If you have a bricks and mortar business, or you want to attract local customers to your home business, it is important to understand what type of local marketing and advertising opportunities exist so that you can choose among them based on your budget and desired results. Local businesses are fortunate today because so many opportunities are available to them to put their marketing on a new level that didn’t exist just a decade ago.
First let’s look at traditional marketing and advertising methods:
* Newspaper – If you want to place an ad in your local newspaper, you may be shocked at how much it will cost. Depending on the circulation of your paper it may cost from $75.00 and up. This can get very expensive if you want full page display advertising.
* Radio Ads – A good radio ad will not only cost you to have it heard, which could be from $200 and up, but you have to pay to get an advertisement created too. That will run you about $1000 dollars to get it right.
* Billboard Ads – Usually you have to pay for an entire year to get a billboard and the cost is usually a monthly fee of about $450 per month. This is not small change, and you also need to hire a graphic artist to create the billboard.
* Bulk Mailing – The cost of bulk mailing if you do it on your own can get quite expensive due to needing to purchase the address list. You only get to use the address list once per purchase, which can cost as much as a dollar per address. The other costs are creating the art and paying to mail the ad. You can pay to be part of some else’s mailing, but you know what you do with those advertisements when you get them – right? (Trash)
Then let’s look at non-traditional marketing and adverting methods:
* Blogging – You probably already have a website. But, if your website does not have a blog, have your web designer add one now. Tell him or her to use self-hosted WordPress; it works great and you’ll be able to use it yourself easily. A blog only costs the time you put into it. You can assign blogging duty to several employees to make it less work. Each person should be responsible for one blog post per week, then you can simply approve them. Shoot for three to five times a week. Of course, daily is better. The cost is only time, and the results in a few months will be phenomenal.
* Online Directories – Yelp!, Google + Local, Bing Local, and any other free directories such as these need to be part of your marketing and advertising strategy. They’re free, so you might as well claim your listing and make the most of them. Again, the only cost will be the time you spend creating your profiles and interacting with customers. More than worth it.
* Pay Per Click – Whether it’s Google, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, you can create what is called pay per click (PPC) advertising. You bid on certain keywords, and if someone searches for those keywords, your advertisement will be one that pops up. You only pay if someone clicks: hence “PPC.” The cost can be as little as five cents a click depending upon the keywords you are trying to rank for.
* Local Search – By participating in blogging and online directories and using local keywords within your website, you’re automatically participating in local search. If you blog regularly, and ensure that you’ve claimed your listings on the online directories, you will automatically become part of local search. It’s very effective and offers a huge return on investment.
Remember that most marketing is not a one-off effort. Most marketing takes time before it starts working. This is why you don’t buy one newspaper advertisement, or one radio advertisement; instead you purchase multiple runs at a time so that your audience has a chance to hear you often, and grow to trust that your business is here to stay. This is true whether you use online or offline advertising.