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Lead Generation

[PODCAST] Targeted Lead Generation With Sharon Rowlands

| 5 Minutes to Read
Image of Digital Insider Podcast Series logo.

Following our last episode with fast-talking Michael Fertik, we're excited to be back with the next session of the WSI Digital Insider Podcast Series!

When we spoke with Michael, the founder of, we discussed the importance of creating and managing brands consumers view as positive, trusting, and welcoming. It's not a fluke that successful companies have great reputations in the consumer world, so it was great to discuss the inner workings of building an online reputation with Michael.

While a good reputation does go a long way to helping businesses meet their goals, there's one thing brands need to grow: customers or clients! Customers are the lifeblood of any business, which means lead generation - more specifically, targeted lead generation - is a vital component of expanding the customer base of a thriving brand. To discuss targeted lead generation with us, we reached out to one of the most respected digital minds we could think of in Sharon Rowlands.

Sharon is the CEO of ReachLocal, a digital company that focuses on helping businesses reach more consumers and convert more leads. Sharon has 20 years of experience leading multi-million dollar companies that serve small to medium-sized businesses, financial markets, and enterprise customers. She also sits on the board of directors for the Local Search Association, so we're privileged to have her on the show to dive into targeted lead generation.

Enjoy (and be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Vimeo, and/or YouTube if you like what you hear)!


Sharon gave me an exceptional interview and I promise, her digital expertise and business acumen are second to none and will aid many business owners with improving their targeted lead generation.

Here are some of the other questions we asked Sharon and a brief summary of her answers:

You guys (ReachLocal) have a wide array of solutions, so how do you scale and adapt them to the constantly shifting nature of the digital world?

I personally came up with this question for Sharon because as a marketer in the digital world, it's a constant struggle to keep pace with the ebbs and flows of the digital landscape (and any marketer who tells you otherwise is lying). Staying current with the changes in digital marketing is part of every digital marketer's job description, which means reading articles, watching videos, and even taking classes -  but there are only so many hours in a day!

On a larger scale - like for an agency or enterprise software provider - it's an even bigger struggle. Sharon's answer to this question was great since it's not only relevant for digital marketers and agencies, but for any company interested in improving their digital marketing as well.

Sharon's three keys for scaling and adapting to the digital world are (1) understanding consumer behavior (2) keeping up with technology and (3) gathering and listening to customer feedback. What I like about Sharon's answer is its simplicity. There are many different ways to assess consumer behavior or keep abreast of technological changes, so it's great to see some acknowledgment that every business and marketer is different. You know me and my fondness for saying the answer to every tough question is: it depends!

Why do you think (or do you think) it's important for businesses to focus on their local market first and then build out from there?

Sharon absolutely agrees businesses should focus on their local market first, for one main reason: for the majority of industries, the local market is the most cost-efficient customer acquisition pool. Building trust and authority in a local market is also a great way to make friends and grow relationships with consumers and other local businesses, which then leads to a deeper understanding of your market. Of course, if you a straight-up eCommerce business, your target audience may well be national or even global, but you still need to ensure that you're targeting the right segments of consumers (your product or service can't possibly be something that everybody in the world us interested in, right?). At the end of the day, Sharon says making sure you aren't wasting a cent of your marketing budget is the best way to assess your targeted lead generation activities.

Is there one area you would recommend businesses focus their digital marketing strategy on, regardless of their industry?

This is another question I love asking digital marketers because the answers vary so much from person to person. If there's one thing that struck me about my podcast session with Sharon, it's that she wasn't hesitant with any answer, and this one was no different. Without much pause, Sharon says that having a responsive, mobile-friendly site is the single most important area of focus for businesses in 2015. Without an updated, user-friendly site, you are likely losing consumers before they even get to your content and other material (which makes it useless, even if it's great stuff). At WSI, we wholeheartedly agree!

To close the third episode of WSI's digital marketing podcast, I'd like to give a huge thank you to Sharon Rowlands for speaking with us this month - we hope you're as enlightened by her expertise as we are! If you have any feedback, let us know on Twitter or Facebook, and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast below!

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