Want More Sales? Local Search Expert Explains How
Mark Taylor is the founder of local search experts eSalesHub. What has been the key development his company has made to local search in the past year since we spoke in Episode 60?
Local Search Knowledge Boost From CRM Integration
eSales Hub are now connecting to CRM systems. Not only can they track what keyword makes the phone ring. They can track which keyword leads to a sale. They are now able to map the complete customer journey from local search.
Ever since they have integrated into client’s CRM systems, it has given them so much knowledge. This knowledge is revealing what keywords are driving people to make a purchase. And what keywords are not. Just a slight difference in a keyword can make a massive difference to sales. This insight enables them to optimise their key-term.
An example: “Estate Agents”
The term “Estate Agent” (singular) is used by people who want to BUY a house. But, the key-term “Estate Agents” (plural) drives people who want to SELL a house.
So just that difference of an “s” has made a massive difference to their Estate Agent clients. This drags eSales Hub into the semantics of search. Is it that “estate agents” is used because sellers are looking for several agents, for their dog-and-pony shows. For those agents to come along to see the searcher to demonstrate why they are ideal for selling their houses? Mark is rightly cautious about this. He has not held focus groups with clients, or conducted research. He points to the mindset of the customer.
Again, take the key-term with “price” in it versus “cost”.
A search asking what the price of a boiler is, through the terms “boiler price”, is indicative of a person scouting around. They are further up the purchase funnel. Further away from making the purchase. It’s the opposite with the term “boiler cost”. Searchers have already done their research and they are at that point where they want to make a purchase.
Profitablility Increased From Understanding Local Search Conversions
Previously, eSales Hub could only really tell that they were making the phone ring. Now as they integrate into CRM systems, they have discovered the key to making the client PROFITABLE. By connecting that initial click in Google Adwords right through to sale.
This gives you so much intelligence that simply has not existed before. This has meant that some clients are getting fewer leads this year, but those leads are more profitable. With the sales data, you can enhance conversion and average order values. Then you can focus on those keywords that give you a greater return.
So, boiler price might drive lots of phone calls. But, they are the wrong type of calls. They are too far away from making a purchase decision. Whereas, boiler cost works a lot better for conversions. The searcher immediately goes to a boiler survey and has a higher propensity to purchase.
Is there a general rule here? The price of something and the cost of something? Is it because people are following the advertising AIDA principle? Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. Do they make decisions at different stages. The answer will be yes to that. The closer they get to a sale though they are thinking about paying for something, soon. So the word cost has more relevance to them in their minds than price.
Why Are People Going on the Internet?
It is no different from people using Yellow Pages, a decade ago.
Think about when you are searching for a service. You have not had a recommendation. There is no-one that you know. So what is the first thing you do? Search for somebody.
Your motivation is to go down a list of alternatives and find the FIRST person that meets your requirements. Yellow pages has a plethora of different ads. Big, small and tiny ads. Like above.
The difference with Google, other than the ad creative, they do all LOOK the same. Graphically they look similar. The words are different though.
In response to your search, Google displays around 15 alternative ads, including Pay Per Click ads. All purporting to give you the service that you are after. So your job as a consumer is to decide who is going to meet their requirements.
Online is used for research as much as the buying process.
What eSales Hub have found is that there are TRIGGER KEYWORDS. There are keywords where people are further away from making a purchase. They are doing research. They are not ready to make a decision yet. For example, your leased car is 6 months from expiring. You start to look for the next car. But you aren’t ready to buy.
Researching cars 6 months out is a very different psychology from someone who’s lease is up next week. They are desperately trying to find a car.
That is why THEY SEARCH DIFFERENTLY. And use different keywords. Because of that immediate of far away need that they have.
A year ago, Mark suggested that price may have felt more like someone who is ready to buy. Not now. The cost keyword indicates they have done their research and the want to know the cost to get this done!
The Local Search Feedback Loop
The key reason for the improvement in local search insight over the last year has been CRM integration. In previous years, eSales Hub would plague their clients for information about outcomes. What was good and what was bad. eSales Hub tracks every single call they generate. They use the keywords behind that call where it comes from Adwords.
As soon as eSales Hub added the CRM data back into their analytics tool, it transformed understanding.
All businesses, whatever their size, suffers from the same problem. Data overload. How do you separate the leads that eSales Hub generates from other sources? Therefore there was a lot of noise. Sometimes you would get a client that said this process was brilliant. They were converting at 45%. That’s because that type of client went to the nth degree. Maybe too much time tracking the leads.
Other clients just didn’t have the time or resource or dedication to follow every lead. They didn’t know what their return on investment was. Connecting CRM data has transformed the local search solution they offer.
It’s not about just making the phone ring. It’s about driving calls that transform into sales. They can now discover those clients much higher in the purchase funnel. Those that are not ready to make a sale, yet.
Foreign Language Example
In Italian, the key-term “locksmith” does not exist. The actual translation is someone who fixes a lock. Or they search for broken lock.
Italians do not search in plurals. They search in a more complex, but singular manner. They search for the problem they have. Whereas, we look for a tradesperson.
Despite making the phone ring in Italy, they were delighted to see the phones ring. With the integration of sales data from CRMs, meant they could optimise the campaigns to a different level of success.
In the German market, they are very direct with the search. They search much smaller keywords than the Italians. What is surprising about the Germans, despite their client being OPEN on the weekend, the searching public do not call on the weekend. They could see traffic going to the pages, but nobody picked up the phone to call the vendor on the weekend. On a Monday morning, they’d all call!
Nationality adds another dimension to local search. Germans insure their insurance! They are very rick averse as a nation. So the second most visited page is Terms and Conditions. The Germans want to know what they are getting into. What was driving a sale in Germany was completely different from what was making the phone ring.
There are different regional dialects as well. The Scottish call it a clogged drain. In Corby, where there is a large number of Scots, you need to ensure you have Scottish keywords otherwise your PPC campaign will fail.
How does CRM Integration Work with eSales Hub?
When the lead comes through it is invariably a telephone lead. The onus is on the client to tag and record the lead to the eventual sale.
From a GDPR point of view, eSales Hub never actually tracks individuals. They only track that person as an entry in a client’s CRM system. They will use a unique identifier in the CRM that they track. Even if it is a home-made system, eSales Hub tracks that unique identifier. They look out for the status of that identifier and the invoice value that is sat behind it.
It is a very simple dataset that they are after.
Sometimes a client can take 6 months to a year to convert a lead into a customer. They are very aware that once the call is made, for many customers the conversion goes offline. That’s why clients like to convert us online, because you can track it. Keyword to Conversion to Sale. Once you go offline, you have different systems for tracking. The goal is then to get those systems to talk to each other to provide that visibility of that initial click from Adwords right through to sale.
eSales Hub use code that Google produce on every click. Called a G-Click. Every time you click on a keyword some code, up to 100 characters long, is created. That starts the process of the tracking that eSales Hub uses.
Convert With Local Search Technology
Every client and industry is different. Sales Hub looks at a client’s funnel and measure the different stages they have.
A PPI example.
The first conversion step is a pack going out. You have made an enquiry. You think you have PPI, and the Claims company sends out a pack. That’s the first stage of conversion and that happens quite quickly. 24 hours of the call being made.
Then it can take up to 6 months for a pay-out to happen.
So, eSales Hub tracks different parts of the conversion stages.
It’s the difference between an EMERGENCY purchase versus a CONSIDERED purchase.
PPI is a considered purchase. You make a call. Fill out forms. Consider which PPI company to use, then process your claim.
With PPI, from eSales Hub leads, they get over 80% pack-out. This is relatively high for the industry. Then about half of those turn into a claim. Again it is interesting what triggers the first stage and what triggers the subsequent stages. What emerges is a pattern of keywords over time.
The initial strategy was to get as many pack-outs as possible. Then focus is trained on how many claims and settlements are made from the pack-outs. This is the end-to-end customer journey. Even though the process can take up to 6 months, eSales Hub still look at the individual parts of the funnel.
Log Cabin Local Search Example
eSales Hub work with a log-cabin manufacturer. Ideal for your garden office. Their process is that when a lead comes in they review it then they go out to survey. That is the first stage. The next stage is to produce a proposal. Then they produce a design and the final stage is for the customer to pay a deposit.
eSales Hub tracks ALL of those bits of the journey. That way they can understand what keywords drive an enquiry, but fails to get to stage one. What are those keywords that deliver stage one, but not stage two. All the while they are optimising. What is interesting, is all these stages are OFFLINE.
This is WHY integrating into a CRM or Order system gives your business that visibility. The evidence is already there. What eSale Hub does well, is to match the data produced by Google to the client’s CRM. This gives the client another degree of intelligence about their marketing systems.
Mark says, making the phone ring gets him out of bed, but driving sales is the key to everything. Sales is the lifeblood of very business they meet.
CAUTION: Google Adwords is a good marketing platform, but it is capable of deceiving you, unless you have the ability to understand what you got back for the investment made. As the online world gets more complex, this becomes more and more important.
“iPhone” is a Local Keyword
Several years back, if you searched “iPhone” the first results would have been Apple, Apple, Apple.
Now Google deems iPhone as a local keyword. At the top of the results it will give you where you can buy a phone online. Towards the bottom, there is the map-pack to help guide you to the nearest vendor. Google are making it way more complex. They are rightly trying to meet the needs of the user. The user may want to buy online, but they may want the personal interaction you get in store.
But, as soon as they go OFFLINE, that is the biggest issue.
eSales Hub has found that when there are few variables around a purchase. Like with a pair of trainers. You want them to be white and a specific brand. This transaction is very easy. It can happen online. However, if you have MULTIPLE variables in a product purchase. Is that product/service right for me? I have a unique set of circumstances, that makes it hard to know whether you qualify or not. Here, a conversation has to happen.
That immediately takes someone into an offline environment. That is where tracking gets lost.
It can take days to track calls. Not so with eSales Hub. Their tracking system operates in real-time. Easy, simple and quick. This means you can immediately spot patterns so you can adapt your strategy so you drive sales not just lots of clicks.
Pay As You Go
What you get with the Pay As You Go model is the immediate buy in of the customer.
To keep a customer for a long period of time, you need to drive value to that customer. PAYGO is all about eSales Hub being a partner to clients. Yellow Pages did this themselves. The reason why you’d offer Yellow Pages, is that it would invariably drive traffic.
The reason why eSales Hub works on a pay on performance basis, is they want to support the clients they have. They don’t want and cannot work with everybody. They are only as good as the person WHO TAKES THE CALL. Thats why they offer free sales training with their clients to help with conversions. An inbound call needs to be treated in a different way to an outbound call. Inbound calls are responding to you. So you need to position yourself differently.
They recently sent a client live with a really new product for the UK market. Very exciting product. They are trying to work through whether their proposition is right. As eSales Hub were paid on performance, they ranked very quickly. In the space of 3 weeks, they were able to advise the client on their proposition. Run with this, not that. eSales Hub could see what was going on. Faster than the client could. The client was head-deep in running his business. Which is what most client’s do. They focus on running their business. Making sure operationally it works and the profit is there.
The Pay As You Go model helps move businesses forward.
Sometimes those changes will be for the client to make, some are for eSales Hub to change. It is a learning process of getting it right. Because it is a PAYGO solution and it is integrated into sales, eSales Hub are very motivated. They have had a number of clients who have struggled to get online to work. They just don’t have the time to do it. With PAYGO, it must work for eSales Hub! Otherwise they wouldn’t be in business.
That’s why they are selective in the people they work with. If people have a genuine desire for growth, they deserve to be successful. Everyone they meet is measured against this statement. Growth is difficult, but the client needs to be able to take that growth. In the future, the client can choose to switch to a management fee or stick with a pay on performance model.
They have even moved to COMMISSION.
As they now have the data linking sales to keywords, they have moved to a commission model. It makes more commercial sense to eSales Hub and the client. This is a trust based model. A commission model cements that partnership. eSales Hub drives the kind of leads that should convert into customers. The client does everything to convert the leads into those customers.
Pay as you go means that clients pay per lead. It is based on a criteria agreed. Such as a length of call. Or the customer on that call meets a certain criteria, depending on the structures around the purchase. Yes, there is a setup fee for the cost of the content to be created. But then it is a performance model where you pay per lead generated. You set a budget. From as little as £200 per month, to a lot more. The last outcome anyone wants is getting loads of leads that do not convert into sales. hey start cautiously with clients. Can they make the phone ring once or twice?
Nominated for an Award
eSales Hub has been nominated for an award. It is recognition for the team. There is a buzz around the office. It reflects the hard work from the 15 man team. They have a great team. (Including Richard Jackson, promise!).
They are based in Doncaster. They have their first apprentice. The team makes Mark look good.
Mark is a die-hard Aston Villa fan! Here’s a pic that unfortunately shows off his colours!!!
Find out more about Mark Taylor, eSales Hub and their Blog: http://esales-hub.com/blog/
Google My Business
When it comes to your local search strategy – make sure you complete a Google My Business entry for your firm. Everybody should do it.
By registering your business on Google and verifying your business, it has a dramatic impact to your local search rankings. eSales Hub has found that generating a call directly off that listing doesn’t really happen. It seems to drive more returning customers. Check out the blog post: http://esales-hub.com/case-studies/case-study-google-business-generate-sales-leads/
Their research suggested people were clicking to call on Google My Business, but they were existing customers. Most were skipping past the maps, clicking natural search to see the website. Voice search is now 10% of searches, but they are still using voice search to access the website too. They don’t use voice search to say find me a plumber in Doncaster and calling them straightaway. People still feel they need to check the company out. Who are they? What are their credentials? Do they offer the service I want?
Google My Business seems to be brilliant at driving repeat customers who know who you are. And are just looking for your phone number.
The 7 Facts About Local Search
How important is local search?
46% of all search is local.
It is all about INTENT. Google are trying to understand your intent. It is fascinating how Google are developing their algorithms to meet more of what we actually want when we are searching.
Local search behaves differently from national search. Or non-location specific search. Google identified that 71% of people CALL as part of that transaction. On a local search. eSales Hub actually tends to find it can be even higher than this. By as much as 80%. As a result of the drive to get everybody on line, some companies are making it hard on themselves because they are not displaying a telephone number.
You cannot always buy online, particularly if you have multiple variables.
Local search picks up on age old direct marketing techniques. When you are targeting a specific customer, you ask how you target them. What is the persona, what’s the target market, what do they react to? The big thing they react to is the telephone. Right let’s give them the opportunity to telephone us. But as soon as you do that, you are taking the client offline. You have to understand the psyche of the customer.
Local search converts at a higher rate than non local search
This is a fact from Google. They highlighted that location with a keyword drives intent. If someone searches “Petrol Station”, versus “Petrol Station Doncaster” they have more likelihood to buy. Their search is way more specific. Without a location element the search does not have the same intent.
The higher converting keywords have intent. Intent infused keywords are local search based. Do the maths!
Some of eSales Hub’s clients are getting over 50% conversion from LEAD to SALE. And that is NOT in an emergency environment. That is with an elongated sales process. It is because you have that local intent. They are further down the sales funnel.
Your Online Strategy Needs National and Local
Local search does not work for every single business. It is one of many channels you can optimise. For example, eSales Hub does not work with retailers to drive footfall into their stores. Because, how can you measure that sale. You can’t.
And there are some products out there where you will simply go on Amazon and buy. But, you cannot go an buy an electrician, estate agent or mortgage advice.
Some Companies Only Target 5% of Search Users
Local search is an opportunity to gain market share.
eSales Hub often find clients are running a broad match campaign. They are picking up local business using a broad match campaign. The difficulty is not everybody clicks on PPC. Their research suggest it depends on the type of keyword. They estimate between 5 and 30% are coming on PPC. The issue you have is the majority of clicks are coming from natural search. If you don’t have a natural search strategy that covers local search. You are actually missing out on the lions share of visits for that specific key-term.
Clients think that if they have a broad match strategy, they are covering local searches. The issue is HOW MUCH of that market is being covered. Do you want between 5-30% or the bigger 70% through natural search? That is why eSales Hub runs an integrated strategy. Both natural search AND PPC.
Some key-terms don’t work on PPC and vice versa.
Now eSales Hub has the CRM analysis they can identify which terms come from natural search and which from PPC. Some keywords are really expensive per click. You have to be quite brave. It is easier if you can map sales to the more expensive key-terms. CRM integration helps geo-targeting solutions too. Different conurbations having different keyword strategies.
North South Divide
Saturdays is one of the busiest days for enquiries south of Oxford. They don’t necessarily transact on that day, but it is big for enquiries.
North of Oxford, it tends to be more Monday to Friday.
This provides a time factor. When to run PPC for example. Let alone keywords. You have to be able to put all of this together to optimise your local search strategy to target 100% of users rather than the 5 to 30%.
Are we Northerners Germanic? We don’t do stuff on weekends because we are watching our football teams?
Even south of Oxford, enquiries stop at 3pm on a Saturday. They love their football too!
Its the commuter belt problem. What is the first day of the week you have to do your errands? Saturday.
There is also a soap rule. Once 7pm comes, TV takes over and calls drop.
What Should We expect in the Next Year?
Google will give customers more insight. https://adwords.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/how-it-works/new-adwords/#?modal_active=none
See the beta version of Adwords.
There are tools to help you do this yourself.
They are also investing in INTENT. Our searching will become more specific. Based on your location.
Google are trying to get you to stick around in Google for a long time. Google For Jobs is coming. Better search answers. It takes a traditional online model of a job board. They are trying to mix job boards and links to other sites. They will own more of the customer journey.
eSales Hub are building an AI bot to analysis calls. They have to be GDPR compliant. Outbound call centres are turning to them because of GDPR.
Get in Touch with eSales Hub