When you consider local advertising for your business, your thoughts may naturally gravitate towards traditional methods like print, radio, and television ads. But the online arena has opened up a slew of new advertising opportunities for local businesses. And there are also plenty of ways to get creative with real-world advertising efforts. When you’re operating a small business, though, the bottom line is an ever-present motivator to cut costs. So here are just a few low-cost advertising strategies for local businesses that are sure to be effective.
- Claim local listings online. If you ask people how they find businesses these days, it’s almost always via the online arena. And websites like Yelp, YP.com (Yellow Pages), Angie’s List, Google My Business (formerly Places), and others are a common means of finding local vendors. So if you want to make yourself available for local search queries, claiming your listing is an essential (and often free) avenue to explore. In some cases, listings already exist and you merely have to claim them and input any additional information you want people to have. At the very least you should make sure your contact information is correct, including your phone number and address. But you should also add a link to your website and social media buttons where possible, as well as photos. And don’t forget to check back frequently to monitor and reply to user commentary.
- Cultivate brand ambassadors. If you treat your customers well, you may be able to convince them to advertise on your behalf. This could involve getting them to put bumper stickers on their cars or you might pay them to feature a window wrap of some sort. You could also sell merchandise like t-shirts and caps featuring your logo along with cool graphics, or even give these items away promotionally for virtually-free advertising. When you wow your customers, they may be willing to advertise on your behalf as a trusted source of information within the community.
- Contests and giveaways. People love to get free stuff, so advertising contests and giveaways via your website, your blog, your social media profiles, email blasts, and ads placed online or through local radio stations, just for example, can gain you recognition within the community and help to get consumers in the door, one way or another.
- Geo-targeting. If you haven’t considered the use of geo-targeting in connection with your SEO and online advertising efforts, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to market within your local community, albeit through the online arena. All you have to do is include geographic information (like the name of your city) in your meta data (tags, titles, etc.). And when people seek your type of business locally, they’re more likely to find you first.
- Creative real-world campaigns. When it comes to creative, affordable, and effective local advertising, your opportunities are only limited by your imagination. You could, for example, hire a company like AirSign to skywrite for you. Or you might participate in local street fairs as a way to demonstrate your products or services to the public at large. You could even team up with adjacent industries to cross-promote related goods or services. Just try to think outside the box and you should gain attention while cutting costs.