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The Situation

Rod Egerton, the pub proprietor was looking to increase revenues by attracting new patrons to the pub for their live bands, karaoke dance parties, fundraisers, happy hours and dinner specials, by improving and expanding upon their online presence.

In 2012, a patron of the pub suggested to Rod that he seek the help of a professional and reached out to James Martell, Founder of SmarterLocal, to take on the management and development of their online marketing.

As part of our process, we developed a professional looking website, setup a Facebook business page, and began work on increasing 5-star reviews and website traffic, developing a strong Facebook following, and an attentive email audience for a weekly newsletter.


The Results

Since commencing the campaign with Sawbucks Pub we have managed to achieve these results:

  • 16,474 unique visitors to the website over last 12 months (19.4% returning)
  • 700+ online reviews (up from 3) averaging 4.2 stars
  • 1,400+ subscribers to the VIP Club weekly email newsletter
  • 5,500+ Facebook engaging followers
  • Top of page 1 rankings for highly competitive and long-tail keywords; Surrey BC Pub, White Rock BC Pub, pub in Surrey BC, pub in White Rock BC, Surrey BC pub karaoke, White Rock BC pub karaoke, Surrey BC pub super bowl party, White Rock BC pub super bowl party

Figure 1: #1 in the Google Map and Natural Results for Most Popular Keywords

Technique #1: SmarterLocal Market Domination Blueprint to Set the Pathway for Activities and Tactics

This very important session gave us the opportunity to provide a clear direction for online marketing activities, resources and to identify a clear pathway to reach their goals and objectives.

We met with Rod to gather information and insight about the business: target customers, key services, differences, strengths, weaknesses, and to uncover opportunities in the local market. We used this information to devise a comprehensive local marketing plan for Sawbucks.

Technique #2: Research Strong Competitors to Identify Strengths and Weakness

The competitor research phase is designed to gain a clear understanding of who our clients strongest competitors are- their competitive advantages, value propositions, and online marketing tactics and strategies. We specifically identify;

  • What do they rank for?
  • What battles are they winning?
  • How famous and trustworthy is their website?
  • Are their pages more likely to rank than ours?
  • Who can target the more competitive phrases?
  • Which of their articles is getting shared the most?
  • Which of their social networks is getting the best results?
  • Who is sharing their content?
  • Are they running paid ads?
  • What framework is their site built on?
  • What tracking tools are they using?

By gaining an insight into Sawbuck's competitors, we took what we learned giving our team clear targets on how to surpass them.

Technique #3: Highlight Value Proposition and Key Points of Difference

After researching the industry and Sawbuck’s competitors, and also after interviewing the owner and general manager, we were able to identify the pub’s strengths and value proposition, and key points of difference compared to his competition.

We highlighted these key selling points on the home page to ensure target prospects are able to view them easily.

Technique #4: Extensive Keyword Research for Targeted Communities, Services, and Blog Content

We thoroughly researched the most searched keywords for the website and for all targeted communities. We also conducted extensive long-tail keyword research to identify which keyword phrases use when searching for information related to the pub.

The keyword research covered short-tail but also long-tail keywords for blog and podcast content development.

Technique #5: Visual Content Marketing with Event Photography

Sawbucks is known in the area as the #funpub. They are also known for hosting events, parties and live bands plus fundraisers. This provides us with ample opportunities to capture the shots we need to visually communicate the fun, friendly and party-like atmosphere of the pub.

The shots below are an example and we're captured using a smartphone with a flash. We share event photos on the Sawbucks website, Facebook page, and within their newsletter.

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Figure 2: A Sampling of Photos Captured at a Halloween Party for Promotions

Technique #6: Develop a Website to Attract the Target Audience

The website reflects the brand. It is the first impression a visitor will form when they visit the website for the first time. The main goals of the website are to attract and educate the target audience. The final goal is to entice them to complete an action, which is to visit (and frequent) the pub. This was accomplished by adhering to these key principles;

  • Search engines prefer websites that are properly organized. So do people. We organize the website so both the search engines and visitors easily find what they need.
  • People do get frustrated when they can not find the contact information for the business. We ensure that all contact details are on the homepage and in the footer of every page.
  • Online, looks are everything, and there’s nothing more unprofessional than photos that are poorly lit, out of focus, too small, or low in quality. We understand it pays to embrace professional photography.
  • People are impatient when browsing websites and slow load times impact conversions (getting people to buy your products or services). We pay attention to page load times.
  • More people are accessing websites via a mobile device than a desktop computer. The website must be easy navigable and look great on both mobile devices and desktops.
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Figure 2: Professional Site Designed to Attract Dr. Cale Copeland's Ideal Client

Technique #7: Build More Niche Service Pages

We extensively researched appropriate keywords for the activities pages on the website and for the two targeted communities. We also conducted comprehensive long-tail keyword research (I.e.: super bowl party pub surrey bc) to find out which search terms potential patrons use to find information related to the pubs activities.

The keyword research not only covers short-tail but also long-tail keywords for blog content development.

Technique #8: Implement SEO Best Practices for On-Page Optimization

SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. We implemented best practices for search engine optimization of the website adhering to Google webmaster guidelines;

  • Develop unique and original SEO friendly content that keeps both visitors and search engines happy. Our goal is to develop a website where visitors can quickly find the information they need.
  • Planning and design of the technical, functional and visual components of a website - before it is designed, developed and deployed to ensure the proper indexation of the website.
  • Individually crafted pages with uniquely-written title tags, meta descriptions, headline tags, and filenames with targeted keywords for all pages.
  • Performed a mobile website speed test with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool and received and implemented the recommendations for improving website performance across all devices.
  • Added “No Follow” links to 'non-important' pages.
  • Add image ALT tags to all relevant images.
  • Other technical SEO setups.

Technique #9: Gain 5 Star Reviews - Greatest SEO Weapon

In addition to improving local search rankings, reviews help to increase customer trust and influence decision making. In a study by BrightLocal, it was found that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a local business.

For these reasons, we put in place the steps necessary to gain positive reviews from existing patrons and address negative reviews to ensure the problems are solved to prevent future negative reviews.

These reviews help Sawbucks to have:

  • Increased Local Rankings: The quality and quantity of reviews are the most important factors that affect Google ranking. The more quality reviews you have, the higher you will rank in Google.
  • Increased Trust & Conversions: Positive reviews have been proven to help speed up decisions about purchases. 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
  • Increased Brand Authority: When people read great reviews about the pub, they will be more likely to start with a great impression, and more likely to spread the word to their family and friends.
  • Increased Referral Traffic: Sawbucks gains referral traffic from not only Google My Business but Facebook and other local and industry review sites as well.
  • Gain Critical Feedback: Sometimes doing business isn’t perfect. In both positive and negative reviews of Sawbucks, the general manager finds critical pieces of information and feedback that they can use to make the business even better.
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Figure 3: 700+ Google Reviews (up from 3) with an Average 4.2 Stars

Technique #10: Grow Engaging and Attentive Local Facebook Fans

According to SocialSprout, Facebook has more than 2 Billion active users, visiting the site an average of 8 times per day, providing local businesses with a tremendous opportunity to inexpensively attract local consumers from the #1 social media platform.

Thus, it was imperative that we utilize the power of Facebook to reach the target audience, build brand loyalty, and increase web traffic by developing a locally based Facebook audience for the pub and proposed the following solutions;

  • Setup and optimize a Facebook fan page
  • Publishing timely, interesting and engaging posts
  • Promoting upcoming bands and fundraisers as Facebook events
  • Running engaging contests to increase fans and followers
  • Grown the Facebook following to date to 5,500+

And, with this 5,500+ email list, the ability to promote pubs live bands, karaoke dance parties, dinner specials, happy hours and all events, offers and activities.

Technique #10: Engage and Nurture Existing and Future Patrons through Email Marketing

We setup a Facebook page as a method to reach the target audience, build loyalty, increase web traffic, and boost SEO for the website.

We went to work to develop a loyal and local Facebook following for the pub. This gives us the ability to promote inexpensively and on an ongoing basis their live bands, karaoke dance parties, fundraisers, happy hours, dinner specials and more.

Thus, it was imperative that we utilize the power of email marketing to grow the email audience for Sawbucks Pub and proposed the following solutions;

  • Setup and configured an email marketing software solution
  • Introduced email list building tactics both in the pub and via the website and social media
  • Personalized newsletter templates with events and specials
  • Developed an 8-part email series that is sent out weekly to new subscribers
  • Provided a proven marketing email to request reviews
  • Grew the email audience to date to 1,400+

And, with this 1,400+ email list, the ability to promote pubs live bands, karaoke dance parties, dinner specials, happy hours and all events and specials.

Technique #11: Drive Community Engagement through Blogging

After reviewing our research on the pub’s target audience, content voice, their market persona and matching it to our long-tail keyword research, we presented a content plan designed to promote Sawbucks Pub as the industry leader.

Through careful analysis, we discovered additional opportunities for search traffic. By using analytical reports, we were able to identify content topics that the pub’s audience was interested in.

This allowed us to better connect with the target audience and generate more leads.

Increase Blog Engagement

To help increase audience engagement, the content plan covered the topics that potential patrons would be searching for on Google, including:

  • Events (I.e.: Super Bowl Party)
  • Fundraising venues
  • Happy Hours
  • Karaoke
  • Live Music

Technique #12: Positive ROI Ad Spend

The benefits of a well managed Google Adwords advertising campaign, often far outweigh the costs involved. This is the case with Sawbucks. We started by running a variety of carefully crafted paid ads to reach more potential patrons by emphasizing the pub's strengths, value proposition and differences.

We target two communities paying particular attention to which keywords are generating the desired results, and then pruning poorly performing keywords and ads. We worked to further maximize conversion and ROI by targeting high converting and long-tail keywords, targeting only qualified prospects and optimizing the ads.

Technique #13: Build High-Quality Links

Quality incoming links, also known as backlinks, from other reputable websites are a very important component of local SEO. Poor quality links not only will not increase rankings, but can also trigger a penalty, if the site linked to has violated Google's webmaster guidelines.

We take link building very seriously and we make sure that all the sites that we place links on are well screened before any placement. Some of the link building we did included;

  • Outreach to relevant blogs to feature Sawbuck’s content and gain quality backlinks to the website
  • Listing of the website on leading entertainment and local directories
  • Submission of videos and relevant marketing material to reputable sites
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Client Feedback

Tequila Dodard

"If you want to really get it done and move the needle. James Martell and his SmarterLocal team are whom you want in your corner. I’ve listened to his podcast for years absorbing all the value he so freely gives. The knowledge, value, and experience he gives are second to none. TOP NOTCH! It was because of his experience I chose him as my mentor for my podcast and to work with him to revamp my website."

Tequila Dodard,
Host, Stand Out Be You
Dr. Cale Copeland BScN, DC

"I have worked with James and Arlene now for over 4 years. They have earned my trust and I’m grateful to have them on my team. They have done my website, search optimized it and shown me how to blog and podcast on my own. Their work has greatly contributed to the success of my business and I would refer them to any business owner looking to succeed online. Plus, they are great people."

Dr. Cale Copeland BScN, DC,
Victoria Family Chiropractic
Shawn Collins

"James is a one of a kind – an Internet marketing rock star. When he has spoken at Affiliate Summit, his sessions always receive a 10 out of 10. In a space with many imitators and pretenders, James is the real deal."

Shawn Collins,
Co-founder, Affiliate Summit
Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine
Founder of GeekCast.FM