s important to be aware of the downsides & tradeoffs to understand what you’re getting and whether they align with your own goals and needs.

Feature Excellence

Plenty of SEOs and PPCers have done analysis on who has the “best” backlink or keyword index. You can get really deep in the weeds here. If you want to go read about crawler analysis and behavior, go check out this post or this post.

But, in general, and in my experience, SEMRush’s tools are solidly great – but they are not the best in any single category.

Their backlink & keyword index is good enough to do all the SEO & link building you’ll need to do to be competitive. But I still don’t think it’s as high quality or as deep as Ahrefs’ links or keywords.

Their PPC tools are great, but they are nowhere as user-friendly as AdEspresso or WordStream. And with their PPC keyword research tool, well, they are competing directly with Google’s Keyword Planner.

Their social media tools are great, but again, they are not as useful or usable as HootSuite, Buffer, or Buzzsumo.

Their link building & outreach tools are great, but again, they are not as usable or as useful as Buzzstream or other outreach tools.

And their local SEO tools are also solid, but not as good as Places Scout or Whitespark.

Now – this is all just the flipside of Feature Breadth.

SEMRush is the jack of all trades and master of none.*

*but don’t forget the rest of the rhyme which is “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Jargon & Feature Overwhelm

SEMRush has a lot going on. They have so many different features that they have them bucketed into different toolkits…even though the tools in those toolkits usually overlap.

The tools themselves are busy and present a ton of information.

And all that information is usually presented with industry jargon instead of plain language.

It’s confusing and overwhelming for me – and I’ve been in the industry for more than 10 years.

I’m not sure they could solve the user experience issue, but it’s a pretty big disadvantage compared to their competitors.

Automated Recommendations & Alerts

As mentioned in the pros section, one of SEMRush’s solutions to data overwhelm is to provide automated recommendations and alerts about what you should actually do.

Mostly, it’s a good thing. But any recommendation engine, no matter how smart, will only provide recommendations based on its inputs and parameters rather than actual knowledge.

And when you are working with human language and human knowledge, it gets tricky. SEMRush’s recommendations are great as an onboarding tool…but they can provide a false sense of security and accuracy.

This false sense of security could lead misinformed customers to make poor marketing choices.

For example, take their SEO content template tool.

In some ways, it’s great. In other ways, it just perpetuates some of the same old spammy tropes that have brought SEO down for years.

It is good to know semantically related words to your topic and it’s good to know about your competitors’ backlinks. And it’s good to consider text length.

But nothing about SEO is “paint by the numbers.”

It’s a bad idea to take a word salad, make a page full of those words, and throw a bunch of links at it.

That’s not what any professional SEO would recommend…but it’s the kind of thing that SEMRush’s automated recommendations would lead you to believe if you didn’t have any background or education.

It would be ideal to integrate some training directly with their recommendations. Until then, it’s a bit of disadvantage.

Workflow & Organization

SEMRush is not set up for a fast, efficient workflow…unless you really commit to the platform.

This downside can vary person to person, but it’s worth understanding. Some tools, like Ahrefs, just give you the data. The real analysis & work is done in a spreadsheet.

That’s how I like it and how most marketing professionals work.

SEMRush’s tool organization is setup to do analysis & actions within SEMRush. That’s great and can be super-handy…but only if you commit to using their workflow.

If you are the type of person who likes to work within SEMRush, it can have lots of advantages. But if you are like me and like to get the data into a spreadsheet, it can be frustrating.

SEMRush Use Cases

SEMRush has excelled by not trying to chase different markets. Here are the types of people that they are built for.

Solo Marketing Freelancer

If you have a wide range of clients & frequent projects, SEMRush’s tool variety will allow you to just have a single subscription to handle all types of clients.

In-house Marketer

If you are an in-house marketer that wants to run or knowledgeably assist your agency with multichannel campaigns, a subscription to SEMRush will give you the tool variety to effectively do that. Their pricing & reports will also be easy to sell to your boss.

Growing Agencies

SEMRush’s white label reports and team sharing options can help you provide value to clients while also controlling your overhead. It will also help you standardize agency processes with a single tool so that you don’t have a jumble of tools as your teams grow.

Next Steps & Conclusion

SEMRush is a solid all-in-one marketing tool suite. They aren’t the best in any one area, but they excel at providing a bunch of tools for a single subscription.

If you do PPC, SEO, Social, and/or Local – they are the tool to buy. You can see how they diagnose your own site with this tool –

If you are solely into SEO / Content, you should also look at Ahrefs. With a head to head comparison, they are better. And if you have the budget and clients…you should just pay for both. More data gives you a competitive advantage.

SEMRush

SEMRush is a suite of digital marketing software covering organic search (SEO), paid search (PPC), social media, and more. The company has been around for more than 11 years, and is a mainstay among many marketing agencies & consultants.

Application Category: Marketing Software

Editor's Rating:
4

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How To Choose a New Local Business Location with Digital Marketing Data [Case Study]

This post originally appeared at How To Choose a New Local Business Location with Digital Marketing Data [Case Study] via ShivarWeb

How To Choose New Local Business Location

So you have a rapidly growing local business, and you are looking to expand. You have the brand, the capital, and the processes to open a second or even third location.

You’re in a growing metro area with lots of opportunity and open real estate.

And yet, you know that every real estate agent and business analyst will tell you that long-term success depends on “location, location, location.”

Now, if you were a national retail chain or a franchise owner, you could hire a location consultant to comb through census data and expensive proprietary business intelligence.

But you aren’t sure it’s truly worth the price. After all, your local real estate agent knows most of the metro market. And you generally know what the Census data says…even though the Census data is almost 10 years old.

So what can you use to gather hard data about what locations are most likely to succeed?

That is the question that EZ Dent of Athens, Georgia faced in early 2020 while scoping out new location opportunities for 2021. To answer the question, my team at ShivarWeb turned to EZ Dent’s existing digital marketing data.

Here’s how we combed through the data and how you can too.

Using Google Trends

Google Trends is a tool that allows you to see the relative popularity of search queries. It’s a little counter-intuitive to use since it measures total popularity of a query or topic in relation to all queries or topics in a specific region.

For location scouting, though, it can provide a general picture depending on your industry. You can find out what cities within a metro are “hubs” for your industry.

Google Trends

In our initial research, Norcross and Smyrna both have known automobile repair shop hubs in their city. It’s good to see that observation confirmed with Google Trends.

It’s also good to see that those hubs show up in search data. Google Trends doesn’t work for low volume or specific queries.

But since our observations hold with a larger data set, we can assume that they’ll work on a smaller scale (i.e., small cities with an automotive hub will have a similar percentage of search traffic).

Takeaway: Use Google Trends to get a sense of general location trends in your area.

Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that tracks user behavior on your website. Whenever a visitor arrives on your website, it captures location data based on IP address.

Under the Audience → Geo → Location report, you can drill down to the city-level of all your website visitors. For location scouting, this data allows you to see not only where your website visitors are located, but also where your best website visitors are located.

Based on anecdotes, we knew that we had an outsized number of visitors from Hall, Barrow, and Rockdale counties.

Google Analytics

Now, that data could show that there are a lot of prospective customers in those locations. But it could also just show that the website we were working with performed well in those locations due to a range of factors.

To look at the opportunity for different locations, we needed to look at a few other data sources.

Takeaway: Use your location report in Google Analytics to find locations where you are out-performing.

Using Google Ads’ Search Performance

Google Ads will provide the largest store of information for location scouting, especially if you have been running ads for some time.

Within Google Ads, we looked at several data points. 

First, we looked at what locations drove the most clicks and impressions. From that data, we could understand both the total market (from impressions) and interest (click through rate).

Google Ads

Second, we looked at competition based on cost per click and impression share. These numbers varied wildly depending on location, so it’s a really good data point. If you see lower costs per click but consistent volume, you are likely working against less competition.

Third, we looked at actual keyword search terms in our historical data. This data will have the keywords with both location names and “near me” modifiers.

The location names can indicate how people refer to their location (e.g., city or ZIP or neighborhood, etc), and the “near me” modifiers can show how many people prefer a location nearby over a location within moderate driving distance.

Google Ads

Fourth, we looked at the Keyword Planner Forecast tool to understand seasonal and geographic variations. Google will only provide ballpark, averaged volumes. But this data exists nowhere else in the world.

Takeaway: Use Google Ads to find the most granular data about where your prospective customers are and what they are looking for.

Using Google Search Console

Google Search Console will show you how your website performs organically. If your website has more than a year of history, you can drill down in the Search Performance report not only with the geographic filter, but also with your keywords to get a sense of opportunity and performance for different locations.

With Search Console, we looked at data points similar to Google Ads.

First, even though we couldn’t drill down to city level filters in Search Console, we could connect the data to Google Analytics. We could look at search queries by location within Google Analytics to get a sense of organic search behavior and performance by location.

Search Console

Second, we could sort keywords by location modifier and by near me. Pair that data with our Google Ads to understand search behavior and terminology by location.

Takeaway: If you have a strong presence in organic search, you can find lots of useful location data within your Search Console Performance report.

Using Google My Business Data

Google My Business is Google’s hub for local businesses. It has an Insights tab that can provide data from your local listing in Google Search & Maps.

Google My Business

With Google My Business, you can pull search query data specifically from searches that trigger a local listing. It might be similar to your Search Console data, but it also might be wildly different, depending on how your website performs for local searches.

Google My Business

Even though this data can’t provide predictive data for locations that you are scouting, it can provide hidden gems to help you understand how people find your current location. You can roll those gems into hyperlocal marketing.

We were able to take those insights and roll it back into our Search Console, Ads, and Analytics data to understand how & where the best potential customers searched.

Takeaway: Google My Business is the only place where you can gather Google Maps & organic call data from Google. You can use it to understand how your customers interact with your locations on Google.

Using Facebook Ads Data

While Google operates in the world of customer behavior, Facebook operates in the world of customer demo- and psycho-graphics. Facebook’s Ads and Insights products allow businesses to see characteristics of their best existing customers…and then take those characteristics and perform a “lookalike” search in prospective locations.

Facebook Insights

We were able to take this data and find the total available market of ideal customers within a radius of our prospective locations.

Takeaway: Facebook has the best data around potential customers of any source on the Internet. Use it to carefully scout for high-impact locations.

Using CRM Data

Hubspot (or whatever CRM you use) allows you to track customers from the beginning of their journey all the way to after the sale. Hubspot and many others track location via IP addresses within each customer’s profile. Hubspot in particular has a Map My Customers integration which allows you to visually see where your best customers live – and how far they are from your current location.

In our location scouting, we were able to take this radius data and pair it our other data. We created a few location options that would provide the most productive location for the business. These locations were as far away from the current business as possible without going too far for support, all while capturing as many customers as possible within a certain radius.

Takeaway: Use your CRM data to map your existing customers. It’s a location scouting technique that large organizations pay millions for that you can do with existing digital tools.

Putting it all together with Google Maps

Google Maps is a ubiquitous tool that also has a map making tool. We used it to plot existing automotive real estate hubs in different cities.

Google Maps

From there, we ranked the best prospective locations and used Google Maps to outline rent prices and options.

From there, we found two locations that offered the best promise to move forward with a real estate search.

Takeaway: Use Google Maps to quickly narrow potential locations in areas where you aren’t familiar. Look for industry clusters to create a spreadsheet of locations to tour with a realtor.

Next Steps

Location scouting doesn’t need to be an expensive, consultant-led operation. It also doesn’t have to be an exercise in intuition or professional guessing. 

Your existing digital toolset likely has all the data that you need to make an informed decision. The key is to gather it, sort it, and make it useful along with your existing business data & business goals.

If you’ve done your job right, you’ll be set up for success beyond opening day.

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