Businesses who are looking for a cost-effective way to connect with customers and prospects in their local market should consider advertising digitally if they’re not doing so already. Consumers are spending an increasing amount of time online, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, and local digital advertising allows a business to have an online presence 24/7. Local digital advertising also offers precision targeting and a faster and wider reach.
For those businesses looking to digitally connect with their local audience, there are some definite best practices to follow:Claim and Optimize Your Profile
All businesses should claim their free local ad spots by logging into Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local and walk through the verification steps. Once this is done, descriptions, titles and categories should be optimized for specific keywords that will help customers find them.
Emphasize Why Local is Better
Too many local businesses create ads putting emphasis on proximity only without telling the prospect why doing businesses with local merchants adds real value to their lives. For instance, a pizza shop that advertises as “Your Neighborhood Pizza Joint since 1988” tells the consumer nothing about why they should buy pizza from that joint instead of the other joint on the next street over. But an ad that says “We use locally sourced ingredients on our pies!” tells prospects much more and gets them in the door.
Use Real Photos in Ads
One of the reasons consumers choose a local business over a national brand is because they don’t want to give their money to an impersonal corporation. Many of these larger corporations will use stock imagery on their websites and in their ads. Local businesses should leverage their location by including real photos of their business and customers in every piece of messaging.
Make Your Ad Visually Appealing
For ads to be effective they must be visually appealing; local ads are no exception. Written text should be balanced with attractive visuals and information shouldn’t be crammed in. Negative space – that space around the words and images – is just as important as the rest of the ad.
Include Local Details
Local businesses can convey their trustworthiness and value in a few different ways:
- By including feedback and reviews from local customers in their ads
- By mentioning any awards they have won as well as community events with which they are routinely involved
- By including a phone number and address, which proves to prospects they are conveniently nearby
Use a Variety of Tactics
Just because a business is small doesn’t mean they have to think small when it comes to filling a customer funnel. Local marketers must integrate paid, earned and owned media channels into their mix to be able to drive direct response and organic traffic, retarget existing audiences, establish long-term engagements with customers and create more brand ambassadors.
Keep Local Pages Up-to-Date
Search engines prefer to rank websites they feel are current and relevant to users. One way business owners can appear current and relevant is to regularly add fresh content to their sites through an attached blog, create new sub-pages and refresh content on local webpages by adding new photos or video.
Engage with the Local Community
Many business owners still debate the efficacy of social media for local markets. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t usually a good source for conversions, they can be a great source for getting involved with the local community. Having active accounts on Google+, Facebook and Twitter is a great way to see what community members are talking about –what they care about – and what their current concerns are. Getting involved in events through social media is one of the best ways to make a positive impact in the local community.
In an increasingly global marketplace, where large, faceless companies have traditionally dominated, small businesses can now compete and stand out as viable options for consumers. When combined with other tactics, local digital advertising offers small business owners a cost-effective way to reach potential customers in their own backyard.