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7 Local Marketing Ideas for Your Local Business

Small businesses are often faced with marketing challenges unlike those of larger companies. A limited budget, a smaller crew that often does not include professionals with a marketing focus, and a name recognition that, short of some well-known exception, has a hard time competing with household name brands.

Not all is lost, however. One of the key advantages of small businesses is that they can leverage a fairly consistent body of consumers and, most importantly, that they don’t have to share their marketing and advertising budget between national messages and localized communication. Here are some tips to squeeze the most out of your marketing budget, through targeted local communication in your market.

Local Advertising

With tools like Google Ads, Bing Ads, and retargeting services, businesses are now able to spend highly-targeted dollars by selecting who sees their ads and when. Choose everyone within a certain radius from your business, then subsegment by characteristics like gender, age, lifestyle, and even by residents only, if it makes sense. Do you own a restaurant? How about focusing your ad dollars in the two hours leading up to lunch and dinner, to take advantage of hunger pangs? The key to success is constant refinement, to make sure that the value of your results is consistently higher than your spend, on average.

Be Active in Your Community

Your business is more than just a place where people come to buy a product or service: just like the large companies, it is a brand. And, just like all brands, what you do in your community reflects positively on your brand. Support your community by becoming a sponsor of worthy events, by engaging in charitable activities, and by giving back to the people who support you through the year.

Local Searches

Almost half of all Google searches are looking for local information, and almost three quarters of those end up visiting a store within a five-mile radius. That means that the visibility of your small business in online searches is only as good as you’re able to maintain it. Google MyBusiness, Bing Places and Yelp! are some of the local search engine providers that will give your business online visibility. Make sure you have an account with each of them, and that you maintain it with news, up-to-date hours of operations and by responding to online questions.

Don’t Ignore the Power of Online Reviews

Did you know that 42% of consumers won’t use a business with less than a three-star rating? Online reviews have solidly established themselves as a driver in customer acquisition and business reputation. Make sure you manage your online reputation through sites like Yelp!, TripAdvisor, and Google regularly. Answer questions and respond to customer comments regularly. Make sure you address bad reviews: you could turn a bad experience into an evangelist of your business. One word of caution: make sure you comply with the sites’ terms of use, by avoid common mistakes that could get your business banned from the review site, like rewarding your customers for reviews.

Make Use of Technology (Old and New)

Being visible is the key to being successful. Digital signage is an efficient solution to changing messages that provides small businesses with an attractive and flexible means of communication. Whether you want to show your lunch menu and dishes during the day, and switch to dinner images at night, or your tax accountant practice wants to change message depending on the time of the year, digital signage will make a lasting impression. And don’t forget the traditional, printed message: vinyl pull-up signs are inexpensive and can prove vital to increasing your foot traffic or communicating a sale.

Email Marketing is Your Friend

Email is a must-have for all businesses, nowadays. It is inexpensive and easy, and keeps your brand top of mind with your customers and potential new clients. Make sure you pace your communication well: not too many messages, but not so few that people might forget who you are. Also: make sure your message is relevant to those who receive your email. A simple segmentation strategy, dividing, for example, current and prospective customers, or customers that have purchased a specific category of products, will go a long way toward increasing your open rate and engagement rate.

Use Social Media Tools

Nothing in life is free, you say? Social media beg to differ: make sure your message is amplified through platform like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Let the power of the digital word of mouth do some of the marketing work for you. And remember that platform like Facebook allow you to create online signup for specific events, giving you the ability to communicate locally and keep track of response. No matter what the platform, make sure your message is not ‘sellsy’, that it is authentic and that you have a plan in place to make sure you communicate regularly with your audience.

Whether you are a one-person marketing team or you rely on others to stretch your marketing dollars, make sure you use a mix of all of these techniques and ideas as part of your plan, and you’ll see the fruits of your communication labor turn into new customers and new sales!

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