Typically, marketing agencies work with clients from urban areas or large companies with a yearly marketing and advertising budget. However, agencies can also make a profit working with clients from rural areas. If you focus on large companies in cities, you could be overlooking a valuable source of referrals from clients based in the countryside.
One advantage of a client in a less-populated area is that they capture viable customers for miles around. From locals to passers-through, a rural store will often be one of the few choices, if not the only one, in its category. A simple, local SEO strategy can help them gain more clients and build an online presence. Here are things to remember when creating a streamlined, just-the-essentials local search strategy.
Small towns and rural settings do not need packages as detailed as the ones city-based businesses do. There is little competition for businesses in the country, so any business will see success even with a basic plan.
Most businesses in rural areas can get by with a professionally designed website with basic SEO. However, this is selling them short on a crucial factor — they never scrimp on quality. Local stores know their customers, often at a personal level, and so they have a greater incentive to provide value with every transaction.
The local dress shop will likely not source its clothes from a mass producer in another country. Instead, the clothes are probably hand- or machine-sewn by someone who lives in the area. Local produce sellers do not stock vegetables shipped or driven in through the main road. A small-town business has longevity because they deliver on quality, so they deserve a well-put-together marketing plan.
Many rural clients already have a website, which will be enough to put them in Google's results pages. However, merely being on Google will not bring a dramatic increase in traffic; for new audiences to discover a company, it needs to invest in local SEO strategies consistently. Also, a rural store needs to have the right SEO partner. A large agency might not understand small-town businesses' culture and might recommend solutions that don't bring any returns. Small to medium agencies are a better fit since most of them have the same work ethic as small, rural companies.
Any business that signs with a marketing agency will see improvements in its sales volume. A decent company will have the skills and experience needed to launch products or introduce a business to a different audience. If the business owner follows a marketer's recommendations for local SEO, his shop will likely enjoy being the go-to in the area for the type of products or services he provides. Agencies also benefit from partnerships like these. Here are some ways they do.
Clients with whom you have good working relationships will likely remember you for their next project. They are also likely to recommend you to their fellow business owners. Rural clients are part of tight-knit communities, and SEO agencies shouldn't overlook the opportunity to form genuine relationships with these businesses.
When you do more audits, you will spend more time observing how Google deals with localized SERPs. Aggregated data from the blog posts your agency publishes will allow you to produce fresh insights about markets that other agencies largely ignore. You have plenty of potential when you form long-term relationships with rural companies.
The pioneer spirit threads through the various eras of American history, and small-town businesses exemplify that spirit. Americana is full of mom-and-pop stores, restaurants, and other family-owned operations. However, the spread of conglomeration and the rise of big-box stores have slowly chipped at these rural businesses' markets.
Still, small entrepreneurs are eking a space for themselves and going against the grain. Farming co-ops and initiatives like The Main Street Movement are helping rebuild this part of America's heritage. Besides bringing revenue to your company, providing local SEO to rural companies can bring you a sense of professional satisfaction. If your agency enables hard-working rural business owners to offer their services and compete with larger chains online, it can deepen your team's appreciation for the work you do.
Though you are all professionals who have jobs to do, it can still be nice to have moments like these, ones that concretely show you that your work matters and is doing a lot of good for a community.
The reality is that agencies might not get by if you rely solely on rural business, and most of your campaigns might still be for urban markets. City-based businesses will have larger budgets and more clients, which means more income for your agency. Still, it won't hurt to look beyond the dental clinics in city centers, the food manufacturing companies, and the dermatologists in tourist towns. Who knows, the mom-and-pop store on a main street fifty kilometers away from you might be your agency’s next big project!
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