There’s a very huge untapped SEO market in St. Louis. It’s sitting just under the surface, waiting to boil over. Can you find it?

Every time a potential client from the Saint Louis area calls me, I’m honestly baffled by the lack of SEO – both on their part and that of their competitors.

I was recently approached by a local manufacturer of a certain product. They asked me to do an SEO audit on their website and I was blown away by the potential that they had online. There are NO other local businesses building their website in any search engine-friendly way. Most of their competitors (and you’d know their names if I said them) have very archaic websites, some still with splash pages and graphic-based navigation on most sites. It’s pathetic. This smaller business has a huge advantage if they start SEOing their site now.

Nearly two years ago I met a nice guy who’s Dad owns a retail business in the St Louis area. He had taken one of my free classes I teach at the local library on online marketing. He and his dad hired me to rebuild their website in a more SEO-friendly manner, and in early October 2007 we launched their new site. By November they were receiving more traffic than they’d ever had before, and then the record months started. This (literally) Dad-and-son shop has now had ten record months of sales – and they are not afraid to admit most of this is attributed to their local SEO efforts. These guys are outranking some big chain stores for moderate to high-priced products.

Even an industry like real estate is mostly untapped. Sure, the real estate market isn’t exactly teeming with extra funds for marketing efforts, but that’s just the point. This down economy is the best time to get strongly positioned online for ‘real estate town‘. And when the market swings around (and we all know it will), some real estate agent is going to be so damn busy they won’t know what hit them. Why are no real estate agents in Saint Louis doing SEO?

One last thought – perhaps the reason no Saint Louis business is really putting money into online efforts is because they think there is a big lack of people (customers) online in the local area. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Just because we don’t have the population numbers of towns like San Francisco and New York doesn’t mean we don’t exist. Saint Louis is strong with bloggers, business leaders and online searchers. These people buy your products and will tell others about them.

The recent InterPlay festival – while it isn’t yet rivalling festivals like SXSW – will soon be a major event based in the Saint Louis area. There are some very active bloggers who like to talk about your products.

There is so much potential for local industry leaders to move into online but no one is doing it. I see it a lot and I’m still blown away by it. If you own a local St Louis business, no matter how small, you’re missing a golden opportunity to steal business from your larger competitors.

2 Responses

  1. I wouldn’t call it dead, sounds like more of an untapped market in your area. Hold a free seminar in regards to SEO and online marketing. Get ads in the newspaper or local magazines that are given out for free if you have any. Hold that free seminar to educate people on the benefits of SEO and online marketing. See how many new clients you will get out of it. I know times are hard right now for many small businesses, but I think the seminar would still work and get your name out to other local companies for future business.

  2. Will, I would take it a step further than a seminar. I would apply Steve’s SEO and marketing ideas directly to the owners and managers of the businesses who will directly benefit from your services. Where can you find people trying to benefit and gather such information for real business solutions?

    I think your going to find Local Chamber Of Commerce Meetings, BNI, and other such organizations that are pro business the most effective place to grow these new concepts of marketing. I also think you’ll find these places an incredibly rich environment to share these untapped new ideas and for the most part will not fall on deaf ears. Quite the opposite, I actually think you will find that these business owners will be aggressively looking for new ways to increase their traffic, their exposure, and of course the revenue for the businesses they run. Don’t you think these audiences will be much more receptive to these new SEO marketing ideas you are offering?

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