It’s tough for any business to increase revenue or build an initial customer base through word of mouth alone. For many businesses, especially smaller ones that rely on a loyal base of local customers, investing in local advertising can make a world of difference.
Local advertising is just what it sounds like: advertising with messaging catering specifically to a local audience. It can come in many different forms like location-specific media ads as well as things like event sponsorships or local influencer partnerships.
Depending on the location, putting a solid plan together can require culture research or market studies, but for many small business owners, it can simply mean really tapping into what makes their town or community special. You can show that your company values those characteristics through your marketing and advertising efforts to build customer loyalty.
For example, an ad might incorporate local or regional sayings, reference landmarks or historical events, or even rooting on a local sports team. Being able to show that your business values your local communities and spaces can also appeal to wider markets.
Customers of certain demographics are more inclined to make purchases or pay for services from companies they feel are doing good on a local scale.
Local advertising and marketing can be tremendous tools for many different businesses. These tactics are especially useful for small businesses relying on nearby customers or for larger businesses looking to build their customer base in a specific area.
Locally-focused messaging can give local communities a warm and fuzzy feeling of authentic interaction they will likely remember when deciding to make a purchase in the future.
Advertising to a local audience can be ultra-effective when formulated with the unique facets of its community in mind.
Consumers need to see calls to action many times before making a move, so it’s beneficial to hit target audiences with messaging from multiple angles, so authentic, well-executed local advertising can be the way your business gives prospects something to remember your business by.
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Costs will depend on the methods you choose to pursue, but by and large, local advertising seems to be less expensive than national advertising. When thinking about advertising costs, it is crucial to keep the return on investment in mind.
While print and television advertising can certainly burn through a budget, the results may ultimately be worth the initial investment. Many newer digital or DIY styles of advertising and marketing can be extremely cost-effective as well if they are well executed.
No matter what kind of company you have, being thoughtful about putting your marketing plan together. Every effort you invest in should have a purpose, you want to make sure you’re not throwing money into the void.
Depending on how embedded your company already is on a local scale, opportunities to advertise locally can be abundant.
It never hurts to build relationships with local media companies not only so you can reach out to them for ad placements but also to see how you may be able to partner on or sponsor events around town.
RESTAURANT CASE STUDY
"Given the current environment, this new service is helping us keep the small farms we work with operating, our restaurant staff employed, and continue to bring our community a healthy food option.”
Above: Example of a local real estate flyer
2. Advertise on Local Media Platforms and Publications
Consumers interact with one form of media or another all day long. Finding ways to advertise in trusted local newspapers, magazines, or on popular radio shows, can help you deliver your brand’s message to customers right where they’re at.
3. Keep Online Profiles Current and Optimized
Your business is likely going to have an online presence whether you like it or not. Be sure to claim, verify, and optimize your business profiles in online directories and review sites like Yelp. Managing reviews and keeping information current are both important parts of dictating how your company is seen by the public.
4. Become a Social Media Pro
Once your listings are claimed and optimized, invest in building your business’ social media presence. You can customize your brand’s social messaging to stay connected to local customers and attract new ones.
TIP: Check out our guide to social media marketing for restaurants and bars.
5. Run Referral Promotions
Another way to gain local traction is to offer existing customers a deal for spreading the word about your business. Personal recommendations can go a long way toward helping turn potential customers into loyal ones.
6. Vehicle Wraps
You can turn any car into a moving advertisement by using a vehicle wrap. Whether it’s a company car or a willing employee’s personal one, a wrapped car can drive important information about your business all over town.
7. Support A Local Cause
Do a little market research to find out the issues most important to your local audience. Is there a project in need of sponsorship in town? Any effort you can put into showing that your brand is in touch with your customers’ values.
8. Get Into Local Business Directories
Take advantage of business directories, online and off, to put information about your business in a place your customers can find when and where they need it.
9. Work with Local Influencers
Another digital option is to collaborate with local influencers to boost your brand’s message to potentially untapped audiences. This solution can also be cost-effective if your influencer is willing to spread the word for products or services.
10. Advertise on Groupon
If finding new customers is your priority, listing deals on Groupon can be a fantastic solution. In addition to getting participating merchants’ businesses in front of their large base of customers, they send out local newsletters, Groupon advertising offers options for event ticket sales, and can be targeted to let locals know about great deals.
11. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Customers respond well to being rewarded. Locking in brand advocates through customer loyalty programs can help increase customer satisfaction and encourage patrons to spread the word about your business.
1. Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
Chicago’s premier trolley service boosted its local ticket sales for city tours by advertising deals on Groupon. By offering limited deals, locals became more inclined to purchase tickets and learn more about the city they love.
2. Skittles’ Seattle Mix
Skittles re-released its limited-run Seattle Mix in Seattle Seahawks colors for the XLIX super bowl. Rather than sell them in stores, they passed them out at a pop-up event at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop to get fans excited.
3. Taco Dawg Food Truck
This Orange County, CA taco truck is a great example of using a well-designed vehicle wrap to make your brand known throughout your community. Its logo and tagline are prominently displayed in alluring colors, making it a memorable sight for potential customers.
4. Nike’s Local Activations
Nike puts a ton of effort and resources into hosting local pop up events in cities across the United States. From lifestyle activations to run clubs, they use local marketing to bolster brand loyalty on a local level.
5. Buffalo Exchange’s Tokens For Bags Program
Buffalo Exchange gives customers a hand in supporting local charities through their Tokens for Bags programs. When customers opt out of taking a bag for their purchases, they can choose to donate the cost of the bag (five cents) to one of a few local causes which swap out every six months.
Businesses that offer a food menu keep customers in their business longer and make more money. Oh yeah – did we mention it’s 100% free?
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