Recently updated on April 25th, 2023
With the U.S. Bureau of Statistics trends showing over half of small businesses fail in the first five years, this puts so much pressure on small business owners. Knowing how to reach your local audience as you grow your small business is vital. Not just to promote your business but also to tap your ideal customers. Being aware of local advertising ideas for small businesses can help get your business in front of potential clients.
Think of a local advertising and marketing strategy as a compass for small business owners. It helps navigate the challenges of reaching customers in their local market and driving sales. It helps increase visibility, connect you with your target audience, and even compete with larger companies.
However, to have a deep understanding of how all these work, we need to know what local advertising is and how important it is to help small businesses thrive.
What is local advertising?
Local advertising refers to promoting your business to people in your local chamber of commerce or nearby area.
Be it through ads in the local newspaper or flyers around town. It can also be on billboards you see while driving or online ads on local websites or social media platforms.
Local ads help you show what you offer and attract customers in the surrounding areas.
What is the importance of advertising locally?
Local advertising paves the way for local businesses to promote their products or services to people in their communities.
But why is local advertising that important?
Advertising locally allows you to connect with your community. It helps you target potential customers in your immediate area, increase visibility, and compete in your local market.
Common Types of Local Advertising and What Purposes They Serve
Here are some of the most common types of local advertising and their purposes.
You can use any of these methods to help promote your products or services. It will all depend on your intended goals and target audience.
Print ads are published in newspapers, magazines, flyers, brochures, and other marketing materials. It helps you reach out to your local community through traditional print media. Print advertising targets local audiences likely to read or engage with printed media.
A local bakery might place an ad in the local newspaper to promote its latest cake flavors and attract customers in the area.
You can also place ads in public spaces like billboards, transit shelters, and posters. It captures the attention of people frequently visiting the area, such as commuters and pedestrians. Outdoor advertising concentrates on reaching a wider audience and creating brand awareness.
A local real estate agent can use a billboard to showcase available homes for sale and get interested potential homebuyers.
Broadcast advertising refers to commercials aired on radio and TV stations. It aims to reach a bigger audience in the vicinity who are tuning in to their favorite radio or TV programs. Broadcast advertising uses local TV or radio to reach local audiences and promote products or services.
A local car dealership might run a radio ad during morning drive time to promote a special sale event and attract local car buyers.
In online advertising, you do ads using websites, your social media accounts, and other online marketing platforms. You reach out to local consumers browsing the internet for products or services. Online advertising targets local clients based on their online behavior and preferences. Also, it helps in driving foot traffic to physical stores and online traffic to their websites or online stores.
A local restaurant uses targeted Facebook ads to promote its daily specials. This can also attract local diners to visit their establishment.
Direct Mail Advertising
Another technique is sending promotional marketing materials to local households or other local businesses via mail. It helps you reach potential customers in a specific area. Direct mail advertising targets a certain demographic in the area to get sales or potential customers.
A local gym might send postcards with a special membership offer to households to generate interest and attract new members.
Local Search Advertising
Local search advertising involves placing ads on search engine pages when people try to look for products or services in an area. It aims to capture the attention of local consumers actively using search engines and looking for information online.
A local plumber might run an Ads campaign targeting related keywords. They target keywords like “plumber near me” or similar keywords at the top of search results. This helps generate leads from customers.
Satisfied customers give positive feedback about a local business through word of mouth. It helps build a positive reputation and generates buzz in the community.
This technique involves placing ads on vehicles used for transportation or business purposes. It enables the car or vehicle with ads to travel around the area and reach a bigger audience, and helps make it easier for people to notice.
A local pest control company can have its logo and contact information on the service vehicles. This creates brand awareness and attracts potential customers as the car or vehicle drives around town.
Here are 24 free & paid local advertising ideas for small businesses
Free Marketing Ideas for Small Business
Google Business profile (Formerly known as Google My Business)
Use this free tool to create and manage your online business presence on Google. By creating a profile, you can place information like your business name, address, and phone number. It will help customers easily find you on Google and increase your visibility in local search results.
Setting up a Google Business profile can help your small business appear in Google Maps and search results. It makes it easier for local customers to find you online. You can put your business information, post updates, and collect reviews from satisfied customers.
Having your business listings under categories helps you get found by your customers right away. With this, you can increase your online presence and reach a wider audience. Which later on can result in more website traffic, phone calls, and potential customers.
You can add your business listings in well-known directories online like Yelp, Yellow Pages, or TripAdvisor. It can help you reach a wider audience and gain more visibility.
Customers searching for your kind of business appears and can easily find you. Later on, it can lead to better online exposure and potential clients.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Existing and new customers can turn to loyal customers when they feel valued by a company they patronize or do business with. When you reward them for doing business with you, you encourage repeat business from your other existing customers and new customers.
Try offering discounts, special promotions, or exclusive perks to loyal customers. This helps them to continue choosing your business over other businesses. This technique can help existing and new businesses build customer loyalty, increase customer retention, and boost revenue.
You can do a customer loyalty program, such as a points-based system or exclusive discounts to a loyal client base. They will feel appreciated and motivated to choose your business over others. Later on, this can lead to increased repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Local Business Awards
Taking part in local business awards helps raise your small business profile in the community. Winning or getting awarded a local business award can generate positive publicity. Increase your credibility, and enhance your reputation. This can lead to better brand exposure, customer trust, and more business.
Participating in local business awards can boost your business reputation and visibility. When your business wins or get nominated for an award, it can create positive buzz. It also increases customer trust and differentiates your business from competitors.
Social Media Engagement
When your interact with your followers and customers on your social media channels, you build relationships with them. You can do this by regularly posting engaging content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also respond to comments and messages and run contests or giveaways.
Doing all these can produce loyal followers and foster customer relationships. This marketing strategy can improve your brand loyalty and customer engagement. It also provides positive word-of-mouth and helps you reach more potential customers.
Do sponsorships, donations, and volunteering in local events. It can help raise awareness for your small business.
Community involvement promotes building a positive reputation. It shows that you care about your community. This can help you connect with local customers and build customer loyalty.
Charity fundraisers or local festivals can help your gain respect from your community. This can help you build meaningful relationships with potential customers and earn their trust.
Local SEO Optimization
You can optimize your website and online content to rank higher in local search results. You can use location-specific keywords, create localized content, and get positive online reviews. You can improve your website’s visibility in local search results and attract more local customers.
Try using location-specific keywords while creating local content that can help your small business. This can help with more visibility to potential customers in your area.
Implementing a referral program encourages your satisfied and happy customers to be loyal to your business. They refer your business to their friends, family, or colleagues.
You can offer discounts, freebies, or referral bonuses. This will motivate your existing customers to spread the word about your business.
You can do a referral program where your customers can refer friends and family to your business. In exchange, they get discounts or other incentives. This referral marketing program can help you tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Local Media Coverage
Your business can use print, radio stations, or your local newspaper and local news outlets. It can significantly boost your business and credibility. By sending press releases and hosting local events or charity drives, you can do positive media coverage and reach a wider audience.
You can pitch your local business advertising ideas to local media outlets for coverage. Being featured in local media can increase your brand’s visibility and establish you as a trusted local business.
You can host workshops and product launches for events. Or you could also host customer appreciation days. These events create a memorable experience and excitement around your business.
Doing this helps you to showcase your products or services. It also assists you with interacting with prospective customers, face-to-face and building relationships.
Putting your company logo, business name, and contact information can turn your vehicles into a roving ad.
It creates brand awareness in your area while the vehicles roam within the city. With this, it draws more attention from potential customers.
Local Event Participation
Participating in local fairs, festivals, or charity events, allows you to engage with your local community. It helps you to engage with potential and current customers in person and build relationships.
Using trade show booths during these sponsorship events helps you gain brand visibility and community engagement. You can mix and match trade show display packages such as tents, table covers, flags, arches, banners, backdrops and more.
This allows your brand to create an impactful presence at trade shows, connect with potential customers, and strengthen your brand positioning in the event. To generate buzz and create positive associations with your business.
Paid Marketing Ideas for Small Business
With Google Ads, you create ads to help rank on Google or other websites. This technique helps your business reach potential customers searching for products or services like yours. Also, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it cost-effective.
This helps you increase your online visibility, generate leads, and drive sales. A small coffee shop could use Google Ads to target people searching for coffee shops near me or coffee.
Social Media Advertising
Using social media ads on platforms like Facebook or Instagram for ads is another effective option. You can set it for a highly targeted audience based on interests, behaviors, and demographics. Social media advertising allows you to create engaging ads in different formats. It could be as images, videos, and carousel ads, and track your performance in real-time.
This idea helps build brand awareness, reach new customers, and drive website traffic. A local bike shop could use Instagram ads to target people who follow other well-known bike shops in the area.
Local Influencer Partnerships
Partnering with local influencers and bloggers in your community is another good idea. They can help promote your products or services to their audience. Influencer partnerships can help increase your reach, build trust, and create engaging content.
A local fishing tackle and equipment could partner with a well-known professional angler. Showcase the company’s latest equipment on Instagram and drive traffic to their website.
Sponsor local events, sports teams, or other organizations in your community to get your business name in front of a large audience. Local sponsorships can help to increase brand awareness. They can build relationships with potential clients and show commitment to their community.
A small surfing equipment company could sponsor a local charity run to support a cause that aligns with its values.
Local Print Advertising
You can also advertise in local newspapers, magazines, or other print publications. Local print ads allow you to create attention-gabbing ads about your products or services and drive traffic to your website or store. This process can help small businesses increase brand awareness and reach local customers who might not be active online. It can also reach potential customers who prefer traditional media.
A small hardware store could promote its spring sale in a local newspaper to reach homeowners who plan to do home improvement projects.
Local Direct Mail Campaigns
Snail mail isn’t dead. You can still send personalized mailers to potential customers in your local area. Send a brochure or flyer to introduce your business, offer promotions or discounts, and encourage them to visit your store or website. This technique can help you with brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales within your local community.
A local pizza restaurant could send a coupon to nearby homes to promote their new delivery service.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Boost your online visibility and increase traffic through search engine and marketing campaigns. You can create ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) when people in your area search for keywords related to your business. This helps boost your online presence, attract local customers, and improve your goals while helping you with your marketing budget.
A local pet store could use SEM to make ad campaigns that target people searching for pet supplies near me or dog food delivery.
Use billboards, signage, and transit ads to promote your business. You can then message potential customers later as they do their daily routines. Outdoor advertising also helps raise brand awareness. It creates a memorable impression and reaches a bigger audience in their local area.
A local gym could use billboards to promote new fitness classes and attract new members.
Local Email Marketing
Collect email addresses from your customers. Use this to send them regular updates, promotions, and exclusive offers to build relationships. Email is cost-effective marketing tool that helps you to communicate with your local audience personally. This way, you stay top-of-mind while providing value and nurturing customer loyalty.
It can help your stay connected with your local customers, drive repeat business, and generate referrals.
A local spa could send a newsletter to its email subscribers for special promotions, beauty tips, and upcoming events.
Premium Local Business Directories
You can have your business listings on premium local directories such as Yelp, Google My Business, or Bing Places. These online, business listings and directories let you showcase your business photos, online reviews, and contact information.
Being listed on premium directories can help you attract more customers. It also assists in improving your search engine rankings and building trust and credibility.
A local restaurant could claim its business listing on Yelp, and place updates there. They can add their mouthwatering food photos, positive customer reviews, and its latest menu offerings.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Optimize your website for local SEO to increase your chances of appearing in the top search results for local searches. That is when people search for products or services in your area. Local SEO includes optimizing your website content, meta tags, and images for local searches. It can involve other elements with local keywords and location-specific information.
Doing this can help you improve your online visibility. It can also drive organic traffic to your site and outrank competitors in local Google search results.
A local florist could optimize Google business listing on their website with keywords. Their business can use like best florist in [city name] or local flower delivery to target potential customers in their area.
Collaborative Content Creation
You can collaborate with other local businesses or influencers to create content. You can focus on topics that provide value to your audience. It can include co-creating blog posts, videos, social media posts, or other content relevant to your target market.
Doing collaborative content marketing and creation helps both businesses. To leverage each of their audiences, increase their reach, and create engaging and shareable content.
A local fitness studio could collaborate with a nutritionist to create a blog post. It can be about healthy meal prep tips and start sharing them on their social media channels.
Small businesses can immensely benefit from a local advertising strategy as it enables them to connect directly with their target audience in their local community. It helps them build brand recognition, boost visibility and drive sales.
Common types of local advertising include print, online, and outdoor advertising, direct mail, and local search ads. All of which can help their business to generate leads and increase brand awareness.
Small businesses can also utilize free and paid marketing ideas and advertising strategies such as social media marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, local sponsorships, free local advertising, and customer referrals to achieve their marketing goals.
You can tailor these ideas to meet your company’s marketing goals and needs.
How can I promote my small business for free?
Here are the 12 best ways to promote your business for free:
- Google My Business
- Online Directories
- Customer Loyalty Program
- Local Business Awards
- Social Media Engagement
- Community Involvement
- Local SEO Optimization
- Referral Programs
- Local Media Coverage
- In-store Events
- Vehicle Branding
- Local Event Participation
What is the best free advertising for small businesses?
Social media gives small businesses the best range of options to promote their products and services for both free advertising and paid ads. Each channel works as a direct means to communicate with existing and prospective customers alike. Giving way to a more effective and authentic connection with your ideal customers.
What makes a good advertisement?
To make advertising effective for your small business, you need attention-grabbing visuals, effective headlines, well-written copy, and a compelling call to action.
Use attention-grabbing and high-resolution visuals that catch the viewer’s attention and create interest. Write a headline that conveys the ad’s message and grabs the reader’s or viewer’s attention.
Craft a well-written copy that provides relevant information about the product or service. It should also show how the product or service can help the reader and associate it with their needs in a way that’s easy to understand.
End the ad with a compelling call to action. It should lead the viewer on what to do next, whether purchasing, signing up for a newsletter, or contacting the small business owner for more information.