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Scraping Google Maps: The Key to Niche Lead Generation

Scraping Google Maps: The Key to Niche Lead Generation
Lyn Stoler
Scraping Google Maps: The Key to Niche Lead Generation
Scraping Google Maps: The Key to Niche Lead Generation

Niche lead generation for businesses like HVAC companies, salons, and more can be important for many kinds of companies—and the secret is scraping Google maps. 

Stepping back: there are a lot of local, or niche, businesses out there. According to Forbes, 99.9% of businesses across the US are small businesses—and nearly half of all Americans are employed by them.

However, niche lead generation—the process of identifying and contacting local business owners—can often be a tough challenge for people who are used to selling via cold email. 

Local businesses often have less of an online presence on networks like LinkedIn, which is a primary information source for most outbound campaigns. 

Contact information for local business owners is often scattered across the web, including on websites, Google Maps, LinkedIn, and other sources—requiring manual research and more sophistication and creativity to get at scale.

In this guide, we'll show you how to use tools like Google Maps and Clay to automate your local business prospecting, so you can efficiently identify and reach the right prospects.

You'll learn:

  • How to use Google Maps data to find and research local businesses
  • Tips for enriching prospect data to identify key decision makers
  • How Clay can help you quickly compile emails and contact info
  • Best practices for crafting tailored outreach campaigns

Selling to local businesses requires a specialized approach, but with the right tools and strategy, your sales team can build a strong book of local accounts. Let's dive in!

Who uses niche lead generation?

Many B2B companies, especially technology startups and SaaS providers, find success with niche lead generation for businesses in industries like HVAC, salons, grocery stores, and more. 

For example, restaurant point of sale software provides inventory management, online ordering, and payment processing for cafes and eateries. Scheduling and booking apps assist local salons and spas with customer appointments. Route planning apps give local delivery businesses optimized routes and navigation. Marketing automation platforms help local gym owners run email campaigns and collect leads. 

Many venture-backed B2B tech startups are finding ways to sell to local businesses. For instance, restaurant technologies like Toast offer point of sale systems to cafes and eateries and MindBody assists local salons and spas with scheduling and booking. 

The opportunities are vast for startups that can sell to local prospects!

The challenges of local business prospecting

Reaching small and local businesses as a B2B salesperson can be difficult without strong, pre-existing local relationships. 

First off, local businesses have notoriously scarce online presences — especially on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Sales Navigator and other traditional lead generation resources can still work, but might be less effective for finding local business prospects.

Second, local businesses often have limited internal teams whose time is largely dedicated to serving their own customers. That leaves little time to evaluate and respond to sales outreach. 

That means that high quality lead generation, enrichment, and personalization is especially important for companies reaching out to local business owners. Their time is limited, and they’ll likely only respond to outreach that is targeted, efficient, and tailored to their needs.

The right AI tools like Clay can transform your local business prospecting and help overcome these challenges. 

By leveraging AI-powered tools for lead generation, enrichment, and personalized outreach, you can efficiently connect with local businesses and establish valuable long-term partnerships.

The solution? Google Maps!

Though LinkedIn Sales Navigator is still a great place to start with local business prospecting, your best lead generation will likely come from an unexpected source: Google Maps.

Most local businesses — like HVAC technicians, electricians, appliance repair specialists, and more — rely on customers within their local area for regular business. On the flip side, customers rely on local businesses to provide reliable, timely services. 

This makes a place-based search engine like Google Maps a critical part of most local businesses' presence in a community.

Google Maps provides comprehensive listings of nearly all businesses in a geographic area, making it easy to identify potential targets. Additionally, Google Maps offers a wealth of information about local businesses, including their location, phone numbers, and customer reviews.

By using Google Maps, we can identify potential leads in your target area and enrich their profiles with valuable insights about their business. This information can be used to craft personalized outreach messages that resonate with their specific needs and challenges.

How to do your local business prospecting end-to-end in Clay:

When you’re running an end-to-end local business prospecting process in Clay, there are a few research methods that you can use. 

Let’s start with a specific example: local HVAC businesses in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

1. Build a list of local businesses by scraping Google Maps

When you do your local business prospect process end-to-end in Clay, you’ll want to start with our “Find Local Businesses using Google Maps” feature.

Then, you’ll tell Clay what type of business you’re looking for, and where. In this case, we’ve asked Clay for HVAC businesses in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Once you’re happy with your search parameters, you can go ahead and ask Clay to add the results to a table—either by creating a new table or adding to an existing table.

Now the fun begins! 

You can see that Clay returned a number of businesses in the far left-hand corner — 178 results to be exact. Plus, it has automatically filled in some basic characteristics of these businesses — like the business name, Google rating, number of reviews, phone number, or website. 

From here you can really get creative! 

Just like you’d do with typical leads, you can explore a variety of research questions to enrich your lead profiles. That all comes down to your plan to creatively customize and personalize your outreach

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll say that this is everything we need to know about our local HVAC companies. 

That brings us to finding local business owners, and their contact information.

2. Use AI to find local business owners and their contact information

The next crucial step in your process will be figuring out who to contact, and how to contact them

For small or local businesses, this often means finding the business owners and their contact information. 

There are a lot of ways to do this manually. But at Clay, we've developed a ready-to-use recipe that lets you find business owners and their contact information in just a couple of clicks. To use it, just search for the SMB's enrichment, and configure it to your liking: 

This recipe use our waterfall feature to first identify the owners of the businesses in your list, and use AI to verify that those folks are the right current owners. 

Then, it will find and validate their contact information. But it won't just stop there — this recipe will also automatically search for and add the LinkedIn page for each company & owner it finds. 

3. Fill in the gaps by scraping websites for email addresses

To make sure that we aren’t leaving any easy-to-reach folks on the table, we’re going to use Clay’s Scrape Website feature to look for any emails listed on their website. We’ll use our input as the website URL, with the output field set to be an email.

This will give us a list of emails, which we now need to validate.

We’ll do that using the Debounce enrichment in Clay. And voila — you now have a clean list of validated emails that you can use to reach these small businesses!

As we mentioned earlier, personalization is really important whenever possible when it comes to local business prospecting. So as our next step, we’re going to use AI to infer the first names of our local business contacts using their emails. We use the following prompt below, with the emails that we just scraped and verified as inputs:

Pro tip: To keep costs low, you can…

  1. Set a run setting that only runs this if you have a verified contact email
  2. Try using GPT3.5, rather than GPT4

This yielded us a final list of first names and corresponding email addresses. We can now add these results to the research outputs of our initial research workflow, where we used business owner names to search for emails.

We can now rest assured that we’ve exhausted all of our opportunities to find local business prospects’ emails and names. We can now confidently begin the process of personalizing our outreach, and drafting the language of our campaign!

4. Enrich customer profiles with local business intelligence.

The inbound that local businesses get often far outstrips the resources that they can dedicate to vetting tools or services that could be a great fit. 

Directly contacting a business owner and adding in as many personal touches as possible is crucial to making sure that your cold outreach stands out in their inbox.

If you’ve been using Clay for a while, we’re venturing into familiar territory. You can use any of our AI enrichment tools to create personalized insights for each of your leads, such as customer reviews, social media activity, or job listings they recently posted. All of this can make you stand out and help you immediately communicate the reasons that your product or service can meet your prospects’ needs.

On top of those classic enrichment methods, we’re going to show you how we can use Claygent—our AI agent—to quickly do this enrichment for us.

Let’s use recent reviews as an example. Here, we’ll ask Claygent to find and summarize a recent Google or Yelp review for each of our businesses, using their website as the input. We asked it to find the best review from the last six months, and then summarize that review in one sentence and include the reviewer’s first name.

As usual, we only want to run these enrichments on profiles of customers that we know we’ll be sending an outbound message to, in order to minimize cost. 

To do that, make sure your run settings filter for profiles that have a validated email.

With that prompt, we got results like this from Claygent:

You can now use this snippet alongside other insights that you get from either Claygent or our more long-standing enrichment tools. When incorporated into your outreach emails, these types of personal touches show your local business prospect that you are in touch with their needs and strengths.

To make the best use of Claygent, come up with clear, creative prompts that yield interesting information. For some helpful tips, check out our complete guide for AI for sales prospecting

5. Personalize your messages with AI

From here, you’re on the home stretch. You’ve already used Google Maps to identify potential leads, used AI to identify and verify owners and their contact information, and built out a rich profile that you can use to personalize and tailor your messages.

Now, we’ll just need to put that all to work by drafting email personalizations with Clay's AI integration. 

We'll start at the beginning of any email: the greeting. We recommend starting your emails with a friendly greeting and your lead's first name, to create a personal connection and show you've done your research. 

For example, you might want to start your email with "Hey Sarah!", if you're reaching out to Sarah. If you haven't been able to find a name, but do have an email, you might want to say "Hey there!". 

To automate that, we'll create a new column, and use an AI-generated formula to create our greetings:

This will give us a ready-to-use list column of greetings with our business owners' first names. It's a great start to our personalized emails!  

But we know that personalization is absolutely critical when reaching out to small businesses, so let's take things a step further. Let's use AI to write a one-liner that we'll use to customize our emails. 

With Clay, you can do this in seconds using our one-liner recipe, which you can add in as an enrichment column: 

And your outputs will look something like this — thoughtful, personal, and sure to grab the attention of even the busiest business owner. 

Pro Tip: For this step, using GPT-4 does actually make quite a difference in the quality of your outreach. Because your first impression is so important, this is a worthwhile place to splurge on using GPT-4. 

Instead, keep costs low by setting run conditions. You can set this formula to run only if you have an email for that company. (After all, why write an email if you have nowhere to send it?) 

These examples are just the start, and there's lots of room to try your own customizations! To learn more about AI-based personalizations that you might want to include in your campaigns, try some prompts from our guide to AI prospecting.

Other helpful tools for local business prospecting 

Because enrichment and personalization play such an important role in local business outreach, Clay is a natural place to conduct your research process. 

However, there are ways to capitalize on Clay’s enrichment and personalization while also leveraging other tools that you might already use for local business prospecting.

D7 Lead Finder and Outscraper are two specific tools that can help you with initial list generation. These are especially good choices if you want to be able to conduct a search across multiple geographies at once, since Clay currently only allows you to search one geographic region at once for each search. When you use these sites, your output will be a straightforward list of websites that match your search parameters (e.g. HVAC in Phoenix, Arizona and Tucson, Arizona).

Another great — and perhaps unexpected — resource can be the Yellow Pages or Yelp websites. You can search these websites for a business type and location. Once you’ve gotten your results, you can use Instant Data Scraper to gather the information for each business’s listing, which can include everything from their business name to their phone number, website, and emails.

To then take advantage of Clay’s capabilities from here, export your results from any of these searches as a CSV file, and then upload that file into Clay. From there, you can basically execute the same process as the one we’ve outlined in this post!

To sum it up, local business prospecting presents unique challenges that have historically been hard to overcome. But with the right AI tools and research methods, it can lead to valuable long-term partnerships. By leveraging the power of AI-driven tools like Clay, you can overcome the obstacles of limited online presence and lack of internal resources, enabling them to engage with local businesses and achieve their sales goals. With Google Maps as a key data resource for lead generation and enrichment, combined with personalized outreach and tailored messaging, you can create impactful campaigns that resonate with local business owners' specific needs and challenges.

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A product mockup of a Clay.com table with columns showing imported LinkedIn contacts and enrichments from different marketing/outbound tools
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