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Local Business Marketing: How to Promote Your Business in Your Neighborhood, City, & Region

Marketing your small business to a local audience is one of the smartest moves you can make. Learn how to leverage a modest budget for massive results. 

GoSite Team
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Research has shown that locals are increasingly looking for businesses within their region and that search terms like “near me” and “close by” online have increased by over 900% in the past two years alone.

Given that the number of potential customers in your vicinity is limited, prioritizing local marketing efforts becomes essential. And let's not forget – your competitors are also in the race, targeting the same customer base as you. 

Jump To...

How to Get Customers in Your Area: An Introduction  |  The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising  |  10 Tips for Killer Local Business Marketing  |  7 of the Best Ways to Advertise Locally  | In Conclusion: Focusing Your Marketing on Specific Neighborhoods and Cities Will Help You Dominate Your Area

 

How to Get Customers in Your Area: An Introduction

Because of the vast array of local providers at their fingertips, it's no secret that today’s customers still prefer to pick up a smartphone and search for local services.

We’ll also discuss how to create a strong online presence, optimize your business for search engines with SEO, and tap into the power of social media. We will also explore the benefits of forging connections through localized online advertising and fostering local business relationships.

Finally, we'll discuss strategies that help your business become the go-to choice. Let's get started.

Local SEO: What is It?

Local SEO is like a treasure map to help people nearby find your business online when they search for things they need. It's a way to make sure your business shows up on the map and gets more customers.

To excel at local SEO is to prioritize website optimization, you need to produce high-quality content, and effectively manage your online reputation. This includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Optimizing title tags and meta descriptions with relevant keywords and location information
  • Ensuring consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) data across various platforms like Google My Business listings and online directories
  • Encouraging satisfied clients to share their experiences on popular review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor

Let’s focus in on your Google listings first. 

Your Google Listing

When searching for local businesses on Google, top results often include nearby establishments with their names, addresses, and reviews. 

This feature, known as Google Listing, is an indispensable tool to boost your business's online presence. It also integrates with Google Maps to display your location when people look for similar services in the area.

Google My Business (GMB) offers a free platform to manage and optimize your Google Listing by ensuring accuracy and providing comprehensive information potential customers seek. It allows you to showcase business hours, contact details, images, and even engage with customer reviews.

Your Google ListingSource: GoSite Google Business Management

While GMB is easy to use, a well-optimized Google Listing and an active GMB account are essential for getting your business noticed by local customers – and becoming a neighborhood favorite.

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Other Online Directories that Help You Get Found Online

Although Google is vital for local marketing, numerous platforms can further enhance your company's digital presence:

1. Apple Maps: By listing your business on Apple Maps, iOS users can easily access your location, hours, and contact information when seeking similar services.
2. Yandex: Yandex is a search engine  with its own directory which offers exposure to an untapped audience of potential customers.
3. Waze: This community-driven GPS navigation app enhances local visibility by displaying your business on the map and attracting customers during their commutes.
4. Bing Places: Despite being overshadowed by Google, Bing remains popular with its business listing platform that expands your reach to additional prospective clients.

These are just a few examples of the many online directories that can help you get found online. Using a multi-directory approach with a tool optimized for handling multiple platforms at once is the best way to get your business found online.

Your Website

Consider your website as a digital storefront that should not only be visually appealing, but also effective in drawing local customers. 

Prioritize mobile compatibility, as numerous users access the web via smartphones. Ensure easy navigation and access to essential information on all devices.

Creating locally-focused content using modern themes helps search engines understand your business location and offerings. Including local keywords in your website's content, meta tags, and URLs directs local customers to you. Display your name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently on your website and online directories. 

Lastly, work with a web design service specializing in SEO optimization to create an appealing and search engine optimized site, attracting more local customers.

Local Networking

While local SEO focuses on optimizing your online presence to attract customers via search engines, local networking is all about building relationships and making connections in person.

Consider it a more personal approach to business promotion, one that entails getting out there, meeting people, and becoming an active member of your community.

Local business networking can help you make connections, foster collaborations, and raise your company's profile in the community. 

Local NetworkingSource: Finances Online

The ultimate goal of local networking remains consistent: create connections that facilitate business growth and success both locally and beyond. 

Flyers

Utilizing flyers as a budget-friendly strategy can significantly boost local awareness of your products or services. 

Incorporate specific details, such as including your website URL and offering exclusive discounts to incentivize potential customers. For instance, if you run a landscaping business, offer 10% off for first-time clients.

To maximize effectiveness, distribute flyers in high-traffic areas frequented by your target audience – such as shopping centers or community events – or post door hangers in neighborhoods where you've recently completed projects.

Going Door-to-Door

Knocking on doors is no one’s favorite local marketing technique, but it is by far one of the most effective ways to get your business out there into the community.

It’s important to get the door-to-door method right – after all, you can expect all kinds of reactions, and it’s best to be prepared for anything. Take a look at this video at how this small business approaches the art of door-knocking.

The primary goal of going door-to-door is engaging potential customers in meaningful conversations where they voice their needs and preferences. Actively listen and ask thoughtful questions during these interactions. 

This approach not only helps you acquire new clients but also fosters long-lasting relationships built on trust and loyalty, as personal connections humanize your company's brand image.

Paid Advertising

In today's digital age, most of your potential customers spend a significant amount of time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. 

These platforms provide powerful advertising tools that enable you to specifically target your ads to local audiences, ensuring that your message reaches the right people at the right time.

It is important to note, however, that not all social media platforms are the same in terms of user base, so it’s important to get acquainted with who uses what.

Paid AdvertisingSource: WordStream

Paid social media advertising can help promote your local business in several ways:

  • Precision targeting: Target your ads to specific demographics and geographic areas, focusing on potential local customers.
  • Increased visibility: By using paid advertising, you can raise brand awareness and reach a larger local audience.
  • Engaging content: Create eye-catching visuals and compelling copy to attract local customers.
  • Measure ad performance: Fine-tune your strategy, and optimize campaigns for maximum impact.
  • Flexibility: Select from a variety of budget and bidding options to meet the needs of your small business, scaling up as you see results.

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

These two terms often go hand-in-hand, and truth is, there is so much overlap that it hardly bears mentioning the differences. This is especially true when you’re a local small business owner. 

But knowing the differences can give you an advantage over your competitors. That’s because marketing includes everything you do to both get AND keep customers, while advertising focuses on getting new customers.

Local Business Marketing

If you want your business to do well in your community, you need to have a plan that includes advertising, making your customers happy, and keeping them coming back. It's like having a big plan to make sure everyone knows about your business and likes it. 

Effective local marketing increases positive word-of-mouth within the community. By excelling at marketing, you can lower your advertising costs.

Developing a Sound Sales Process

For local business owners, developing an optimized sales process – crafting a persuasive elevator pitch and honing active listening and communication skills – is absolutely crucial. 

Active listening entails fully understanding customer needs and concerns, while efficient communication involves explaining ideas in a clear, concise manner.

Focus your interactions on offering valuable solutions that your services can deliver. Confidently close deals without hesitation and make customers feel appreciated by maintaining post-purchase follow-ups. 

Setting a High Standard for Customer Service

Setting a high standard of customer service is all about going above and beyond to ensure your customers feel valued, heard, and cared for.

As a local business owner, providing exceptional customer service – such as promptly addressing concerns, personalizing interactions, and offering timely assistance – helps build a loyal customer base and boosts your reputation within the community. 

Through prioritizing these aspects of customer service, you generate positive experiences that fuel word-of-mouth referrals and attract more patrons.

Being Easy to Find Online

By optimizing your website, leveraging local SEO, and maintaining active profiles on relevant platforms, you're making it simple for potential customers to discover your business online. This ultimately drives more traffic, leads, and sales, helping your business thrive in the local market.

Making sure your Google business listing is up-to-date and includes a link to your website is probably the most important step to being easy to find online. From there, refreshing your website content, asking for reviews, and responding to reviews can keep your online presence rising in local search results.

Offering Referral Bonuses

By rewarding customers who refer friends, family, or colleagues to your business, you're encouraging them to share their positive experiences and promote your brand. 

Offering attractive referral bonuses, such as gift cards to popular retailers, discounts on future purchases, or even a complimentary service, can provide an added incentive for your customers to spread the word. 

Rewarding Repeat Customers

By offering incentives, you show appreciation to your regular customers and encourage them to continue supporting your business. 

Incentives might include:

  • Loyalty cards that earn rewards after a certain number of purchases
  • Freebies in exchange for a social media shoutout (e.g. if a customer mentions your business in their Instagram story, they get a free coffee)
  • Offer members discounts to those who sign up as a frequent visitor

This strategy not only helps to retain existing customers but also fosters a positive brand image within the community.

Local Business Advertising

Local advertising is essential for promoting your business, especially if you are new to the market.
By investing in targeted advertising strategies, you increase brand awareness, attract potential customers, and establish your community presence.

Local Signage (Billboards, Car Wraps, Lawn Signs, etc.)

Local signs are a highly visible form of promotion, such as billboards, placed near busy intersections, eye-catching car wraps on company vehicles, and lawn signs strategically positioned outside completed job sites or in popular community areas. 

When designing these signs, be sure to include your business name, logo, contact information, a short and easy-to-remember URL to your website, and a clear, concise message about the products or services you offer. 

Mailers and Handouts

Distributing mailers or handouts like flyers, brochures, or coupons allows you to directly provide information about your products, services, and special offers to specific target groups within your local community. 

For example, you can focus on families with young children, homeowners in a particular neighborhood, or individuals interested in your services. 

Choose locations that your target audience frequently visits, such as schools, community centers, or local events. You may also wish to target neighborhoods where examples of your completed work are evident and on display.  

Be sure to include eye-catching graphics, a clear call-to-action, and your contact information on these materials, as they help to increase exposure.

Google Ads

Using a Google Ad is an effective approach to online advertising, it allows you to focus on specific keywords, demographics, and even geographic areas - Making it perfect for local businesses.

A huge advantage is its pay-per-click (PPC), so you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Plus, you can customize your budget to fit your needs, making it a sweet deal for small businesses on a tight budget.

Facebook Ads

Placing Facebook ads is an excellent way to reach out to potential customers on one of the most popular social media platforms available. The most significant advantage of using Facebook for advertising is the ability to target users based on demographics, interests, and even location.

This means your ads will appear for people who are most likely to be interested in your company.
Furthermore, Facebook Ads come in a variety of formats, such as images, videos, and carousels, allowing you to be creative and really catch people's attention.

Other Social Media Ads

Aside from Facebook and Google, there are plenty of other social media platforms where you can advertise your business.

Each platform has its own unique vibe and audience, so you can tailor your ads to really resonate with the people who use the platforms.

10 Tips for Killer Local Business Marketing

1. Use Your Favorite Social Media Channel to Be an Authority on What You Do.

Choose a platform that suits your style and post engaging content related to your business. For instance, share insights on behind-the-scenes operations, provide valuable tips, or keep customers informed with relevant industry news.  

 

The key is to be consistent and engaging so that people start to see you as the go-to source for all things related to your niche. 

2. Keep All Your Online Listings Accurate.

The last thing you want is for potential customers to call a wrong number or visit the wrong address. Make it a priority to double-check all your online listings and keep them up-to-date – including NAP (name, address, and phone number) on Google and other directory listings.

Keep All Your Online Listings AccurateSource: GoSite Placement

3. Earn a Reputation for Being Empathetic and Proactive.

Demonstrating empathy and proactivity involves thoroughly understanding customer needs and addressing their concerns. 

For example, actively listen to a customer's complaint about a late delivery, apologize sincerely, and offer a discount or expedited shipping on their next order. 

The empathetic approach not only exceeds expectations but also promotes loyalty and positive word-of-mouth for your business.

4. Ask for Reviews. Always.

Although it may feel uncomfortable to ask for them, reviews significantly influence potential clients' decisions and enhance your online visibility. 

To collect them:

  • Ask customers for feedback directly after completing a transaction.
  • Offer incentives like discounts or giveaways for leaving a review.
  • Respond to all reviews professionally, showing appreciation and addressing concerns as needed.

Accumulating positive reviews bolsters credibility and trustworthiness, resulting in local market success.

5. Respond Kindly and Professionally to All Online Reviews.

When responding to a positive review, express gratitude and mention specifics: "Thank you for praising our attentive staff and enjoying our signature dish, the 'Seafood Platter'. We look forward to serving you again."

For negative reviews, acknowledge the issue, apologize, and offer a solution: "We apologize for the long wait time during your visit. Your feedback helps us improve our scheduling system. As compensation, we'd like to offer you a 20% discount on your next meal with us."

Be polite, understanding, and respectful – even with critical reviews – to build a strong reputation as a business that values its customers.

6. Have a Process for Generously Resolving Customer Misunderstandings and Disputes.

When customer satisfaction falters, make it a priority to fix things you or your team did wrong. 

If a customer complains about a late appointment, verify the timeline and identify what went wrong. Thank you the customer for bringing the problem to your attention, and then be quick to offer discounts on a future purchase. 

Most of your problems will stem from poor listening or a simple misunderstanding – so every effort you make to confirm, ask questions, and get to the bottom of an issue will prove invaluable to being one of the best in town.

7. Price Yourself Fairly - You Work Hard to Earn.

Don’t undersell yourself. To set competitive prices that accurately represent your value and quality:

  • Analyze competitors' pricing strategies, industry trends, and customer expectations to identify your target price range.
  • Calculate the production or service delivery costs, including labor, materials, overheads, and any additional expenses to determine a baseline for profitable pricing.
  • Assess how customers perceive the value of your offering relative to alternatives; this may involve examining unique selling points (USPs), brand reputation, or customer testimonials.
  • Offer multiple pricing tiers based on different levels of service or product features to accommodate various customer preferences and budgets while maximizing revenue potential. 

Price Yourself Fairly - You Work Hard to EarnSource: Zapier

Remember, it's all about striking the right balance between competitive pricing and the quality you provide.

8. Be Easy to Do Business With By Adding Mobile-friendly Technology to Make Everything Convenient for Your Customers.

People love hassle-free experiences, so ensure your website, payment options, and booking systems are all optimized for smartphones and tablets with tools like:

  • Online booking and scheduling
  • Mobile invoicing
  • Mobile receipts
  • Contactless payments
  • Live chat support
  • Digital loyalty programs
  • Mobile-friendly website design
  • In-app messaging and notifications
  • E-commerce integration for online shopping 

By embracing mobile-friendly tech like ours at GoSite, you'll make it super easy for local customers to choose you over the competition!

9. Keep All of Your Contacts Organized.

A well-organized contact list with a mobile application allows you to add contacts wherever you are, and ensures you will never miss an opportunity to make contact with prospective customers. You'll be better positioned to cater to your existing customers' needs while also identifying and pursuing new opportunities for business growth.

10. Work With Other Local Businesses That Don’t Compete With You Directly.

Collaborate with other non-competing businesses in your area. Carefully select other local businesses in the area and partner up for joint promotions, events, or even referrals. You can pool resources, broaden your reach, and create a supportive community that benefits everyone involved.

7 of the Best Ways to Advertise Locally

1. What Paying for Digital Ads, Learn How to Target Your Audiences By Geography, Demographics, Interests, and More.

When paying for digital ads, start by defining your ideal customer persona, including age, gender, location, and interests. Then, select an advertising platform that aligns with your target audience (e.g., Google Ads, Facebook Ads).

2. Test Shared Mailers (such as Money Mailer or Valpak) Before Paying More for Individual Mailers.

A shared mailer is a type of direct mail advertising in which promotional materials from multiple businesses, such as coupons or flyers, are bundled together and mailed to a specific geographic area's targeted audience.

This method allows businesses to split the cost of printing and distribution, making it a cost-effective way to reach out to local customers.

Examples of companies offering these services are Money Mailer, and Valpak. Evaluate their effectiveness before committing to more expensive individual mailers.

3. Offer Generous Referral Gifts or Bonuses.

Offer generous referral gifts, discounts, or bonuses to encourage satisfied customers to recommend your business to friends, family, or colleagues. 

This word-of-mouth marketing strategy has been shown to attract new local clients and strengthen your relationship with existing customers. 

4. Keep Up With Your Online Messages - There are a Lot of People Who See Your Ad and Won’t Click, Opting to Reach Out to You Directly Instead.

Timely responses to customer inquiries demonstrate your commitment to providing excellent service. 

Keep Up With Your Online Messages - There are a Lot of People Who See Your Ad and Won’t Click, Opting to Reach Out to You Directly InsteadSource: GoSite Messenger

In most cases, customers go with a provider who replied to their inquiry first. So the more diligent you are to read and respond to customer messages, the more business you’ll book.

5. Join Coops and Share Advertising Costs.

Collaborate with other local businesses in advertising co-ops to share the financial burden and expand your reach. 

By pooling resources, you can access more extensive advertising opportunities while reducing costs, making it a cost-effective strategy for local businesses.

6. Get Involved in Local Facebook Groups.

There are lively Facebook groups for nearly every neighborhood, city, interest, and more.

After finding a handful of relevant groups where you can participate, share your knowledge, answer questions, and promote your company in a genuine and helpful manner.

When appropriate, you can even create links back to your social media pages and posts, and generate positive reputation and credibility.

7. Learn How to Create Audiences in Meta Business and Facebook Ads.

On Meta Business and Facebook Ads, you can develop custom audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, allowing you to target potential customers more effectively. 

Familiarize yourself with different types of ad audiences, such as lookalike audiences, retargeting audiences, and more – to increase your chances of conversion.

In Conclusion: Focusing Your Marketing on Specific Neighborhoods and Cities Will Help You Dominate Your Area.

To truly conquer your local market, laser-focus your marketing on specific neighborhoods, and know your customer base inside out.

Combine the power of local SEO, networking, advertising, and a whole host of promotional strategies to make your business the talk of the town.

Forge genuine connections, offer unbeatable but fair value, and show your community that you're the real deal. Be seen, be reachable, and most of all – be reliable.

Put these winning tips into action, and watch your business skyrocket to success in your local neighborhood and beyond. 

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