Wondering how to promote your business locally without stopping every passer-by and begging them to check it out? Well luckily, there are lots of smarter ways to put your company in front of local people’s eyes.
By adding a geographic-focus to your marketing strategy, you can even stand out against the competition and become the new local star.
From digital marketing to timeless traditional strategies, here are our 10 tips to do so effectively!
10 crafty tips on how to promote your business locally
1. Create a Google My Business account
First things first, grab yourself a Google My Business account RIGHT NOW!
If you think you’re not familiar with it, we promise you actually are. It’s that awesome square packed full of information that appears when someone googles a company’s name.
It’s got their business address, website, photos, reviews, phone number, opening times, and lots of other useful details.
As well as providing your potential customers with a handy overview of your business and instantly giving out a professional vibe, it’ll help you reach new people. That includes both locals and tourists who find themselves in your area.
For example, when they type queries like “[your type of business] near me” or “your type of business in [your town]”, you’ll be one of the cool cats that shows up, both on the SERP and on Google Maps.
A couple looking for a quick lunch might not know the name of your café and they’d probably want to be sure that they head somewhere that’s still open, so they’re much more likely to search ‘cafés near me’.
Since 46% of all Google searches are local, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this precious real estate on the SERP.
Here’s how to set up a Google My Business profile.
2. Register on other relevant business directories
Google My Business is the most popular kid on the block of online directories, but don’t underestimate the influence that other websites can have when it comes to promoting your business locally.
Just to give you an idea, some other useful options are Bing Places for Business, which works very similarly to Google’s, and Yelp or Yell, both used to find local businesses that fit a specific category.
However, there are lots of other business directories that might be even more relevant to your specific sector, like TripAdvisor and OpenTable for restaurants or The Knot for wedding planning.
Take the time to google what the best online directories in your industry are and go through the most popular options. There are many free business directories that you can take advantage of, but, if a particular website seems to be the most widely recognised standard in your field, it might even be worth paying for their premium version.
But beware of adding your listing to low-quality directories that have a high spam score. This could actually do more harm than good! Seek out only the crème de la crème of sites relevant to your service.
3. Become a Facebook pro
While some might argue that it’s not as popular as it used to be for the youngest demographics, Facebook is still the number one social network, with more than 2.4 billion active users. Most importantly, it has lots of features that can help you promote your business locally.
Make sure you add your address and contact details to your business page so that people who bump into it can find you or contact you easily.
You can also create localised ads that target your ideal audience within a 2, 10, 15-mile radius – or whatever works best for you and your business model.
Another handy strategy is to join local groups and interact with their users. Don’t be spammy, though! Take the time to give actual advice and useful information so that people can find out about your business organically and in a pleasant, conversational way.
4. Keep your location in mind for your social media strategy
Your social media strategy goes beyond Facebook, right? Whatever platforms you use, don’t forget to keep your physical location in mind when creating your posting plan.
For example, you should make a habit of tagging your location whenever you post, especially on platforms like Instagram. That way, you have higher chances of showing up in local people’s explore pages or to get your posts seen by users who’re performing a local search.
And are there any local hashtags that you can add to your captions?
Sorry, that was a trick question: there definitely are!
From wider terms like #ManchesterLife and #ChesterGram to more niche options that are also specific to your industry, take the time to do some hashtag research with a local focus.
Also, if you want more people in the area to know about your business, you should post about locally interesting topics, sometimes. You could reference some exciting events that are going on in town or take pictures of your products next to recognisable landmarks.
Another effective way to promote your business locally using social media is to collaborate with bloggers or influencers in your area. While they’ll obviously have thousands of fans from other parts of the country or abroad, they’re your best chance to be introduced to their local slice of followers through a collaboration.
5. Advertise on local papers and magazines
We’re not going to lie: newspaper advertising can be expensive. Like, ‘$265,100 for a full-page ad on the Times’ expensive.
However, local papers are much more affordable: three figures or sometimes even less. This, combined with the tactical location of their audience, translates into a much more profitable ROI for you.
If you don’t already know, discover what options you have, both when it comes to local newspapers and magazines. We recommend starting by getting in touch with the publication that matches your target audience the most.
6. Do some good old door drop
While digital marketing is king nowadays, it’s still wise to pepper your strategy with some traditional techniques like door drops.
All you need to do is create some attention-grabbing leaflets—perhaps with a special discount on another unmissable incentive—and drop them through local doors.
Don’t be cheeky, though: skip the ones with a ‘no junk mail’ sign. Unless you actually want people to be annoyed at you before they even get a chance to visit your business, that is.
7. Be involved with your local community
Getting involved with your community is a great way to promote your business locally and organically!
How you can do it really depends on your type of business and what you have to offer but, to give you some ideas, you could sponsor some fundraisers or take part in local events.
Or why not organise one yourself, perhaps by collaborating with a non-competing business? That way you’ll introduce them to your existing audience and… yep, theirs will get to meet fantastic you!
Another kind and effective option is to donate money to a local charity. Did you know that 91% of customers are actually more likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause?
8. How to promote your business locally AND encourage returns?
Selling coffee? No matter how good your lattes are, it’s unlikely that someone would be willing to drive from London to Manchester just to redeem a free coffee after purchasing nine (#sorry). If you’re located on their way to work, though, why wouldn’t they want to make the most of it?
Loyalty programmes are a clever way to promote your business locally. Even better, they encourage people to choose you over and over again against the competition.
We weren’t surprised to find out that 77% of customers are more likely to stick to a brand’s products or services if they have a loyalty programme. Have you? (You must read that in a calm but inquisitive voice.)
9. Implement local SEO on your business website
Remember when we mentioned that almost half of all searches are local?
As well as registering on relevant business directories, you really need to make it as obvious as possible to Google that you’re based where you are.
For example, you should connect your Google My Business page to your website, add your address, and make sure that some of your page titles or headings have something along the lines of ‘[your business type] in [your town]’. Something like ‘best bakery in Chester’ or ‘award-winning lawyers in Liverpool’.
Because most local searches come from phones, you also need to optimise your website for mobile to ensure a fast loading time, readable text, and a responsive graphic. Otherwise, we promise that Google is going to think twice before recommending an outdated static page to its users.
Here’s a nice guide to get you started on local SEO.
10. Target local keywords and blog about relevant topics
Guess what? There’s another magical and often forgotten tool that you can use to show up in the SERP for local searches: the blog page on your website.
Yes, the one that some companies use for an introductory article, one on their latest product, and then… radio silence.
Don’t miss out like them!
As well as creating a content marketing strategy that covers important topics in your industry, you should sprinkle it with a few articles that are relevant to your city or area.
For example, if you have a hotel, you could write a blog post on the best things to do in your town. Got a meat-free shop? Write about that exciting upcoming vegan fair!
Sure, it takes time to plan, implement and maintain all these strategies, but it’s not actually as hard as you thought, right? If you follow these actionable tips on how to promote your business locally, we bet you’ll become a renowned town legend in your sector!