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“Similar interactions between local, mobile, and social are going on thousands of times each day, and the businesses that understand this and are taking active measures to leverage these mediums, while simultaneously helping the consumer, are being richly rewarded.”

Scott Metcalfe is the Chief Strategist behind FetchLocalCustomers, where he helps local and regional businesses attract and close clients to reach their goals. FetchLocalCustomers is an online advertising firm and Scott develops the winning marketing systems and technologies behind the company’s success. His specialties include melding local search, social and mobile marketing and creating local online advertising technologies and strategies. Scott’s expertise in lead generation marketing and marketing management helps local, national and international companies reach revenue goals. Scott has won numerous awards and is an extremely sought after public speaker on a variety of topics including business development and services marketing. Scott is also the President of Empire Consulting, Inc. where he employs his broad business experience in marketing and professional selling to reach success.

MO: Can you tell us about your background in marketing/sales and how it led you to creating FetchLocalCustomers? What specific experiences best prepared you to run Fetch?

Scott: I exited the corporate world in 2003 with a strong background in sales team development and strategic marketing. It only made sense that when we first started our business, these were the focal areas. What we found in 2008, as the economy began its tailspin, was that both our clients and prospects were far less receptive to sales training and strategy – they wanted results now! The common theme at the time was, “I just need to get in front of qualified prospects.”  That type of real-life feedback is very powerful, and by responding to it, we formed the genesis of what has become FetchLocalCustomers.

I’ve always been a lifelong learner and someone who is always looking ahead to what is next. I had been fascinated by all aspects of direct-response marketing and internet marketing, such as article marketing, PPC, banner advertising, and auto-responders, so when the marketplace demanded strategies and tactics that would deliver new prospects, we already had the expertise in place to deliver. Being a lifelong learner really helped with running Fetch.

A second key point about FetchLocalCustomers is that it’s built around the concept of scalable, repeatable processes, and this really ties into my engineering background. Nine years ago, we functioned under a more traditional consulting model. Today, our service offering is a series of proven, scalable processes that can be applied across a wide range of markets, both B2B and B2C.

MO: You have a unique approach, focusing on the combination of social, mobile, and local marketing. Can you explain to our readers why you stress the importance of these three marketing avenues?

Scott: As our name suggests, we primarily serve local and regional businesses. In that environment sits the American consumer whose appetite for useful content delivered over these three mediums has been increasing rapidly, and there is nothing to suggest that it won’t increase further in the future. But the key point that I just don’t see many people talking about is how they are intertwined. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say a busy mom is heading out the door to take her daughter to soccer practice.You can bet the three things she will absolutely have with her are her wallet, her keys, and her phone!

Once at soccer practice, she checks Facebook and sees that one of her friends has posted, “Argh…spring is here and the paint is peeling. Guess it’s time to find a painter!”

This, in turn, reminds our busy mom that she, too, needs to have her house painted, so she texts her husband with a reminder to get some painters over to the house for an estimate. Of course, she also replies to her Facebook friend and asks for recommendations.

While sitting at a red light on his drive home that evening, our equally busy husband uses the voice search feature on his Smartphone to search for painters in his town. He then clicks to call one or two, based upon the local search results he sees.

Similar interactions between local, mobile, and social are going on thousands of times each day, and the businesses that understand this and are taking active measures to leverage these mediums, while simultaneously helping the consumer, are being richly rewarded.

MO: In 2006, you earned an Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs. Congratulations! Tell us why you love working with entrepreneurs, and why your services are especially tailored to work well for entrepreneurs.

Scott: I love working with entrepreneurs and local business owners because they are passionate, enthusiastic, and genuinely concerned about their clients. Helping them succeed is the most rewarding part of what we do. Our services are especially tailored for them because we understand that they don’t have the time or expertise to do what we do, and furthermore, they really don’t want to do what we do. They want more customers, and that is what we provide in a turnkey approach that consumes little of their already maxed-out bandwidth.

MO: What is the number-one mistake that local companies make when trying to gain new customers?

Scott: There are still a lot of businesses who have never advertised or marketed their business because word of mouth and the Yellow Pages carried their business for 20, 30, or more years. These same businesses are seeing revenues decline and the owners simply don’t understand why. Many don’t have websites and haven’t even taken advantage of the free local business listings provided by Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that the number-one mistake is not recognizing the megatrends that are unfolding around them and taking advantage of them. Here’s a short video that explains what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILfjrhNBXM4.

MO: In your opinion, why is simply having a nice-looking website not enough anymore?

Scott: That’s a great question, and a real pet peeve of mine. For the majority of businesses, the main purpose of their websites should be to attract new prospects and either immediately convert them to leads, or begin an educational conversation.

When you view your website as part of a larger online lead generation system, you begin to see how fancy-but-confusing graphics, Flash, and other nice-looking design elements can actually detract from the mission you should be trying to accomplish.

A nice-looking website that is not designed with a clear marketing and lead generation goal from the beginning is simply not going to effectively convert visitors to customers.

MO: Many of our readers are entrepreneurs who do business locally. Can you give them one action step that they can take today to reach more local customers?

Scott: If they haven’t claimed, optimized, and verified the local business listings through Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they should do that immediately. These are free advertising opportunities that work well in both the wired and mobile world. All three have their quirks, and while they are “free,” they can chew up a lot of time, so it might be worth it to the business owner to pay someone to do this for them. Also, if they want a good overview of what the current state of local business marketing looks like, they can download a free copy of “The 10 Things You Must Know About Local Business Marketing Before You Invest another DIME!”

MO: How has the new Penguin update affected your business? How do you, as a search expert, stay ahead of the curve on these updates?

Scott: The Penguin update was mainly about trying to cull low-value sites, which may have been using spam-linking techniques to rank, out of Google’s index. We saw an almost across-the-board rise in our clients’ sites after the Penguin update went through, because we emphasize a high-value, content-driven approach to search marketing.

While it’s impossible to know what Google will do next, we try to stay ahead of the curve by  observing what appears to be working in terms of ranking, monitoring the industry conversations, and then asking ourselves, “Does this make sense?” and “Is this sustainable?” For years now, both exact-match anchor text links and exact-match domain names were heavily weighted as positive signals by Google. Yet if you think about it, these two were pretty simple to “game,” so for that reason, it looked risky to us to rely on them as a means of gaining rank. Many who did rely solely on these techniques found their search rankings plummeting after the Penguin waddled through.

Who knows what the next update will hold in store for all of us? You can bet that we are not deviating from the old adage of never placing all your eggs in one basket – especially Penguin eggs!

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