One of the keys to success for your business will be learning how to promote your business locally. You cannot underestimate the importance of your local customer base even if you have a product that you can sell online to customers worldwide.
Your business’s local customers will help establish your loyal base, which you need to keep making repeat sales that lead to profits. To attract a local audience, you need to take some different approaches than you would when marketing to a larger audience.
You have to reach the people in ways that are most likely to catch their attention and draw them to your business. Luckily, there are quite a few ways that you can do this.
We have 27 tactics for promoting your local business that can enable you to build an excellent customer base in your area.
Ways to Promote Your Business on Search Engines (Google)
To get customers online, you need to rank high in the search engine results for your target keywords, making it essential that you learn how to promote your local business on search engines and earn the top rank spots.
1. Create a Website
If you don’t already have a website, then you need to get one. If you cannot build one yourself, you may consider getting website design service of your choice. Having your own URL that you can use in all advertisements will serve as a great lead generation tool. It provides some legitimacy to your business and serves as a central place where customers can get information about your business.
You will probably find that many local businesses, including your competitors, do not have a website. You can make your business stand apart by presenting a website that includes your business name, location, and contact information.
It is even better if you also provide information about your products or services, provide a place for customers to leave reviews, and have a frequently asked questions page to address things people often ask about your business or goods/services.
2. Google My Business (GMB) Profile
There is no doubt that ranking on Google should be a top priority. To help with this, you need to set up your Google My Business page.
This platform enables you to set up a business profile that will appear when your business comes up in Google searches. It also gives you a chance to include images and blog posts and get customer reviews, which will also show in the Google search results.
Your business may already have a listing, but you need to claim ownership over it so that you can edit the content in the listing. Besides, you get some excellent tools with the platform that will show you analytics about views and searches.
To set up your Google My Business page, you will sign into the platform through Google. Make sure that when you sign up, you use your business email. You can then fill in the information about your business, but ensure that it matches the exact information you use elsewhere.
For example, if your business address is 555 North Street and your website lists it as 555 North St., then abbreviate street in your Google My Business entry.
Do not forget to link your page to your website and add high-quality photos. You should also list your business hours.
Once you complete all the information, you will need to verify your account. Verification can occur in a couple of different ways. Google may not give you an option, but if it does, avoid the postcard option as it can take a week or longer to verify your listing.
Once you’ve claimed your GMB profile, consider getting google guaranteed for your local ads service.
3. Starting a Blog
Another thing you want to add to your website is a blog. Blogs are one of the easiest ways to boost your local SEO and attract people to your website. The key here is creating useful content.
The search engines, especially the top ones, such as Bing and Google, are pretty harsh on websites that churn out useless content or content that doesn’t provide value. When creating your blog, you have to make sure that the content you publish has value.
A valuable blog post will be relevant to your business and offer something to your customers that they will want to know. For example, if you have a business selling fencing materials, a blog post about choosing the right type of fence would be valuable. However, a blog post about how to clean your attic would not have value.
American Express explains that a well-thought-out and managed blog can allow you to connect better with your customers, leading to increased loyalty. You should make sure to publish posts on a regular basis to keep people coming back to read your blog.
Content ideas you might want to consider include:
- Tips and advice
- Profiles of your employees and loyal customers
- Instructions on how to do something
- Shopping guides
- Lists of helpful information
4. Build an Email List
You should make good use of your email to get information about your business into the hands of your target market. You can use email marketing to send out newsletters or offers.
There are various ways to build your email list. You can ask for it at checkout in a physical store, and if you sell to customers online, you can get it by having them sign up for an account that lets them track orders and manage their purchases.
Never buy email lists. There are too many ways you can get legitimate addresses from people who are customers or potential customers. These lists are usually outdated and will get your emails sent to a spam folder.
Also, make sure that you are not misusing email. Only send one when you have something of value to communicate, like a sale or a coupon offer. A once-monthly newsletter is also a good idea. It can keep customers on top of changes or other happenings with your business.
5. Optimize for Local (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ensuring search engines can find your website so that it shows up in searches made by consumers. Since you want to learn how to promote your business locally, you will want to focus on local SEO.
Local SEO is optimizing your website for searches involving location terms for your area. You will most often include your city’s name along with other cities nearby as you optimize for local searches. For example, “solid oak fence planks” would become “solid oak fence planks in City, OH” or some variation of that.
Entrepreneur explains that it can help to focus on Google at first because this search engine has put emphasis on local searches. You will notice when you do a search that includes the name of a location. Google comes back with a box at the top showing three business names and their locations in Google maps. Your goal should be to get in that box.
Doing this is not easy, but you can increase your chances by focusing on content and other SEO aspects for your local area. In other words, your meta descriptions, title tags, headers, page names, and content all need to include location names. You also can benefit from linking to other local businesses and having them linked to you.
6. Get Your Business Listed on Online Directories
Directories, such as Yelp or NextDoor, serve the distinct purpose of helping people connect with businesses. They usually provide business pages where people can leave a review.
You need to check directories to see if your business listing is already on there. If it is, you should make sure the information about your business is correct, such as the contact information and hours. You also want to ensure your website link is on there.
If it is not there, then add it. Either way, claiming your listing puts you in control of it and gives you the ability to manage the information in it.
7. Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising is an efficient way to market on search engines. You only pay for the ads you place with the search engine if someone clicks on them.
If someone searches for your chosen keyword, your ad shows up right near the top of the listings. You won’t have to pay for it unless that person who did the search decides to click on your ad.
The catch here is that you have to compete with others for the keywords you want. You will go through an auction where you offer a price for the keyword, which is what you will pay when someone clicks on your ad using the keyword. It is essential that you make sure you have targeted keywords that are popular but not so much so that you won’t be able to afford them.
Ways to Promote Your Business on Social Media
You may want to use a range of social media accounts to boost your local marketing efforts. Because social media marketing is an active process, you don’t want to be on too many platforms. Choose the ones that will best reach your target audience and make the most sense for your business. Once you decide on the most suitable social media branding strategy for you business, use these social media post ideas to boost engage and get more customers via social media.
8. Facebook: Run Targeted Local Facebook Ads
Another heavy hitter when it comes to local business marketing is Facebook. Having a Facebook page for your business can give your business more credibility in the eyes of customers.
The platform makes it easy to promote your local business through various tools. Take advantage of targeted local ads. You can set these up according to your needs and budget to advertise directly to local people who use Facebook.
You can also set up a business page where you can include information about your business and link it to your website. To make proper use of Facebook and get the most out of it, you will want to publish content that interests your followers.
It’s also important to respond to comments and interact with followers to keep your page alive and beneficial. You can also connect it with Twitter so that you are doing double duty with your Facebook posts. Every post you make here will also go out on Twitter.
9. Instagram: Partner with an Influencer
Instagram allows for more interactions, but, again, it is very visual. It may not work for every business, but since it has a substantial user base, it is worthwhile to make it work.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce explains that Instagram also provides stickers for business promotion. For example, Instagram has a small business sticker that encourages people to shop local. Users can put this sticker on their posts, which will link it to your business.
If you are not a business with interesting visuals to create your own page, consider partnering with an influencer. Influencers have huge followings on the platform. By working with them to advertise your business, you can reach far more people than your page ever could.
10. Pinterest: Powerful Visual Platform
While you don’t actually have to interact as much on this platform, you will have to have visually appealing links to post. It may not work well for every business, but it can give you access to a very specific target market. Make sure that that market aligns with your strategy before you start.
When making a Pinterest post, you need to focus on connecting to something on your website or somewhere else that promotes your business and has an intriguing visual you can use. You want it to stand out to encourage people to click on it, pin it, and share it.
11. YouTube: Upload and Advertise on YouTube
Another place to consider posting is YouTube. If you are good at making videos, then this site can give you a real boost in your search rankings and give you a chance to provide valuable content to your customers.
When you create a video, you want to include your website in the video and in the description area. Make it simple for viewers to click through to your business site.
You also can pay to place ads on YouTube without having to run or manage your own account. However, advertising on the platform is competitive, and you may not have a lot of control over the videos it runs on. You’ll need to do your research into this option if you want to consider it.
12. LinkedIn: Best for B2B
Another platform that you will want to be on is LinkedIn, which can help you connect with other business owners and build your network. You want to first create a personal profile and optimize it by showcasing your expertise. Then, you can create a LinkedIn Page for your business.
The page must include your website and a description of your company, but you can add more details and build up the page however you want. To get the most from this page, you should use images, update it often, and connect with others in your local area.
13. Snapchat: Get in Front of Customers Now
Snapchat may not be the first social network you think about when it comes to promoting your business locally. Still, the platform has an ad manager that allows specifically for local promotion.
With its integrated mapping technology, Snapchat can be a fantastic marketing tool that gets your business in front of people in real-time right when they need you. For example, if you have a Chinese restaurant and a Snapchat user is nearby your location searching for a Chinese restaurant, your business will pop up on his or her map. It’s the ideal way to advertise because you get your business in front of the customer when they need it.
Ways to Promote Your Business in Your Community
If you want to build your local customer base, then the best place to do that is right in your community.
14. Networking and Word of Mouth
Join local professional groups. You should become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and other relevant groups.
Attend meetings and take an active role in the organization. Become a legitimate part of the group, and make sure you use the group to network. Also, make use of your business cards. Ensure that your business card clearly states:
- Your business name
- Contact information
- Website address
- Social media accounts
You should hand out your cards to anyone who may be able to help you get more customers.
You also want to focus on building word-of-mouth advertising in other ways. Perhaps the best way to do that is by providing excellent customer service.
If you provide your customers with an exceptional experience, they will tell others about it. This gets people talking about your business and is sure to bring some new faces in the door.
On the other hand, if a customer has a bad experience, they will also share that. The impact of a customer telling others something negative about your business can have a devastating effect. Some small businesses have even had to close due to word spreading about their lack of customer service.
High-quality customer service offers your customers friendliness and an overall welcoming environment. You will have operating hours that suit your target market, and you will make customers feel valued.
Customer service also involved handling issues with grace and care. You should react immediately and never brush off a customer’s concern or complaint. People will always remember how you respond to something negative more than anything else.
Remember, the customer is always right.
15. Place an Ad/Article in Your Local Magazine or Newspaper
You should advertise in your local newspaper or magazine to reach out to people in your area. While you can pay to place ads, you may find it’s better to get a reporter to write an article about your business.
You should come up with an idea to pitch to the reporter. Keep in mind, it has to be something interesting that will draw in readers. Good ideas might include things such as holding a unique contest that will draw a lot of attention, or a business is turning 100 years old.
16. Attend, Host, or Sponsor Local Events
Let people know about your business by becoming involved in community activities. Sponsor a local kids’ ball team or donate to a local charity drive. If your town has a festival or other community event, find out how you can participate. Most of the time, when you do things like this, you get the chance to advertise or be a part of local mailings that include sponsor names.
People will begin to associate you with the local area. Those who value shopping local will be more likely to check your business out and tell others to do so.
17. Rent a Booth at a Farmer’s Market
If you have a local farmer’s market, you may be able to get a booth and sell directly to people in your area. Obviously, if you are not selling the right goods, you won’t be able to do this, so an alternative is a local flea market. Flea markets allow for a wider range of goods than a farmer’s market.
Regardless of where you set up a booth, make sure that you have your business name and logo prominently on display. You will also want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop with you. Have clear pricing, either marked directly on items or a sign. Make sure you have bags for customers to take away their purchases as well.
Leading up to the event, you should advertise at your storefront and online on your website and social media. Make sure people know where you will be and when so they can come to visit you in person.
18. Offer Giveaways and Coupons
People love the chance to win or get something for doing nothing, so giveaways and coupons work nicely to draw in customers. Your customers get the chance to get a deal, and you have the opportunity to build up your customer base and reach new people in your local area.
When trying to figure out what to do for a giveaway, keep it related to your business. For example, if you sell fence building supplies, then a contest where you ask customers to decorate their fences and vote for the best looking one would work well.
Social media can come in handy here. You can advertise the giveaway and coupons on your social media accounts. People who see it will be likely to share it on their own timeline, which can then get your business in front of people who would not have otherwise seen it.
19. Door-to-Door Sales Prospecting
You shouldn’t discount old methods of gaining leads when considering how to advertise your business locally. Going door-to-door may seem old school, but you might be surprised at how beneficial it can be.
Create an intriguing pitch or angle that will help you connect with customers. Make sure that you are friendly and provide people with literature so that they know you are legitimate. Also, time your visits carefully to avoid common meal times or times when people may not be open to a visit.
20. Contribute to Your Local Community
Giving back is a great way to do something good for your community and reap the rewards for your business. You should try to volunteer yourself if possible, but also make donations.
A good plan to have is to choose one main cause that you focus on. This will allow you to put all your effort into the cause and do the most good you possibly can.
You can also contribute to your local community by getting involved in clean-up or beautification projects or other similar events where people come together to do good stuff. You can do multiple events or contribute to them somehow, even if you have already chosen a main cause to support.
The bottom line here is that it shouldn’t be just about money. You need to get personally involved in activities.
21. Try Out Direct Mail
Direct mail has always been a great way to reach local people. It allows you to hyper-focus your efforts because you know exactly which areas you are sending your mailings to.
It is also fairly easy to monitor the results of direct mail campaigns. You can put codes on coupons or deals you include in the mailing that allow you to track what people respond to the mailings. For example, the coupon code you send out may differ based on zip code. As people start to use them, you will know where they live based on the code they give you.
22. Put Your Business Name on Your Vehicle
What better way to advertise in your local area than to put your business name, phone number, and website right on your vehicle? Everywhere you drive, you get a promotion.
If you want something less permanent or if you change vehicles often, consider getting magnets to put on your vehicle. They work the same as paint or wraps.
Other Ways To Promote Your Business
While we have covered a nice list of things you can do to promote your business locally, we want to cover a couple more items before we wrap up.
23. Acquire and Promote Case Studies and Testimonials
If you can find case studies that relate to your business, then go ahead and promote them. This can add expertise to your image that helps build customer trust in you and your business. Publish them or talk about them in your blog, and link to them through your social media accounts.
You also should seek testimonials. You should never pay for testimonials, but you should always ask customers for them.
Whenever you make a sale, just ask your customer to leave you a testimonial or review on your website or Google My Business Page. Include a link if you can to make it simple to do.
You should aim to get as many reviews as you can, but keep an eye on them. If you receive a notification about a review, read through it, and respond. People like the interaction because it shows you value what they think about your business.
24. Hire a Marketing Consultant
Sometimes, no matter how many tips you get or how much advice others give you, trying to learn how to market local business tactics can be overwhelming. Perhaps you lack the time needed to devote to it, or you simply can’t figure out what would best for your business.
Whatever is happening, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help. Hiring a marketing consultant can enable you to get an expert’s advice on building and managing your marketing strategy.
The consultant can draw up a plan that makes sense for your business. He or she can assist you in choosing the many different tactics that will work the best for your marketing goals, and if you don’t have marketing goals, the consultant can also help with that.
25. Start a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are a genius idea. They encourage people to continue returning to your business and buying things because they get discounts or other perks. It is the ultimate way to inspire repeat business.
A customer loyalty program needs to provide some unique benefit to the customer to work, such as special discounts or rewards. Whatever it is, you need to ensure that they have to shop with you multiple times to get the benefit.
It helps to tie it into how much they spend, too. For example, if they sign up for a loyalty card, customers can get a $5 gift card when they spend $25. This encourages them to keep coming back while also getting them to spend more money.
26. Design an App
Many consumers do a lot of business on their mobile phones these days. Companies that have apps are often at the forefront of grabbing customers’ attention.
An app does not have to be complicated. The main point of an app is to allow a customer to customize his or her experience. For example, if you sell clothing, customers can add personal information into the app that allows it to just show them clothing in their selected sizes.
Most of the big companies with whom you compete have apps. If you don’t, there will be customers who will shop with the other company due to the convenience their app can offer. You may think the number of customers is small, but it probably is a significant number, and that number is growing.
27. Partner with Other Businesses
Partnering with other small business owners can be a great way to bring in new customers, but you need to choose partners carefully. The U.S. Small Business Administration explains that you want to choose a business that is not in competition with you, but that sells something that complements your goods or services.
For example, if you have a fencing website, then you could partner with a landscaping company. The landscaping company won’t take your fencing customers, and you won’t take their landscaping customers. However, the customers you each have may be interested in what the other company has to offer.
You could each offer discounts for referrals. For example, if you recommend a customer to the landscaping company, the landscaper would then give that customer 10% off services.
When choosing the business to partner with, make sure it is a company that is doing well and has a nice customer base. You want to benefit from its reputation as well as the customers it can send to you.
Put These Local Business Marketing Tactics To Use
Learning how to market your local business isn’t as challenging as it may seem. You have many options on the internet and in the real world to enable you to reach customers better and put out a favorable image of your business. If you only put a handful of these tips into action for your business, you should see amazing results.