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creative local marketing ideas

 

There are no shortage of local marketing ideas as you’ll see from the 19 different entrepreneurs below.

Many of these local marketing strategies shared are original and yet easy for any local business to implement starting today.

Local advertising is highly important, especially if your business has a lot of local competition fighting for the business. The good thing though as you’ll see from below, you don’t necessarily need a large marketing budget to be effective.

Read through each of the marketing ideas below and try to pick 3 or 4 that you can start using in your business today.

“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” Joe Chernov

 

19 Local Marketing Ideas

Allison O’Brien | CEO & Founder | Real Estate Central, LLC

As a business owner, you need to be creative with your marketing strategies.

As a local business, it’s even more important to be visible. Offices on a busy highway have the traffic count going for them, but that’s it. Signs are HUGE!

Community events are another way to get some traction in your business. Something as simple as a car wash in your parking lot will gain some level of interest in the business name itself. Even if the person getting their car washed can’t use you, maybe their family member or friend can. It never hurts to get involved!

Mike Munter | Founder | Mike Munter

Although I do internet marketing, my best idea is one that is offline, but sure to give you a big bang for your buck.

No matter what business you operate, pick one customer and give them free service. Obviously, this works best in retail or restaurants. Do it when the place is full and make a big deal out of a free dinner or free item. You get the element of surprise, PLUS you get the WOW factor from all the other people in the establishment.

This actually happened to me last night. My girlfriend and I went into a bar for a drink, then went to pay. The bartender said (right in front of the rest of the patrons), “This is your first time here, right?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “The drinks are on us. Hope to see you again!”

Joshua Banks | Digital Marketing Director | Houston Accident Lawyer

Create an event that will increase involvement in your business and/or growing your branding.

Such as a hobby shop or toy store sponsoring an adult pinewood derby, like in boy scouts. You can charge an entry free to donate to charity or a prize for the winner.

Collect information from those who register for future emails and other retargeting.

Promote the event in local media and and through your social media channels.

In the end you’ve promoted your brand image, engaged potential consumers, grown your social media audience and generated valuable backlinks.

James Blews | Founder | James Blews 

My biggest local marketing idea for 2015 involves going anything mobile.

For regional and local brands, the growing trend in organic search traffic is beginning to match social media; and that is mobile devices. In fact, for most regional B2C brands, organic search traffic is coming close to a 60:40 split (B2B is still hovering around the 50:50  mark).

To go with the ‘anything mobile’ idea, start with what Google will  updating April 21st.

In this upcoming search engine update, Google will be rolling out what many are referring to as their ‘Mobile Friendly Update’.

To test out whether your site is mobile friendly or not, use their tool at (click here).

Enter the URL  and hit ‘ANALYZE’.

If you are not what they consider mobile friendly,  you will receive a list of problems and errors to fix. And, by not fixing any issues that this tool, or those given in Google Webmaster Tools, your organic search traffic could see a major impact.

From here, look at your own brand’s website. Is you phone number a link, or is it plain text? By not making your phone number a clickable link, you are losing out on leads coming through your site (no one on a mobile device wants to write down a number, and then type it in). This is probably the first and main CTA (call to action) that any new customer will see when your site loads. I mean, this is a primary method of contacting a business and should be in every brand’s ‘above the fold’ area. On mobile, this is an even more evident path to making contact with you, as it could be the first linkable element to load on your website.

The final step in marketing to the ‘anything mobile’ mentality is to construct every piece of content, link, page, social media post, even offline marketing with the intent of ‘answering the question’. People on mobile devices, accessing your brand, no matter the platform, are in need of a solution. And, to be even more focused, they want to find THE solution to their need. By being that, and doing so in a fast and focused way, you are growing your lead, traffic and revenue streams without those being your main focus.

Leku Percival | CMO | Earn To The Max

The best local marketing idea is to know your Lifetime Customer Value

5 out of 10 new businesses never learn to identify their lifetime customer value (LCV) AKA how much money per client per “X” period of time they get. This means half of the business that are operating today does not know their numbers or metrics of their average customers/clients/patients.

As an example: an average McDonald’s client invest $10 and visits the restaurant at least once a month. That means that the average customer represents $120/year to them. On this way, they know exactly how much they can invest to get that client!

When you make your order and they ask if you want fries with that, this is how McDonald’s is able to know how much money they should spend to acquire a new customer and still turn a profit.

David J. Bradley | Founder | Primal Digital Marketing

If you get customers locally, you want to set up your Google My Business page immediately. It’s a simple process and doesn’t take long. In return, you can be a top listing when someone in your area searches for the products or services you provide. It will also place you on Google Maps, becoming noticed when someone scans the area for businesses like yours.

This is one of the easiest ways businesses can gain traction online with minuscule resources needed to get it set up. A few minutes of someone’s time without much experience is plenty.

Elene Cafasso | Owner | Enerpace, Inc.

Everyone thinks of LinkedIn as just for job seekers, but I’ve had success using LinkedIn to get the names and contact info of executives I need to reach in target firms. Between the company website and LI, I am well prepared to find commonalities and entry points to reach them.

LinkedIn takes you beyond the typical company bio to tell you about their clubs, associations and professional memberships. Generally I can find a link to them through one of these sources and my other contacts.

I’ve also helped clients use LinkedIn for similar purposes. A partner in a consulting firm with a very specific, technical niche was trying to find what felt like a needle in a haystack – specific people and titles in this narrow niche in the Chicago area. Her firm had contacts elsewhere, but she needed Chicago.

LinkedIn provided more than she ever dreamed of and she was able to quadruple her marketing, sales and networking efforts, and results, accordingly.

Alex Bungener | Owner | Digital+

I’ve got two words for your best local marketing ideas:

Local SEO

The most common way a local business particularly service related businesses will grow is through “getting found on Google when locals are
searching for what that business offers/does/provides/sells”.

Local SEO will take a few months before it kicks in.

The advantage of Local SEO is that your marketing dollars are spent to get your business in front of people that want/need to buy your goods or services. Plus it quietly and continuously works for you 24/7/365.

For most type of service businesses 1 or 2 new clients cover the 1st year’s cost.

Dan Hodgson | Digital Marketing Consultant | Etude Technologies

Local businesses should start doing online retargeting in 2015 if they aren’t already. Retargeting is when you “retarget” individuals who have already expressed an interest in your business in some way.

A common way to do this is to retarget visitors to your website by adding special code on your website. When someone visits your website, that person will begin to see ads for you business on other websites across the Internet. Showing ads to people who have already been on your website is an effective way to spend your advertising budget since they have already shown interest in your products or services. The retargeted ads that appear on other websites help keep your company top of mind for those prospects. It’s as if you are automatically following up with them as they browse the web.

Another great thing about retargeting is that it further strengthens other types of marketing that you’re already doing. If you’re doing any of the following, retargeting will make them more effective: sending postcards with your website on them, PPC, SEO, online banner ads, or even radio and TV ads.

If you’re advertising or marketing your website in any way, then you should seriously consider adding retargeting to your marketing mix. Since you’re paying to get people on your website, you don’t want to lose them when they go away. Retargeting allows you to stay in front of those prospects.

In essence, retargeting enables the money you spend on other marketing techniques to become more effective. There are other more advanced ways small businesses can use retargeting, but this explains the first step in getting started with it!

Julie Austin | CEO | Speaker Sponsor

I think one of the best marketing strategies for a local small business is sponsorship.

It’s less expensive than advertising and reaches a very targeted audience. Also, sponsorship is an interactive two way conversation, where advertising is just a one way conversation.

Sponsorship allows other promotional marketing to be integrated into it, like coupons, promotional products, etc.

Big corporations have been doing it for years and now small businesses can use it to compete with the big guys.

Bryan Clayton | CEO | GreenPal

My best advice to small businesses when in their initial stages of forming their marketing strategy is to first begin testing around their value proposition. What is it about their product and offer that compels people to say yes?

Until they know this, any marketing efforts or spend in any channels will be like pouring gasoline on wet leaves.

For instance, when we first launched, we thought people would like our service because its a cheaper way to get their grass cut. What we found through copy testing in different channels such as ad-words and FB is that the customers ability to get same day service is a much more effective and compelling subset of our value prop that drives more visitors and more conversions on our landing pages.

Nailing your value prop first is crucial.

Karilyn Sanders | Owner | Karilyn Sanders Photography

My best local marketing idea is helping other local businesses. Not just co-marketing, but simply offering my services to another business with the same target market as mine. I’ve found that when I offer to give a BIG value, something the other business can really benefit from, it’s a great
way to start a relationship with them.

In the past, I’ve tried to approach other businesses to start a co-marketing relationship and immediately started talking about what we could do that we would both benefit from. I got some resistance because I looked a little too needy. Instead, when I offer my services in a generous way, the other business is very welcoming. If I can deliver a great service and a great experience, they will put my work out in front of all of their clients and prospects (in my case, it’s photography). This is huge.

This is a great way to start a relationship with other businesses. It’s generous, it’s not slimy, and it opens up a completely new stream of prospects and referrals.

K i n d r a F o s t e r | CEO | Foster Executive Writing & Editing, LLCideas to stand out

In this era of marketing-as-relationship-building, it’s important to reinforce personal connections wherever possible–not always easy in the faceless world of the Internet. After I meet someone at a networking meeting or through a personal introduction from another colleague, I reinforce the meeting with a personal handwritten note.

Physical, mailed notes might seem old-fashioned, but because we are so used to receiving everything via email these days, it stands out. And the original purpose of handwritten notes is still valid: it’s personal. The recipient knows you were thinking about him or her with enough sincerity to stop what you were doing and take time to write.

Ideas for handwritten notes: meeting thank-you’s, birthdays (if you know them), holidays, appreciate your business, quick ideas for current projects, invitations to special events you plan, jokes (for the right person). You can also send notes with receipts, statements, applications or small, flat tchotchkes. Get special notecards printed with your name, business name, phone number, email address and website on them.

Shawn M. Miller | Managing Member | FLEX Fitness Center

We’ve used a simple, but very effective online strategy for FLEX Fitness Center.

What we’ve noticed is that even more than the big Social Media sites, Directories are the top Search results (I assume because they are big sites with tons of credibility to the Search Engines). I include with this the Search Engine’s own Local Listings directories. We have found that by having fully complete and current data including images and videos in the Directories it gives us easy local search dominance.

Secondary to that, we’ve asked our customers to actively engage in giving Reviews on those directories. Having many high mark reviews by obvious clients in their own language makes us really stand out and connect quickly with prospects who are similar to our best existing customers.

What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself in today’s “We centered culture” and in the on-line/social media driven space. The online Directories allow you to control ‘what others say about you’ effectively and proactively. (provided your actual clients will have great things to say about you of course)

Rachel Margaritis | Marketing Manager | Acupath Laboratories, Inc.

My biggest tip for small businesses? PARTNERSHIPS PARTNERSHIPS PARTNERSHIPS.

Partner with another local business and host an event like a charity fundraiser or sponsor a concert or local sports team.

Find another business entity whose goals are similar to yours, but whose market compliments yours. You each can benefit from the promotion’s exposure (each to the other’s consumer base), and without losing your following to a competing brand. Partnerships can also be of little cost to you and the other business when structured correctly.

Brian Jensen | Director of Traffic Acquisition | Big Marketing, LLC

My best local marketing idea for 2015 is to create a comprehensive guide that’s specific to your location and relevant to your products or solutions.

For example, if you run a dog grooming business, creating and publishing a comprehensive guide on all local dog parks in the area along with the address, hours, and highlights of the park, etc. would be relevant to your business and additionally serve the local dog owner community.

Publishing and promoting something your local target audience would find valuable not only raises awareness for your brand but also to works to make your website a destination.

Mayer Dahan | CEO & Founder | Prime Five Homes

To help a local small business grow in 2015, we believe that the best way is to create a good, positive relationship with the local community.

We have done that through food drives, clothing drives, donations to local charities, and fundraisers. We’ve developed positive relationships with local community members through our philanthropy.

On our social media pages, we post our good deeds and encourage our followers to also come out and volunteer with us. Prime Five Homes has gained more business and press through our philanthropy than spending money on traditional marketing.

Tami Belt | Owner & CEO | Blue Cube Marketing Solutions

Business is personal. It’s about building relationships. One of the best way to build relationships is to connect over the passion for a cause.

Companies that are involved in their communities:

  • Enjoy higher employee satisfaction and retention rates
  • Are viewed more favorably by customers
  • Increase market share from customers who switch brands to support a cause in which they believe
  • Help strengthen the community they serve by creating a better place to live, work and conduct business
  • Receive more press coverage from what they do in the community than what they do as a company

Community Engagement doesn’t have to cost money. It can be donated time, good or services. Your company, employees, customers and vendors can participate in a local charity event. Participating on charity boards can also help build relationships in addition to being a mentor in your community or industry.

Jeremy Meindl | Owner | Meindl Consulting Inc

CRM targeting!

Many services such as Twitter, Facebook, and more allow for data on-boarding so you can target ads directly to your identified leads.

This can drastically cut down on ad spend as well as allow you to better craft your advertising method to each customer type.

Conclusion

As you can see there are many different local marketing tips you can try to implement starting today.

Many of the entrepreneurs mentioned partnerships, and I’ve got to agree that this should be 1 of the 3 you pick to start implementing today if you haven’t done so already.

What are 2 additional marketing ideas you’ll take action on today for your business?