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7 local marketing ideas to boost your business

Local marketing ideas: Woman at register of coffee shop

Key takeaways

  • Local marketing tactics focus on customers who have the highest likelihood of visiting your business in person
  • You can save money by focusing on local consumers rather than dedicating marketing dollars to potential customers outside your local area
  • Local marketing relies on a mixture of online and offline tactics to grow your business

As a small business owner, it seems logical that you’d want to have a wide reach when it comes to promoting your business. But local marketing ideas can have a much higher impact on your local business.

Local marketing tactics focus on the customers nearest to your business location. It hones in on the people who are most likely to frequent your store rather than people far across the web or from other cities or states.

Whether your small business is located within a big city or small town, local marketing ideas can boost your bottom line. Discover the ins and outs of local marketing to reach more potential customers in your local area.

What is local marketing?

Local marketing is any marketing campaign or advertising effort that focuses on a local target audience within a small radius of your store, salon, restaurant, or other small business. This range is typically within 50 miles of your physical location.

Effective local marketing tactics cast a small net on the local market rather than trying to reach a large audience that isn’t within the vicinity of your business. Local marketing tactics are especially helpful if your sales are driven by in-store purchases or you don’t have ecommerce capabilities. 

Why are local marketing strategies so important for small local businesses? Research shows that over 90% of consumers won’t travel more than 20 minutes to make a purchase from a store. You want to find consumers who are close to you and have the highest potential of becoming actual customers.

7 local marketing ideas to win over customers in your community

Small- to medium-sized businesses that rely on foot traffic can greatly benefit from local marketing tactics. Here are seven local marketing ideasboth online and offlineto consider for your business.

1. Improve your local SEO

Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a powerful tool for reaching local customers. Search engine optimization relates to improving your website to help you appear higher on search engine results.

Research shows that 93% of consumers use the internet to research local stores before giving them their business. Beyond that, 34% of consumers are researching local businesses online every day.

There are specific methods you can use online to gain higher visibility within your local area. One of these tactics includes optimizing your business website by adding relevant local search terms to your site’s written content. Over 45% of all Google searches are geared towards local information, including local businesses.

But how do you know what people are searching for in your area? You can uncover valuable local search terms by using a keyword research tool.

Brainstorm some relevant terms that people might be searching for in your area. For example, if you own a mechanic shop, potential customers may be searching terms like “best mechanic in Minneapolis” or “cheap oil change in Orlando.” You can then insert these terms on your website to improve your overall visibility on search engines.

2. Leverage social media marketing

There are several ways to leverage social media to connect with local customers. You can use platforms like Facebook for lead acquisition and to advertise your current promotions to local users.

You can start by posting relevant content about your industry that people may find interesting or informative. For example, if you’re doing auto repair marketing for your car shop, you could post informative articles about when to buy new tires or how often vehicle owners should get an oil change. You could even encourage engagement by offering exclusive discounts for people who share your posts.

Another way you can increase your brand exposure is by running contests. They’re a great way to generate buzz around your business and boost social media engagement. For example, you could run a contest that offers free products for winners in exchange for sharing your post or engaging with your social content. Just make sure you’re following local laws and regulations surrounding contests and giveaways.

You can also acquire leads for your business by using social media pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC ads are digital advertisements that charge you only when someone clicks on your post. Digital marketing, like Facebook ads, can be highly targeted to a local audience and specific demographics, including age, gender, and current location.

3. Claim your Yelp Business Page

A Yelp Business Page expands your online presence and allows potential customers to check out your business before committing to a visit or purchase. It also gives customers a centralized place online to research your business.

Customers can find details like your business description, phone number, store hours, and photos on your business listing. Beyond that, they can read real customer reviews and testimonials from people who have visited your business.

Online reviews greatly influence whether potential customers choose to patronize a particular business. More than 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, and 84% of them trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend.

A Yelp Business Page also enables you to respond to customer reviews—either positive or negative—and gives potential clients a sneak peek of the great customer service you provide. 

Lastly, having a Yelp Page gives you a quick win when it comes to online searches. Yelp ranks high on search engine results, especially when consumers are searching for businesses “near me.” Claiming your page and having a complete profile will increase your chances of showing up in those local results.

All in all, a Yelp Business Page can elevate your online presence and give local customers an effective way to research your company.

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4. Network at local events

Local events are an excellent way to interact with local consumers. You’ll be able to build brand awareness, get to know your current (and potential) customers face-to-face, and possibly boost your overall sales.

There are a few effective approaches to local events. You can decide to organize a local event yourself, set up a booth at a local trade show, or sponsor a local event.

For example, you could sponsor a local sports team and have your name visible at sporting events throughout the year. You could also support a non-profit and attend events like community clean-ups. This approach will be especially beneficial for your company’s image and show that you’re giving back to the community.

Each of these local marketing ideas will get eyes on your business and show the authenticity of your brand to your local community—whether you own a lawn care business, auto repair shop, or cleaning company.

5. Build a loyalty program

A customer loyalty program can build relationships with current customers and drive recurring sales. Customers are positively influenced by loyalty programs and return to businesses to save money and receive free or discounted products.

For example, a coffee shop owner can implement a stamp card to encourage customers to revisit their cafe. For every coffee purchase, customers receive a stamp that can then be used to redeem a free drink or other product once the stamp card is full.

But a loyalty program is more than giving out discounts or products after a customer makes several purchases. Customers want to know you care and are offering a unique and personal touch. For instance, you can give your program members special gifts or promotions throughout the year. Maybe you offer members free products or a complimentary service on their birthday or certain holidays. With each returning visit, you have an opportunity to deliver quality customer service and an excellent experience to ensure customers return time and time again.

6. Create a referral program

Referral programs put marketing efforts in the hands of your customers, turning them into brand ambassadors, which is just a fun way of saying marketers. Such programs incentivize customers to promote your business and increase brand awareness through word of mouth. New customers are four times more likely to do business with a company when it’s referred by a friend.

Referral programs are simple to implement and are among the most affordable local marketing ideas. Let’s say you operate a hair salon in your neighborhood. You can create a referral program that gives a discount to any current customers who refer a friend to your shop. At the same time, you can extend a new customer discount to first-time clients.

7. Start using email marketing

Email marketing can be incredibly useful for local businesses. It provides a means to stay in touch with previous customers and supplement your other local marketing efforts.

Over 85% of local businesses leverage email marketing because it’s an easy, low-cost alternative to other marketing efforts. It also allows you to build a personal connection with people on your email list.

You can nurture leads by sending newsletters, promotions, or links to articles on your website. Recipients also appreciate a personal touch. Emails that have personalized subject lines have a 20% higher open rate than general subject lines.

Email marketing can also strengthen other marketing strategies, like your loyalty and referral program. You can use your email communications to stay in touch with your current customers and promote your referral and loyalty programs.

Before you start email marketing, you’ll need to build an email list. You can grow your email list by offering an in-store incentive, like a complimentary product, gift with purchase, or discount. You can also have email sign-up forms on your website and social media posts.

Bigger isn’t always better

Gaining new business requires that you cater your marketing efforts to reach customers who are nearest to you. Instead of spending time and money on potential customers who may not even be within 50 miles of your business, focus on those who can create real foot traffic at your business time and time again.

Loyalty programs, local SEO, and a Yelp Business Page are just a few local marketing ideas that can bring customers through your door and grow your business. To further strengthen your position in your local area, give some of these online growth strategies a try.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.