Local Business Marketing: 50 Ways To Promote Your Small, Locally-Owned Biz

By Raubi Perilli |

  | Apr 27, 2017  /  Solutions |

Local business marketing is different from big brand marketing or national advertising. It’s more targeted and intentional and requires a stronger focus on community, connection, and creativity.

To help you develop marketing ideas that fit these criteria, we’ve put together 50 ways for you to reach your local market and promote your small to mid-size business. These local business marketing ideas will work for you if you run a restaurant, boutique, service-based business, or anything in between.

  1. Host networking events. Give a big group of people a reason to visit your store by hosting a meet-up for like-minded groups

  2. Present live product demos. Allow customers to see how your products work. Hold live product demo presentations where customers can see products in action and try them out for themselves.

  3. Host educational training sessions. Share the special knowledge you have in your industry by holding info sessions or live training sessions.

  4. Host workshops. Show your customers how to put your products to work by hosting workshops that use items from your product line.

  5. Host featured speakers. Bring in an expert or well-known person in your industry to host a seminar or lead a presentation.

  6. Plan an event outside of your business. Don’t be restricted to hosting events in your business. Connect with local training facilities, parks, or recreation centers to host an event in their space.

  7. Be a speaker. Support your local business marketing efforts by putting yourself center stage. Be a speaker or presenter at a local conference, training seminar, or panel.

  8. Offer an activity experience at your store. Give customers a reason to visit your store for more than just products or services. Offer an experience along with a purchase by providing something visitors can “do” while shopping.

  9. Create a “must-see” exhibit. Develop an interesting feature that customers will want to see in person and use as a photo opp.

  10. Break a world record. Generate interest for your business by creating an experience or product that breaks a world record.  

  11. Sponsor an event. Get your name out there without the responsibility of hosting an event yourself by sponsoring events hosted by other local organizations or businesses.  

  12. Coordinate a photo promotion. Host photo promotions where your photographers capture images of event attendees or shoppers and allow them to access the images by providing their email address or phone number.  

  13. Go to networking events. Meet people in your area and spread awareness about your business by attending local networking events that are mostly likely to attract your target audience.

  14. Set up booths at local markets. Create a mini-store by setting up a booth at a local market that features independent vendors and local small businesses.

  15. Participate in local business fairs. Communities frequently hold events to highlight locally owned businesses. Set up a table to increase awareness about your establishment.

  16. Join the Chamber of Commerce. Get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce and utilize the resources they have to help promote your business and connect with other local business owners.

  17. Apply for local business awards. Research local organizations or media outlets that offer awards to local businesses and apply.

  18. Organize a community fundraiser. Make a name for yourself and support your community by organizing a fundraiser that benefits a local initiative.

  19. Donate prizes to local fundraisers. Participate in fundraisers hosted by others by donating products or services to raffles and auctions.

  20. Sponsor a local sports team. As a smart local business marketing tactic, draw attention to your store by sponsoring a youth sports team in your community.

  21. Spread the news. Get local press coverage by connecting with local media outlets and sending press releases when your business has a newsworthy story.

  22. Act as an industry expert interviewee. Leverage what you know about your industry, products, or services by connecting with local media outlets and offering yourself as an interviewee about select topics.

  23. Write for local publications. Share your knowledge or unique expertise by writing a column for local publications to attract attention and support your local business marketing.

  24. Publish regular blog posts on your website. Deliver your industry knowledge and business news through your own media outlets by regularly publishing blog posts that help engage readers.

  25. Create a conversion-optimized website. Get the most out of your website by using it not just as a brochure, but rather as a lead generation tool that captures audience data through engaging opt-in offers.

  26. Stay in touch with customers through email. Collect customer contact information through opt-ins on your website and in-store sign-ups, and regularly communicate with customers by sending a regular email newsletter.

  27. Stay in touch with customers through text messaging. Create another line of communication with your target audience by collecting phone numbers and engaging in text marketing.

  28. Create remarketing opportunities. Add a code to your website that allows you to “cookie” audiences who visit your website so you can retarget and remarket to them.

  29. Join online business directories. Draw online attention to your business by joining business directories like Google, Yelp,  Bing, Foursquare, and any other industry-related directory site.

  30. Increase visibility on local business directories. Create profiles and advertise on local business directories like MyArea Network that attract a local audience.

  31. Connect with local bloggers. Search for local bloggers and social media influencers who review businesses in your area and invite them to experience your business in exchange for a review on their website.

  32. Generate customer reviews. Develop a plan that encourages customers to leave feedback on well-known review websites. Also, highlight positive reviews online and in your location.

  33. Engage in local SEO. Don’t focus on just general digital marketing practices. Use local SEO tactics to increase your chance of showing up in the results of searchers who are in the same area as your business.

  34. Utilize pay-per-click advertising. Increase your chances of showing up on search engine result pages even more by paying to appear at the top of the page.

  35. Hypertarget local searchers. Use geotargeting to ensure that your paid search ads only show to people who are in the same area as your business.

  36. Direct mail offers to local customers. In your local business marketing, also use geotargeting to connect with audiences offline. Provide direct mail offers to customers based on their zip code and proximity to your business.  

  37. Offer “zip code discounts.” Give local customers even more of a reason to support your local business by offering discounts to nearby customers based on their zip code.

  38. Host a scavenger hunt. Hide products or coupons in your city and use social media to give clues to where customers can find them.

  39. Create customer loyalty programs. For local store marketing, encourage customers to come back again and again by offering customer loyalty programs for regular shoppers and guests.  

  40. Create customer referral programs. Get customers to help promote your business by creating referral programs that reward existing customers for bringing in new customers.

  41. Create a team of brand ambassadors. Develop an even more loyal group of brand advocates by creating a team of ambassadors that receive freebies and special promotions in return for promoting your business at events and through social media.

  42. Highlight customer generated content. Review user-generated content such as photos and comments that users share about your business online, and feature them in your store or through your own social media profiles.

  43. Host an in-store giveaway. Draw customers to your location by promoting a big giveaway that customers must register for in your store.

  44. Hold regular business card drawings. Collect customer information by asking guests or shoppers to drop their business card in a bowl for a chance to win a weekly freebie.

  45. Give business cards to your whole staff. Enable your entire team to help with your local business marketing by giving them business cards that they can share when talking about where they work.

  46. Cross-promote with other local businesses. Don’t consider every business in your area a competitor. Look at other local businesses as an opportunity to share customers. Find ways to cross-promote and form partnerships that usher customers back and forth between your businesses.

  47. Coordinate with local hotels. If your business is in a city that attracts tourists, work with local hotels to create marketing plans that draw guests from their lodging accommodations to your business.

  48. Be personable in person. Local business marketing is all about relationships. Make your customers feel welcome and at home in your store. Remember regulars by name and don’t hide in the back of the store. Be approachable and form connections with your customers.

  49. Be personable online. Also, present the personable attitude on your social media. Share photos of your staff, offer behind the scenes looks and talk to your followers like a friend, not a faceless brand.

  50. Make sure people know you are locally-owned. Being a locally-owned small business is a big selling point to many customers. So make sure your community knows that you are a local business worth supporting.  

With this list of local business marketing ideas, you have no excuse for not developing fun and creative ideas that promote your business to local audiences.

But, if you need help flushing out your specific strategies or executing your big ideas, we’re here to help. MyArea Network specializes in promoting locally owned businesses, and we’d love to see how we can help you make a bigger impression on your community.

Contact us today for a free consultation on ways we can help with your local business marketing plans.