Advertising is a low percentage way to generate consumers to purchase – the conversion rates typically hover in the 0.5% range these days. Yet, it’s still deemed to be the “easiest” and most obvious type of marketing to sell to local businesses.

Local digital publishers have a superpower when it comes to Local SEO that they should take advantage of. Being able to motivate readers to purchase a product or service is a second superpower that local publishers have that they may not be leveraging to the fullest. The following three examples show how you can motivate readers to make purchasing decisions on your site:

  • Consumers Reviews – BrightLocal recently released their annual consumer review survey. One of their main conclusions from the survey is that consumers use reviews and popularity as an important metric when evaluating businesses. 91% of consumers read reviews to identify the “right” business for them. Having anecdotal information about local businesses is an important data set for local publishers to have. Not to mention that this user generated content helps with Local SEO.
  • Be Visible on Mobile – Mobile discovery is the #1 way that consumers are now looking to purchase products and services. If you can make a business more visible on mobile, that is highly valuable and more effective for generating leads than ads. In fact, published a survey where they concluded that online visibility was the #1 most effective way for small businesses to grow revenue.
  • Be Part of the Transaction – You may have noticed that the NY Times purchased a small publisher called Wirecutter. Their business model focuses on writing fantastic and in-depth reviews of popular products, and then providing affiliate links for people so they can make the purchase right then and there. A friend of mine described Wirecutter as:

“Tell me which I should get, rather than giving me 30 reviews”.

There is power to information that local publishers may not be leveraging. The ability to motivate readers to purchase something through your site is worthy of a transaction fee. Obviously, the NY Times agrees!

Being a great story teller is certainly a critical (and often overlooked) part of building a fantastic publishing site. But you need revenue to be able to keep telling the story, and it’s clear that online advertising won’t cover the bill alone. There is nothing wrong with creating an environment where you turn your readers into purchasers of local products. In fact, it can help the local ecosystem survive and generate revenue for you in the process!