Local Advertising Strategies for Small Businesses

All business owners want the same thing: more foot traffic in their stores to increase sales. The goal of all marketing campaigns, from billboards and coupons to promotional materials, is the same: More foot traffic and more sales.

Small and midsize companies have spent a lot of time and money on traditional advertising campaigns, including local newspaper ads, radio ads, direct mail, telephone book ads, and billboards. But they still don’t get the results they want. Most businesses stick with traditional advertising because digital seems too confusing and expensive.

Traditional advertising works because it’s where people are looking. But those same consumers are also online and aren’t receiving circulars, or if they do, they throw them in the recycle bin.

Digital campaigns can help small and midsize businesses compete with large retailers and restaurants that have national advertising budgets.

Many SMBs don’t realize it is possible and affordable to target consumers near their store by using an online neighborhood-level targeting strategy.

Consider these factors when evaluating your online marketing strategy for SMBs or franchises.

Go digital

Traditional ad campaigns, such as direct mailing, which take weeks to create and implement, are familiar to small and midsize businesses. Digital advertising can be intimidating: it’s too fast, expensive, and only for big companies. This couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth. Digital can create and refine campaigns in real-time, allowing them to craft meaningful and timely messages for their audience. They can also fix them if the drive isn’t working.

Digital advertising also allows for the reuse of existing creative. Content from a direct-mail piece, for example, can be used as the basis of a digital campaign. This saves time and money.

Increase relevance by using data.

Businesses with multiple locations, like regional restaurant chains and franchises, can now harness technology to analyze and combine offline and online data. This allows them to understand their customers better. These business owners can use the data to pinpoint neighborhoods where their potential customers live.

One example was a franchisee of a national chain restaurant that had more than 100 East Coast restaurants. They evaluated the orders made at each location throughout the day. The restaurant identified trends by analyzing traffic patterns and typical demands. It then created online advertising campaigns that were tailored to each site.

Targeting to attract your best customers

Small and multi-location businesses should not target entire DMAs. DMAs can be huge in terms of geography, population, and diversity. They are likely out of reach for a business owner with a few stores.

The US retail market is smaller than the DMAs. Three-quarters of US consumers spend their money at stores within 15 miles of their homes. Businesses can target the most qualified consumers by targeting them at the local level.

To increase sales, an upscale grocery store that has 100 stores across the nation must know the demographics of each neighborhood to provide targeted offers. These stores can use both online and offline data in order to identify the areas that are most interested in certain products, such as Christmas dinner ingredients or Hanukah supplies.

Eliminate wasteful advertising spending.

Digital targeting at the neighborhood level allows small businesses to reach their most relevant customers and drive them to local restaurants or stores for less money than traditional advertising channels.

Businesses can save money by limiting their advertising to neighborhoods where residents are most likely to be interested in their products.

Grow Your Business

Digital advertising is unlike any other form of advertising. It drives qualified shoppers to your store. This includes new local shoppers, “hand-raisers” who visited your website, as well as current and past customers. Digital advertising allows businesses to scale their campaigns as quickly or slowly as they need.

It is time to think about hyperlocal digital marketing strategies that will help you achieve specific revenue targets for your small or mid-sized business.

Small business owners can take control of their marketing by leveraging online and offline data. This will help them to drive sales in areas that are most in need and save time, money, and resources.

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