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local advertising strategies

17 Ways to Advertise Your Business Locally (for almost free)

Here are 17 ways to advertise your business locally.

As a former marketing manager responsible for advertising a telecoms business in Glasgow I’d like to think I’m qualified to do so.

Back in 1999 my employer gave me a £50,000 monthly advertising budget to help reach the sales goal.

I’d like to share this expertise combined with some up to date advertising tactics.

Some are free and some require a little budget.

Create a monthly offer, promote it and the offer end date

When I worked in telecoms marketing, we ran an offer every month with a closing date at the end of the month.

We essentially promoted the same service; simply varying the offer each month.

For example;

  • 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.

I don’t see many local businesses being this focused.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

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 offers on the home page of Sky.com this August.

  • Switch to totally unlimited Sky Broadband
  • Get a Samsung Galaxy s9 and free Gear VR with Sky Mobile

These offers are blended into the other content sections of their home page.

You need to coordinate your offer right through your company’s sales, marketing and customer service teams and across all your communication channels.

Send email campaign to existing customers and subscribers once a month

You have already acquired customers and leads from your website or through other channels so email marketing should be part of your advertising plans.

Even very simple local websites will have accumulated a list of website enquiries over time.

A client, who’s website runs on WordPress, has 276 enquiries stored in their website address book; with Flamingo.

  1. Export the list of subscribers from Flamingo.
  2. Set up a free MailChimp account.
  3. Import subscribers to a list.
  4. Create a regular email campaign with MailChimp.
  5. Go to campaigns.
  6. Click create campaign.
  7. Click email and begin.
  8. Add recipients (the email list you imported).
  9. Select the personalisation field.
  10. Add a subject line ie: the name of your offer.
  11. Select design email and choose one of their free email templates.
  12. Customise the template and add your offer template and images.
  13. Preview the email, do a test send and schedule it.

That’s your email campaign sent.

My email marketing provider of choice is Drip 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.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

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
Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

Google Posts

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.

Here’s how to get started ‘advertising’ with Google Posts

  1. Log in or open the Google My Business iPhone app
  2. Select Posts
  3. Click Write your post
  4. Choose What’s New, Event, Offer or Product
  5. Create image in Canva.com at 400 x 300 wide
  6. Upload image
  7. Write post
  8. Add call to action
  9. Preview
  10. Publish
  11. Share it

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.

Post to Instagram using local hashtags

I have a local client that doesn’t do any local advertising 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.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

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.

vehicle branding

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.

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

  1. Do paid for keyword research.
  2. Identify a topic with high search volume, low keyword difficulty and many same as keywords.
  3. Use the how to, recipe or product review content template.
  4. Promote via email and social channels.
Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

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.

  1. For Linkedin, login and click the write article button.
  2. A new window will open.
  3. Enter and format your text.
  4. Add a call to action or link to your website within the body and the end of the article.
  5. Add and image at the top.
  6. 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.

Quuu Promote

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.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

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.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising

Pitchero – sponsor local football or rugby team

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.

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.

Download : Guide to Local Business Advertising