Video Deep Dive: A closer look at ZipSprout’s Local Sponsorship Finder
Carrie Hill


This is our Deep Dive Into Local from March 20, 2019. In our Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at one thing in local that caught our attention and deserves a longer discussion. This episode takes a Deep Dive into ZipSprout’s Local Sponsorship Finder with Garrett French & Claudia Cruz, Mary Bowling, Carrie Hill.

Learn about the benefits to finding local sponsorships to help with brand building and linkbuilding for your local business. Join Co-Founder Garrett French and COO Claudia Cruz as they talk about the tool and offer listeners an opportunity to get in on the Beta!

If you have a special topic you would like us to discuss for the Deep Dive in Local, please reach out to us. If you would like to be on one or the other of our segments, reach out and send us the topic and your availability.

If you are interested in sponsoring this weekly show also please let us know.
We’d love to hear your feedback – so chime in on Social Media or by commenting below!

Also, check out this Local Sponsorship Finder demo from the team at ZipSprout:

Mary: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for our Local U Deep Dive this week. Today, Carrie and I have Garrett French and Claudia Cruz of… Claudia, you want to tell us about your company?

Claudia: We are from ZipSprout located in Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina. That’s where we operate from. And Garrett who is in Louisville, Kentucky. And yes, we are set for that. I’m sure most of you have known us in the past from Local U in the most recent event in Santa Monica. And thank you. Thank you for tuning in.

And Garrett has always been involved in like building for as long as I’ve been around. He’s been a big name in link building and what he’s done with ZipSprout is try to marry up nonprofits that can use some help with community sponsorships and small local businesses and large local businesses who want to help to sponsor in a way that benefits both parties. So Garrett, do you want to tell us about how you thought of this idea?

Garrett: Absolutely. we started trying to crack the local link building nut probably five years ago and it was, it’s just really hard. Local link building is a very difficult process. Finding the opportunities, first and foremost, was always the most difficult challenge. And we tried, links and resource page link building. We tried, local blogs and that sort of thing, which we have also found a way forward, not for this discussion. But the one item that we really found that was repeatable and that every city had these kinds of opportunities was sponsorships. And everybody always said, you should do sponsorships. And we had this idea that that would be scalable. But it does have from a scale perspective, it’s more expensive than regular link building because we have the cost of sponsorships as well.

But anyhow, we fast forward, we decided that we really should have a standalone agency so that the market of sponsorship opportunities or the nonprofits and other types of organizations that put on events at the hyperlocal level could have a brand, a recognizable brand that was knocking on their door that wasn’t citation labs. it just didn’t feel like the right fit. Plus we see that there’s a lot of other opportunity besides just link building opportunity at the hyperlocal level that’s frankly being passed over by a large and by almost everyone. So we don’t think of it really any more just as a link building opportunity on the ZipSprout side. But we started probably about three, I think officially formed up three years ago, three and a half maybe…well actually, it was January 2016 is when we officially started, I remember. And we, started with processes and development at that point, mostly to facilitate the agency side work, which was discovering and then just helping these organizations ultimately get that link up.

Right. That was the big…it’s just this incredible like pushing…it’s simple and hey, here’s some money. Can, we want to sponsor you guys. In theory, it’s very simple, but when you’re trying to do 40 or 50 in a month or in whatever period of time, there’s always these stragglers. And so we had to build out a system for managing all of that on the agency side, which we’ve done. So we’ve got that, we built that platform out first and then, it’s like, well, where do we go next? And the obvious place was, well, let’s look at, trying to get more people in this door for using these incredible opportunities that I still think everybody passes over, these hyperlocal sponsorship opportunities. There’s so much visibility to be had in aggregate that I think it’s just to me it should be a channel like billboards and TV and radio, at the hyperlocal level is events and, these other, , local visibility opportunities that just aren’t in one place. And so that’s what we are really trying to do is ZipSprout with the local sponsorship finder piece, particularly is get everything in one place so that it’s accessible and you can see the whole menu of what your opportunities look like.

Carrie: You just hit on something that, Garrett, I think that’s really interesting that I don’t think people, you were talking about the herding cats piece of trying to get those links up when you’re working with nonprofits or hyperlocal. Because let’s be honest, most nonprofits have a staff of unpaid people who have other jobs and other things to do. My favorite part, one of my favorite parts of local search finder is you forced all these nonprofits to get their ducks sort of in a row before they even submit the stuff to the search finder so that they actually know what their sponsorship levels are and how much they cost and they have a process for receiving payment and getting that thing up there. Because half the time when you’re just out there like knocking on the little league store and you’re like, “Hey, you guys need sponsors,” and they’re like, “I don’t know what’s going on. What’s a sponsor? How do we do this?”

Mary: yes. “What’s a link?”

Garret: “What is a link?” Oh Gosh, don’t get me started.

Carrie: …So, they have no clue what’s going on, but if they find them via you, they already have that figured out.

Mary: Yes, it does. It takes a lot of the busy legwork out of it because I find doing research on my own. Okay, I’ve found three or four different things that this guy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia may be interested in and, but who do I need to talk to about it? How much does it cost? Where is my logo actually going to show up? That takes an incredible amount of research and your tool has done that for everyone. One thing that I think we should talk about because I think it’s a big misconception is what is the value of a non-followed link to your business? Because link building has always been about the follow, the domain authority being, or their page rank being passed on. What’s your take on that?

Garrett: Well, as a devout link builder, I will tell you, I will always choose the followed link over the no followed link. But that doesn’t mean that a no followed link has no value. So there’s a lot of things, especially at the local level, a lot of value that can be had not from a non-followed link. Now I will say we do our utmost in the tool to identify when someone is no following links. So users can, I typically determine whether something is followed or not within our system. But that said, look, if you’re getting, well, some of it’s going to come down to what offer are you making to your audience? Where you’re getting visibility. So if you’ve got a coupon and it’s going to be in a newsletter and it’s up on their blog and that’s where the link happens and it’s a no followed link, then we’re fine. But what I’m getting at is you got to do a little bit of your homework first and think about what an offer are we making within these audiences that we have this access to.

The other piece, of course, would be simply getting your…a citation. Like, could they mention your business, maybe your phone number, address, etc. in some… then contextually on their website in some way, contextually, we have to ask, how and why could this make sense on their website? And you may have to figure some of that out for them. So if this is an organization, it’s like, no-follow, like, absolutely no-follow, then you would want to do some of this homework. But how and why could they be mentioning your business or your location, either in a blog post or perhaps on the Thank You page?

But getting that a citation could be enormously valuable also. And then here’s the other thing. Well, what if they give you a no-follow link and they have an event and there’s a booth where you can go set up a booth at the event and meet a new audience, a new market that way. Again, your homework is to make sure you’ve got an offer that resonates with this particular audience. A lead gen offer, like a free coupon or a free hour of tanning or whatever, whatever your service is, you need to be giving something of some small piece of it away. But if you’ve got these pieces prefigured out, then you’re not making your determination of value based solely on is there a link coming through this exchange, a followed link coming through this exchange or not. It’s not that it’s not valuable. It is, it’s great to get a follow link, but it’s not the core, it doesn’t have to be the core of how you’re assessing value.

Carrie: One thing Mary and I really talk a lot about is brand building versus link building. And anytime in your hyper-local area where your brand is being mentioned, whether it’s on a website or on a printed banner at a baseball game or as an announcement at a fun run or a 5K or something like that, that’s opportunity for people to hear your brand name. And they might not like immediately go to their phone and search for it, but the next time they need a plumber and they see your name in that search result and they’re like, oh, they sponsored little league, let’s give them a call. I mean there’s that brand connection that happens even by a no followed link, or an unstructured citation, whatever you call it. I think that that’s super valuable to our small business clients.

Mary and I are an agency and we do audits and I use this tool a lot to give our clients via an audit an idea of what’s available for sponsorships in their area because we try and match up like their passion project with what’s available in the area. If they’re into, animal rescue, we want to, find those things or if they’re into education, then we want to find those opportunities for them because then it helps them build a relationship. It’s not just, hey, I’m going to give you $30 or $100 or $300 or whatever the number is. Please put a link on your website. It’s, we’re now partners in this, in our local area. And I think you’re facilitating that meet and greet. You’re the, Friday afternoon networking where nobody has to leave their house. It’s my favorite time.

Garrett: Congratulations.

Carrie: Well done.

Mary: Another thing with local links and no follows is a lot of the websites, for example, the media websites and the chamber of commerce websites, they use the same directory software over and over again. Like a lot of chamber of commerces have the same directory software that no-follows just build into that. There’s no way you’re going to get a followed link. If you were to talk to them about it they don’t even know what you’re talking about.

Garrett: In the link graph, and from what I can perceive, and I don’t, pretend to understand, really understand Google, but from what I can observe, like the local link graph is very shallow. And so I think if Google threw away, they probably do treat no-follow and follow differently. But if you’re being mentioned in a no follow directory that’s on a chamber of commerce website, well, that means something, whether that link is followed or not, right. It has to because again, there’s just so little link data linking information relatively speaking that happens at that local level versus like, a heart health, and the big head term heart health. Like there’s so much linking that happens. There’s so much information here that Google’s able to make, a much better sense of the link graph just and I’m guessing, broad strokes, what do I think Google knows. But anyhow, I’ve just we’ve observed that again, at that local level, it’s just a shallow linking pool. there just isn’t a lot of link opportunities.

Carrie: Well, we talk about entities, anything Google can use to confirm what they already know about a business. So they know that this business is this entity in this location and they do this thing and if the chamber website and their directory says, this is this name of this entity and it matches this and this is what, where they do their business and it matches this and it’s, this is what they do. And this is the location and it matches, that helps them as well. So I think the follow and the no-follow is something we need to get over as local link builders in my opinion.

Garrett: Let me ask Claudia something real quick though because Claudia, I’m wondering like on the agency side when we do this work for clients, but usually it’s, larger scale, not always. But if anybody’s paying us they are absolutely adamant about getting followed links. But Claudia, when we’re finding local opportunities that our sponsorship-related, how frequently do we find that there are no-followed or that the site has no follow? Like just anecdotally?

Claudia: It’s very scarce. Like most of the opportunities are, not most of it, like the great majority do follow. In case of a no-follow, it’s really the incidence is very low of that happening. So the market that’s out there for the do follow and just have some extraordinary occasions you will find sponsorship with a no-follow link. And then again, I’m not saying that there…

Garrett: And we’re not trying to undermine your position to go after no-follow links because you can and should. But what happens is like at the local level, the organizations that accept sponsorships are, mom and pop. The website is in the best possible way, but the websites are often put together by different individuals and they’re all ad hoc and…

Carrie: We call that Frankensteining.

Garret: Frankenstein, they’re all together. Often they are. And I think having any concern about follow or no-follow, it just isn’t on the radar for the majority.

Carrie: I absolutely agree. So let’s talk a little bit about the tool. Let’s talk about what it is. While you guys talk, I’m going to just share my screen and show you guys what the Local Search Finder looks like and how we use it for sure. So one of the things that I really love about it is the ability to find opportunities by zip code and then filter them. So I’m just going to plug a zip code in here. I’m sharing my screen. Tell us a little bit about how you determine which filters you wanted to use, Garrett. So right now I’m looking, I just did a search for 34217, which is like Bradenton-Sarasota area in Florida. And it shows all the opportunities available there.

And I talked with Claudia about this before. My favorite, favorite piece of this is this little tag thing right here. Each one of the things that you guys load in the database , you tag them with what is this a good match for? So if I have a client who is in the health and wellness, I can pick the health and wellness tag and I can see some opportunities within that category. Or I can pick multiple tags so I can go back and I can say “Show all tags” and I can pick a couple of them and decide that. The other thing that I really liked is like, when is the event going to happen? Is it within the next three, six or nine months thing? I like being able to filter by that for sure.

Cost I think is huge. One of the things that I think the misconceptions that a lot of small businesses have around link building is that it costs too much. And I can’t do this because it’s going to cost me tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And so we can say no, you could find sponsorships to start a small as $100. we just need to find it and being able to filter by what the initial, what the buy-in is really helps our clients determine, what can I do and how can I do it? The second thing that I really love about this is that I can save my filters and I can save my location search so I can back to this and look at it again and again and again, which I think is so valuable from a time-saving standpoint.

I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I need to look at this data. So, looking at how this helps me as an agency and somebody who does a lot of audits and talks to a lot of clients about in different locations, like Mary and I don’t serve a particular niche other than small business. So I might talk to a lawyer today and a plumber tomorrow and a house painter the next day, and they’re in Florida, Virginia, and Portland. So, being able to just plug a zip code in for anywhere and have something valuable and local come back to me, even for the small areas I think it’s, you have a pretty extensive database. Of course, bigger metros are going to have more results. I mean, that’s just a given. But I think that it’s such a shortcut for me to not have to go out and Google and Google and Google and Google to find something. And I think if you’re an in-house marketer in a specific location, there’s still a lot of value in here because you guys are doing all the leg work. Like I said, well, you don’t have to herd cats to find them.

Garrett: but the funny thing to me is that even in an area that you believe you know well, your hometown, there’s still going to be opportunities that you’ve just never heard of. And it’s because so frequently that the either organization or an event happens and you just don’t hear about it. And you, maybe you lived your whole life and there’s something that’s been going on for 40 years in the city. And what, Oh, I didn’t know that. So even when we know places, I believe we don’t completely. And so that’s the other piece that we really try hard with is to make this as thorough of a representation of what actually exists as we can. So the, our initial thoughts on the the dials to turn right are very much driven by our agency side clients who we heard over and over was we want the cheapest opportunity by city cheapest with the highest domain authority.

Don’t shake your heads, Carrie and Mary. Don’t shake your heads, please. These were real. This is what people asked us for. So, absolutely, we do see restraints around from, a client’s around like, Hey we don’t like birds. So don’t put us on any, anything bird related, not really. But just you can get, people have their preferences of the types of missions that they feel like align with their brand. And that’s fair. And then the other piece that’s really fascinating to me is just what are these kinds of audiences that these events and organizations reach? And we try to assess at least the extent of the reach through our reach score, which is an assessment of so really more of the social side, but we do look at domain authority within that.

Forgive us, domain authority and then Facebook follower account, Twitter follower account, stuff like that. Just to get a sense of how active are they. and it’s rough, it’s rough, but you can compare. You can stack up to places and get a sense. if you’re unfamiliar with a region or a city, you can get a rough sense of who’s done a little more work on the social side perhaps. And so our key, I mean, honestly this is just, we’ve been pummeled by our own market in a good way. And what we’re looking for, what we believe the market is typically looking for is highest DA lowest cost.

Now a little bit on cost. We were worried about showing the cost that the actual price point that we’ve found opportunities at because they change. And this is what…you want to talk about herding cats. This is a huge part of that. we’ve got somebody, we’ve worked with them in the past and we think everything’s good and we go back to them a year later and everything is not good because pricing has changed or they don’t offer this thing or that thing anymore. So this is a living database. All these people are, all their data points are subject to change. And so, this is why we have really gone to the dollar sign. And we do have a range for that and I don’t recall what it is right now. But I think if you’re looking for $100 and under, you should probably be putting in the $1 sign is my best guess. That’s how I would guide users at this point. I don’t recall exactly how we figured that out.

Now also, I think we have varying degrees of infamy. We’ve got 60,000 opportunities in our database, but I don’t think we have pricing information for all of like even like pricing for about 12,000 or 15,000. Claudia, is that more accurate or can you speak to that a little bit?

Claudia: yes, I would say that would be accurate. yes, about 13,000 and like you just mentioned, it’s a living database that’s changing. Opportunities happen also, it was something that it was not happening in 2016, but now it’s going to happen in 2019. So it’s a completely fresh opportunity. It’s the fact that the discovery could be as new as this year. And we also have the opportunities that we have, the certainty that they’re going to happen and continue to happen for the next couple of years. So an event that is an annual event and happened in 2016, 2017, 2018 it will most likely happen in 2019. So it’s…

Garrett: We’re projecting some of these as well.

Claudia: We are projecting, correct. So it’s an educated guess, but it gives us a range in terms of how are you going to plan your partnerships for 2019 so that, and the opportunity is there. So it’s just a matter of reaching out and saying, hey guys, are you going to have this event this year? And it’ll most likely be yes for an answer. So yes, and then some cost of sponsorship will not be available because they do change and we wanted to portray the information as accurate as possible.

Carrie: Can you tell us a little bit about this value caller that I’m showing like, yes. I don’t think Claudia, you and I talked about that last time we talked and I would love to know what this star system consists of.

Garrett: Thank you so much for asking. We snuck this in. Garrett snuck this, I pushed for this in our last Dev planning push and this was, we miss Megan Hanae very much. She worked closely with us and she would not probably have agreed a lot with this approach. But the idea here is where do we see the high? Like, so you can sort by where is the high… This is for our SEO breath, where do you get the highest domain authority with the lowest estimated cost?

Carrie: Ah, Gotcha. Okay, great.

Garrett: Where’s best value? And so the more stars, the more value there is.

Mary: I would like to caution agencies and local SEOs about concentrating on lowest cost. I mean we have found great success in spending time talking with our clients and finding out what are they really interested in supporting and what are they willing and able to do. And sometimes it’s something like off the wall, one client, we found a breast cancer run and he thought, usually what we do is find some opportunities, get some details and send them to the client and say, “Which ones of these look interesting to you?” Don’t try to force any of this down anybody’s throat. Let them have options and choose from the options.

Garrett: Mary, I love you. You’re right.

Mary: And we found a guy who, we did a breast cancer run. He says, “Heck, I’ll run in it.” it’s like, okay, this is a perfect setup for him.

Garrett: That’s what they want. Mary, that’s what people want. And the reason why Megan would have pushed back on it and correctly, is that these organizations don’t want to be perceived as a value or a non-value. They’re out there working hard for their cause to the best of their abilities. So this is, and also, it’s anything that has a lot of stars is likely to get called very frequently. So they might ultimately ask to be removed from the database, I don’t know.

Mary: Or up their sponsorship.

Garrett: Or raise their prices. Sure. So anyhow

Carrie: Hence dollar signs versus dollar amounts.

Garrett: Correct. You don’t know ahead of time. And there’s a lot we don’t know about how are we going to impact the market or will this, how will the organizations, the nonprofits respond to this? We don’t really know. And so, if they want to be removed then they absolutely will have that right to be taken out of the database. But anyhow, we’re still in learning phase, but the thing I’m excited about is just being able to put, an entry point for people into what do the sponsorship opportunities look like near me. If you’re super, I have mixed feelings, but I’m mostly excited, but I can see the downsides of sorting by value. Okay. Because really, it’s a very, metric SEO-y value extraction as opposed to, what are the other benefits for this opportunity? Is there a run we could go on? Is there a booth we could set up? etc. And so I think there’s, it just kinda makes us stop at the link, which isn’t super exciting, but also my market has been that’s what they tell me, that’s what we’ve heard for the last six years.

Mary: The SEOs are driving that. Whereas I’m saying back off of that because you were still going to get huge benefit by building the right links that the small businesses are excited about. The same small business where the guy said, “Oh yes, I’ll run in the race,” we got him hooked up with a Veteran’s Day Parade. They’re getting a link on the government website for an entire year for $500 bucks. And this guy got his employees to drive his old Corvette in the parade with the banner. I mean, everybody was happy about that including the employees, driving the old vet. So, to me this is the opportunity that we really should be looking for, something that’s exciting and something that makes your clients, your small businesses want to do more of this.

Carrie: I think getting buy-in is…the piece of getting buy-in from the client is it has to be attractive to them beyond the link. It has to be the brand beyond the link. If it’s just a link then their buy-in is they have to pay for it and that’s boring to them. They’re not interested, whatever, just pay for it and it’s gone.

Garrett: It’s too expensive. yes…

Carrie: Or it’s too expensive, I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to come up with a budget for this. But if I say, okay, here’s a $500 link and here’s a $500 opportunity where you can get a link on a government website, have your employees drive a branded vehicle in a parade, get your name mentioned as a sponsor multiple times in local publications, what are you going to spend $500 on? I mean that’s a no brainer for a lot of the small business guys who are trying to do good works in their communities and build up their brand and reputation. And so I think the sponsorship piece of it, although I caution people don’t think that this is the only thing that you need to do, but it can be a big piece of what you do. And, Mary and I talk a lot about community karma. if you throw good things out into your community, good things will come back to you. And so I think that’s super important. Garrett, I wanted to ask you, what are two things that you can tell us that you want to do with the Local Search Finder in the next, let’s say 6 to 12 months? What are the two things you want to roll out?

Garrett: I think one key area is just process support for users. And so we’re really dialed in on, put in a zip code and show, feedback the opportunities that are local to that area and then make them sortable. The other piece that I feel like where we’ve got more work to do for sure is in when we have selected some of our opportunities that we want to see more of, right? So that costs credits in our system right now. And this is all, we’re… Well, I guess one of the big pieces is, actually, commercialize it, not just like make, have a Beta offering. But our initial thinking was like, we’ve got credits to be able to see contact information and everything. And so when you have selected opportunities to view making these opportunities more easy to compare one to the other so you can help…so you can make selections or so we can provide enough of these kinds of details at a glance around benefits.

Y’all bring up such a wonderful point, which is there’s different benefits for different types of opportunities. And that’s one of the key things we’ve worked hard on cataloging. I mean this is one of the main pieces that we’ve got internal processes around which is, okay, here’s the PDF, let’s look through this and let’s split it out what’s on the menu here, right? Like, let’s capture all this. Now it changes. But it’s having that array of opportunity I think. But making it at a glance digestible around, for a single city, you’re looking at the interface, you can see you’ve moved your favorites over to this screen here and now you can compare them, but you’ve got more data points to look at. That’s another key piece that I think we’re working on. So anyhow, thank you for asking, Carrie? Claudia, did I leave anything out? What else do we want to do?

Claudia: No, the two things that Carrie was asking, I think that you covered them. yes, eventually, we want to find out if the users ultimately want ZipSprout to continue to be the connector between the organizations and the sponsor or in this case the small business or for the SEO agencies their clients and continue to do that and prompt that connection, that first outreach. So that is one path that we’re going to explore it and hopefully, yes, get feedback from the Beta users in that sense.

Garrett: That would be the third thing we’re thinking of. But we’re looking at would there be interest in, hey, introduce me to this? Like, start the outreach for me. Be that initial touch point. Is there interest and is there willingness to pay us to do that, to be that initial outreach and then connect. Because within the whole process of fulfilling a sponsorship, there’s, discovery, qualification and then you gotta touch base with everybody to see if they’re willing to work with you. We’ve had sponsorship opportunities that rejected our clients before, who are all wonderful. How could they? But they do.

Mary: How could they be rejected?

Garrett: How could they? We didn’t reject them, how could they have rejected them? No. So there’s just a lot more steps and I think if you just do one or two, it’s not a big deal. But if you’re an agency trying to do, you’ve got 20 clients in 20 cities and they each want to do one opportunity every quarter, well then you might want a little more support. And so what we’re wondering what kinds of support needs are there? And that’s really our first thing is let’s just get this out there and see what kinds of needs and what kinds of requests we get instead of just my normal thing is like, I know what everybody wants and then build it. So we’re just trying to get something usable that for our Beta, we’re going to have a, probably a longish Beta phase and really learn what people are looking for.

But I know some of the key areas, again, to reiterate those, the three things would be being able to better see all of my selected opportunities at once. Testing. Do we work towards developing, the backend and the front end for a facilitation request? Like, Hey, will you help introduce me? And then I forget what the third thing was, but…

Carrie: Commercialization.

Garrett: Thank you.

Mary: So I understand that you’re going to be opening up some more spots for Beta testers.

Carrie: Go, Claudia. Tell us all about it.

Claudia: Correct. So we currently have about 200 subscribers that are ready to Beta test. So thank you, guys, and we have the space for a hundred more. So obviously, we’d like for our audience, Local U and Deep Dive podcast to send us an email login through our website. It’s a contact form and it sends us an alert to create a login for you. And all of that is going to be launched in the next few days after the podcast. And yes and it’s going to be ready to go. So you can start searching and hopefully partnering with some local sponsorships within your zip code, your town, your metro area or anywhere in the country. So most definitely.

Mary: So I would just like to add that you need to be finding local sponsorships for your small businesses. These are some of the best links and citations that you can get for little small businesses and we’re finding great success in small towns at like the $250 to $500 level and things that we can get the small businesses and their employees excited about as well. And I think when you can put all those things together, you’ve got a winning combination. In fact, we’re working was one client right now who he asked us for help on something and I turned around and I said, look, the reason…we’re coaching you to do this. We’re trying to teach you how to fish so that you don’t have to keep paying us to fish for you. And that, I think that really is our goal because the more things that we can get them excited about doing for themselves, then the more higher level things that they’re not really capable of doing, we can do for them.

Carrie: Well as an agency also, I just add that you know like, like our client that did the Veteran’s Day Parade, that’s an annual parade. And they’ve sponsored at once and they’ve developed now a relationship with the organizers of that parade. So we don’t have to go find that again because those organizers are going to reach out to our client next year, this year now and say, ”Hey, do you want to sponsor this year?” And Mary and I set that up once and all done, they’re going to handle that relationship from now on, they’re going to build that local relationship, which is so valuable to our client. Because every time they think about the Veteran’s Day Parade or the Veteran’s Day Parade reaches out to them for additional, sponsorships or, hey, we’re going to do this thing, or hey, we have this veteran in our system, our client happens to be a plumber who’s on a fixed income and need some help. Can you help him out? Every time that subject comes up, Mary and my agency is going to be in his brain like, wow, they helped us set this up. So from an agency standpoint, it’s great for us because they’re thinking about us every time they’re reminded of it. From his standpoint, it just happens every year now. We set it up once and it just goes and it grows and it grows. It grows this big relationship. So I think there’s so much value in that for the small business local clients.

Mary: And I think they can understand the value of it much more than they can understand it when you talk about link building.

Claudia: yes. Just stressing the three factors, the community engagement and the mission alignment with the business or the brand, the benefits of the impressions, the amount of impressions that a business get partnering with a social cause or an event or a little league because it creates…so you put a sign in a left field and it creates over a thousand impressions because you have in-home games, at home games and they have outside games, things like that. And then the digital component, right? Because it’s not only the clickthrough, but it also can be, it may not be super high VA website, but it has the clickthroughs and also has a following, the Facebook followers of 20,000. And you get a shout out on the social media with 20,000 impressions right there. So it’s like that definitely is stressing the combination of those three factors it’s essential. And I think, yes, the small business you can see, right?

Garrett: And for reach what Claudia is describing. Like that used to be what the newspapers gave you. It used to be, and that’s going away. And it’s getting, people, they’ll still reach there, but it’s fragmented. And so you have to do all these little things in order to get that same reach that would have been really easy with the newspaper buy 20 years ago. So this is where these audiences are going. there’s still hope. They’re still there.

Carrie: If you can find that $250, $500 newspaper buy and with a significant readership, hey, go for it.

Garrett: Fair enough. Fair enough.

Mary: Before we got started, we talked to Garrett and Claudia and they’re going to try to put together a demo that we’ll publish on Local U that’ll actually run you through this tool and show you how to use it. So we’re looking forward to that and we hope you are also.

Carrie: And sign up for the Beta. We’ll have information included in the video. You’ll probably see it flash across the screen as we talk about the Beta here towards the latter end of the video. get signed up for that and give it a try and get them your feedback. One thing that I’ve really appreciated is that Garrett and Claudia are super open to suggestions and questions, and they’re very interested in making the tool better and we really appreciate being able to get in on this level where we can help guide that for sure because the more valuable we make it for the community, the longer I think it will be around and we want that, we want that longevity.

Garrett: So do we. Thank you.

Claudia: Thank you.

Mary: Thank you both for taking so much time this morning and we’d look forward to actually getting a demo.

Claudia: Thank you.

Garrett: We had a blast.

Mary: Thank you. Bye-bye.

Carrie: All right. Hey, everybody, Carrie Hill here. If you’d like to sign up for the Beta, go to Thanks.

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Carrie comes to Sterling Sky with SEO experience that dates back to 2005! She has a passion for figuring out what works for each and every client and picking apart the problems that arise in our “it depends” relationship with Google. She has also been organizing and nurturing the LocalU Conference Series since 2017 – through to today – across a hectic few years of pandemic and back into in-person conferences again.