How to Get Your Business Noticed Locally

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If you aren’t actively promoting your business in your local area, then you could be missing a trick. Successful businesses recognise the importance of local exposure and the opportunity to use their location to attract potential customers and generate leads from the companies and people who pass their premises on a daily basis.

So how do you go about doing just that? Here are a few local marketing ideas to get you started. Most of them are inexpensive, quick and easy – why not try them out and see how your business benefits in your local business community?

Sign up for a free Google Business Profile

While out and about people constantly search for businesses that supply what they want, there and then. People use terms like ‘XYZ business/service near me’ or ‘XYX business/service in location’. The Google search results displayed are then based on the users’ proximity to that business, as well as a bunch of other factors. This also works when people are at home in the research phase of buying a product or service.

If you want to be in the search engine results mix and display your business on Google Maps it’s vital you sign up for a Google Business Profile or claim your business listing if Google has already discovered it.

When completing your business profile don’t do this half-heartedly. If you want more local customers be prepared to tell them everything. This includes things like opening times, submitting relevant images, writing a persuasive business introduction and ensuring you submit your listing to the correct business category.

Once you’ve completed the above be sure to share your review link with existing customers, friends, family and anyone that interacts with you. The more reviews you receive the more exposure you will get locally and you’ll build a loyal following. You should also be prepared to deal with negative reviews in a positive, professional manner as your future customers will see how you respond.

Attend local networking events

Properly managed networking events like those offered by BNI give you an important opportunity to share your experience with others and to benefit from their knowledge too. Do your homework first to research the companies, nearby business circles and the issues that will be discussed.

Networking is an important skill, and a valid way of making new connections with people, businesses and opportunities. It’s vital to find ways to make your business stand out to encourage others to engage with you, your products and your services.

You’ll benefit from increased exposure, make new business contacts and build a positive image for your own company through business networks and local groups, as well as widen your professional network and showcase your business.

Add attention-grabbing signage to your business premises

An exterior sign will help to advertise your business and attract new and existing customers. Liaise with the professionals – they’ll advise on design, placement, materials and even planning permission if it’s required. And you’ll be sure that the graphics advertising your business are crisp and professional.

Outdoor signs are powerful marketing tools that are cost-effective and play a vital role in helping your potential customers to find your business. If you’re difficult to find, then use signage approaching your location to assist with entry and parking where appropriate.

If you’re open at night, you might want to consider illuminated signage. Whatever you choose, attractive signage will enhance your building and make sure more customers have access to information before they enter your doors.

Add seasonal banners to the outside of your building

How about adding a touch of seasonality to ring the changes? Particularly if your business has a seasonal angle, or if there are certain times of the year when people buy a particular product from you.

Again, consult the experts. They’ll help with design and placement, and make sure your seasonal banner will withstand the elements for the period of time it will be in use.

Seasonal banners with a custom message printed serve to add a touch of interest, compliment your existing signage and give you an opportunity to communicate different messages to a local audience across any timeframe.

Consider a Google Ads campaign that targets only a small radius close to your business

If you’re a new business or have only recently launched a website you’re unlikely to receive much organic search traffic. Google is only just finding out about your business website.

In conjunction with a Google Business Profile, you may want to promote your products and services using Google Ads. This is Google’s ‘Pay-Per-Click’ platform. You pay for every click coming to your website.

Google is very good at spending your money so you need to set Adwords up carefully. Here are a few simple tips.

  • Only show your ads within a specific radius, town or postcode. If you’re a local restaurant you don’t want people from the other side of the country seeing and clicking your ad, consider how far people will travel to your business
  • Input your opening times. If you’re a local printer do you want people to see your ads outside of business hours?
  • Check your cost per click. As a small business owner, you don’t want to bid £5 a click for a £10 item, that will quickly drain your budget and any profits
  • Test the landing page. Ensure you’re sending people to the correct page of the website for the service you’re advertising and ensure it works!
  • Add negative keywords. If you’re a local mortgage advisor you’ll want people to see your ads that are looking for mortgage advice, not those looking for a mortgage advisor job. Therefore you might want to set up negative keywords that block informational searches and help you target buyers. You might want to block words like job, free, why, what, who, sample, history, career, salary etc

Advertise in a local newspaper or monthly publication

Local media still wins attention, with much of it now online, reacting to changing communications preferences. Local advertising via local media is inexpensive and will give you both visibility and a profile.

If you have a special event or are celebrating a milestone – maybe 10 years in business – then a profile or professional ad in your local press can give you valuable exposure and prove an effective marketing tool.

Set up a direct mail campaign

A local direct mail campaign will give you a unique opportunity to talk directly to your local audiences, with a focus on how local you are and how convenient it is to deal directly with a local business.

A few things to consider. Invest in professional assistance from a company that understands how direct mail works and how it could work for you – it will be worth the time and money. They’ll help you buy a quality mailing list, to keep on the right side of GDPR and advise on the materials you can mail and also help save money on your mailing costs.

They’ll even help manage your contacts if this is the route you choose.

Get exposure with help from related businesses

Work with other local small businesses that provide a service complementary to your own. Networking may help here too to identify like-minded companies who see the benefit of cooperating to develop business organically.

This could be as simple as leaflets or promotional materials and free samples you each hand out to your customers, directing them to other businesses they may like to patronise, possibly with a financial incentive to do so, right through to joint events and customer invites to showcase your work.

Working cooperatively with other business owners will reduce your costs and help to maximise your results and increase awareness.

Host an event

This can be an important step if your business could benefit from getting people through the door to demonstrate its potential and capabilities. As an example, if you own a venue you could open your doors for people to have a good look around, perhaps with a free glass of fizz, and invite local business owners that might want to use your space.

If your business provides a service, then local events like an open day will help you to communicate exactly what it is that you do to potential new customers and local consumers.

Alternatively, if your business impacts neighbours, with additional traffic and daytime noise, then an open event could help you to open up new channels of communication and address any issues you all face.

Cold call

We all think we hate it and can’t do it, but it could give you a unique angle to connect with other local businesses. Why not give it a try? Your products and services may be of real interest and use to other small business owners and local communities around you. Call in face to face, introduce yourself, maybe leave details on an introductory offer and get your local business noticed.

Have a voice online

Don’t think of social media platforms just as a place where you can promote your products and services. It’s part of your online marketing strategy – use it to develop a voice and a personality for your business by expressing positive opinions or balanced critique on local matters.

You’ll benefit from being recognised as an on-brand company that is willing to engage in local debate through social media, with a sense of local responsibility and a real interest in your local community.

Volunteer locally

Why not? It’s rewarding too. If you’re a tradesman, maybe you could volunteer a few hours each month for a local charity, wearing your own branded workwear! If you’re a bigger business, why not involve your employees by nominating a charity each year and holding fun events where money can be raised for the charity – from dress-down Fridays to bake sales?

You may well have employees who already engage with a charity for reasons of their own, and adding the weight of company fundraising can make a real difference for them, too.

In addition, the charity will repay you by giving your business the oxygen of publicity through their own channels!

Include magnetic signage or a vehicle wrap on your car

Your car or your vans, if you have a fleet, are a window to the world. Consider investing in signs or vehicle wraps, and use interesting graphics to attract attention to you, your business and your potential for your target audience. 

This is a specialist field so you should seek the design and production capabilities of experts to create an exciting new image for your small business and attract prospective customers.

Conclusion

Promoting your business in your local area can be fulfilling and ultimately commercially rewarding. Linking with other local partners can open new doors and result in a totally new way to generate leads through cooperation and information.

It’s time to look at your location in a completely new way. From generating a Google Business Profile to installing signs, engaging with local businesses and local networking and participating in social media, there’s a whole range of new business opportunities out there!

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