Choose from these 17 free and paid for tactics to advertise your business locally.
Tactic number 3 on this list is absolutely essential for your business growth.
Marketing budget, strategy and tactics
When I worked in telecoms marketing, we had a monthly marketing budget.
Our strategy was to acquire new customers from competitors; 2,000 every month.
Our tactical approach was to run a offer every month with a closing date at the end of the month.
We used our marketing budget to promote the same service; simply varying the offer each month.
- Buy before 31st of month; get free installation.
- Buy before end of month; 50% off installation.
- First 3 months; 50% off telephone line rental.
- Free 3 months; sports channel 50% off.
Our sales team needed an incentive to motivate and close deals on new customers.
We also used local radio advertising.
I don’t see many local businesses being this focused.
Put your sales offer on the homepage of website
Most commercial websites have an image hero area on the home page of their website.
Look at the offer on this home page; try 5 frames at home for free
This offer is blended into the other content sections of their home page.
And also look at the page on a mobile device with the offer clearly visible above the fold.
You need to coordinate your offer right through your company’s sales, marketing and customer service teams and across all your communication channels.
Run the offer in newspaper adverts, direct mail to homeowners, billboards and flyers dropped through letter boxes.
Send email campaign to existing customers and subscribers
Even very simple local websites will have accumulated a list of website enquiries over time.
A client, who’s website runs on WordPress, has 446 enquiries stored in their website address book; with Flamingo.
- Export the list of subscribers from Flamingo.
- Set up a free MailChimp account.
- Import subscribers to a list.
- Create a regular email campaign with MailChimp.
- Go to campaigns.
- Click create campaign.
- Click email and begin.
- Add recipients (the email list you imported).
- Select the personalisation field.
- Add a subject line ie: the name of your offer.
- Select design email and choose one of their free email templates.
- Customise the template and add your offer template and images.
- Preview the email, do a test send and schedule it.
That’s your email campaign sent.
My email marketing provider of choice is ConvertKit and it has a useful broadcast feature that enables you to resend to those people who did not open the first email campaign you sent.
Local business and industry citations
Before you even consider Google ranking your website you need to register your business with local business and industry citations.
Citations are the signals Google trust to verify you are a real business.
You need to ensure you use the same company name, address, postcode, phone number and website address for all citations.
You will pay around $2 per citation and I have produced a step by step guide here.
Once your citations are in place then you can be more proactive with link building campaigns.
Here’s my citation guide.
A Bank of Photography Assets
We are living in a material world and you absolutely need to have a bank of original and unique photography of your office, staff, vehicles, building, products or services.
I just briefed a local photographer for a local client.
£350 for a one day photoshoot works out at less than £1 a day.
Here’s a step by step guide to briefing a local photographer.
- Write down the photographer goal eg: photos of staff to communicate trust and used on website
- Summarise the company’s products and services
- List the industries they cover
- Outline the access to people and equipment required
- Summarise the location, logistics and date of photography
- Detail the images required and the dimensions
- Write down the full shot list required
- Provide screenshots of images you like from other websites and why
- Comment on previous photoshoots, if any, highlighting reason photos were poor
Google My Business
Google My Business has been called many things in the past such as Google Local and it’s actually a really great advertising solution for local businesses.
Here’s how to add your business to Google My Business.
Google My Business can help in the following ways.
- Get found for business category searches
- Discovered on maps
- Higher positions on local results and maps searches with customer reviews
- Post photographs of inside, outside your company
- Create local ads
Google Posts is a brilliant tactic and solution to promote your offers, products and company locally.
The posts show up when people search your company and I don’t see many local businesses utilising Google Posts.
How to advertise your business locally with Google Posts for free
- Log in or open the Google My Business iPhone app
- Select Posts
- Click Write your post
- Choose What’s New, Event, Offer or Product
- Create an image in Canva.com at 400 x 300 wide
- Upload the image
- Write post
- Add a call to action
- Publish your Google Post
- Share your post on your social channels
Google Post Login
Log into Google My Business and select from the left menu.
Create a Post
You can choose what’s new or promote an event, offer or product.
But sure to have an image ready; I use Canva.com and create images at 400 x 300 pixels and make sure the content is centred.
But sure to add a headline or text that will persuade people to click and add the url of the page they will be taken to if they click your post.
What a Google Post looks like
A Google post will appear just below your company name in the search results.
There are 3 tabs; overview, posts and reviews.
Google have experimented with the display and positioning of posts so they may vary by device and over time.
I have a local client that doesn’t do any local search marketing but wants to grow their business.
Simply, they need to reach more people and introduce their services.
So I suggested Instagram; an image sharing social website owned by Facebook.
Here’s how to set up an Instagram account.
Next you need a business profile, here’s how.
Now you need to get people following you.
So I would suggest the best way to get followers when you have none is to use local hashtags when you started posting.
- Have your bank of photo assets loaded onto your phone
- Download the free app; Canva; to use for customise photos and images
- Come up with a angle to connect with local people.
The client I will use in this example is a local laundrette.
First, find the hashtags of local towns; just type something into a post followed by the hashtag and town name.
Finish the rest of your text, from the location box add the location and share the post to your Facebook page as well.
Next way to leverage Instagram locally
As I start to build up followers, then I will start promoting the 20 or more rugby and football matches played locally with messages of good luck.
When I post a good luck message I will include the local hashtag and include the address of the team #troon @marrrugby.
I’m effectively riding on the back of the interest and followers others have built.
Put your website address on your car or vehicles
I was having a conversation with my web designer about re-designing a client’s website.
I believe the current logo design provides me with limited redesign options.
So I asked his advice.
He said “bloody hell; I see their vans all over the city, don’t change the logo”.
Here’s a picture of the vehicles their engineers drive to and from clients in.
Think about it.
Your vehicle could be outside a client’s office for hours, you could be parked in a supermarket, driving through town and driving down motorways.
You’ve already invested in vehicle purchases or lease hires.
The cost of branding or adding a temporary signage with your logo and website address is minimal.
Vehicles branding is essentially low cost local advertising.
Magnetic vehicle signage prices start from £59 depending on the size and artwork.
That’s 16 pence per day.
Create and publish a blog (useful) post once per month
Blog is a word that’s crept into the marketing vocabulary so it would be more beneficial if marketers, like myself, rebranded them as useful posts.
Think about why people use Google.
People enter a search question to find an answer.
Google provide the most relevant, useful and helpful results.
That’s how you need to think about Google.
This article you’re reading gets roughly 455 visits a month.
I was talking to a client of mine and told him not many people are looking for his services online.
However, I’d done some keyword research and identified that lots of people search for the types of products he installs and repairs.
So, now we shall create a post that is a review about this type of product.
I’ll ask the engineers questions about the product, features, benefits, and comparative products and publish a guide.
Then when the guide is complete, we shall publish it, email it to customers, add it to their Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
And, over the coming months, it should get ranked in Google and earn some traffic.
Steps to creating and publishing a useful guide
- Do paid for keyword research.
- Identify a topic with high search volume, low keyword difficulty and many same as keywords.
- Use the how to, recipe or product review content template.
- Promote via email and social channels.
Re-publish your useful guide and publish it to LinkedIn or Medium.
Wait a few days until your guide has been indexed in Google and your website has been given credit or attribution for the page.
You don’t want to be penalised for duplicate content.
You can use the import option at Medium and they will automatically add a canonical link to the article thus giving your page the aforementioned credit.
- For Linkedin, login and click the write article button.
- A new window will open.
- Enter and format your text.
- Add a call to action or link to your website within the body and the end of the article.
- Add and image at the top.
- Preview and publish.
LinkedIn Publishing screen
After you click write article, a new window will open and you’ll see the editing screen.
Where LinkedIn articles appear
Your article will appear in the news feed and you can see your article or list of articles under your activity tab.
I would not publish the complete article; I’d leave a section at the end of the article that encourages people to read the remaining content on your website.
LinkedIn and Medium have larger audiences than your website and you can reach a broader audience publishing this way; fast.
Medium Publishing Screen
When you register and log into Medium you’ll see your article drafts and published articles and the option to import or write a story.
There’s a British company called Quuu that enable you to promote your useful content to influencers in your market.
First your content or article has to be useful for others in your industry.
It can’t be a sales page.
You pay about $40 for Quuu to push an article to influencers who seek to curate and share article with their Facebook and Twitter followers.
I have earned thousands of shares, website clicks, backlinks and even website enquiries using this promotional strategy.
A small budget required; just cut out those drinks on Saturday down the pub to pay for Quuu.
Acquire and promote case studies and testimonials
Personally I neglect acquiring testimonials (I hate asking for them) however I do publish case studies of my own results.
Case studies certainly work well and I’ve noticed an increase in views and comments when I post these on LinkedIn.
I definitely acquired a paying client via my LinkedIn network after sharing recent SEO results.
I’ve used a combination of screencasts, screenshots of results and videos of myself talking about results.
Using the personal touch definitely makes a difference over and above just posting images.
Let prospects and customers get up close and personal
Now onto the social strategy of letting prospects and customers get up close and personal with your company or brand.
Tools such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories enable you to post images and small video clips that disappear after 24 hours.
People have a curiosity of people, brands and companies they are interested in.
I follow a football club and some of their players on Instagram where they provide you with behind the scenes access to them.
Inside the tunnel as players are walking out onto the pitch is a great asset and insight to leverage.
I consulted with a fashion brand once and encourage them to provide customers with behind the scenes access to their photo shoots of new products they were getting modelled.
A forewarning; I’ve never sponsored a local team; only managed a £3 million a year football sponsorship deal.
I see many local companies taking out a form of local team sponsorship.
Since most local sports team website are powered by Pitchero you can negotiate with the club secretary to get, at least, a website banner link and backlink to your website.
The best asset to leverage in local sponsorship is to take out a hospitality package.
Dining and spending time with clients at a sports event is by far the most profitable way to advertise your business; especially B2B companies.
I attributed a return on sponsorship investment mainly from corporate hospitality from the 2 teams my former employer sponsored.
Re-targeting with Google or Facebook
Google Adwords is a minefield if you are inexperienced in running advertising campaigns.
I used to run ads myself but it’s becoming too complicated and ad agencies too experience.
Neil Patel wrote this great guide to running a retargeting campaign.
The idea is to advertise to people who have previously visited your website.
Likewise you can use Facebook to remarket to people who have previously visited your website.
Ideally, for myself, I would only re-market to those people who visited my website structure guide from the UK.
I get visitors from India and they are not my target audience.
Your website home page should describe your business name, the business sectors you operate in and where you are located.
So for example, this laundrette is located in Ayr and Prestwick.
This accountant is based in Watford and you can see how they’ve titled their home page.
You can use this free tool called SEO Minion to check your home page is geared towards being by local searches.
The best definition of content marketing is “ content marketing equals answering questions to help solve problems before they buy without interrupting or selling”.
— Its me, kg (@kgaltweets) December 5, 2017
Most people associate content marketing with writing blog posts but there are other options.
- Educational videos on YouTube
- Instagram images (if you’re in fashion)
- Posting images to Google – because Google images is the 2nd largest search engine
- PDF downloads
- Webinars, online seminars
Facebook advertising is an ideal marketing channel for local businesses to reach prospective customers.
You have the ability to target people based on their age, gender, marital status, interests, what they like, what they do or what job they have.
Facebook advertising offers a variety of advertising formats including lead generation ads, offers, event promotions, video marketing, getting people to like your page and much more.
Since Facebook also own Instagram you can choose to run an advertising campaign to target your prospects on Facebook, Instagram, their Audience Network, Messenger and Stories.
I recently ran an advert to help rent out local office space; only targeting business owners, freelance works and company directors in 4 towns nearby the rental space.
I ran a lead generation campaign for an insulation campaign that was able to reach more people, more times, more frequently and more cost effectively in terms of ad spend and cost per enquiry than traditional media.
Google Adwords and Pay Per Click
Companies have been advertising for over 150 years so the concept is not new.
But the idea of paying only when someone views and clicks your advert is less than 15 years old.
Adwords is more than just paying for a click; you need a website that will convert the clicks into enquiries and a sales process that turns the enquiry into a profitable sale.
There’s a great quote by Saul in the TV series Mad Men.
“You don’t need money to dress better than you do.”
What this quote means in terms of your website design is that people will judge your company and whether they do business with you on your web appearance.
Not just the logo.
- The photography
- The colours
- The fonts
- The usability and readability
- Your website copy and how you communicate.
And Google will judge your website in terms of its speed and mobile friendliness as these 2 major ranking factors.
How much does it cost to advertise locally?
For example, a local laundry business can start advertising with Google Ads from £9 per day to reach an estimated 21,000 to 35,000 of customers within a 5 mile radius and only pay when customers click the advert or call the business.
Similarly, local businesses advertise with Facebook advertising to target customers within a defined radius.
Summary of local advertising
Choose the advertising tactics you can comfortable pursuing because implementing them can help you reach and promote to prospects in your area.