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5 best local lead generation strategies

Local lead generation: young entrepreneur using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • Leverage your community by partnering with local businesses for referrals and marketing your brand at local events
  • Invest in online advertising on platforms like Yelp to generate high-quality leads faster
  • Optimize your online presence for local search to drive local traffic to your website

When you want to win new customers in a local market, you need targeted marketing efforts to draw in the right sales leads. This is where local lead generation comes in. Instead of using your time and budget to get in front of a mass audience—only a fraction of which might actually buy from you—you can use local lead generation tactics to directly reach members of the communities you serve. Here are five strategies that show how local lead gen can be the most cost-effective way to grow your contact list.

5 local lead generation strategies to bring in more business

Understanding how to reach your target market is key to local lead gen, whether you’re using online marketing or offline marketing methods to promote your brand. Here are five ways to effectively engage potential customers in your local area.

1. Local business partnerships

Local business owners interact with community members every single day. As they build relationships with clients in their local area, they often learn about each person’s unique needs. For instance, a pet groomer might chat with a dog owner about an upcoming vacation (which could spark a referral to a local boarding facility) or their need for a new vet.

You can leverage these opportunities by building a referral network with other local businesses. When their customers need your products or services, your partners can exclusively recommend your brand (and vice versa). Start by researching local brands you want to partner with—ideally in a related industry or with a similar target market.

When you’re ready to do outreach, email or send a LinkedIn message to local business owners to set up a meeting, where you can get to know each other and discuss a potential partnership. While building these connections won’t happen overnight, it can be a powerful way to win more qualified leads over the long term.

2. Event marketing

Local lead generation: stalls at outside event

Another way to leverage your local community is by showing up at events. Connecting with locals in-person—whether you’re running a booth or speaking on stage—can build real-life relationships with your target audience. This type of event marketing can make your brand feel more human. Plus, if your face-to-face conversations aren’t enough to win new leads, you can always offer enticing freebies (like stress balls, lip balms, candles, or massage discounts for a spa) in exchange for contact information.

The events that are worth your time are those that draw your ideal clients. For example, a pest control company could connect with plenty of homeowners at home and garden shows, while an accounting firm may have more success at a small business expo. Take time to evaluate which events will attract the best potential customers and prioritize those in your marketing budget.

3. Online advertising

To drive more local leads to your business in a short amount of time, consider online advertising as part of your digital marketing strategy. Online ad campaigns allow your brand to show up where your target audience is most likely to notice your message—for example, directly on their social media feed—so you can generate more traffic and leads.

Online ads tend to be much more cost-effective than traditional ads. Social media platforms, business platforms like Yelp, and search engines all allow you to set your own advertising budget, reach people in specific locations and demographics, and pay only when your ad gets a click.

Running Yelp Ads can be a particularly effective lead generation tool to win high-quality leads. In fact, 83% of users hire or buy from a business they found on Yelp, which means many shoppers who are searching for businesses like yours are actively in need of your products or services. 

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Yelp tip: After you add or claim your Yelp Business Page, you can also take advantage of the “Request a Quote” feature. ” Shoppers who tap on this option will be prompted to fill out an industry-specific questionnaire so you can learn more about their needs. Then you can communicate with them directly through Yelp to set up next steps. If customers prefer to chat with you over the phone, they can use the “Request a Call” feature. Both request options are free for customers and businesses.

4. Landing pages

Landing pages are specific web pages designed to turn visitors into leads. They appeal to people from a certain location or with specific needs by providing the exact information they’re looking for. For example, a hotel chain could create a landing page that informs its New York guests how far their location is from the JFK Airport, what landmarks are nearby, and what amenities it offers.

Your landing page should include a call to action (CTA) for visitors to enter their contact information. This can be a brief CTA like “Get more details” or “Request an estimate” followed by a contact form. Or you can speed up your local lead generation efforts by offering an enticing lead magnet, which is a freebie provided in exchange for contact information. For instance, great lead magnets for a carpet cleaning business could include a free estimate, a discount, or a free tile and grout cleaning add-on.

Once you create your first landing page, start driving traffic to it by sharing it on other channels, like social media or email. Plus, make sure to include relevant local keywords throughout your landing page to get traffic from search engines.

5. Local SEO

SEO manager doing keyword research on his laptop

To help your brand show up higher on organic search engine results—the unpaid listings ranked by algorithms—be sure to add search engine optimization (SEO) to your marketing strategy. Effective SEO can help search engines understand your website content so your web pages can be recommended to the most relevant audiences.

Unlike global and ecommerce brands, which often aim to show up for broad searches (like “real estate”), local businesses can get more relevant leads by targeting keywords with local intent. For example, people who search “DFW real estate agents” or “real estate agents near Dallas” are specifically seeking services in the Dallas area and likely don’t want to see businesses in Austin. 

When you focus on local SEO, you can make your brand highly visible to people right in your local market—and not just as a standard listing. Local SEO can help your brand show up on online map searches and on local packs, which highlight three businesses above local search engine results.

For beginners, local SEO can be as simple as including local keywords throughout your site, including headings and subheads. Use a free keyword research tool to make a list of local search terms that are most relevant to your business. Once you complete this step, you can follow our local SEO checklist to further boost your local search rankings.

Make it easy for visitors to show their interest to ensure you’re winning leads instead of just boosting brand awareness with local SEO. For instance, you can include a contact form on each of your web pages and set up website pop-ups that encourage them to subscribe to your email marketing campaigns.

Drive local leads to your business

You don’t need to hire a lead generation business to grow your local contact list. You can successfully win leads and establish your brand in your community with far more cost-effective strategies. For example, partnering with local businesses, improving your local SEO, and building landing pages doesn’t have to cost a dime. Even when you invest in events or Yelp Ads, your targeted efforts can help you drive a large volume of high-quality leads to your brand so every cent is worth it.

Once you have the rhythm of your local lead generation system figured out, start focusing on how you can turn your leads into a growing customer base. Drive up your conversion rate—the percentage of leads who make a purchase—by implementing effective follow-up strategies in your sales process.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.