Deep Dive Into Local series from Nov. 28, 2016. In our Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at one thing in local that caught our attention and deserves a longer discussion.
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Mike: Getting into the deep dive! David and I did a piece at "Street Fight Magazine" today entitled "Building the Essential Digital Marketing Bundle for Local Businesses." It relates back to the conversation that's going on at Local Search Forum. David and I basically detailed out what the core investment should be for every small business.
Obviously, a professional website that had technical SEO done properly for local, whatever that cost, $4,000 to $6,000. When you amortize that over four years it's $80 or $90 a month.
A basic local citation campaign -- assuming your citations are clean and not messy from moving or changing locations or phone numbers. It costs you $9 a month at Moz.
Basic review strategy, which could be zero or could cost $39 a month at some place like GetFiveStars, which puts you at $135. And then possibly some marketing and/or boosting at Facebook for $50 a month. Which puts you just under $200. That's sort of the core of what every business probably should be doing in their digital marketing arena.
And then assessing. Obviously, as you move into serious content, serious outsourcing for social ... or serious AdWords, you then take a big jump in your monthly cost. A social campaign can be $700 a month or a decent AdWords campaign could be a $1,000 a month. It would require you to be in a vertical where you're going to get a return from that.
So the question becomes, given the basic need for almost every business to spend $100 to $200 a month, where does that leave local SEOs in terms of where they should be focusing their effort? Should they be bundling a package, for example, of website technical SEO, Moz and Get Five Stars and selling it for $200, $250 a month? Is there an opportunity there? Where else is there an opportunity?
Mary: I think that is quite often the big question. You mentioned the basic things that everybody needs as a foundation. If they do the work themselves, we're talking about $200 a month. But how much time is actually involved in that, and how can someone do that efficiently, and what is that end cost gonna be?
I know in the Local Search Forum, there's some people talking about how they're doing local search campaigns for people in the $300 to $500-a-month range. So, I think it would probably fall at the upper end of that, at the very least.
Mike: Obviously content generation -- if you're doing Facebook, even, like Barbara. She's fortunate that she has her husband and she takes great pictures and she's in an industry where she can do ... her husband writes great posts, and between the two of them they take great photos, which work very well at Facebook. And she's developed a great following. But there's time and energy involved in that. But their posts are excellent, so the content is truly great. She hasn't quite gotten to the point where she's migrating that content back to her website, although she recently updated her website. She now has a blog, and I'm trying to encourage her to expand some of those posts back to her website.
But she's been able to carry that functionality off. The $50 a week, boosting content at Facebook, the Moz listing, a decent website, technically proficient -- and she's carrying that off herself. And now, finally, after six years, collecting email addresses. Now that she's got that nailed, she actually is contracting out for a few other services in the $400 to $600-a-month range. But that's only because her business has grown, she felt comfortable doing that.
Mary: Right. And I think that that's part of the issue with really low-priced local SEO services is that you have to move the needle. You have to actually make it so they are getting more phone calls, more leads, more people walking in the door. Once they see that, then, in most cases, they will come to you and say, "What else can you do for me?"
The tough thing is that we all know how to do so many different things, and that there are so many different things that can work. Sometimes it's really hard to zero in on two or three things that are really gonna make a difference for one particular local business and find the strengths that they have, like Barbara's great pictures, and finding a way to combine those things -- the resources they have with their needs to actually start putting more money in their bank account. And that just starts this virtuous cycle of them saying, "What else can you do for me?"
Mike: That's true. When we did Austin Local U, it was co-sponsored by Cody Baird of AdMen. They give away the website for free and then encourage people to slowly build up their various processes like reviews, email, and advertising, which they charge for. So they actually give away the website with the understanding that, over time, they will gain some of these other local services. It's an interesting strategy. But I think a lot of local SEO's don't understand that the website could become the commodity of this whole thing. Clearly, those people are still doing the design, doing everything themselves. It could become problematic if people are giving those great websites away, you know?
Mike: But, I mean somebody could be making profits by bundling a baseline of services in that $250 - $300 per-month range and if it's providing value, as you're pointing out.
Mary: Right, it has to provide value. It's certainly easy for us to sit back and charge people $200 a month to do citations. And you know what? It's just not worth it. We're stealing their money. I think, this is something that we need to take seriously -- don't just do things. Do things that matter.
Mike: Right. And it's particularly a problem if you're a single-person operation and don't have partners and/or subcontractors so that you can effectively do a broader range of services.
Mary: Or if you're just thinking that you should make everything scalable and that that's gonna work for you.
Mike: Yes, that's true. And everything isn't scalable, is it?
Mary: No, it isn't.
Mike: Well, some things are scalable in a broad sense, for example, link-building. You don't scale the link-building. You scale the process of outreach.
Mike: Right, where you have a system for outreach. And so you can't actually scale the link-building but you can get more efficient at reaching out to find people who might be willing to link to you. And I think it's the same with content. You can't scale good content, per se, but you can have a process for generating ideas and getting that content written. And that process can be made efficient and regular, right?
Mary: Yes. And if you have someone who is a powerhouse of content even if they tell you, "I can't write," then as the local SEO, you unlocking that and turning it into content some way that people are going to want to read and share online -- that's where your value comes in.
Mike: Right, that's a good point. Well, anything else to add, Mary?
Mary: I think we're done.
Mike: All righty, as we move towards December, thank you very much for joining us. Bye-bye.