"If you want to increase sales, you must increase your sales opportunities. A simple approach to increasing opportunities for new business is to establish how, what, and where." How do people find information? They use search engines (specifically Google) to find pretty much everything in today's busy world. So we know they are very likely to search the web for you when they need the products you offer or the services you can provide. What are my potential customers searching exactly? Meaning: what exact terms (keyword phrases) are your prospects typing into the search box in Google?... To find this out, a great tool is https://www.semrush.com. Just type in the most basic phrase that best describes your business (like a plumber), and then you can also add your location. For this example, we are going to use the city of Raynham in Massachusetts. Having already done this previously, what I found was; this exact term is searched in the Google US search engine 50 times per month — Plumbers Raynham MA Now that you've established what your customers are searching for in Google, simply do the same thing they are doing. So you would type into Google — "Plumbers Raynham MA". If you do not find your business in the Google My Business 3-pack listing — you are missing out on opportunities to secure new local & loyal customers, so you best get to work! Your options are... Learn how to optimize your Google My Business listing. Hire an in-house digital marketing employee. Hire an experienced digital marketing agency. Set up a Google AdWords account and target the paid-listings. Now repeat this action for every service you offer. When doing this, it is important to note that people often do not put in the location along with the service/product they are searching for. Meaning: If we use the same example above for "Plumbers Raynham MA", we already know that 50 searches are performed every month in Google, but what we don't know is how many people searched just the phrase "Plumbers" — because they are well aware that they don't have to add "Raynham MA" since Google is going to automatically give them local search results for them to choose from. Unfortunately, it is not known how many people with an IP address in the city of Raynham, MA searched in Google for just the phrase "Plumbers", but being that 50 people (on average) take the extra-time to type in the city — more than 50 people are likely searching just the phrase "Plumbers" by itself who reside within the city of Raynham, MA. Where can I position my business to attract new customers? We covered this fairly heavily in the previous paragraphs, but the best response I can give to this question is to prominently list your business where your prospects are searching — so they can easily find you! Again, to achieve higher rankings in Google, and be positioned where you need to be to realistically attract new opportunities for acquiring new customers (top 5 positions or better) — you are going to have to put in some effort and make some changes in your thought process. And what I mean specifically by putting in the effort is, you're going to have to ask yourself, "What is most important to me — Price or Profits?" The best way I can put this into perspective is by using the following example: If I am a plumber, I can approach hiring a digital marketing agency, or the costs associated with hiring an in-house marketing guy, or even learning to do it myself through education and trial & error, by viewing the need for new customers as a mere cost, and not what it is — a Virtual Business Asset! If the target market audience for my business is local consumers, and my thought process is: "If it costs me only $500/month and it doesn't pan-out well and I do not receive the results that were needed to make a noticeable impact in the generation of new leads by either my phone ringing more or an increase in the online requests through my website, then no-big deal... I only lost out on $1,500-$3,000." Yes, you only spent a couple of thousand and didn't get a return, but that issue falls intensely short in comparison to the much bigger issue: How much in revenue was lost in MISSED OPPORTUNITIES? I'm not a plumber, so I don't know the profit margins all that well, but I do have a client that is an HVAC contractor. He tells me that for every AC unit he installs, the cost on average is $5,000, and his profit is roughly $2,500. And now because of his Google My Business listing being positioned at the top of Google search for his locations — he now installs on average 2-3 more units per week than he was before when his business presence in Google was poor (averaging in the middle somewhere). So yes, he did make a considerable investment in his business to optimize his 2 locations, but with his new opportunities for local customers, he now can realistically earn an extra $20,000—$30,000 every month in new AC installs — an extra 240k-360k per year! In Closing: Ask yourself this simple question... "What is most important to me - Price or Profits?" *We recommend that you always do your research thoroughly before investing in a digital marketing agency, or hiring an in-house digital marketer. The most important aspect is to do everything you can to make sure your business is prominently listed where your next customers are trying to find you. About Michael Callahan. Michael Callahan is a marketing consultant, local SEO specialist and the COO for SEOAmerica, Inc.