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Where to Advertise a Local Business?

Read the ultimate guide to local business advertising: from local market research, proper advertising channels, ad assets, to knowing your niche and more.

Written By: 

Erick Leon


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Where to Advertise a Local Business?

small business advertising illustration

There's an overwhelming amount of ways a business owner can advertise a local business, and knowing the right place to get started can be difficult without a marketing background or a dedicated marketing expert.

A lot of people think about advertising as a way to get their business noticed, but that's only scratching the surface. Good advertising will help a local business connect with the community, promote its brand, and express its values. There are many different options for small business owners looking to advertise and raise their overall digital brand awareness. Some local advertising tactics can start working immediately while others, like S.E.O, might take up to a year to fully develop their true ROI.

In this article post, we will discuss some of the most popular and crucial places for small businesses to advertise and spread brand awareness. The internet upended the way advertising is done and it’s something that many businesses still struggle with. It can be very overwhelming, but we'll break the key parts down into very actionable steps.

Checklist Before Advertising

checklist before advertising illustration

1. Understand your target audience: This is where most small businesses, unfortunately, fall short. They will skip this step and move to step 2.  Your potential customer should be well defined and understood by everybody in your business. Really think about this saying too, "If no one hates it, no one will love it." Make sure you create a brand that some will love and others might hate. It's always better than having everyone disinterested.

2. Optimize your website: Businesses that do not have a website could lose up to 50% of their potential local customers and 100% of their digital customers. In this competitive market, local businesses that have a website straight up outperform any local business without one. Nowadays people don't drive around to look for something to do. They go online to find places they've heard of. A well-designed and fun website could have an incredible ROI, especially when focused on your local audience and reinforced with a solid S.E.O strategy.

3. Set up your analytics: Now that you have a website that's focused on attracting your local audience, it's time to start seeing if it actually works. Once again, this is a step most small businesses skip or don't realize they need. We suggest always at least connecting any website page to Google Analytics. Most "website builders" like Squarespace or Wix give businesses the bare minimum analytics leaving a lot of insight and data on the table.

4. Understand your goals and objectives: What do you want to accomplish from your advertising? In an ideal situation, what would you want one of your prospective customers to do?

Where to Advertise a Local Business Online

Digital marketing can help a local business grow quickly. This can be done by promoting your products and services online through digital channels such as search engines, social media, niche sites, influencer posts, mobile applications, and more. Here are some ways you can utilize digital marketing.

Blog: An insightful and easily skimmable blog post will surely get you more traffic on your website. In a way, this can be considered free advertising once it's published because as time passes the article will get more traction and attract more customers. A company could also try guest blogging on other relevant, more popular sites to try to extend their reach! The hidden benefit of doing any kind of blog is the boost to your search engine optimization. As more people find your article, the higher your article will rank on google.

Search engine ads:  Search engine ads help local businesses get put on the first page of search engines. These are triggered by keywords your nearby customers type into a search bar. We suggest starting with Google Adsense because Google is the biggest search engine. With a bigger ad budget, you could also try Yahoo or Microsoft edge other CPC paid ad options.

Niche sites: There's always another interest a target market has so it's always a good idea to check out more independent websites around your city that get a good amount of traffic per month. These niche sites could literally be anything from boutique shops, food critiques, or videogame resale sites. This also includes niche directories like Angie's list.

Email Marketing: This is a really good way to advertise to your current customers. Whenever you make a sale try to always get their email so you can add it to an email list to constantly update them with new offers, articles, or products. An existing customer could get an e-mail newsletter every Friday letting them know about an article that will help them achieve goal X. It's always a good investment to have a custom email signature.

Future Advertising: With the help of crypto, software, and new technology, advertising is slowly starting to shift its direction and tactics. We wrote an article about the future of advertising and how small businesses can take advantage of it.

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising Illustration

With social media growing every day, it would be a mistake for local businesses not to use it to promote their local services and products. There are many social networks to choose from and with all of them having overlapping audiences, it can be tough to choose which ones will have the best ROI for the business. Luckily, business social media accounts offer unique tools to track your data and make it easy to choose your target market.

Local Influencers: Lookout and follow those who are popular in your community within your target market. If they are the right fit, reach out to them or help them create promotional content. Usually, you can give them a free product or service offer then tell the local influencer that you will promote their post increasing both brands' awareness reach.

Facebook & Instagram ads: You can specify which area you want your promotion to target and reach customers in that area only. These platforms offer unique plans for businesses with any kind of budget. Outside of promoting a post, a company could also try to do some content marketing.

LinkedIn: An essential social media site for business-to-business (b2b) companies. When it comes to targeting other business owners and executives Linkedin is the best social platform amongst all the social channels for reaching high ticket prospects. Although they tend to have higher paid advertising costs(starts at $10 a day), this social media platform has the least amount of bots.

Craigslist: Very local and very cheap to advertise on.  

Twitter: This platform is now mostly used by influencers and public figures to express their opinions. Outside of huge corporations, it's not really a great ROI and twitter really only has niche case uses for local businesses.

Promote Your Local Business with Print Marketing

Sometimes, the best way to get someone to know about your local business is to make flyers, spread business cards and have design posters. It's an efficient way to reach the masses. Print material is also great because people tend to keep it longer than digital content; you can put your local business information closer to people who need it. It's all about keeping up that brand awareness.

Print media is one of the most affordable ways to advertise your local business. You can also promote your services through leaflets, posters, and brochures. It's easy to create and distribute local marketing print materials: you can even make your own local press advert.

Local event: Keep an eye out for any city events where your business could easily fit into. Bring all your print marketing material to these events to spread brand awareness! Depending on how elaborate you decide to show up, your business could potentially get some PR from a local newspaper or photographer. It's also the best and only place to interact directly with your local consumer.

Targeting the right customer base is key

Local business owners need to consider the most effective way they are going to reach out to potential local customers; by doing so, local businesses cannot only save lots of money but will also increase the chances of creating loyal clients.

There are different ways of advertising with the help of social media, but it's very important for local businesses to create an image or an identity that is specific for their local area/city/state so that it doesn't look like they are targeting everyone. Localization is key when it comes to effective online marketing strategies. Doing this will also ensure that you're sending the right message to the right person at the right place.

For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar store location in town where people come by every day on their lunch break or after school then traditional methods like radio commercials might be more effective than new social media platforms like Facebook Ads.

But if most of your customers live outside of the community or they don’t visit often, then Facebook ads may yield better results because they allow people who would otherwise never see an ad about your business to encounter one. There is no one method that applies to all equally. It’s all contingent on your goals.

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