10 Tips on Local Advertising for Small Businesses

10 Tips on Local Advertising for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business owner who wants to promote your brand online, you probably think of local advertising. This guide will show you how to target customers in your neighbourhood.

Small businesses rely on local advertising as a great way to gain new clients and grow their business. If you are thinking about advertising locally, there are many important things to consider, and we’re here to help. 

There are many ways to advertise locally and many things to consider when determining which method is best for your business. 

So if you are thinking about advertising locally for your small business, here are 10 tips on what to consider and how to effectively implement local advertising.

I’m sharing some very effective tactics that you can use for local advertising with you. It can pay off for your business if you have the time.

Why Local Advertising Works

Local Advertising Tips

The biggest reason local advertising works so well is that it’s personal. Local businesses tend to feel closer to their customers than national brands do, and therefore, they understand their customers better and offer a better experience. 

Local businesses also get revenue from customers who live locally and shop there often. There’s also the intangible factor of proximity, where people feel comfortable knowing that they can walk into their neighbourhood store and see a familiar face. 

And finally, when people see advertisements for local businesses on their phones, they find them more exciting and enticing than ads for national brands.

You don’t need to be the most popular store to stand out. Just pick a neighbourhood you’re willing to live with. Then, focus on what makes you different, and build your advertising efforts around that.

How to Implement a Local Advertising Campaign

A common mistake new businesses make is not thinking local before they start. This is often the case with startups looking to grow fast and scale quickly. 

As the business grows, its advertising budget and the time spent creating ad copy and managing campaigns also grow. This is why it’s so important to focus on local advertising and advertising for local businesses early on. 

1 – Create a Buzz About Your Business

Local Branding And Marketing Example

In this day and age, businesses rely on social media marketing to build a buzz around their business and increase revenue. When you post something on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, your audience sees it immediately, whether in a status update or an image. 

If you want your local business to pop up on a user’s feed when they search for something related, it’s critical to engage them in a meaningful way on the social network. The easiest way to do this is through local advertising, but this can be a little tricky. So if you want to attract local customers to your business, follow these tips.

Start small, stay local, stay focused

Local is a massive opportunity for brands willing to put some elbow grease into promoting themselves in a smaller market than their target. When local businesses are looking for advertising to drive more foot traffic or new sales, they’re often turned off by the idea of having to advertise their business in a large city or state. 

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It’s easy to feel that the return for the investment of time and money is low. But, in reality, the opposite is true. 

In a town or city with a population under 5 million, the average business generates nearly three times the revenue of the average business in a city with a population over 5 million.

Create a Local Event

To create a local event worthy of driving local traffic to a business, you must consider the following questions.

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What does the business offer them?
  • What type of local event is needed?
  • What does the business need to communicate?

Local events are powerful ways to build your local business. They are a great way to tap into your customers’ passions while demonstrating that you care about your community. 

But there is a big difference between attending an event as a business owner versus a consumer. As a business owner, the event is your opportunity to connect with potential clients and demonstrate your brand. If your company doesn’t have an official presence at the event, they should feel your presence anyway.

Build relationships with your audience

The next tip for local businesses is to build relationships with your audience. Start by connecting with your audience using social media, email, and other online channels. This will help you understand your audience’s likes and dislikes and what motivates them to purchase your products and services. 

Once you start building relationships, you can focus on creating quality content and advertising locally. By being local, your audience will recognise you as a source of information and trust you more than other online retailers.

2 – Be Creative With Your Promotional Materials

Starbucks Sms Loyalty Marketing Campaign

What are some creative ways to promote your business without spending much money? It can be as simple as having flyers printed up and hanging around town. Other creative ideas for small business owners include:

  • Handing out promotional postcards at the local mall.
  • Having a table at a craft fair.
  • Even having an ad on a bench in a park.

You can do all of these things for free.

When advertising in your local market, it’s easy to fall into a routine and become dull. That’s why creative, unique, and attention-grabbing ads are critical. Your ads will stand out from the crowd and capture people’s attention by being creative.

Decide Where to Place Ads

Ads are everywhere—on TV, radio, billboards, and newspapers. But where should they appear? Local advertising may be your best bet for success if you’re running a local business. 

Advertisers spend more than half of their marketing dollars on local ads, but there’s a catch: it can be challenging to find the right audience. 

The best local advertising campaigns target specific audiences. Think about the people you serve. Who are they, where are they located, and what makes them unique? These are the questions to consider when planning your local ad campaign.

Start with a Small Budget

Local businesses often struggle when trying to increase their presence online. They’re competing against more prominent brands with deep pockets and competing for the same attention and clicks as their big-name competitors. 

In some cases, they’re even fighting for the same eyeballs. But local businesses don’t have to feel like they’re outgunned. 

Even if you’re a relatively new business owner, you can get started with a modest budget to start advertising locally. And while you may have to invest a little more time and money upfront to create awareness and build an audience for your brand, there are proven strategies to help you turn your small budget into significant results.

Local advertising on Google

“If someone is searching for something in your area, they are looking to find a local business that can provide that service,” explains Google. “For example, if you’re a plumber and you know of a job opportunity in your town, you could show up in search results for “plumbers in Washington DC” or “plumbers in Boston.” 

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Google says it’s using location information to help people find businesses close to their homes. “We’ll show you a list of the local services, like restaurants, hair salons and plumbers, so that you can choose which ones to visit.”

Google is changing its search algorithm to make it easier for businesses to rank highly on Google Maps. Businesses can now pay to display local ads on the map next to results and the main page.

Staying visible in local print ads

A prevalent mistake made by new business owners is thinking that local advertising is too expensive and won’t be worth it. 

Many small businesses that start locally struggle to get the attention of a local audience and end up giving up because they don’t realise how vital local advertising can be to their success. 

There are many different types of local advertising media, from print advertising to radio, that all serve different purposes. Each of them has its potential value to a business.

Buying traffic through Google Maps

Localising Paid Advertising

There are a ton of reasons to be interested in local search. Google’s algorithm change last year put paid to any thought of local advertising. But now, there’s a new opportunity to get traffic to local businesses from Google’s mapping service. 

It’s called “local search ads”, and Google’s Street View technology powers it. By placing a virtual camera on your street, Google can capture the data of all of the businesses on the block. 

When you place an ad for a local business, Google will target nearby customers to your site based on their location and the information they have gathered.

Buying traffic through direct mail

Direct mail is still a great way to get your marketing message in front of consumers who live close to your business. The key is to avoid spamming or overloading people’s mailboxes and instead target the audience. 

You can advertise to consumers in specific locations using direct mail—whether it’s your office or home. If your business isn’t local, your next best bet is to reach out to businesses that serve your target market. Businesses are willing to pay for targeted ads to reach customers.

Promoting through social media

It can seem overwhelming and intimidating to start up a social media account for your local business. But there are plenty of tools and apps to help, such as Buffer, HootSuite, Sprout Social, Tweetdeck, and Facebook’s own business page manager. 

To begin using these tools, you’ll need to make sure you have a Google or Facebook account. For social media posts, the easiest way to begin posting is to focus on one platform at a time. Choose one or two platforms for now and try to spend at least 15 minutes a day on social media.

Promoting through local broadcast radio

The local broadcast radio station is your best bet if you are in a small town or just starting your business. Local radio stations are typically cheaper than national ones and offer lower advertising rates because they cater to people in a certain radius. Plus, you can reach a specific audience of people. 

If you’re starting with no experience in marketing, this is the easiest method for building your brand in your community. You can also make some good connections in the process.

3 – Find a Location in Your Community to Publish Your Advert

Construction Business Advertising Design

Once you’ve figured out what your audience is interested in, what they’re looking for, and what your product or service does, it’s time to determine where your audience will spend their time and dollars in your community. 

For example, if you sell organic baby food, where would be the best place to promote your products? In a magazine? Or beside the local school or daycare?

Consider Mobile Marketing

In the past year, Google has begun offering mobile-friendly ads for businesses in search results. But if you want to reach a mobile audience with mobile-friendly marketing, you can also advertise to them via text messages or apps. 

While the cost is higher, the reach is far greater. For example, a mobile-friendly ad can be seen anywhere, even if the viewer doesn’t have a cell phone. The ad appears in a box on a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen. It’s the same as if the user had an ad on her TV, but it’s shown to her on her mobile device instead.

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4 – Don’t Waste Your Money

Local marketing can be a lot cheaper than national marketing. The reason: you only pay for results. 

While national marketing costs can run into thousands of dollars, a local marketing campaign can cost hundreds of dollars or less. 

Why? Because there is little risk of wasting money on advertising that won’t produce any positive results. Also, because there’s a much smaller market, local marketing campaigns generally provide a higher return on investment.

Test Different Advertising Methods

Local Advertising Types Online

One of the things I found most interesting about my research was that many of the local advertisers who tested multiple advertising methods did so deliberately to understand how various channels worked together. 

I’m not aware of any other industry where this is the case. Advertisers are still struggling with this concept, and it’s often assumed that all forms of advertising work the same.

You should test different local advertising methods like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, etc., to see if you’re reaching your target audience. 

It’s best to do a split test where you randomly select some of your visitors to see an ad and others not to see an ad. This gives you two groups to compare. The first group sees the ad; the second doesn’t see the ad. 

This means you have a group of people who saw the ad and a group who didn’t. By looking at the results of your test, you’ll be able to see how the ad performs.

Don’t try to do everything at once

Today’s consumers are inundated with content and information. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report, 81% of marketers have found it difficult to measure the impact of local marketing. 

Marketers should start with simple, low-risk tactics to test your message, like running paid search ads and testing Google My Business listings. 

Once you’ve started to see results, it’s time to consider more elaborate, riskier strategies that can produce better ROI, such as video marketing, webinars, and local events.

5 – Have a Clear, Specific Message

Brand Message Quote

“Your brand may be great, but if your message isn’t clear to your audience, it can make or break your business.” – Paul Gately

When someone sees your ad, it should be the first thing they see and read. If they’re confused about who you are or what you offer, they will click the back button. 

When writing local marketing copy, your messaging needs to be clear, concise, and memorable. It’s okay to use a local ad company that specialises in this field to help with your message. But you should be your advocate in crafting the copy that makes the most impact.

Build an Ad Campaign

Start with the most successful online advertising campaigns. If they’ve been successful online, they’ve also been successful in local campaigns. If they haven’t, that may be a good reason to start your own. 

Local search engines like Google Local and Yelp are good places to begin. Ask your clients what their competitors are doing and see if you can copy their strategies.

6 – Do Market Research

In the local advertising space, research is a must. As a small business owner, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on research if you simply take the time to do some market research. 

First, decide what information you’d like to have. Is it demographics, website traffic, social media, and reviews? 

Then, get creative and figure out how to gather that information. Once you have the data, you can start thinking about what you want to advertise. The goal is to find out who needs your services and what are they interested in. Find the commonalities, and tailor your advertising to appeal to those customers.

Local search is an integral part of the digital marketing landscape. However, it can be challenging to figure out precisely who to target with your ads. 

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Local search is incredibly diverse. People may search for things like “coffee” or “bakery” or “photographer.” In some cases, businesses have entire websites dedicated to advertising online. Still, often they do so for precise services and are only found on Google, Bing, or another local search engine.

Identify Your Target Audience

To determine your target audience for local advertising, you’ll need to find out where they spend their time online, what they are looking for in a business, and what they are looking for in a location. 

You can start by using a website traffic analysis tool like Google Analytics to see where people are coming from and what they are doing while they are there. 

You’ll also need to analyse the site map of the local area, the sites they visit most often, and any websites they may link to or share through social media. 

Finally, use research methods to interview your target market, such as focus groups, interviews, or surveys, to see what information they provide.

Find out what’s working in your local market

It’s easy to spend money on advertising without knowing what’s working. This is especially true if your budget is low. 

You may need to get creative to find out what’s working in your area. Do a Google search for your town or city plus some of your targeted keywords. Then, start adding “local business ad” to your search terms.

7 – Build Trust

Local Advertising Billboard Trust

To earn the trust of your local customers, you need to be genuine. There’s no substitute for being a real person who shows up at their door every day and does the right thing. That doesn’t mean that you always have to say “yes,” but it does mean that you should never lie.

Get Feedback From the Public

While many online marketers have access to tools that can provide detailed data about what people are clicking on, very few have access to detailed insights about their ads on the local level. That means the only way to understand what consumers see is to ask them. 

And to effectively ask consumers, you need to understand what they’re seeing. With a basic understanding of the metrics, you’ll be able to ask questions that will help you understand how the ads you’re running are performing.

8 – Focus On Quality, Not Quantity

In digital marketing, it’s all about the quality of your ad, not the number of impressions. Your ads need to be relevant and compelling. And they need to show up in the places where your target market spends time. 

This can include Google search, Google maps, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and many other local places.

Understand the Rules of the Game

Local advertising is a wise, long-term investment, but it’s not always easy to find the time to research every small business in your area to find the ones worth promoting. 

Fortunately, the internet has made finding the right local businesses easy. Two major categories of local websites make finding local businesses easy: search engines and directory sites.

Before launching a marketing campaign, learn the rules of local advertising. Learn what channels are available to you. For example, if you live in a small town in Wisconsin, you may have only one newspaper to advertise in. 

If you live in the suburbs, you may have multiple newspapers to advertise in. Make sure you understand what you are legally allowed to do and what you are legally not allowed to do.

9 – Target the Right Audience

6 Things To Keep In Mind When Researching Your Audience On Social Media

When local ads are effective, they reach people who already care about your business, company, or brand. But if they’re not reaching their target market, they’re not effective. 

And if you’re targeting local business people, you have a much better chance of reaching your ideal customers. Think about whom you’d like to sell to, and then determine whether those people have the means to pay for your products. They’re probably not your ideal customers if they can’t, so you should probably skip them.

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To reach your customers where they live, localise your website content by making it more specific to your target audience. 

If you sell real estate in New York City, don’t talk about selling houses in California—your audience isn’t there! Instead, create separate pages for different neighbourhoods, including schools and jobs. Don’t just talk about how many homes you have for sale, talk about what kind of homes you have for sale.

10 – Evaluate the Return On Investment

Local search ads can deliver a significant return on investment (ROI). But the ROI varies widely between markets. 

It’s easy to figure out the ROI for some markets because many people are searching for products and services nearby. Most local searches are completed within a five-mile radius of a searcher’s home or office. 

For example, an advertiser could spend $1,000 on a single national ad that brings in 10 clicks, and in most cases, the advertiser would end up with a $1,000 return. This doesn’t consider the click cost or the time spent selling to each prospect. However, the ROI for local searches can be significantly lower for smaller markets.

The ROI of local advertising is vast but not always in the form that many expect. There are two main types of ROI. 

One is based on direct response, a direct connection between the ad and the action taken. The second type of ROI is a brand lift, which refers to people trusting companies who advertise locally, even if they haven’t purchased from the company before.

What Is the ROI on Local Ads?

Local Digital Marketing Roi

The return on investment of local advertising on a per-click basis may vary depending on the type of advertising, the geography of the market, and the demographics of the potential customers. 

When it comes to search, it can be challenging to determine the cost per click and the value of each click. 

One thing to consider is the size of the market. If the market is large, there may be more searches. Therefore, there may be more clicks on ads, lowering the cost per click. If the market is smaller, there may be fewer clicks, and therefore, the cost per click may be higher.

Track the results

There are several ways to track the success of local marketing. You can use the local search metrics, such as impressions, click-through rate, or conversions, to assess your local efforts. 

Other indicators include whether a business has a Google My Business page and how many reviews are displayed.

Optimise and improve

Google Ads are one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your website. While the ads themselves are pretty easy to set up, there is much fine-tuning that you can do to maximise the effectiveness of your campaign. 

Google provides many tools and resources to help you improve and optimise your local advertising campaigns.

There are numerous reasons why it’s essential to optimise your local search listings. One is that Google is showing local results for 80% of searches now, which will continue to increase. 

When people search online for products and services near their location, they expect to see local business results, and it’s best if they do. Google and Bing offer free local listings, so there’s no excuse not to be listed.


It is important to remember that local advertising is different from national advertising. People are willing to spend a few extra dollars when they know that the benefits are directly related. 

If you are trying to advertise on the internet, make sure that your target audience is close to where you are advertising. Make sure that you have something unique that would appeal to them. If they are further away from where you are advertising, they may think it is not worth the money.

Do you want to know how to get the best ROI from your local advertising? Here are some things you may not be considering.

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