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Marketing a local business can be a daunting task when doing it on one’s own. In a recent Digital Drop-In Webinar, Justin Belleme and I explored simple strategies that are actionable, powerful, and doable by most people. While this webinar primarily talked about businesses with physical locations, these same ideas and tools can still apply to businesses without an address. A big thanks to our teammate David Gwaltney for summarizing the webinar into this blog. Read on to learn:

5 Local Marketing Tactics That Work

  1. Facebook Advertising Geotargeting
  2. Google Ads Geotargeting
  3. Partnership Ad Strategies for Events and Attractions
  4. Google My Business
  5. NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) Consistency

Facebook Advertising Geotargeting

Facebook advertising provides a great deal of control of the geographical targeting for ads. Depending on the promotion or goal, you may want to show ads only to locals, tourists, or some combination.  For example, someone traveling to California might still see ads for an event in Asheville because Facebook knows they live in Asheville. They may also see an ad for an event in San Francisco, because Facebook knows they are currently in San Francisco. Facebook uses the location where the person last connected to the internet when accessing the platform and data we enter about ourselves to show relevant ads.

When creating a targeting audience, there are four location options in the drop-down menu:

  • Everyone in this location
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

Everyone In This Location

This is the broadest setting and is Facebook’s default. This setting will include both tourists and locals.To refine further, explore other available options.

People Traveling In This Location

Used to target tourists, this setting works by finding people whose most recent login location was in the selection area, but whose homes are set at more than 125 miles away.

People Recently In This Location

For many promotions, targeting a combination of people living locally and those that are visiting is ideal. Don’t be confused by “recently” in this option. Facebook uses the person’s latest location, which would include any local, day-tripper, or overnight visitor in the selected area.

Google Ads Geotargeting

Google Ads allows geotargeting similar to Facebook. Consider how users word their searches based on their location and intent to build campaigns based on these findings. When they are local, they are most likely to search for things “near me,” especially as voice search continues to increase in popularity. Additionally, it is wise to target tourists who are planning their vacations. These searches will include mentions of the destination city (e.g. “Asheville healthy restaurants”).

Partnership Strategies for Events and Attractions

Contests and Sweepstakes

Contests and sweepstakes are great for attractions, hospitality organizations, and events.

JB Media had great success with a sweepstakes for Visit Cherokee. The prizes from partner organizations included donated items such as multiple nights at the casino, tickets to the theater and museums, and rounds of golf. After a large online promotion campaign, the sweepstakes generated over 15,000 entries requiring an email address, which grew Visit Cherokee’s email list considerably. This same approach can be replicated and adjusted as needed to fit any local business.

Nonprofit Fundraiser Likes Campaigns

A smart and synergistic approach to building a local business’s social following is a nonprofit fundraiser likes campaign.

First, choose a nonprofit that is well-respected in the community with a large, loyal following that aligns with your target audience. Talk with the nonprofit to make sure it is a good mutual fit. Offer to donate $0.25 for every new like for a month. Additionally, develop materials for the nonprofit to share with their audiences on social media and email. Before kicking off the campaign, come to an agreement with the nonprofit on the number of posts they will share to their network. Finally, promote to your own fans and ask them to invite their friends to help support the organization.

In short, this strategy incentivizes the growth of your own page. Ninety percent of the time, likes cost far more than $0.25. Further, this strategy will generate some good will from the nonprofit’s existing audience and community-at-large.

Hosting Instagram/Influencer Meetups & Hashtag Contests

Influencer marketing can also work for a brick-and-mortar location. Host local bloggers and influencers with large social followings at a branded social event. Incentivize them to attend with h’or d’oeuvres, drinks, or other gifts. You could also use this opportunity to provide a small educational talk to inform the influencers of your services.

A similar strategy is to host a hashtag contest. Choose a branded hashtag, provide worthwhile prizes, and then announce the contest to your social networks. This is an excellent method to build user-generated content and spread the word about your business organically.

Identify Movers and Shakers

Building partnerships with like-minded businesses is a great way to expand the reach of your brand. Consider local companies that share similar audiences, know the value of collaboration, and are active and engaged on social media. Once these partners are identified, a social media plan can be created to boost engagement by mutual tagging, mentioning, and reposting the partner.

Facebook Event Pages are another optimal way to connect and promote other partners. Sharing other partner’s events shows engagement in a community and provides opportunities to cross-promote. Stay engaged with an event’s discussions and, whenever possible, attend the event and document them as they occur with photos, video, and posts.

Google My Business

Google My Business is what controls the local listings on Google. These listings include the address, phone number, business hours, photos/videos, and reviews.Google My Business has evolved over the years and now allows chat/messaging, appointment booking, Google Ads management, and Insights.

How to Get Started With Google My Business

  1. Find your listing.
  2. Claim your listing.
  3. Confirm the listing by entering a verification code that is mailed to you or sent by phone.
  4. Edit all of the information to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  5. Make regular updates.

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency

Consistent business name, address, and phone number (NAP) ensures authority and credibility with search engines. The longer a business has existed, the greater the chance there are discrepancies online due to other websites scraping old data. There are tools available to address this issue, including Moz Local and BrightLocal with both of these services offering free and paid options.

Local Business Marketing Success

With all of these strategies, consider that success is based on the size of your network. With any of these strategies, use engagement rates and new followers as key metrics. Remember, the goal is high-quality engagement to build your brand’s reputation.

Want to learn more about digital marketing? Join us for our monthly free Digital Drop-In webinars, attend a bootcamp in Asheville, or enroll in the full JB Media Institute curriculum.