Local advertising is the promotion of your small business in a regional or smaller market. When you target local customers with both digital and offline advertising, you may find that your marketing efforts are more effective and affordable. Some local advertising ideas can inspire pride and loyalty from those who live near your business.
Here are 18 ideas for local advertising to boost your small business.
1. List on All Local & Relevant Business Directories
Average cost: Free
There are multiple benefits from listing your small business to online business directories. You’ll have a better chance of being discovered in the actual directory, and you’ll rise in local search results when someone searches for a business like yours in your area. Don’t waste your time posting to every single directory, however. Some are general, such as the phone books from the 20th century, while others are niche:
Start with those four, which will give you a good start at increasing your online visibility, and then add your small business to some of the other best online directories that make sense for you.
2. Leverage Existing Customers to Get New Customers With a Referral Program
Average cost: $45 to $100 per month
Incentivize your customers to spread the word about your small business. Everyone loves a discount, freebies, or other small rewards—especially from a local company they already love. This is one of those local advertising ideas that have a huge return on investment (ROI) for you. ReferralCandy makes word-of-mouth marketing a win-win for you and your fans.
Any business can learn how to get referrals to gain new customers.
3. Get Exposure With Local Press Coverage
Average cost: $250
Local press coverage can be huge for a small business, whether your pitch ends up on a newspaper or online article, or a local TV news spot. Media spreads the word about businesses quickly, and it’s a great way to get the word out about your business to local audiences. Be sure you know how to create a compelling pitch, and then use a press release service, like eReleases, to get guaranteed syndication.
An easy way to get your story out to the public is to use one of the best press release distribution services.
4. Increase Local Visibility With a Billboard Ad
Average cost: $600 to $3,000 per month
It isn’t uncommon to dream of having your small business advertised on a billboard above a busy street or freeway. Billboard advertising is surprisingly affordable, especially when you choose digital billboards as a medium.
Blip is a digital billboard company that offers a name-your-own-price plan that fits almost any budget. Have only $20 per day to spend? That’s fine. Increase it to $100 per day to get more impressions during peak times. Get some inspiration from these billboard designs.
Find out how much billboards cost in various cities—both physical and digital billboards.
5. Land at the Top of Google Search Results With Local Ads
Average cost: $2 to $6 per click
Take control over your small business website’s position in local search results with Google Ads. Even new businesses can appear at the top of results when they use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google. It’s a self-service local advertising idea, so you can turn them on when you have budgeting dollars for it, and off when you don’t. Google Ads can be affordable, depending on your targeted keywords.
Learn more about how to advertise on Google.
6. Make Sure Your Website Is in Good Shape
Average cost: $12 to $40 per month
To make sure you get the most out of all the other local advertising you’re doing, you need to have a great-looking website. More importantly, you want to make sure it functions properly and gives site visitors what they’re looking for. Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder that will save you time, and it includes everything you need to get a professional site up quickly.
Squarespace is a great choice for any project and one of our top picks for the best website builders for small businesses.
7. Rank in Search Organically With Local SEO
Average cost: $29 per month
Not everyone clicks on ads in local search results, and that’s why it’s important to invest in local search engine optimization (SEO). To do this, you’ll have to create compelling, relevant content using keywords that make sense for your business and don’t have too much competition.
If you aren’t an SEO expert, it’s a good idea to get a service like BrightLocal to help. Get a free 14-day trial from BrightLocal to see if it works for you.
8. Take Out an Ad in Your Local Newspaper
Average cost: $50 to $2,700
Advertising in your local newspaper offers huge benefits, especially if your target audience reads newspapers every day. Depending on where you live, newspaper ads can be affordable or expensive. Cost also varies based on the size of the ad you run. Consider hiring a professional designer from Fiverr to design your ad so that it stands out.
A popular idea for local advertising is to run newspaper ads, and it’s easy to do.
9. Catch the Attention of Commuters With Radio Ads
Average cost: $200 per 30-second spot
Although radio has lost listeners to streaming services, there are still more than 250 million people in the United States who listen to the radio every day. That’s a convincing reason to consider using radio for local advertising. Also, radio ads are affordable, with smaller markets offering 30-second spots for about $50.
Read more about how to advertise on radio for your local audience.
10. Create a Geotag for Your Business’s Location on Social
Average cost: Free
Creating a geotag for your small business’ physical location is a great way to earn new customers. A geotag is a location tag—like a pin in a map—on social media. Facebook and Instagram make it easy for you to target your business, and then geotag all of your business’s posts. It’s best to use it in conjunction with hashtags that target your location, as people searching #newyorkcity, for example, might come across your posts.
Geotagging is a popular hotel marketing strategy—it’s great for restaurants, entertainment businesses, and real estate businesses too.
11. Target Locals Using Facebook Ads
Average cost: $2 per click
The best way to use Facebook Ads for local advertising is to know precisely what your goal is for your ads. If you want to gain new followers, work that into the ad itself. Eye-catching photos or graphics work best, or video. Costs vary depending on the type of ad, your audience, and your industry. There are 2.7 billion Facebook users worldwide, so it’s a large audience overall.
Find out how much Facebook Ads cost based on audience, bidding, and competition.
12. Sponsor a Local Event or Item
Average cost: $150 to $500
Cities and local communities often offer sponsorship opportunities to local businesses. Sometimes, it’s for a park bench―great for long-term brand awareness and advertising―or a local little league team. You may find a chance to sponsor a city event, such as a food fair or cultural festival. All of these opportunities are a great way to become known in your local area, and it’s usually affordable for most businesses.
Don’t forget to write a great pitch to get a story on the local news.
13. Distribute Business Cards, Brochures, and/or Flyers
Average cost: $17 (100 business cards)
Using business cards, flyers, or brochures is a bit like physical display advertising. It’s an effective local advertising strategy to increase brand awareness or remind customers that your business exists. It’s also an affordable way to spread the word about promotions or discounts, and it can help with word-of-mouth advertising, such as if a customer hands a card off to another person.
Use one of the best business card providers to create yours—Vistaprint tops our list as the best overall.
14. Reach Out to Locals by Email
Average cost: $0 to $20 per month
Email marketing is one of the top methods of marketing, and it’s a great idea for local advertising. You can ask customers to sign up for emails when they’re at your store, on your website, or on your social media profiles.
If you need to find individual email addresses or emails based on location, Hunter.io is an affordable email finder. Keep your emails short, relevant, and local-centric.
If you’re new to email marketing, consider using Constant Contact to help you create great email campaigns.
15. Manage Your Online Reputation
Average cost: $30 to $100 per month
What does online reputation management have to do with local advertising? Everything. Any time someone locally searches for a business in your area and industry, there’s a chance they’ll see your business—and your star rating, address, phone number, and hours. A negative review, especially one with no response from you, can be enough to drive business away.
Get more reviews on Google by using Podium. If your business listings are incorrect, you risk frustrating a potential customer who shows up after you’ve closed for the day.
Local SEO tools can help you stay on top of your business’ appearance online.
16. Attract Window Shoppers With Digital Signage
Average cost: $59 per month
Your storefront is kind of like one giant billboard of “free” local advertising if you use it the right way. Digital signage is a great way to attract shoppers to your store because it’s eye-catching. Plus, it’s easier to display more information with a digital sign.
Raydiant is a great choice for managing your digital content on one or more screens, and you control the content. Digital menus and signs can be used to display items and prices or specials, events, or other important information.
17. Collaborate With Fellow Local Businesses
Average cost: Free
A creative idea for local advertising is to collaborate with another local business that makes sense for your industry. For example, if you own a bakery that specializes in cinnamon rolls and gourmet doughnuts, you could work with a local coffee shop—it’s a perfect match. You could brew and sell the cafe’s coffee, and they can sell your pastries. Photographers and florists can hook up with event centers; a graphic designer would work well with a local print shop.
Learn more about how to market a new business.
18. Give Back to Your Local Community
Average cost: Free
Local businesses that give back to their community get a big return on their investments in local advertising and get to feel like they’re positively contributing to their hometown. Community members tend to remember the businesses that get involved and donate time or services to help improve the local area. For example, a barbershop or salon might offer free haircuts for veterans one day per month. A consignment store could provide professional clothing for job hunters living in shelters.
Find local nonprofit organizations that are relevant to your business to give back to your local community.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is local advertising with examples?
Local advertising is the promotion of a business that’s limited to a specific city, county, region, state, or country. Usually, local advertising includes TV, radio, and newspaper ads. It’s also word-of-mouth marketing, social media, local search results, and business cards. Search engine marketing is becoming more popular for promoting businesses to local audiences.
How do you attract local customers?
Several local advertising ideas can attract local customers, including sponsorships, social media ads, Google ads, radio and TV advertising, and local SEO. Coupon advertising is a popular method of attracting new customers.
What is the best free advertising for small businesses?
Local businesses can use multiple creative methods to promote their businesses for free. Posting on social media and creating content for your website doesn’t cost anything but time. You can improve your efforts by spending a little money on social media marketing.
Even if marketing isn’t your greatest strength, you can use the above local advertising ideas effectively. Use a combination of local media, social media, local business collaborations, and referral programs. As a result, generate brand awareness and gain new customers quickly.
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