- The local newspaper
- Other local businesses
- Your website
- Email marketing to local customers
- Use social media marketing
- Use local SEO to appear in Google Maps
- And get those positive reviews flowing
- Your content – written word and videos
- A complete local messaging solution
- Finally — if you support local businesses
- Final thoughts
We created this simple guide to local business marketing solutions because we know that, as a local business, marketing your company can be difficult.
You are competing against larger businesses with more resources and consultants who may not understand your neighborhood or town, and you have to contend with the ever-changing digital landscape.
That’s why we created this simple guide to help you figure it all out.
We get that every local business has its own unique challenges, we won’t solve them all for you in this article. So choose the local business marketing solutions that are right for where your business is at right now.
As you get that new technique, tactic, or strategy rolling successfully, come back to our article and add the next approach.
You’ve got this.
The local newspaper
Our first small business marketing solution doesn’t necessarily require buying new tools — but it may push you outside of your comfort zone.
Get to know the local press in your area.
Start by reading the local news and ask yourself, what kind of stories do they publish?
Do you have insights, angles, or tips, that would help them publish more information about those types of topics?
They are likely to ignore you, or not use, your tips right away.
That’s okay, if they see you providing truly helpful information, they eventually will, leading to some free publicity for your business.
Other local businesses
Do you have a retail or local business that people can walk into?
Can you swap listings with other small businesses to create an incentive for customers to visit multiple small businesses in your area?
Also, consider, can you:
- Sponsor a local sports team
- Give away products or services at local events
- Have a contest or sweepstakes relating to your business
- Get involved with local charities or causes
You don’t need to hire someone to build you an amazing website — but you do need a website.
Small business owners need a website to spotlight their products or services, their location, and their hours.
Your website is also a great place to start collecting email addresses from potential customers which you can then use for local business marketing purposes (see email marketing below).
Including a blog on your website helps you rank higher on Google, show up more often in search results, and give people another reason to visit (and stay) on your site.
Just make sure that your website is mobile-friendly since more and more people are using their phones to access the internet.
You can use WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace to build your own website without learning how to code.
And if you want something even easier — Vendasta Websites will design and launch a beautiful website for your local business in just a few clicks.
Email marketing to local customers
Email is only growing in popularity, provide incentives for customers to get on your email list.
Set up an inexpensive mail system like Moosend or Mailchimp.
These solutions start out free until you grow your contact list beyond a certain size (at least 500 contacts). By the time you are paying for one of these systems, you should be at least breaking even on your efforts in sending emails out to this audience.
What should you send to customers as part of a local business email marketing campaign?
- Updates on local events that your business will be participating in
- Tips related to your product or services
- Discounts and sales
- Announcements about new products or services
- If you have listing swaps set up with other local business owners, and they don’t have an email list, find ways to trade by sharing their updates to your list (if of value to all).
Use social media marketing
Everyone is on social media these days.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, or something else, people are staring at their phones more than ever.
Are your customers on social media?
Similar to your email strategy, send updates on:
- Local events
- Discounts and sales
- New products or services
With these platforms, you can set up your social media posts ahead of time, just like you will with your email, and schedule them all to go out when you feel your audience is most likely to receive the messages.
For example, see this content calendar that we have set up in Sprout Social, planning out the entire week ahead of time:
Use local SEO to appear in Google Maps
If you want people to find your local business when they do a search on Google, you need to be appearing in the “map pack.” This is the section of local results that appears on the first page of a Google search. It includes three local businesses and their corresponding information.
One way to increase your chances of being included in the map pack is by optimizing your website for local SEO.
To optimize your website for local SEO, get started with Surfer SEO ASAP.
And get those positive reviews flowing
You can also list your business on popular directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and others.
And you want to be getting positive reviews on these websites.
How do you get positive reviews for your local business?
The best way is to simply ask your customers.
When they’re happy with the service you’ve provided, send them an email (or even a text message) and ask them to leave you a review on their preferred platform.
You can also offer an incentive for leaving a review, like a discount on their next purchase.
Just make sure that you’re not violating any of the platforms’ terms of service by offering incentives for reviews.
If you want to be really proactive about your local business’ online reputation, check out Vendasta’s Reputation Manager.
It’s a tool that will help you monitor and manage your local business’ online reputation — so you can head off any negative reviews before they happen.
Your content – written word and videos
If you’re like most small business owners, writing content for web pages, social media, emails, and elsewhere is not your passion.
For many this is the least exciting part of digital marketing.
Thankfully, there are a host of AI writing solutions that can write a solid first draft for you, and others that can help you rewrite what you’ve written to sound better.
For video content, use Loom. It’s very easy to use and you can use it to either record videos of yourself talking, for recording your screen, or for other video activities you may want to capture.
A complete local messaging solution
An option to consider is Podium.
Podium is redefining the way customers interact with small businesses. From collecting reviews on the sites that matter most, text-enabling your website with Webchat, collecting payment via text, gathering private feedback after an experience to managing all your customer messages from one central dashboard.
This is really powerful for businesses looking to get closer to their local consumers.
Finally — if you support local businesses
Are you are local business marketing agency?
Read our article on Vendasta. It’s the top white-label solution for businesses supporting other small, local businesses.
With additional solutions to sell, and powerful capabilities built in, this could be a powerful tool to add to your other business marketing solutions.
Remember, you can’t tackle all of these local marketing solutions in one day.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your digital marketing efforts won’t be operating at full speed on day one either.
Choose one area, invest in it, and once you are seeing results, continue adding more of these capabilities.