What is the Treadmill Approach in Local Business Marketing?

What is the Treadmill Approach in Local Business Marketing?


The treadmill is a common metaphor in business and economics. You may have heard of the concept of the hedonic treadmill. This economic term refers to people who don't experience higher levels of happiness despite achieving major goals or making more money.

The treadmill approach in local business marketing is slightly different. Let's explore what the treadmill approach is and how to break away from it.

What is the treadmill approach in marketing?

Local businesses that take the treadmill approach rely heavily on third-party platforms to generate new leads.

They might spend thousands on Google Ads each month to generate customers that may not have ever heard of them.

For every $1,000 a local business spends on Google Ads, they might generate 20 clicks. And even with a 10% conversion rate, which is pretty optimistic, that only equates to 1 or 2 booked jobs.

This approach puts businesses at risk. What would happen if Google went under? Or if the average bids rise too high for their budget?

Google is already highly competitive. And sure, not optimizing for search in 2020 and beyond is practically a death sentence for businesses of all sizes.

But it also means all of your competitors are vying for the top spot.

The most significant consequence of the treadmill approach is a low percentage of repeat business. Companies that use this approach generate 70% or more of their business from new customers.

And that's a problem.

Getting off the treadmill

There's a better way to generate business than throwing money at third-party platforms and hoping for the best.

Of course businesses want to generate new customers.

But the problem with the treadmill approach is that the business is laser-focused on getting new customers in the books.

And not focused enough on generating repeat business from the customers who already trust them.

There are 2 easy ways to solve that. First, build a memorable brand that keeps customers coming back. Second, reconnect with those existing customers to generate repeat business.

Not only does this approach generate more business with less effort, but it could also improve your search ranking.

Google has been accused of rewarding big brands with better rankings. At the time of writing, this mainly applies to global, household names like Nike and Coca-Cola.

For example, when you search for "soup", a result from the Campbell's website will probably rank on the first page, if not the top 3 results.

Does that mean that Campbell's is the highest bidder? Or that their guest post strategy is better than the other websites' on the first page?

Not necessarily.

You could safely assume that a brand like Campbell's has a bottomless marketing budget. They undoubtedly have a solid link building strategy and plenty of money to pour into ads.

But they rank higher simply because they're known all over the world. And they bounce back effortlessly from penalizations.

Is that fair?


Besides, you might be wondering, "Does this even apply to local businesses?"

No. At least, no yet.

Because, no matter how well-established a small, local brand is, they likely won't get that same treatment from Google. They have to work twice as hard as big brands to build brand authority and backlinks.

It's important to remember that Google's algorithms change every day. Who's to say Local Service Ads won't adopt a similar approach soon?

Yet another reason not to put all your eggs in Google's basket.

So, should I keep running Google Ads?

We're absolutely not saying you should stop running Google Ads.

We're just saying that putting all your eggs in the Google Ads basket could put you at risk if a major algorithm or bidding change occurred.

Relying on a single platform to generate over half of your business is dangerous.

We understand it's easily done, especially when your competitors are taking a similar approach.

Just remember, information you've collected from past customers is a goldmine.

Your past customers have already consented to receive marketing messages from you.

Use that to your advantange.

Don't let that data just sit gathering dust.

Reconnect and keep your brand top-of-mind.

Feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it?

We can help.

Build better relationships with your customers through smarter, automated interactions. Instant messaging, email marketing, SMS — we take care of everything for you.

Book your demo today to discover how ZyraTalk can help you jump off the treadmill and generate more business from your existing, loyal customers.

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