As a local business owner reaching your target market means actively promoting your small business right in your own neighborhood. It will take some work, but fortunately, you can differentiate yourself from your rivals in a variety of ways.
Armed with some strategic marketing initiatives and a good strategy, you can dominate a neighborhood in no time. So in order to help you get started, here are a few tips on how to promote your small business locally.
- 1 Begin With a Local Marketing Strategy
- 2 Marketing Strategy vs. “Local” Marketing Strategy
- 3 How to Promote Your Business Locally Using Offline Strategies
- 4 How to Promote Your Business Locally Using Online Strategies
- 4.1 Paid Search Marketing – Ads (PPC)
- 4.2 Social Media Marketing
- 4.3 Grow Your Email List
- 4.4 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQ
Begin With a Local Marketing Strategy
When deciding how to promote your business locally, the first step is to develop a local marketing strategy. This should be based on your overall business goals and objectives. Then once you have identified your target market, you can begin to tailor your marketing efforts specifically to them.
Who is your target audience? Is your prospective customer a man or a woman? Are they young or older? How educated are they? Where do they prefer to get information, newspaper, radio, TV, or online? These questions may sound trivial, but answering them will go a long way in helping you develop the right marketing strategy!
Because once you have identified who your typical customer is, you can begin developing a strategy to reach them. But keep in mind that your probably not going to get it right on the first try. A successful marketing plan takes trial and error and weighing the effects of one method against another. Marketing is a matter of continuously working on getting closer to being noticed by your potential customer.
The thing is to understand that you’re probably not going to hit the bullseye on the first shot. It will take several tries and constant adjustments to hit your target.
Of course, you can use a combination of several methods, which is the way most local businesses find new customers. And it would be impossible to advise you on which way to go as different methods work better for different businesses. It’s just a matter of constantly testing and checking to see if you are getting closer or further from your goal.
Marketing Strategy vs. “Local” Marketing Strategy
The important thing to remember is that you’re developing a local marketing strategy. This differs from a national or international strategy in that it is focused on a smaller, more specific area. Keep this in mind as you determine your marketing budget and plan your initiatives.
It means having a different mindset than promoting on a national or global scale. You are talking to and trying to get the attention of local customers. So you are going to market and get involved on a local level.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the most popular methods.
How to Promote Your Business Locally Using Offline Strategies
First, let’s take a look at some offline strategies a local business can use to find new customers.
Use Locally Targeted Print Ads
One way to get your business in front of consumers is to use locally targeted print ads. For years, I placed a small 1 by 3-inch ad in the back of my town’s local newspaper, and it worked well. It’s also a very easy method to use as local newspapers, as well as other print media, are always looking for advertising dollars and are very glad to help you set up an ad in their publication.
The only issue with local ads is that they can be quite pricey. Most businesses can also expect a lot of competition. So make sure that the money that you are bringing in from the ad covers your advertising expenses. And be prepared for your profit to come from referrals and repeat customers, as because of the competition, most ads will usually only break even.
Direct mail can be an effective way to reach new customers in your area. One thing nice about direct mail is that you can target specific neighborhoods with your direct mail campaign. However, because there is so much “junk mail,” you’d better make sure that your direct mail offer is compelling enough to get the recipient to take action.
Also, understand that in most areas, direct mail only comes out several times per year. So assuming that you did everything else right and your ad is eye-catching, be prepared for your new customers to come in bunches and not be evenly spaced.
Connect With Other Local Businesses
Another excellent strategy when deciding how to promote your business locally is to partner with other local businesses that already have the customers that you are targeting. You can easily do this by running a joint marketing campaign or partnering on a special event.
For example, if you are a local florist, you could partner with a local bakery and do a Mother’s Day promotion where customers get a free bouquet of flowers with the purchase of a Mother’s Day cake. This type of marketing is often referred to as co-op marketing and can be a great way to reach new customers without having to spend a lot of money.
Another excellent way to promote your business locally is to get involved in the community. This can be achieved by sponsoring a local sports team, donating to a local charity, or becoming involved in local politics.
When you become involved in the community, people will begin to see your business as more than just a place to buy goods or services. Instead, they will see you as a business that cares about the community and is willing to invest in its future.
Word Of Mouth
Last but not least, the best method of advertising and way to promote your business locally is by word of mouth. Research has shown that over 60% of people are likely to trust a recommendation from a friend. So why not turn your customers into cheerleaders?
Just make sure always to provide excellent customer service, offer a great product, and make it easy for your customers to refer you to their friends and family.
You can even extend the idea by offering loyalty programs or a referral fee. For example, if you are a local plumber, you could offer a $50 discount to anyone who refers a new customer to you.
By using these offline strategies, you can promote your business locally, and you will reach new customers. Just remember to be patient, as most of these methods will take some time to work. But if you stick with it, you will eventually see results.
How to Promote Your Business Locally Using Online Strategies
In addition to using offline strategies, you can also use online strategies to reach new customers in your area. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Paid Search Marketing – Ads (PPC)
Paid search marketing, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a great way to reach new customers online. You can even target customers in your area by using geotargeting options.
For example, if you are a local plumber, you could use Google AdWords to show your ads to people who search for “plumbers in (your neighborhood).”
However, if you have never used PPC ads before, you had better be careful. If you don’t know what you are doing yet, you could easily spend a lot of money without getting any results.
But, when used correctly, PPC Ads can be very profitable. So either hire a highly respected PPC company to do it for you or expect a long learning curve and be prepared to spend some money with minimal results in the beginning.
PPC Ads are like a high-stakes gamble. When used correctly by an experienced user, they can pay off big, but learning can be quite costly if you are unsure of what you are doing.
Social Media Marketing
If you are apprehensive about spending money, social media marketing is completely free and another excellent way to reach new customers online. You can use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with potential customers in your area.
To get started, you should create social media accounts for your business and start posting relevant content. Then connect with as many people that fit your typical customer’s profile as well as other local businesses and influencers in your area.
Make sure you post relevant content that your typical customer would want to engage with, but do not over-post. You want potential customers to see you without being annoying.
You also need to remember that social media is just that “social.” Never immediately ask customers for a sale. Instead, make friends with your connections, educate them and when the time is right, let them know how you can solve their problems.
Grow Your Email List
If you have a website or some other way to capture names and email addresses, you should start growing your email list. You can do this by offering something of value in exchange for an email address, such as a free e-book, white paper, or discount.
Once you have a list of email addresses, you can start sending out weekly or monthly newsletters with relevant content and special offers.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach new customers, and it’s relatively inexpensive. You can use an email marketing service like MailChimp to get started.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Finally, search engine optimization (SEO) is another excellent way to get your business in front of consumers who are actively searching for what you have to offer. SEO consists of several strategies, and it’s exactly what its name says, consistently optimizing for higher ranking by the search engines. It’s also what we are going to look at next.
Create or Enhance Your Website and Localize It
You can set up or improve your current website’s SEO strategy by using the right keywords and phrases. You also need to make sure that you are using the correct amount of things like headings and images. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you with this, such as Rank Math, Yoast SEO, and others.
Also, make sure to localize your website by adding your city and state to your website’s title and description. And don’t forget to use the cities and states that you service as keywords.
Also, keep in mind that optimization is a never-ending process as Google is constantly changing its algorithm, and what worked today may not work tomorrow.
Write a Blog
If you don’t have a blog, you should start one. If you have a blog, but it’s inactive, start writing!
Simply put, a blog is a collection of articles related to your business that are posted one at a time and a great way to show potential customers that you are an expert in your field. A blog post can be anything from a couple of paragraphs letting your readers know how to stop a leaky faucet from dripping to how to select the best vacation deals.
Blog posts are social, so always provide value to your customers and potential customers. When writing a blog post, the important thing to remember is to focus on delivering value and not selling. No one likes to be sold to, but everyone loves to get information that can help them.
Make sure to post your blog articles on social media and always link back to your website.
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your website. This is important for two reasons. First, it helps with SEO because Google looks at the number of links pointing to your website when determining where you should rank in their search results, and the more links you have, the higher you will rank.
Google believes that if other businesses link to your website, then you must be doing something right and have a website that customers can trust.
Although any reputable link is helpful, the best links with the most influence, also known as “link juice,” come from other businesses in your community as well as other businesses that share the same customers.
Secondly, it helps potential customers find your website. When someone is looking for a product or service that you offer, and see that you have been mentioned on another website, they are likely to click on the link.
Create Google My Business Listing
Originally known as Google My Business, listings are free and only take a few minutes to set up. However, they are essential to have because when potential customers search for businesses in your area, your business will appear on Google Maps.
All you need is a physical address and phone number to get started. Then once you have “claimed” your listing, be sure to add as much information as possible to your Google Business Profile, such as your business hours, website, products or services offered, and photos.
You can also use your Google Business Profile to track how many people view your listing and what actions they take, such as calling you or visiting your website.
The important thing to understand here is that by default, when a potential customer searches for a keyword, Google only displays the top three business listings without clicking further. Listings below the top three can be displayed, but only by the searcher clicking again – something most people will not do
Make sure that Google ranks your business listing within the top 3 for your keywords.
Although many factors go into how Google goes about ranking business listings, some of which are very difficult to control, there are some things that you can do to help your business rank higher.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help your business listing rank higher is to collect online reviews. Because over 94% of customers say, they will use a business with at least a 4 or 5 star rating.
To get started, simply ask your customers or clients to leave you a review on your Google Business Profile. You can also send them an email with a link to your listing.
Another thing you can do is to offer an incentive for customers to leave a review. This could be a discount on their next purchase or a free item. Just be sure you don’t offer anything of value in exchange for a 5-star review, as this is against Google’s policies.
Also, let your customers know that by including as many location and product-specific keywords, they will be helping Google know exactly what your business is about and thus give your listing the ability to rank higher.
Set Up Online Business Directory Listings
Online business directory listings do two things. First, they help Google verify your business. They let Google know that you have a reputable business actively looking for new customers.
Business directories also have a place where a customer can leave a review. So just like on your Google Business Profile listing, the better your reviews are, the more credibility you will receive from Google, thus elevating your listing.
Second, they provide a link to your website. Since business directories display in search results, you have another way for potential customers to find your business as well as strengthen your SEO.
Although there are many, some of the business directories you could list your business on include, Yelp, Foursquare, and Manta.
You can help your business listing rank higher by adding photos. At a minimum, you should add a profile photo and cover photo. But the more photos you add, the better.
Some of the photos you could add include photos of your staff, your products or services, and your business location. You can also add pictures of customers using your products or services.
When deciding how to promote your business locally, there are many different ways to go about it. Begin by acquiring knowledge and establishing a strategy. Then you can try the methods above to get started.
Go slow, take your time and see what works and what you feel comfortable doing. Then continuously keep trying to better your best results. Successful marketing takes time and a lot of trial and error.
When done right, promoting your business locally can be a great way to attract new customers and grow your business.
I hope that you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will be glad to help you out. I specialize in building websites for local businesses and promoting those websites using SEO.
What is a local business?
A local business is a business that serves a limited geographical area. The customer base for a local business is typically smaller than that of a national or international business.
How can I advertise a local business for free?
There are many ways to advertise your local business for free. Promoting your business online through social media, online directories, and your website is a great way to get started. You can also promote your business offline through word-of-mouth, print materials, and community events.
What are online business directories?
An online business directory is an online listing of businesses in a particular industry, geographic area, or both. These listings include basic information about the business, such as the name, address, and phone number. Many online business directories also allow customers to leave reviews of the businesses they have used.