Marketing Strategies to Launch a Small Business, Part II » Succeed As Your Own Boss

Marketing is key to driving sales into your business, and it’s the one thing you constantly need to work on from day one. If you are a local business, your marketing approach can be offline and online. Thanks to the advanced targeting capabilities, you can use online ads as a cost-effective way to get exposure for your local business. We focused on marketing ideas for service and ecommerce businesses in Part I of this series. In Part II, we’ll share marketing strategies for local businesses. 

Use a Direct Mail Campaign

Local businesses can leverage traditional marketing strategies such as direct mail. You can develop a direct mail campaign cost-effectively, and it’s still highly effective since email and online ads dominate the marketplace. Direct mail works well if your target market includes people who aren’t tech-savvy and don’t often use social media.

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Create Your Google Business Listing

One of the most important marketing strategies for local businesses is to register for a free Google business listing. This free listing will give you greater visibility in local searches and help you get found on Google Maps, so it will also help you obtain more customers.

Use Online Review Sites and Local Business Directories 

Sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, and Google My Business enable people to identify and learn about businesses in a specific area. Customers use these sites to find businesses where they live, where they are visiting, and to review good service. To use review sites and directories for your business, you need to get listed, encourage reviews, and monitor your listing. For more guidance, check out my Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews for Your Small Business.

Host a Grand Opening Event

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Events are among the best marketing strategies for local businesses. When you’re just launching, it’s a great idea to invite people in to see your business for the first time. Offer giveaways, games, and food for the entire family. Live music is always a great touch. Offer great opening day specials and discount coupons for a return visit.

Do a Live Remote

If you have a significant start-up budget, schedule a live remote with a local radio station that serves your target market. That’s a great way to get your name out in the marketplace.

Become a PR Machine

Do it yourself if you can’t afford to hire a publicist for the launch. You need to have a contact list for local media. Develop at least three hooks to pitch your business to the press, and don’t forget the local business journal. 

Try one of these PR-based marketing strategies for local businesses:

  • Try a sports gimmick, e.g., your company president will shave his head if the local football team wins.
  • Develop a special sale item for the opening week, with a portion of the proceeds going to a local charity.
  • Invite the community in. Hire musicians to play in your store every Friday for a few months after the launch.
  • Invite a book club and knitting group to meet in your store or coffee shop.

Write a Blog

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Blogging is an effective way to demonstrate your expertise and drive traffic to your site or your store. It can bring in visitors, test new ideas, and you can use it to promote your business locally, whether you’re selling products online or in-store only.

Develop a Membership Program

Create a frequent buyers club. Create a VIP membership service if you have a business that touches customers frequently. Develop a few exclusives that you can offer just for members. It’s great monthly cash flow and a wonderful way to build an online community for your brand.   

Run Local Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Google Ads can be faster to start with and have a wider potential reach than Facebook Ads. Still, Facebook Ads can offer more nuanced targeting with its pixel and potentially much more powerful tracking insights than Google Ads. With Google, you can run the classic search engine result Google Ad, Google Local Services Ads, Google Shopping Ads, Google Ads radius targeting, and more. Most experts suggest it’s worth investing in both Google and Facebook if the budget allows it. Ads are among the top marketing strategies for local businesses because 97 percent of consumers search online to find a local business.

Build Custom Landing Pages for Every Local Ad Campaign 

Countless local businesses throw money down the drain with online ads by not tracking conversions or building local landing pages. Use a descriptive hero image that compliments the value proposition. Answer your target’s top questions to help them feel confident in moving forward and have a clear call to action. Most importantly, make sure your contact number is a click-to-call button. 

Try Mobile Social Ads 

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Mobile social media ads are a technique of advertising via social media on mobile devices. According to research, nearly 71% of users access social media on mobile devices. Mobile ads include Instagram Story Ads that pop up between your connection’s stories, text and image ads on Facebook, Carousel Ads, Snapchat Filters and Ads, video ads on YouTube, ads in-between playing videos or games, notifications from downloaded apps, and much more.

Partner with Local Influencers

Influencer marketing is on the list of marketing strategies for local businesses because you can do fun and effective campaigns with local influencers! A micro-influencer has an engaged following of 10,000 to 100,000 followers online and can influence their audience’s purchasing decisions. Partnering with local influencers can attract local customers. You can pay them with products or a flat fee for a certain number of posts about your business across their social media channels.

Start a Referral Program

Offer your current customers an incentive to refer their friends and family.  A referral program can bring you high-quality leads while strengthening your relationship with existing customers. People trust recommendations from their friends, so this is an excellent way to build word-of-mouth advertising. Try offering a significant discount or a free service for a referral that becomes a customer.

Show Approximate Distance from Your Store in Mobile Social Ads

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As a local business, you can create hyper-local ads for each location. Try including your zip code in the ad headline and talk about the distance to your location in the copy too.

Use Google Search Console

You can use Google Search Console to find new ad group opportunities for your mobile ads based on driving search impressions.

Leverage Call-Only Ads

If you are a local service business driving sales through phone calls, and if landing pages aren’t your thing (even though they should be…), then call-only ads could be a lifesaver.

Use Remarketing to Generate Reviews

Receiving and responding to reviews is one of the best things you can do for your local business and should be top on your list of marketing strategies for local businesses. Customers love you! Unfortunately, sometimes customers who love you don’t remember to leave reviews, so you can use ads to remind them. 

Promote Your Latest Reviews on Social Media

Potential customers want to read reviews. The key is to make these customer reviews more accessible. A great way to do this is by incorporating them into your social media content or leveraging them in your advertising campaigns.

Be Visible in Your Local Community

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Do volunteer work in your local community or sponsor a local 5K or a little league team. Set up a local farmers market booth, join the local chamber of commerce, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Form Local Partnerships

Network with other local business owners. As you learn about their products and services, as well as their core values and customer base, you might find that their business complements yours. If you’re targeting a similar demographic, a partnership might be worth considering.

This is not an exhaustive list of marketing strategies for local businesses, but it is a good start to building an effective marketing strategy from day one. Start small and boost your local visibility by claiming your Google My Business Listing. You can then move on to a direct mail campaign and content development to build your brand online. Soon, you’ll be expanding by running Facebook and Google ads. No matter what type of business you have, marketing will never stop! Try out some of these marketing strategies for local businesses and start putting your business out there.