While many of our clients are organizations with national or international footprints, we also work with smaller businesses that serve a particular geographic region. Northwood Construction, for example, is a home remodeling firm based in northern Virginia. We’ve worked with Northwood for quite some time, and together we tackled a challenge that many smaller firms face: how can you use online marketing to target a local audience?
Most online marketing strategies are designed for a national or international audience. Could sophisticated tactics like content marketing and search engine optimization deliver results for a smaller local firm?
Over time, our work with Northwood proved that with a thoughtfully crafted approach, the same online strategies that drive global marketing campaigns can help local businesses win big. Through educational content marketing and focused SEO strategy, Northwood developed a dynamic web presence to raise visibility where it mattered most: right at home.
Local challenges, powerful solutions
When they came to us, Northwood had already developed a reputation for excellent quality of work. Through their consistently strong client engagements, they had successfully positioned themselves as a firm that delivered exceptional customer service. Their motto, “We never forget it’s your home,” said it all.
Northwood had also become a local leader in the aging-in-place marketplace. The firm had developed a powerful expertise in modifying and adapting homes to meet the changing needs of aging inhabitants – and their regional focus meant that they understood requirements and specifications unique to the area.
The challenge was to share this expertise in a way that targeted relevant audiences: homeowners in Northwood’s regional marketplace. This way, the firm would grow more visible and build reputation with prospective clients in the area.
In order to share Northwood’s knowledge, we first asked ourselves something that should guide a content marketing campaign of any size: What are the key questions on prospects’ minds? In Northwood’s case, one essential issue for clients was the cost of remodeling. Armed with this knowledge, we helped Northwood develop educational content including:
- A Northwood blog targeting homeowners in northern Virginia, providing regular, relevant information on remodeling, aging-in-place, managing cost, and caring for homes. As Northwood continues to produce these posts, they build up a sturdy foundation of valuable targeted content to help them rank in their audiences’ Google searches.
- An in-depth downloadable ebook guide on the cost of remodeling kitchens and bathrooms today in northern Virginia, with more guides in the works. In exchange for contact information, readers get detailed, regionally-specific information to guide their potential remodeling projects, all from the experts. And this allows Northwood to make more targeted offers with further relevant insight.
- Professionally-produced online videos telling the story of telling the stories of several Northwood renovations from beginning to end, in clients’ own words – and demonstrating the firm’s expertise. By allowing audiences to see Northwood’s work in detail and with their own eyes, these videos build credibility and make a powerful impression.
SEO goes local
All of this locally-oriented educational content meant many more opportunities for targeted search engine optimization – which meant a lot more organic search traffic.
As we optimized Northwood’s site to help it rank in Google and other search engines, we focused on the special requirements of local searches, tying keywords to both the region and the issues that mattered to Northwood’s audience.
But our SEO effort didn’t end with on-site optimization. We also undertook a linkbuilding campaign. But for a locally-oriented campaign like this, we were interested in different types of links than your standard linkbuilding effort.
Because Northwood’s target audience was locally focused, we looked to build links on review sites with a local impact and emphasis. We secured placements, guest posts, and reviews in industry and regionally-focused sites like Yelp, Google Places, Angie’s List, the DC-area online publication Patch, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
This strategy paid off with recognition on the housing industry review and social site Houzz, where Northwood now has its own vibrant profile. Through these efforts, we called attention to Northwood’s numerous industry awards, now featured prominently on their frontpage. The outreach campaign helped Northwood become more visible and lead the conversation on sites that mattered for their audiences. These off-site efforts didn’t just reach new readers, but further raised Northwood’s profile in search engines.
The entire time, we integrated this forward-looking content marketing and SEO strategy with Northwood’s existing marketing efforts, ensuring a consistent message for all of the firm’s messaging, whether in face-to-face conversation, through social media, or in online videos.
More visibility, more traffic
Northwood Construction committed to content, and that hard work paid off. After implementing their new content marketing strategy, Northwood saw a year-over-year increase in web traffic of over 480%.
Now, the firm is more visible than ever, with their blog drawing visitors and educating the community. With a carefully crafted strategy, Northwood took an excellent reputation for quality in their area and built on that expertise to raise their profile and share their knowledge with the world. Through a robust and thoughtfully targeted online presence, Northwood has positioned itself to reach new clients, shaping homes and lives to help create a better community.
For more information on implementing an online marketing strategy, check out Online Marketing for Professional Services (it's free!).