Local Business Advertising: Turning Your Business into a Local Brand


Though the odds seem stacked against small businesses, many do quite well for themselves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two-thirds of new businesses last at least two years, half make it to five years, and a third make it to a decade. Although there is no magic formula for success, one strategy can provide a boost that complements all your other efforts to reach 10 years and beyond: local business advertising.

Many restaurants, auto repair shops, real estate agents, lawyers, salons, insurance agents, car washes, and other small businesses attract most of their customers from a relatively small trade area. Reaching these potential customers can be difficult if the only advertising channels you invest in cover too big a region; no one in a metro area is driving 30 miles to get their nails done. Local business advertising targets consumers in a small radius (usually five miles). Although the geographic reach is smaller, the demographic reach—people in your immediate community—is larger. Here are some tips on how local business advertising can boost your brand:

Emphasize the Benefits of Being Local

Local businesses might seem to be at a disadvantage when compared with larger competitors, but they enjoy one powerful edge: the fact they are local. Would you trust a real estate agent based 20 miles away over someone who lives in your neighborhood? Would you get a car wash clear across town just to re-accumulate dirt on the ride home? Even local franchises of large chains enjoy this benefit—why would you drive to the next county to eat at a fast food restaurant when you can just go to one down the street? Local business advertising gives you the chance to promote the fact you are not only nearby, but also better positioned to serve your unique community.

Advertising in the Local Grocery Store

The challenge for local business advertising is to reach potential customers on a local level. Sure, you could advertise on TV or radio, but that’s almost overkill—high-cost channels that people who don’t live or work in your neighborhood are apt to ignore. That’s why advertising in grocery stores is so effective. Whether you are purchasing coupon space on the back of grocery stores’ receipts or promoting your business on shopping carts, you are marketing to customers who already are shopping close to home and to your place of business. Moreover, register tape advertising and cartvertising are much more economical; receipt coupons, for example, reach 1,000 consumers for as little as $6 per month—far cheaper (and more effective) than broadcast ads that can approach as much as $100 for the same exposure.

Crowd Out the Local Competition

You want people to shop locally, but you really want them to shop locally with your business. Only so much room is available on register tapes for coupons, and groceries stores have only so many carts to place ads upon. Proactively signing up to market your business on these channels before the competition does gives you an edge—every time consumers shop, they see your ads instead of your competitors, which then must find other, possibly less visible local business advertising channels to market themselves on.

Coupons to Get Customers in the Door

Local business advertising aims to persuade community residents to patronize community businesses—ideally, your business. The trick is to get the word out that your business exists and that local consumers should give it a try. Coupons provide that impetus, and register tapes from grocery stores provide a means to put coupons into those consumers’ hands. Once in the door, your outstanding service or product hopefully will impress new customers enough for them to return and become repeat, even lifelong customers.


How has local business advertising helped your brand?

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