When I think of Allentown, I’m often reminded of a song from Billy Joel from my childhood: “Living Here in Allentown”. It pictured the plight of the many of my parent’s generation who lived through the deindustrialization of the economy that hit Allentown as well as where I grew up, Pittsburgh.
Like Pittsburgh, the Allentown of today is much different than the Allentown of the late 20th Century. Allentown is experiencing a revival based on health care, transportation, and some high tech.
Bridgeworks, supported by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation, has played a role in this transition by helping support start-ups and new ventures with incubator support. Lehigh University has also played an integral role in helping fuel Bridgeworks with new ideas.
There has been a lot of new development in the downtown area and around the Lehigh river, which was spurred by state funding. Allentown is gentrifying, and like all other post industrial gentrifying regions, businesses face a unique challenge of choosing between the old and new or trying to support both.
The marketing challenges in Allentown are more about differentiation and awareness. An amazing website, when used effectively, can help either one.
According to research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 51 percent of all U.S. online readers identified a compelling headline as the reason why they clicked on a given story.
There were a number of key points, which cover in detail in our post small business email marketing. However, today, we will touch on three
We only have a 55-60 character subject line, so this is why we chose to narrow the list.
This is one of the hardness tasks when creating a headline. It is a balance between not being too concise as to be generic and overly verbose that the headline is truncated.
Conciseness is generally aided by the next two points, utility and urgency. A concise headline tells me what value it brings to me and why I should read it now.
Utility means ‘what’s in it for me’, ‘why should I care?’. These are the two questions your headline should answer. This seems simple enough. However, it can be very challenging to boil down a complex subject into 3 or 4 words.
Even people who do this for a living find it challenging. Add it cultural differences, context, and other general noise, and you see why communication is so messy. Keywords can be a useful place to start, as this the language people are using to search for content like yours.
We live in a society of urgency. Everything is now, don’t miss out, etc. that we are almost numb to it. A genuine sense of urgency based on a limited time value or event can still catch someone’s attention if it is tied to a clear benefit (utility).
As you can see, all three of these elements are tightly bound. It is nearly impossible to do one without affecting the other. This is why we have them as our top 3.
Email design follows the same principles of web design. Communication is messy, and design helps aid in getting our intended message across quickly and efficiently.
An email is an intrusion. We need to recognize this fact. Therefore, we need to make that intrusion as brief and clear as possible by sticking with one clear message.
We cover email design in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. We will just touch on the high points here.
A grid pattern is the most common design tool. There are several elements to a grid. First, there are rows and columns that break the page into equally sized blocks, called modules. Rows or flowlines aid in reading. Columns aid in organization. Headers, footers, and margins give structure.
For an intuitive email design, a hierarchical design is very effective. With an e-mail, we chose to communicate one thing, and one thing well. In this case, a hierarchical design can be very impactful.
The hierarchical pattern that is the most pleasing to the eye follows the golden ratio. The golden ratio is a pattern common in nature. It is a fixed ratio of 1.618, which means the size of the more important block is 1.618 times larger than the less important one.
Our eye is naturally drawn to this pattern, so it is very useful when communicating a simple, focused message.
According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful.
“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”
Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in Allentown interacting with your neighborhood can add value.
It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around Allentown or at your business location.
Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.
We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to Allentown. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.
Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in Allentown has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.
The marketing challenges in Allentown are more about differentiation and awareness. Local digital marketing, when used effectively, can help either one.
This should go without saying, but I still see it used every day. Never use SPAMmy tactics. They do not work. Plus, they can damage your credibility.
Take the time to build a legitimate list. There are a million “how to” ways when you search Google for this term. We use two for reliable results:
If the reader finds value in your offer, they will give you their email. The key is not to abuse it, which leads to our next topic.
An email has value, so we need to treat it as such. We have seen that value squandered time and again.
As a small business owner, it is hard to dedicate the time to do all that is required for the proper care and feeding of your email list.
Full disclosure, we are an agency that does this work. Therefore, it will not surprise you that we advocate for finding the right partner to do it for you.
However, to provide fair balance, there are marketing automation tools that can help you. They tend to rely on email templates and automated emails, but for many small businesses this is enough.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with these three thoughts.
If you're thinking about finding help in Allentown for your small business, here are the things to keep in mind.
Aside from all the general tips above, here are some specific actions you can take based on the three key elements of local search algorithms:
All of this assumes that you have completed your keyword research and developed your keyword list. If you have not, this section will be more effective once you do. Please see our previous post on digital marketing in Allentown and then come back.
Go through your keywords list and select those which are good descriptors of your business. If it were me, I would use something like “digital marketing agency”, “seo services”, for example. Then make a list of the neighborhoods you service, for example “seo services Lehigh Valley”.
Now comes the harder part, that is frankly a bit tedious. For each combination, see if you can create a somewhat unique post that’s 500-1000 words for that keyword. For us, it is a post like this. I try to write a post that helps my potential clients learn something or do something they didn’t know they could.
Now, this is the good part. If you do write quality posts for these keywords, you will be raising your prominence. Google knows that all these neighborhoods are in or near Allentown. So, for each good post you write, you help raise your prominence on a given topic in a given location.
Prominence is also helped by the basic techniques I mentioned earlier, such as being a part of local business groups, e.g. the Allentown Economic Development Corporation or Lehigh University. Any local listing helps.
This is why I like the blog technique because it hits all three key areas. If your keyword is a descriptor of what you do and the neighborhood is one you serve, it is highly likely that you will score points on relevance.
Finding the right SEO for your small business in a neighborhood like Allentown can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.