Article Marketing for a Local Business on the Internet – Part I

article marketing for local business image

Article marketing has been a staple in gaining traffic and search engine rankings for web sites for a number of years. While many Internet marketing activities have come and gone article marketing remains strong.

Article marketing continues to be one of the least expensive and effective ways to market your local business online.

It remains effective because its intent is to contribute content to the Internet and add value as well as showcase the expertise and knowledge of the article author.

Other Internet marketing tactics have fallen by the wayside because their intent was to trick the search engines and they added little value for visitors. Companies like Google eventually filtered out so called “black hat” techniques and even penalized web sites using these tactics.

For any business, article marketing should be an important strategy to adopt and this post will discuss how to use it effectively for a small business.

Article marketing remains a great way of:

  1. Generating targeted traffic to your website.
  2. Creating subscribers to your email list.
  3. Promoting yourself as an expert in your niche.
  4. Accumulating links to your web properties to help with your search engine rankings.

In this post we’ll cover the first two benefits and then address the other benefits in the second part.

1. Generating Traffic to Your Web Site:

generating traffic to local business website imageArticle marketing is about writing short 500-600 word articles related to your niche and syndicating them to other web sites. Most articles achieve distribution by submission to article directories.

Creating and submitting your articles to these directories is best done manually but can be time-consuming. Web site owners generally outsource both the content creation and directory submissions to a third-party as part of a larger service offering such as New England Local Marketing’s Local Search Optimization service. The articles distributed are picked up by other content publishers who republish them at their own web properties or in email newsletters to their lists.

Because good articles go viral your content can travel to all corners of the Internet increasing traffic to your web site. For a local service business getting traffic from all over the web may not prove that beneficial if your target market is in a 30-mile radius of your business location. For example if you’re a pizza delivery service based in Boston, Massachusetts then getting visitors to your site from California isn’t much help as they’re unlikely to be in your target market.

Some local business marketers include a geo-modifier in their article title and content to make it specific to a local area. A geo-modifier is a town or city and in the example above would be something like “pizza delivery Boston.”

This tactic comes with a warning. The better article directories tend to reject articles that are location specific due to historical spamming issues associated with this tactic. You’ll also find that content publishers are unlikely to pick up your content for syndication if it is obviously targeted at a specific area.

You’re better off writing your article to a general audience and not including geo-modifiers in the title or content but preserve your byline or resource box for sending targeted visitors to your web site.

Here’s how to attract targeted prospects from your article syndications…

Your Article Resource Box:

Every time you submit an article to a directory or other web site you should include a brief resource box that includes copy to get a targeted visitor to click through to your web site. The resource box – sometimes called a byline – is your chance to promote your local business. You should never use the article itself to promote your local business as the directories will reject your submission.

The resource box is where I suggest you filter out those who are prospects for your local services. You do this by sharing your primary service, and your major service area(s), and make it compelling enough for somebody who is in your target market, to click through to your web site using the resource link you’re allowed to include as part of your byline.

Remember you don’t have to send all prospects to your web site home page. In many instances you’ll want to send them to a page at your site that fits in with the theme if your article. So if your article topic relates to a service you offer then send them to the web site page where they can discover more about the local service you provide.

I’ll talk more about the importance of what to include in your resource link later.

Web sites that republish your articles are obligated as part of the Terms of Service to include your resource box along with all the links to your web site.

Other Places for Your Articles:

While submitting your articles for syndication at article directories is a good start to get wide exposure for your content, as explained, it may only generate a small percentage of visitors to your local business web site who are real prospects for your small business.

You should also look for relevant local web sites, blogs and directories likely to attract readers in your local target market for your services. Contact the web site owners and ask if you can submit articles for publication in return for including a resource box with a link back to your site.

Web sites and blog owners are always looking for good content and you only need to capture a few who service your market to generate meaningful traffic to your web site.

2. Creating Subscribers to Your Email List:

email marketing for local business imageEmail marketing is a great way for continuing to build a relationship with a prospect or customer. It’s another inexpensive marketing tool. But it requires a list of people that have indicated they want to receive messages from you.

Sending emails to people who have not “opted-in” to join your list is called spamming – and as a local business owner you don’t want to get accused of spamming.

Articles can help grow your list with people interested in your local business and services. To achieve this we invoke the help of your article resource box again.

In this instance we use your byline to send targeted traffic to the web page at your site which has your offer to sign-up for your email newsletter.

I advise you to create a free special report to entice people to subscribe to your list. You’ll be more successful with sign-ups if your free report is relevant to the article they read before visiting your site. When creating your special report remember its goal is to lead the prospect towards becoming a customer of your local service or product.

In Part II of this special Article Marketing for a Local Business on the Internet series we’ll explore the benefits of being seen as the niche expert and how to syndicate your articles to boost your web site’s search engine rankings. You can read Part II here.

Cliff Calderwood
New England Local Marketing
5 Goss Pond Road, Suite 200
Upton, Massachusetts 01568
508 479 2840

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