What is your business doing to get found? Nowadays with so many options available at our fingertips, businesses -- regardless of how great they might be -- can get lost in the mix. That’s why it’s so important for your brand to stand out from the competition. One way to differentiate your business is with local advertising efforts.
And the good news? There is an abundance of free and low cost methods out there if your business is willing to get creative.
When you consider advertising, most people think of paid or sponsored ads. And then you hear things like 70-80 percent of users ignore sponsored search results, which makes you doubt their effectiveness entirely. Don't let these numbers discourage you.
When you see statistics like this, it's easy to write it off and think advertising is a waste of time and money -- but think again. Sponsored search results are only a fraction of what local advertising has to offer -- and they still have their benefits.
But now, in addition to paid ads, there are a ton of free advertising options that can successfully promote your business and get more customers through your door.
Local advertising consists of a wide variety of content on essentially any (or every) channel you want. Here are some innovative local advertising ideas for your small business.
Get Nominated for an Award
Winning an award doesn’t only provide free publicity to a wider audience, it also builds your credibility and more people will trust your business. It’s a free way to get your business’s name out there -- all you have to do is apply. Here are some of the best awards to apply for:
- Best in Biz Awards
- DREAM BIG Awards
- Ernst & Young: Entrepreneur of the Year
- Innovation Project Awards: Best Small Business Innovation
- National Small Business Awards
- The SCORE Awards
- Small Business Influencer Awards
- The Stevies: American Business Awards
Create Listings in Local Business Directories
Take advantage of free advertising available with Google My Business. Claim, verify, and create your local listing so searchers can find your business. In addition to Google My Business, you should create listings in other popular local business directories including but not limited to:
- Google My Business
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
- City Search
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
Run a Referral Promotion
Have your best customers do your marketing for you. If you give your current customers an incentive, you’ll be amazed by how many of them will refer your business to friends, family, and even colleagues. As you know, word of mouth is one of the most powerful and effective kinds of advertising you can leverage because consumers trust personal recommendations -- use it to your advantage.
Get Featured in the Press
Having your business appear in the media should always be one of your goals. It gets your brand name out there and builds your reputation. One way you can get featured in the press is by signing up for Help A Reporter (HARO).
HARO is a very well known and popular resource that connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources who have that expertise. It's a completely free tool you sign up for, and then three times a day you’ll receive an email informing you about journalists who are looking for sources, and what they’re looking for. If you see something relevant to your business, you can contact the journalist and potentially get featured.
Reach out to local news station with story ideas and more. Be prepared to provide value instead of just asking for coverage.
Leverage Social Media
The best thing about social media is that it’s completely free and an easy and convenient way for you to promote your brand online. More than 40 percent of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products. Take advantage of this channel to promote your brand and turn more searchers into buyers.
But that doesn't mean all social media platforms. Go where your customers are. This means looking at your target audience, and figuring out what channels they use most. This must mean Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or even TikTok.
People click on videos a lot more than other kinds of content. Videos are shared 1,200 percent more than text and links combined. Meaning, if you include videos in your advertising and promotion efforts, you’re bound to get impressions and direct more traffic to your business.
Include Customer Testimonials
Make it easy for your customers to trust your business by including customer testimonials. More than 91 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 are big believers of online reviews, trusting them as much as personal recommendations. Incorporate customer testimonials whenever possible including on your website. Including reviews on your website makes searchers see the business as more trustworthy.
Don’t Forget About Mobile Advertising
Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80 percent in the past two years. That alone shows you how valuable mobile advertising can be. Consumers are turning to their mobile devices to do research and find the best business to visit.
The mobile market is among the most lucrative, and that’s because you’re reaching consumers on their native device and have the ability to inform them and guide their purchasing decisions. Research found that 93 percent of people who use mobile to research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service. Most purchases happen in physical stores.
Start Advertising Your Business Locally Today
Now ask yourself: What kinds of things are you currently doing to attract consumers in the nearby area to your business? Chances are it’s not enough because you could always be taking more action to expand your local customer base.
The bottom line? The more you advertise and the higher the quality of your efforts, the more exposure your business will have. Use these tips and ideas to help kick off your local advertising efforts and attract more customers than ever before.