Small markets... is it worth it?

by kemdev
22 replies
I'd like to prompt a discussion today to see what some of you think. I already have ideas and know how I'd answer the question, but I'd like to see some of your thoughts on the matter.

The situation: you have a client paying a fair price for your services and they want a return on their investment.

The problem: the client resides in a small(er) city with little to no search volume for their keywords.

The question: assuming you have the know-how or resources to perform or outsource all the tasks needed, how do you - using internet marketing only - provide a positive ROI for your client... keeping in mind there is little to no search volume for their keyword phrases.

I'm looking for answers in this form of... "I would do this and this and this because it would do this and this and this for the client."

Looking forward to hearing some answers on the subject!
#markets #small #worth
  • Profile picture of the author James English
    Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

    I'd like to prompt a discussion today to see what some of you think. I already have ideas and know how I'd answer the question, but I'd like to see some of your thoughts on the matter.

    The situation: you have a client paying a fair price for your services and they want a return on their investment.

    The problem: the client resides in a small(er) city with little to no search volume for their keywords.

    The question: assuming you have the know-how or resources to perform or outsource all the tasks needed, how do you - using internet marketing only - provide a positive ROI for your client... keeping in mind there is little to no search volume for their keyword phrases.

    I'm looking for answers in this form of... "I would do this and this and this because it would do this and this and this for the client."

    Looking forward to hearing some answers on the subject!
    A lot of this depends on the industry. Lets assume we are working with a Dentist:

    I would not waste time on SEO for local keywords or PPC campaigns with little to no search volume. It is a waste of time for you, and a waste of money for him.

    I would focus my efforts on something like Google Local, getting your client a position in the top 7 results for his industry.

    This way, if someone from say...Crescent Mills, CA is looking for a Dentist, he can do a regular search for "Dentist" or a similar keyword in google, and your client will be right there in the 7 box for this prospect to find.
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    • Profile picture of the author RRG
      If the only thing you can help your client with is "internet" marketing, you're doing him a disservice. Or, he's not the right client for you.

      Remember, the internet is only a medium, not a marketing system.
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      • Profile picture of the author kemdev
        Originally Posted by RRG View Post

        If the only thing you can help your client with is "internet" marketing, you're doing him a disservice. Or, he's not the right client for you.

        Remember, the internet is only a medium, not a marketing system.
        Right... we're using the 'internet' as our medium.
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        • Profile picture of the author RRG
          Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

          Right... we're using the 'internet' as our medium.
          My point is that either you are doing him a disservice by not being able to help him with "marketing" instead of only the medium of the internet . . . or that he's not the right client for you because you can't help him enough with that one medium.

          Nothing wrong with your specializing in internet marketing. But if what you're doing is not providing him with an ROI, maybe you can refer him to someone who is an expert in direct response marketing.
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          • Profile picture of the author kemdev
            Originally Posted by RRG View Post

            My point is that either you are doing him a disservice by not being able to help him with "marketing" instead of only the medium of the internet . . . or that he's not the right client for you because you can't help him enough with that one medium.

            Nothing wrong with your specializing in internet marketing. But if what you're doing is not providing him with an ROI, maybe you can refer him to someone who is an expert in direct response marketing.
            "Him" or "He" is a nonexistent client. I'm asking those who specialize in internet marketing how they would tackle the problem of a client who resides in a small city with little or no search volume. Do you have an answer?
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            • Profile picture of the author RRG
              Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

              "Him" or "He" is a nonexistent client. I'm asking those who specialize in internet marketing how they would tackle the problem of a client who resides in a small city with little or no search volume. Do you have an answer?
              Sorry, I didn't realize you were posing a hypothetical.

              And I don't specialize in "internet marketing." I specialize in direct response marketing.

              But it seems to me that in a city with little to no search volume, this client would need another strategy. And someone other than you to help him.
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            • Profile picture of the author bawls
              Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

              "Him" or "He" is a nonexistent client. I'm asking those who specialize in internet marketing how they would tackle the problem of a client who resides in a small city with little or no search volume. Do you have an answer?
              Just because Google says there is no volume does not make it true. Run adwords campaign in that niche and count the impression then you will know if Google is a viable resource for them to market in.
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              • Profile picture of the author DABK
                If the small market is a suburb of a big city, you can get him clients by going after keywords with the big city in them.

                If it's a small market in the middle of nowhere, and you know from testing that there's no traffic to be had by being number 1 in Google, you find clients another way.

                Though, it might quite possibly be that there's not enough of a market to warrant hiring a marketer.

                So, how small is the market?
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                • Profile picture of the author kemdev
                  Originally Posted by DABK View Post

                  If the small market is a suburb of a big city, you can get him clients by going after keywords with the big city in them.

                  If it's a small market in the middle of nowhere, and you know from testing that there's no traffic to be had by being number 1 in Google, you find clients another way.

                  Though, it might quite possibly be that there's not enough of a market to warrant hiring a marketer.

                  So, how small is the market?
                  Using my location as an example... it's a small city with a couple larger ones within a 25-mile radius. There are a FEW niches that have some search volume (used cars, attorneys, etc..) but most have no volume, according to Google. There are websites that do really well in this city, though - including some of my own clients - even without search volume coming directly from Google.

                  Google isn't the only frontier - and it's not the only way to get traffic to a client's website. The reason I posed this question in particular is to see how some of you tackle this problem. What type of package would YOU put together to get traffic to a client's website, knowing that most of it won't be coming from Google directly?
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                  • Profile picture of the author RimaNaj2011
                    I offered SEO and social media but this is exactly why I've stopped online marketing for local businesses. The internet really isn't the best way if that's the main focus.
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                    • Profile picture of the author midasman09
                      Banned
                      You Kidding ME?

                      I grew up in Chgo and made my first "serious money" there. Then moved in 1978 to Aspen, CO (pop. 7,000) and started an Advertising biz and PROSPERED.

                      Then moved to a small town in SW Oregon (Roseburg-pop 20,000) in 1990 and PROSPERED (Still am)

                      In fact....twice a year I go 20 mi South to a town with 3,500 (Myrtle Creek, OR) and pick up checks from 18 local biz owners for $297 each.

                      "Small" town biz owners have the same WANTS as any Big City biz owner.... MORE CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS/PATIENTS!

                      I don't care if there's only 2 "Show Repair" guys in town, I WILL get one of them to pay little ol' ME some Moola.

                      AND....from what I find in "Small Town America" I can then apply to "The BIG CITY" biz owners.

                      Don Alm....STILL Leaning this "Marketing Stuff"
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                      • Profile picture of the author JacobS
                        In my experience, small markets have a better ROI. They have fewer competitors, and most of their competitors don't have somebody who's good at web design, mobile web design, SEO, etc., so a little bit of work yields huge results.

                        I had one client in a particularly small market with one competitor, to whom they were rapidly losing market share. I designed a mobile website and I was able to get them ranked #1 on google. Their business skyrocketed.
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                      • Profile picture of the author kemdev
                        Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

                        You Kidding ME?

                        I grew up in Chgo and made my first "serious money" there. Then moved in 1978 to Aspen, CO (pop. 7,000) and started an Advertising biz and PROSPERED.

                        Then moved to a small town in SW Oregon (Roseburg-pop 20,000) in 1990 and PROSPERED (Still am)

                        In fact....twice a year I go 20 mi South to a town with 3,500 (Myrtle Creek, OR) and pick up checks from 18 local biz owners for $297 each.

                        "Small" town biz owners have the same WANTS as any Big City biz owner.... MORE CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS/PATIENTS!

                        I don't care if there's only 2 "Show Repair" guys in town, I WILL get one of them to pay little ol' ME some Moola.

                        AND....from what I find in "Small Town America" I can then apply to "The BIG CITY" biz owners.

                        Don Alm....STILL Leaning this "Marketing Stuff"
                        I'm not debating whether or not sales can be made. In fact, this isn't a sales discussion or a 'is it possible' discussion whatsoever.

                        I've simply posed the question of HOW. As online marketers, how do we service clients in cities with little to no search volume? How do we get traffic to their website day in and day out WITHOUT relying on volume from Google? If everyone needs what we offer, how do we provide positive ROI clients in that situation?

                        So far, none have been able to answer...
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                        • Profile picture of the author RimaNaj2011
                          Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

                          I'm not debating whether or not sales can be made. In fact, this isn't a sales discussion or a 'is it possible' discussion whatsoever.

                          I've simply posed the question of HOW. As online marketers, how do we service clients in cities with little to no search volume? How do we get traffic to their website day in and day out WITHOUT relying on volume from Google? If everyone needs what we offer, how do we provide positive ROI clients in that situation?

                          So far, none have been able to answer...
                          That search volume is just through search engines, which should be a small portion of the total marketing strategy. So you get traffic from other sources.
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    • Profile picture of the author kemdev
      Originally Posted by Trent English View Post

      A lot of this depends on the industry. Lets assume we are working with a Dentist:

      I would not waste time on SEO for local keywords or PPC campaigns with little to no search volume. It is a waste of time for you, and a waste of money for him.

      I would focus my efforts on something like Google Local, getting your client a position in the top 7 results for his industry.

      This way, if someone from say...Crescent Mills, CA is looking for a Dentist, he can do a regular search for "Dentist" or a similar keyword in google, and your client will be right there in the 7 box for this prospect to find.
      Is there really a difference between optimizing for Google Local and optimizing for organic success? Obviously the importance or getting reviews and active citations comes into play... but links from 3rd party sites are still extremely relevant for both are they not?
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Rivers
    Hey Kemdev,

    Unfortunately, I've been faced with that exact situation.

    However, in my case, I had created a online marketing plan comprised of free marketing strategies designed to increase my clients rankings in the major search engines.

    After my keyword research, that's when I noticed the lack of search volume.

    So, here's what I did:

    I started by telling my client the truth.

    I told them that the keyword research I'd done didn't show the amount of people using that word or phrase to find a business like their's that I normally like to see in order to invest their entire budget into a strictly keyword-based campaign.

    However, I let them know that sometimes the tools don't show smaller levels of local searches, so we will need to create a slightly different online marketing program that will include a few different strategies.

    I also let them know that the smaller amounts of traffic that the tools DON'T show, can still be very valuable, so we shouldn't totally abandon those keywords. However, it would be unwise to bet everything on those keywords.

    Then, I presented my client with a blend of free and paid online marketing strategies. Here's the breakdown:

    1. Using my client's target demographics I created a list of about 10 local websites that sold banner advertising that allowed my client to target their ideal customer.

    2. Found another 5-7 local websites that sell related products or services that sell banner advertising that will allow my client to target their niche.

    3. Made another list of any local businesses that would allow my client to buy email blasts to their lists. This was fairly cut and dry. If the business had a list, they were usually willing to do it. If they didn't have a list, then obviously they didn't bite.

    4. Did the obvious thing and widened my client's geographical marketing efforts to include other cities and towns that were within their servicing range.

    5. Went ahead and implemented a keyword-based marketing campaign using the usual suspects of video, articles, on-site content with backlinking etc. for some of the best buyer keyword's that my research uncovered.

    At the end of the day, I was only able to close one of the client's I presented this type of offer to. The other two chose not to make the step up with their monetary investment.

    One of the biggest lessons I learned through this was to always build some form of paid advertising in all of my online marketing campaigns that I sell. That way it's not a huge price difference to the client when I present it.

    Hope this helps,

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author bluecoyotemedia
      Chris

      that was excellent information regarding some localized information. I have seen a few of your posts and the way you present yourself has always been professional

      please do not misinterpret this but

      you seem to be a fine example of a successful African American entrepreneur.. and these are the kinds of examples I think we need more of in today's diversive nation.

      now get back to work pal because money never sleeps

      sorry I just finished watching the original wallstreet.. Gekko my man

      eddie





      Originally Posted by Chris Rivers View Post

      Hey Kemdev,

      Unfortunately, I've been faced with that exact situation.

      However, in my case, I had created a online marketing plan comprised of free marketing strategies designed to increase my clients rankings in the major search engines.

      After my keyword research, that's when I noticed the lack of search volume.

      So, here's what I did:

      I started by telling my client the truth.

      I told them that the keyword research I'd done didn't show the amount of people using that word or phrase to find a business like their's that I normally like to see in order to invest their entire budget into a strictly keyword-based campaign.

      However, I let them know that sometimes the tools don't show smaller levels of local searches, so we will need to create a slightly different online marketing program that will include a few different strategies.

      I also let them know that the smaller amounts of traffic that the tools DON'T show, can still be very valuable, so we shouldn't totally abandon those keywords. However, it would be unwise to bet everything on those keywords.

      Then, I presented my client with a blend of free and paid online marketing strategies. Here's the breakdown:

      1. Using my client's target demographics I created a list of about 10 local websites that sold banner advertising that allowed my client to target their ideal customer.

      2. Found another 5-7 local websites that sell related products or services that sell banner advertising that will allow my client to target their niche.

      3. Made another list of any local businesses that would allow my client to buy email blasts to their lists. This was fairly cut and dry. If the business had a list, they were usually willing to do it. If they didn't have a list, then obviously they didn't bite.

      4. Did the obvious thing and widened my client's geographical marketing efforts to include other cities and towns that were within their servicing range.

      5. Went ahead and implemented a keyword-based marketing campaign using the usual suspects of video, articles, on-site content with backlinking etc. for some of the best buyer keyword's that my research uncovered.

      At the end of the day, I was only able to close one of the client's I presented this type of offer to. The other two chose not to make the step up with their monetary investment.

      One of the biggest lessons I learned through this was to always build some form of paid advertising in all of my online marketing campaigns that I sell. That way it's not a huge price difference to the client when I present it.

      Hope this helps,

      Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author PvPGuy
    Oh, that's right, because people in small markets don't use the internet. :rolleyes:
    I know docs, dents, attorneys, autoshops and restaurants that pay $700-$1000/mo for SEO and ancillary services in towns with < 20k residents.

    Edit: Never, never, never base your offer on keyword data. How much search volume do you think there needs to be to get 10 more leads per month? The average retainer for a DUI attorney is over $3k. Don't sell yourself short
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Well, at least here in the USA, doesn't really matter the size of the town/city. Most everyone is online and mostly mobile. Provide your client with a combo of Search, SEO, Content and Social Media Marketing. Executing this correctly will grow most businesses and make you the hero, get paid monthly.
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    • Profile picture of the author dtaylor
      I have not spent time on the WF for a while so I am late coming to this discussion.

      In this instance, I have to agree with some of the other posters. The small markets need your work just as badly as the larger markets.

      I did a website, maps, mobile package for a friend in a VERY rural area. I told him that there is virtually no search volume for his business. We went ahead and built everything.

      In the 6 months since launch, his business has taken off. He started part-time and may be able to take it full-time in the next year.

      This is a tiny market.

      Lesson I learned: Marketing Works.
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  • Profile picture of the author badlimey
    When dealing with a Small Client why even bother trying to compete on the Google Platform. That particular gravy train does not suit the vast majority of Small Businesses.
    Mobile Marketing is (for the time being) the great equalizer.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Deends what your selling him.

    If your selling him plain SEO with no bells and whistles then Its not your job to make him money. Its your job to get him rankings.

    If your selling him SEO with the promise its going to improve his business but you arnt doing anything to actually improve his sales then i'd say you you just dug your own grave.

    I'd just offer to do some website design consultation for him for free and then when he wants to take you up on the offer take the design job too, this process doesnt stop, consult him on his offline marketing, consult him on his product or service, customer service, sales etc....
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