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.
In other words, the small business has a clear understanding of their market segment, and they have a clear picture of how they can win. Strategic marketing is how you make this happen.
If there isn't a expected outcome and clear indication of your expected return, then find other help marketing your small business.
If the small business marketing agency you found to help raise your visibility in your market doesn't have a testing and learning plan, find someone else
Any small business digital marketing agency should have digital knowhow. But, you would be surprised that many don't. Before you accept marketing help for your small business, check their technical credentials. Do they offer email marketing? What does their own online marketing look like? How about social media marketing? What do their post look like?
This probably goes without saying, but you'll want to make sure that any marketing help you hire has significant small business experience. Large company solutions won't work.
Marketing is inherently risky. When seeking marketing help, see whether they will share the risk with your small business.
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.
I wish it were otherwise, but it is like a law of nature. The size of your account is directly proportional to the time the agency will spend on it. It is also proportional to the quality and experience of the talent that we are assigned to your business. Luckily, you can solve this problem by finding an agency where your business and budget matters to their bottom line. This is why smaller firms are preferable for smaller businesses.
Location is equally important. Most small businesses are local businesses, where the target audience is within a few blocks to mile radius from your location. Each place is unique. It has its own quirks. It takes someone who knows the area to understand those nuances. This is important because you want your ads to be perceived as authentic. Customers are easily turned off by cookie-cutter responses or creative.
Marketing is not an exact science, where you say X and your target always does Y. This doesn't mean that marketing does not work or that it is a waste of time. It simply acknowledges the fact upfront that marketing contains some risk. It is true that there are best practices that can reduce this risk to optimize your return.
However, you never have complete information so sometimes even the best plans take time or need tweaking. This is why you should seek a partner who is upfront about the risk and is willing to share it with you. You also have to be willing to invest the time in following best practices. If you are dictating all the terms, then it is only reasonable that you accept that risk.
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.