If your local customers tried to find you and/or your products online, would your business and/or your products show up?
If you’re not sure, here are just a few places where locals go to look for products:
- MAPS – Is your local business listed on Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, or Mapquest?
- REVIEW WEBSITES – Is your local business listed on any of the local reviews websites like Facebook, Yelp, Opentable, or TripAdvisor?
- OTHER LOCAL SOURCES – Can your business and/or products be found using other local sources like radio, television, YouTube ads, yellowpages.com, magazine ads, billboards, & print media?
Online Local Advertising
FREE BUSINESS LISTINGS
Google My Business – All you have to do is set up your Google My Business Account and then customize your Google My Business Profile. Once this is done, you will be connected to customers across Google Search and Google Maps. It’s the best way to get your business seen and start generating reviews.
Facebook Business Page – You can create a Facebook Business Page in minutes. All you need to do is create the page and then customize your page with your company’s information. Once you do this, your business will be able to be found on Facebook and search engines quickly. It’s a great way to get seen and start generating reviews!
Bing Places For Business – This is Microsoft’s version of Google My Business where you sign up for a Bing Place For Business profile, complete your business profile, and then you will be found by users who use Bing.com and Microsoft services. Go ahead and set up your profile to get started!
Apple Maps Connect – If you want your business to be found on Apple Maps, then you might as well create a business profile with Apple as well. All you need to do is to sign up, add your business information to your Apple Maps Business profile, and your business will soon be up and running on Apple Maps!
Yahoo Localworks – We can’t forget about Yahoo local business listings. Yahoo isn’t as large as Google or Bing, but it’s still important that you list your business on Yahoo Localworks as well. Why? More like why not. Yahoo still has a ton of users who are loyal fans to the search engine, so might as well put your business in front of these users too.
Yelp For Business Owners – Millions of people use Yelp to find businesses with high reviews. If you’re confident in your business and know that your customers will leave you good reviews, then sign up for a Yelp business listing and watch more customers come to you because of those good reviews.
LinkedIn Business Page – LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals and it’s getting more popular every day. If you’re in the professional services business, then go ahead create a page for your business on LinkedIn and start networking with other local businesses and local professionals. It’s a great way to grow your business locally.
Angie’s List – If you’re in the construction business, then Angie’s List might be a good option for you. They offer a free business listing option with paid advertising options once your business profile is created. It’s a decent way to start generating leads if you’re new to the business or new in town.
YellowPages.com – The last free local advertising directory on our list is yellowpages.com. They offer a free business listing under one category and you can have your business listed on their website and their app. This is not a bad way to gain additional exposure to your business with the free business listing option.
If you haven’t already, you should take advantage of the free business listings using Google My Business and Facebook Business Manager as soon as possible. Those two are the most powerful platforms and they are the easiest to maintain.
The 8 remaining free business listing options are excellent too but some of them should be approached with caution. Why? Because even though they promote a free business listing, some of them on this list will try contacting you multiple times to try and upsell you on some of their other services. Some of these upsell services might be worth it but some can also be a waste of time and money in our opinion. The multiple sales calls and emails from these companies can get really annoying if you don’t want to be upsold on any of their additional services, but the pros of having a free business listing are usually worth the extra annoyances.
PAID BUSINESS LISTINGS
Google Local Service Ads – If you run a service-based business, we highly recommend that you set up an account with Google Local Service Ads. Why? Because you only pay a small fee when customers call or message you from their ads. It’s a great way to guarantee that you only pay for interested customers.
Google Ads – This is a great way to advertise on the sponsored sections of any of Google’s services (Google.com, Sites with Google Ads, Google Shopping, and much more). You set up a budget, you create the ad, you set up the ad criteria, and you only pay a small amount when someone clicks on your ad. It’s a good way to get traffic to your website almost immediately.
Facebook Ads – If you want to advertise your business through sponsored ads, then Facebook Ads are the way to go. Facebook has powerful search criteria that you can configure when creating your Facebook Ads. You can target only people in a 60-mile radius of your location, people who are of a certain age, and much more. We recommend trying it out as it’s very effective.
Instagram Ads – Instagram is all about photos and videos and it’s a great way to advertise your business. For example, if you own a restaurant, why not take a picture of one of your delicious dishes, set up an Instagram ad, and then target only customers within a 5-mile radius of your restaurant? It’s a great way to advertise using visuals.
Yelp Ads – Once you set up your free Yelp profile, you will also be able to advertise your profile to all of the Yelp users in specific local areas. Are you a plumber and want to stand out from the other local plumbers in your area? Advertising on Yelp is a good way to make this happen.
There are obviously hundreds of other types of local online advertising options for your business (your website, SEO, your social media pages, online directories, and so on) but for the sake of simplicity, we are only focusing on some of the more localized advertising options for this section.
Offline Local Advertising
Almost everyone is online these days, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in local offline advertising strategies. Depending on your industry and business, some offline advertising campaigns can pay your business a 10x or more return on investment (ROI)! We know this because we have done this ourselves for one of our clients.
There are dozens of ways to advertise locally and offline, but let’s take a look at some of the more popular local offline advertising options now.
Mailers – yes, snail mail still works in a lot of different markets and it’s still one of the best offline advertising methods that you can implement to generate more business. Example: Let’s say you’re an air conditioning and heating company (HVAC) and you mail out 100 postcards to past clients offering a $79 (normally $100) summer HVAC maintenance service call. If only 1 client out of that 100 that you sent a postcard to takes part in this promotion, then your marketing efforts just paid off. A 1% conversion rate is very conservative as the average conversion rate is closer to 5% in this situation. However, to keep things simple, let’s stick with the 1% figure. It will cost you $0.35 cents per postcard stamp plus approximately $0.10 cents per postcard for a total cost of $0.45 cents per postcard. 100 postcards x $0.45 cents per postcard means that you spent a whopping $45 to generate $79 for a net income of $34. Woohoo! Now, there are other costs that aren’t taken into effect here (labor costs, overhead costs, fuel costs, etc), but other sources of revenue aren’t taken into effect here either (upsell opportunities, referral opportunities, repeat customer opportunities, etc). You need to spend money to make money in most cases and this is just one of many examples.
Radio – radio commercials have been around for a long time and they aren’t going away anytime soon. The average amount of time that an American spends in their car per day is over an hour! This is why radio is a great way to advertise offline. Now, every market and business is different, so all variables need to be considered when looking into radio as a local offline advertising strategy.
Television – local television is also a decent way to generate more traffic to your local business. While this is not our favorite method of advertising, it does work great for some businesses, namely high ticket services and products for sale (car dealerships, lawyer services, etc). It’s worth looking into your local TV rates and numbers to see if it’s an offline advertising medium worth investing in.
Billboards – since Americans are spending a lot of time in their cars, billboards are still a good option for offline local advertising. Depending on where you live, some billboards can cost as little as $50 per month and some can cost as much as $1,000 per month plus graphics costs. In addition to generating more traffic for your business, billboards will generate a lot of branding value for your business as well. Go ahead and get some local rates and crunch some numbers to see if billboard advertisements will work for you.
Networking Local Events – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. No matter what type of business you’re in, networking is always going to be a very important marketing component for your business. With that being said, try to attend as many local events that are somewhat related to your niche as you can. If you’re in a unique niche, try hosting an event on sites like Meetup.com.
There are dozens of other local advertising strategies that you can implement including: passing out flyers, cooperative marketing campaigns, coupon sites like Groupon, local magazine/newspaper ads, local sponsorships, and much more. We recommend taking advantage of the free local advertising strategies (Google My Business and Facebook Business) before you move on to any of the paid local advertising strategies.
Founder at HiredMarketing.com
We would LOVE the opportunity to help you advertise your business and your products locally! This is one of the many reasons why we created HiredMarketing.com because we want to be your product marketing hired hand when you need help. We work on demand, so we can do as little or as much as you need us to. We work on a monthly retainer model so you get to determine how many hours we work on your product marketing projects each month, so you never have to worry about going over your marketing budget. The days of having to hire and train in-house employees for individual marketing tasks are gone. You hire us and we will use our own proven product marketing specialists to carry out your product marketing tasks efficiently, effectively, and within budget.
If you have questions or if you’re interested in learning more, let’s talk.
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