Local Marketing

10 Small Business Local Advertising Ideas You Can Implement Today

Advertising local businesses is a marathon, not a sprint, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few shortcuts…

Quick summary
  • Successful local business advertising is a huge undertaking, but there are plenty of easy wins out there that can reap big rewards.
  • Traditional local business advertising channels still pack a punch, especially when combined with modern methods.
  • A local SEO and marketing service like Semrush’s Listing Management tool will get your local business advertising off the starting grid a lot quicker.

To get real results out of your local business advertising strategy, you want to leverage every opportunity to get your brand in front of as many potential customers as possible.
While your competitors might be satisfied with obvious methods of advertising a local business, savvy small businesses that need to stand out from the crowd take a multi-channel approach. 
Adding just a few of these local business ads tips to your strategy could make a massive difference to the amount of revenue you’re reporting at the end of the month—and some of them are super simple too!

1. Local online business directories

Online directories are one of the fastest ways to start local advertising for small businesses and submission is usually completely free. 
Posting your listing in the top directories, as well as dedicated local directories, can quickly earn you extra visibility and qualified traffic. Not only that, but a wide citation distribution can also boost your Google local pack and Maps rankings, as the search engine uses NAP data (name, address, and phone number) from other directories to verify your business. 
But submitting to all these directories is a real slog, so leveraging tools that take the legwork out of it can get you some easy local business ad wins in next to no time, freeing you up to move on to the next big idea.

Local business listings distributed by Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Local business listings distributed by Semrush’s Listing Management tool

2. Advertise your small business in the local paper

The traditional way to get eyes on your local business is still effective today. Local advertising for small businesses is the bread and butter of newspapers, which often offer excellent rates to entice buyers away from Google Ads. 
Package deals could include a local business advertisement on the front page of the print edition, an advertorial (a paid advert that resembles an editorial), as well as a mention on their social media pages and website. 
And while you’re in touch with the local paper, consider free opportunities to market your business with them. Pitch a compelling editorial spin on your business such as a newsworthy event, human interest story, or local charity donation via a big novelty check. 
Local reporters are often under a lot of pressure to fill otherwise blank pages, so send a photograph along with your pitch to make life easier for them (local newspapers don’t always have the resources to send out professional photographers these days). 
Stories printed in the local paper can end up in the online edition too, creating an opportunity to get a link to help with your local SEO efforts as well.

3. Encourage locals to advocate for your business

Social proof is a powerful way to convince people to get in touch or visit your location, especially for local businesses that rely heavily on their reputation. 
Asking customers to leave a review where people are discovering your business can be a huge boost for your conversion rates, and there’s no better place to display five shining stars than your Google Business Profile.

Local business reviews in Google’s local pack

Local business reviews in Google’s local pack

Fortunately, Google provides lots of free materials to advertise your Google Business Profile and encourage people to post a star rating. 
Advertise your Google Business Profile on the counter at your brick and mortar store, your vehicles and flyers you hand out to customers.

4. Billboard ads and posters

Classic billboards and bus stop poster ads are still a popular small business advertising channel. 
Real-world display advertising adds credibility to your business and builds trust with users that pass by it on a daily basis. 
However, tracking the impact of this type of local business advertisement is notoriously difficult compared to the sophisticated tracking capabilities of today's digital advertising. 
Consider a call tracking service like Callrail to help you work out if this particular local business advertising method is paying off.

5. Local Facebook and Instagram ads

Facebook and Instagram are a cheap way to invest in local advertising for small businesses. 
Clicks tend to cost less than search engine PPC advertising and you can get creative with discounts, special offers or free samples to entice people to click and share.Plus, you can upload client lists that have opted into marketing so you can retarget people that you know are already interested in your business.

Local business advertising on Facebook

Local business advertising on Facebook

6. Locally targeted Google Ads

The beauty of Google Ads is that you can target users in very specific locations, so you’re only spending money on the most relevant audience. 
Local advertising for small businesses can appear in Google Search results, Google Maps and even in Gmail inboxes. 
And if you take reservations or sell products and services online, Google Ads is one of the best local business advertising channels available for tracking your ROI because you can see exactly how much you’ve spent versus how much revenue each campaign brought in. 
Getting Google Ads right can be tricky if you don’t have much experience, so it might pay to use the services of an agency, freelancer or an AI-powered app like Ads Launch Assistant to make sure you’re not wasting ad spend on irrelevant keywords or targeting areas you don’t serve. Rank tracker: Google Ads is a great way to appear at the top of local results, but you should also invest in local SEO to get your profile positioned organically too. Use Semrush’s Listing Management tool for an objective view of where your business ranks (checking Google yourself by simply searching keywords can show you results that are vastly different to those shown to the average user).

7. Landing pages tailored to your location

Whatever method you use to attract local traffic, you’ll want to make users feel confident that they’re in the right place once they find you. 
A well-optimized landing page not only delivers the best possible user experience, but if you use the right local keywords, you also increase the chances of your content ranking organically. 
And it doesn’t hurt to place a Google Map and use schema code to mark up your NAP data to help users find your location and verify your address to search engines.

8. Sports team sponsorship for advertising local business

Sports clubs suffered massively during the pandemic, with many having to close their doors to supporters and fundraising opportunities along with them. 
Sponsorship is not only a great way to build brand awareness at a local level, but it also positions you favorably in the community, who’ll be more likely to support a business that helps lift up their team. 
Practically all local sports teams offer sponsorship deals, from simple field-side boards to your brand’s logo emblazoned across players’ chests.

A local business advertising board at a soccer club in the UK

A local business advertising board at a soccer club in the UK

9. Flyers and direct mail

It might not be the hottest thing in local business advertising, but sticking paper flyers in people’s hands and through their doors can still drum up a lot of business. 
You can design good-looking flyers yourself with affordable software like Canva, or use the services of a local or online printer to make them for you. 
Flyers often get stuck on people’s refrigerators or pin boards at home, ready to grab when they’re in need of your business’ services.

10. Collaborate with others advertising local businesses

Building relationships with other local businesses that are relevant to yours can bring you new customers with zero investment. 
For example, a car rental company might strike a deal with a hotel to keep a branded vehicle in the parking lot in exchange for handing out accommodation discounts to their customers. 
Referrals are often a primary source of new business for companies prepared to go the extra mile to delight customers. Working with similarly minded companies in your area gives you a whole new audience to advertise to with very little efforts.

Bonus tip: Semrush’s Listing Management tool is a local citation building service local citation building service that rolls out your small business listings to more than 70+ directories—and you only have to submit your details once!

Time saver: Once the reviews start pouring in, you’ll need a way to manage them all and get back to everyone that was kind enough to offer feedback. Semrush’s Listing Management tool lets you reply to reviews across several platforms, saving you a lot of time that could be better spent on other local business advertisement efforts.

Rank tracker: Google Ads is a great way to appear at the top of local results, but you should also invest in local SEO to get your profile positioned organically too. Use Semrush’s Listing Management tool for an objective view of where your business ranks (checking Google yourself by simply searching keywords can show you results that are vastly different to those shown to the average user).

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BONUS: Boost your local business advertising with Semrush’s Listing Management tool

For the ambitious owner, there are plenty of opportunities for advertising local businesses to take advantage of.
But chances are, you don’t have infinite resources to get to them all and a few local business advertising hacks would really help to move things along.
Semrush’s Listing Management tool comes packed with powerful features that make light of the more tedious, time-consuming tasks and gets your local business advertising off the ground in a flash.

Roll out your local business listings quickly

Citation building should be at the top of your local business advertising to-do list, but it’s not a very appealing job for business owners who simply don’t have the time to create 70+ profiles.
Semrush’s Listing Management tool gets the job ticked off your list in minutes flat by allowing you to upload one complete profile that’s distributed to all the important platforms.
Not only that, but you can also edit your details via the tool and update all the platforms at once, saving you a lot of time and the inevitable forgotten login and password frustration.
A screengrab of Semrush’s local business listing editor

Get back to local reviewers the easy way

Advertising local business Google and Facebook profiles at your premises is a great way to build your social proof and send more customers your way.
But a good review generation strategy requires the business to respond to everyone, both as a signal to the platform that you’re actively engaging with users and to build relationships with customers that you want to return.
Semrush’s Listing Management tool lets you reply to reviews across all platforms via one interface and even lets you know if there are any you’ve missed.
The reviews interface in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Check your local small business advertising is doing the trick.

Prominence is an important ranking factor for Google, so if you’re getting your small business advertising right, you should see an improvement in local positions.
But the rankings you see when you search for local keywords yourself are skewed by your user data, so aren’t a reliable indicator of your actual average positions.
Use Semrush’s Listing Management tool to get an objective view of your local rankings and dive deep with the premium feature Heatmap, which shows you positions based on user locations.
Local business rankings in the Heatmap view of Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Keep all your local business advertising in order.

Getting your business’ name out there is eventually going to result in a few errors and duplicate listings that can negatively impact your local SEO.
Being penalized by search engines is the last thing you want after investing so much time and effort in your local business advertising, but these dangerous mistakes can often go unnoticed.
Semrush’s Listing Management tool has your back when it comes to consistent and accurate data on your local business and will promptly alert you to issues that need to be suppressed.
The duplicate suppression feature in Semrush’s Listing Management tool
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