Make Your Service and Delivery Perfect
Before you decide how to market a local business, make sure you deliver on customer service. is a powerful referral source for your small business — and you can drive it with stellar service and delivery to your existing customers.
If you want to increase the chance of repeat customers, ensure a quick and smooth delivery. They are likely to recommend your business to their friends and family after a positive experience. Another way to impress customers — offer free delivery for orders over a certain subtotal, for example, for orders over $100.
Another way to deliver top service is to show you care about your customers’ safety. Explain on your website how you are minimizing contact during the pandemic (moving from cash to online payments, using gloves when delivering products, etc.)
Wowing shoppers with perfect service and delivery is a way to show that you’re honored to have them as a customer and that you value each and every one of them. Consider going above and beyond for your audience.
See local news sites. Local customers frequent display advertising
Increasingly, consumers turn to their local news publication for accurate news and information. It has been reported that visitors to local press websites increased by 30% over the past two weeks.
Advertisement is an Internet advertising method in which ads appear on local news websites and other internet websites to attract local consumers to your company in newspapers and shoppers often look through weekly circulars to see what stores are offering discounts.
When most people think of display advertising, they think of the mass media: TV, radio, and billboard ads. But there’s a problem with this type of advertising – it’s too expensive for small businesses to afford. That doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business locally, it just means you need to be a bit more creative.
How to promote your local business on Google… for free.
When people want something in a geographically limited area, they search on Google Maps. The vast majority of smartphone users use search using their phones (77%) and, of those, the majority use Google Maps (67%), six times more than any other navigation app.
Google Maps is such a powerful and essential communication channel because people have self-identified themselves as interested, close by, and intending to purchase. Your business will be at a considerable disadvantage if your brand is not visible to that cohort of people.
If you see excellent results with your local page on Google, then you can think about advertising with them. A Google salesperson may contact you to sign up for paid ads; don’t feel obliged too.
Many cynics say Google is pay-to-play. Not the case. While ads may increase business a little, success for your local store, the organic results (unpaid listings). Google is in the business of connecting people to the best service providers. They would lose their users if they directed people to crappy companies that paid for ads.
Social Media Marketing
Ask for social media posts with a unique hashtag.
The best social media posts for your business are going to come from customers, not your social media accounts. Display signs or personally ask people to post using a unique hashtag. (e.g., Post about this article with #BrandBuilder, and we will retweet it!)
Set up a post worthy landmark
We have a business a few blocks from my house that has a fifteen-foot donut over its location. People are regularly taking pictures of it and posting them on social media. You can get this natural promotion for your business by putting up a remarkable art piece, mural, sculpture, mascot, etc.
Set up a Facebook Fan Page
Facebook’s equivalent to Google My Business is called a “Fan Page.” While fan pages do not get a lot of free promotion, it is a channel to reach some customers and show up when people search within Facebook.
Set up an Instagram profile.
Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network. You can create an account for free. When you post, make sure you tag your business location, because your post will show up when people are searching for posts by location.
Like, comment, or reply to people talking publicly about local events
Use your branded Instagram or Twitter account to participate in local, online, public conversations. Is there a conference, concert or event happening in your area? Search for it on Twitter or Instagram and engage with the people posting about it. Just don’t be spammy about it; add value with a comment or just “hear” it.
Content Marketing / Search Engine Optimization
Put up a website
You need to have a website in this day and age, but, thankfully, it is far less expensive than it was in the past because the servers and coding are taking for you. BMB’s recommendation is to put up a website using WordPress on a shared hosting service like MediaTemple, but you have to be comfortable with computers to do that. If you have no technical expertise, then platforms like Squarespace or Wix can help you.
Reach out to other local businesses to exchange web links and mentions
Partnering with other local businesses to refer clients and exchange links can beneficial for everyone, especially if your services are complimentary (like a florist and a wedding cake bakery.)
Write localized website content
The best marketing does not feel like advertising. Undercover marketing or stealth are promotion tactics that feel more natural than traditional advertising or promotional tactics.
Reach out to local influencers for reviews and shout outs
There are people in every community that have built up a following, whether it be a blogger, an Instagram star, or even the mayor. These people want content, so they may feature you for free if your product and service would make for exciting content for them.
One of the best ways to promote local business is to take advanatage of the business listings including Yelp, Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo, etc. I love how you present your ideas in making people aware of one’s business for free into tactics from direct marketing, social media marketing, content marketing and the like. Very helpful indeed!
Hi Jim. I am glad to hear that. I want to help out local businesses because I am worried that mom-and-pop-shops are at a big disadvantage to large brands because big companies have the resources to be so much more sophisticated with online advertising.
This is based on the fact that nowadays there are two main ways people can find local businesses: recommended by influencers (especially local influencers) or when they searched for specific local businesses on Google (including “near me” searches). While these two are not brand new marketing channels, there are many local businesses that haven’t tapped their maximum potential.
A huge aspect of local SEO (for Google Maps ranking) is about getting more positive reviews, not only the reviews will give you a boost in ranking (which in turn, will translate to traffic), but the reviews themselves will help a lot in encouraging more conversions.
It’s funny how many people want to be these global, “Kim Kardashian” style of influencer. But there is a real opportunity to be a tastemaker in your local area and then branch out from there.
The only challenge for small local businesses is identifying effective influencers and negotiating with them in a way where they don’t get taken advantage of. Maybe there is another piece to be researched there.
Often overlooked, but an excellent fit with many of “these ways to promote” are custom promotional stickers. A properly designed sticker can strengthen relationships, increase word of mouth, and garner thousands of impressions at almost no cost.
Put that coupon on the back of a sticker. Make sure your street team has stickers to hand out. Sponsor a sticker for that local cause or event (it will get way more mileage at a lower cost than a t-shirt). Lawn signs? Vinyl stickers can go more places and get more impressions. Save money by branding those bags, cups, folders, packaging, etc. with inexpensive labels.
Brand beyond your own fleet and vehicle with mini-billboard stickers. Make a special “insider” badge/sticker for family, friends, best customers – “hey, how do I get one of those?” Temporary signage? Bumper stickers with removable adhesive are cleaner and more professional.
Build buzz and interactions on social media while getting design ideas for stickers and votes/comments on best ideas. Fantastic ideas above, but let’s not forget one of the original social media and guerrilla marketing tools!
What I love about promotional stickers is the guerilla nature of them and the implicit endorsement of people who display them. Now that we can promote without leaving our computer, it is easy to get to clinical or theoretical with it. There is nothing more real than a guerilla sticker. The endorsement effect of people who stick them on their laptops or luggage is also very powerful.