small business

5 Local Marketing Ideas for Small Business Owners

Marketing is critical to your business’s success. If potential buyers are unaware of your product or service, they can’t become customers. Yet while marketing is important, it can be challenging to know where you should invest your resources.

As a small business, you need to make sure you run local marketing campaigns that offer a positive Return On Investment (ROI). After all, you’re working with a limited marketing budget. 

The good news is that it doesn’t need to cost much to run an effective marketing campaign. Here are five local marketing ideas to help you increase your visibility, generate more leads, and, ultimately, grow your business:

  1. Cross-promote with other small businesses
  2. Get involved in local events
  3. Create a business referral system
  4. Support local charities
  5. Optimize for local SEO

1. Cross-promote with other small businesses

Forming a partnership with other small businesses is a cheap and effective local marketing strategy to grow your business. According to the Edward Lowe Foundation, “cross-promotion is a free form of advertising”. Here are the specific benefits you get from cross-promotion:

  • A slew of new leads
  • Increased recognition of the brand
  • Audience expansion
  • Improved public image

Make sure, however, that the business or businesses you partner with aren’t competitors. The businesses you partner with should offer products or services that complement what you’re selling.

For example, if you own a local bakery, you might want to partner with local cafes and restaurants so they can sell your delectable treats. If you’re selling beauty products, try partnering with your local salon. 

It’s easy to form local business partnerships. You can go to the brick-and-mortar store and personally make your proposal to the owner. If you don’t have the time to stick around and wait for them to arrive, just find out the owner’s name and use email finder tools like Voila Norbert, Hunter, etc. to get their contact details. 

2. Get involved in local events

Marketing is all about generating visibility with your target audience. After all, the more visible you are, the more likely you’ll stay top of mind when someone is looking to make a purchase. The result? They end up purchasing your product or service.

One effective local marketing idea you should explore is local area events. Many people like to support local businesses that are involved in the community. The next time they look for a barbershop, for example, then, your shop is more likely the first shop they visit. 

It’s easy to look for upcoming events in your neighborhood. Here are some of the tools you can use to search for local events:

  • Next Door 
  • Like a Local
  • Time Out  
  • Eventbrite

If you’re looking to get your business’s name out there, you might want to sponsor a local event. You’d need other ways to look for these events, though. These tools I mentioned, after all, don’t show events way before they take place. 

Source: Eventbrite

So, what’s the best way to find out about local events you can sponsor? Well, just ask. 

If the organizers are looking for sponsors for an upcoming event, they’ll probably advertise that request offline and online. All you need to do is get in touch with the event organizers to inquire. Explore neighborhood social media groups as well. 

Try asking your local chamber of commerce, too. If you don’t know where that is, just check your country’s Chamber of Commerce website.

The US Chamber of Commerce site, in particular, has a comprehensive list of the chambers of commerce in each state and each city. Make sure to choose the events that will help you achieve your marketing objectives.

3. Create a business referral system

Here’s another small business local marketing idea. Why not give your word-of-mouth marketing a boost with a business referral system? With this type of system in place, you can expand your reach tenfold. You, after all, incentivize an already existing customer to introduce your business to other people. Incentives make for powerful motivators.

Offer referral incentives like discounts. Pupsik, an online baby and parenting shop, uses incentives like referrals and discounts to generate additional business:

Those who refer their friends earn 250 points when the friend buys something from the store. They can get a reward once they reach a certain number of points. The referral also gets a discount and an additional 100 points. 

You can come up with your own referral system rules. Just make sure that the incentives you give are something your customers and the referrals will want in the first place.

4. Support local charities

When you support a good cause, you don’t just help make a difference. You also pave the way for your business to succeed. According to Score, a whopping 90% of consumers want to know how businesses support charitable causes.

You don’t necessarily have to sponsor to support local charities. You can also help out by volunteering. Maybe you can volunteer to teach underprivileged children on weekends. Or, you can participate in your community’s sweeping drive.

Wherever you are, there’s bound to be something you can do to help. 

Choose a cause you’re passionate about. If you choose one just for the sake of getting your small business’ name in front of potential clients, your strategy will backfire. Remember, people can always see through posers. 

Besides, the benefits aside, wouldn’t it be great to help just because it’s the right thing to do?

5. Optimize for local SEO

Still looking for local marketing ideas? Local SEO should be part of your business development plan. People, after all, are using the internet more and more to find products or services. When they do that, you want to be at the top of search engine results pages.

The higher you rank on SERPs, after all, the better your exposure. The chances of people going to your store, therefore, are higher.

Here are some must-dos for local SEO:

  • Optimize your business profile on Google. You’d need a Google My Business Account for this. Make sure you give all the necessary information. 
  • Add location-based keywords to your main website pages’ names, headings, and body (Example: “Sacramento bakery”). Use Google Keywords to determine the most searched keywords in your area and the relevant ones. Include those in your site’s meta content and URL, among others, too. 
  • Obtain listings in other online repositories, guaranteeing that the information is consistent across all platforms.
  • Create blog posts that are unique to the communities you represent. Make sure they are great content, too. Use email templates for outreach to secure links to these blog posts then and get the content ranking. 

You can also encourage your customers to give you online reviews. Guest posting is also great for SEO in general.

Additionally, get your business listed on Reserve with Google. This will help you monetize the leads you get from your business’s Google profile by prompting them to book an appointment with you directly. You need to have an account with a partner scheduling software to be eligible for the same. 

See how Appointy can help your business with a Reserve with Google listing –>

In closing

If you want to succeed as a local small business, you can’t ignore marketing. You need to promote your products or services, so people will know about them in the first place.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to break the bank for this. In this article, I have shared some cost-effective local marketing ideas that you can execute easily. Cross-promote with other small businesses, get involved in local events, and support local charities. Why not create a business referral system, too? Then there’s optimizing for local SEO.

If you can do all these things, go ahead. If you don’t have the human resources just yet, just choose the ones you can invest your time in.

Local marketing for small businesses is all about putting yourself out there in the community. The key is to know how exactly you can do that.

About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!