How to Advertise Your Small Business Locally?

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Today, many business owners focus on social media advertising for the wrong reasons. It’s important to create a profile online to connect with your customers, and the most successful businesses will use their platforms to engage with locals. Remember that your content should highlight why your business is vital in your community instead of trying to make it big on a national stage.

A huge following has its perks, but you’re trying to attract customers at the end of the day. If you focus too much of your energy on attracting influencers three states away, you may miss out on the folks and families in your neighborhood. Adopting smart, local advertising, hosting community events, and getting your face out in front of your brand may seem daunting, but these kinds of things are sure to bring in new fans. 

Before we explore various effective ways to advertise your small business locally, let’s understand the fundamentals of local advertising.

What is Local Advertising?

Local advertising is a strategy that involves promotional activities and marketing efforts designed to reach a specific local audience within the immediate vicinity of the business. The goal of this advertising strategy is to connect businesses with potential customers within the local geographic area.

Over the years, businesses have used various forms of local advertising to target audiences in the local market. Common local advertising strategies include various offline and online tactics, including radio spots, social media campaigns, print ads, and search engine marketing. These advertising strategies focus on fostering relationships with local customers and driving traffic to physical locations.

There are several advantages of using local advertising for your business. If you are a small business owner with a very specific target market, advertising on a large scale does not make much sense. Local advertising lets you target potential customers in your local area with personalized messages that resonate with them. As the focus of your ads is specific to the region and its people, you get more relevant results.

Importance of Local Advertising

Even though a majority of businesses dream of serving a wider audience, targeting the local area is often more useful and successful for small businesses. Local advertising helps you promote your business to the people within a certain geographic area with highly targeted messaging. As you focus your advertising efforts on the specific region that your business serves, you are more likely to get relevant results.

Local advertising also helps you build your brand image in the local community. With effective local advertising efforts, you can connect with local customers who are genuinely interested in your products or services. Also, you can build fruitful relationships with other local businesses and participate in large events where you can connect with more people within the immediate vicinity of your business.

The Different Forms of Location-based Advertising

While there are several ways to employ location-based advertising, you need to explore various forms of this advertising type to understand what works best for your business in a particular geographical location. Some of the most common and effective forms of local advertising include the following:

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is a strategy that allows businesses to communicate with individuals directly. Since this approach is direct and personal, it is able to get a strong response from potential customers. If you have a limited budget for local advertising, this is the most effective way to get the desired results. It is targeted, flexible, and immediate. Once you have defined your goals and identified your target audience, you can address the audience with personalized content through your preferred channels, be it social media, print ads, radio spots, and word of mouth.

The Website

Even if your business does not sell products and services online, it is important to have a website in today’s date. A website that is optimized for local searches will help the business appear in the Google search results for relevant queries. Also, it is important to have a Google business profile that can be easily found on search engines. You can link your business website with the local business listing and drive traffic to your website from local searches. A professional-looking website makes your business more easily accessible, builds credibility, and supports all other marketing efforts.

Social Networks

When it comes to marketing your business to the local audience, social media is your best bet. Since a majority of the population is available on social media, you can boost your brand’s visibility to the local audience with the right advertising measures on these platforms. First, you need to identify the platform where most of your potential customers are. You can optimize your social media profiles accordingly and create valuable content that the audience finds useful. Also, social media is a great way to stay connected with your customers and advertise your products and services through personalized posts.

Ways to Advertise Your Business Locally

Now that you are aware of the different forms of location-based advertising, let’s explore the successful strategies to promote your business locally.

Create a Loyalty Program

The best way to reward locals is to create a loyalty program they can cash in on. While this will incentivize their returning business, it’s also a great way to learn more about your customers. Most will happily provide an email and address when they sign up for a rewards account, both of which can tell you a lot about where you should be advertising.

Once you collect plenty of zip codes, you can get a better sense of where you should be advertising. With this information, you can plan a mailer campaign to hit your customers’ zip codes to attract their neighbors and new, similar customers. You can also use this information to plan where you want to launch different local strategies like events or grocery store advertising campaigns.

Grocery Store Advertising 

Many small businesses continue to use grocery store advertising today because it is a powerful means of hyper-local targeting. Most stores pull their customers in from just a three-mile radius of the store and attract consumers who end up visiting 1-3 times a week. Running a supermarket advertisement through campaigns like coupon-receipt advertising means every single shopper will walk out of the store with your ad.

With thousands of visitors returning each week, your ad is sure to see some serious repetition and build thousands of local impressions. Once you have a better sense of where your customers live, you can try to find the right store to launch your supermarket advertisement. Remember that the strongest grocery store advertising campaigns will also impart a local feel to your advertising, so it’s essential to align your brand with a store you trust. 

Create Local Listings

If your business isn’t listed on Google, it will be much more difficult for customers to find you. Google Local Listings are one of the main ways customers find a business’s address, hours, and website, so you should create, claim, or verify your local listings today. Even if you think your website is enough to get you found, remember that most customers aren’t going to search for your business’s exact name.

Instead of searching “Los Hermanos Restaurant,” they’re more likely to search “Mexican Restaurants” or “Food Near Me.” Your website won’t necessarily show up in these results, but your local listing will appear both on the main search results page — and in Google Maps, Yelp, and iPhone Maps. Check out our guide here on how to set up your local listings.

Advertise with Local News Sites 

No matter where you live, there’s probably a local news site you trust over any other source. Whether it’s your go-to for seasonal information, events, or sports in your area, chances are your community is turning to it too. Here, it’s important to take advantage of your own “insider information” and try to reach out to your favorite local news station. By aligning your brand with their coverage, you’re sure to attract new customers who will appreciate your efforts to support a local news team.

Moreover, recent trends show that more Americans are turning to local news outlets for their daily news. To cash in on the trend, you should look into “display advertising” with your favorite source. This method allows you to easily run your ads as banners or tiles on a webpage and includes links in each ad so consumers can click through to your website. Best of all, when you advertise with a local news source, you know you’re sure to attract customers who live in your area, so be sure to look into this method. 

Run Local Google Ads

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the term “Pay-per-click” (PPC) ads because you’ve definitely seen them. Whenever you run a Google Search, there are usually two to three results at the top of the page — some of which may seem irrelevant to your search. These appear at the top of your search results because brands have paid to do so, and while it can be costly to run a national campaign — there are a few hacks for locals to take advantage of.

Once you start using Google Ads, you can enable local extensions to target your advertising. This means that instead of showing up at the top of search results for “Mexican Restaurants” nationwide, you can show up at the top of local searches. This medium is a terrific way to generate buzz around your business and stand out against the competition. 

Host an Event 

The best way to reach your community is in real life. Try to find ways to get involved with local organizations or sponsor a sports team to get your brand out in front of the right fans. When consumers can align you and your branding with their interests, they’re more likely to trust and try your business. Above all, it’s a great way to impart a positive feel to all your efforts and make sure you’re engaging with your community in the moments that matter.

How Much Does Local Advertising Cost?

The cost of local advertising depends on your marketing needs. However, these localized ads are far more cost-effective than the advertising campaigns that target a wider audience. Ideally, small local businesses should aim to spend somewhere around 2-5% of their total revenue on local advertising.

Going beyond that 5% margin may help the business attract more potential customers. However, it is recommended to start small and gradually grow the ad budget as you start witnessing positive outcomes of your advertising efforts.

It is also possible to drive customer acquisition for your small business with free local advertising strategies. For example, local SEO for your website, social media advertising, Google listings, etc., can be done for little or no cost but offers great results.

Think Globally, Advertise Locally

As a small business that serves a particular geographic area, local advertising makes more sense. Focusing on your local audience allows you to build stronger customer relationships by engaging with them on a personal level. You need to establish trust and loyalty for the long-term success of your business, and local marketing strategies help you achieve that.

Even though your goal should be to make personalized ad content for your local audience, you need to keep yourself updated with the global standards of advertising and marketing. In today’s competitive business environment, you need to be an early adopter to stay ahead of your competitors.

From deploying new local advertising campaigns to complying with the latest SEO guidelines – you need to keep yourself up-to-date if you want your local business to reach new heights of success. You need to think globally but act locally. Since your target audiences are the people within your immediate vicinity, you need to determine the right ways to market your business that will be effective for the local audience.

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