A proper marketing strategy is very important for a small business. This is especially true when it comes to local marketing ideas. However, what if you have very little money to spend on local business marketing strategies? Let’s take a look at some free local marketing ideas you need to try.
There are so many different types of marketing strategies for businesses these days that sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. And while many of them are excellent, most of those are not cheap. Add to that the fact that you are trying to find marketing methods that are free, and things can get tough fast.
Free Local Marketing Ideas You Need to Try
When you think of how to market your business online you think of things like customer retention strategies and other ways to grab the attention of potential clients. You have to put those same thoughts into place when you are coming up with local marketing ideas for a small business.
Grabbing a foothold with your local client base should probably be first and foremost on your list. This is because if you can gain traction and popularity with local customers, chances are that word of mouth will help you nationally. So, to help you along here are 23 free local marketing ideas that you need to try.
1. Google My Business
A Google My Business listing has become one of the best and most important free local marketing strategies available. While there are plenty of free local business marketing strategies you can do, the sheer reach that Google has is hard to pass up.
This free listing will allow your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the side Knowledge panel of Google Search. Be sure to fill your profile out completely and perform proper SEO tactics for it as well.
2. Content Marketing
If you take away anything from this article, remember this; content is king. Actually, good content is king, so keep that in mind. Not only that, but you can create effective content for free.
Good content includes blogging and having a solid about us, services, and products page written on your website. Get all this in place and help drive traffic to your business.
Make sure to tailor your content enough for the local area. This way, it is relevant for nearby shoppers as well as those abroad.
3. Video Marketing
It is estimated that by the year 2021 that video content will account for 82% of all Internet traffic. So video marketing is definitely something you want to cover.
Part of learning how to market your business online is knowing what tools to use and when to use them. As long as you have an effective video marketing strategy in place, reaching your local clients can be done for free.
Thanks to platforms like Facebook and YouTube, you can easily target consumers in your specific area.
4. Develop a Solid Customer Referral Program
Nielsen, the stats and ratings service, tell us that roughly 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family are more important than other forms of advertising. So when you are thinking of free local marketing ideas, make sure that building a solid referral program is on your list of things to do.
You can use a customer referral program as part of your local business marketing strategy. Though you might need to give a free sample or hold a free course, the overall cost of actually building the program can be done for nothing.
5. Build an Email List
You should be building an email list no matter what type of marketing you are using to promote your business. Getting clients and potential clients on a business email list is a sure-fire way for you to be able to keep in touch and make them aware of everything you are doing.
There are a lot of really excellent email services available for you to use as part of how to market the business online. Try some of these out and begin to build an email list that can benefit your small business down the road.
6. Social Media Marketing and Promotion
Managing social media marketing properly will give you a direct outlet to potential local clients. When you are thinking of good ways to market your business online for free, social media marketing should definitely be a part of your list.
Of course, you can run ads on all of the most popular social media platforms. But you can also market to local customers for free.
Just create posts and content from your business pages on social media and blast them on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Share and have others share the content.
Facebook is particularly excellent at reaching a very targeted, local market.
7. Industry Partnerships
One of the key benefits of developing industry partnerships is that you will be able to double your marketing efforts without extra work. You will also gain access to extra resources such as tools, technologies and a broader audience.
An industry partnership allows both businesses to grow in a way that they could not accomplish alone. Of course, you have to have a solid and trusting relationship with the partners. However, doing so allows you to grow even faster.
Peer-to-peer business relationships are very valuable.
8. Use Hashtags in Posts
Using hashtags in your social media posts not only helps you target certain people but can also help you target specific local areas. They cost nothing, and they reach everyone searching for them.
Try them out today. Create a post as part of your local business marketing strategy, create local hashtags, and drive traffic to your business through them.
9. Host an Event or Class
As far as local marketing ideas go, you will be hard-pressed to find a better one than hosting an event or a class. Hosting a class and letting potential clients know what you are all about and what you offer is a great idea. Plus, the only thing you are really giving is your time.
There are a few ways to target your local market better than having people come directly to you and talking to them. Setup a free class and teach people something that is related to your business.
For example, a computer repair shop could hold classes showing novice users how to care for their machines.
10. Host a Webinar
You could also choose to host a webinar as part of your list of how to market your business online. Webinars are even easier to put together than classes or events.
All you need is some webinar software and the ability to get the word out to your community. You can make a presentation, answer questions and pitch services.
Use the platform to connect locally and watch the business flow in.
11. Create Graphics and Infographics In-House
There are some very obvious reasons why having a professional graphic designer is very beneficial for your business. However, you can also create graphics and infographics in-house using a number of free design tools.
Using these tools to create and design for free gives you the upper hand when it comes to free local marketing ideas and how to put them in motion. Once you get to a more ideal situation in your marketing efforts, you can hire a professional designer or design team.
But in the beginning, a lot of design and graphic work can be done for free.
12. Volunteer in Your Community
Charity events and other volunteer opportunities give you a nice outlet for helping to build brand recognition. Potential customers will start to associate you and your business as one that wants to reach out and be a part of the local community.
Volunteering your time for local charities is a great way to leverage local business marketing strategies while at the same time helping others. It could even go so far as to improve your brand’s reputation.
13. Join a Professional Organization
Give your business more connection opportunities to the local market by joining a professional organization. Something like a Chamber of Commerce or other B2B organization is a fantastic way to reach out to your local community.
For instance, a lot of freelancers will join local meetups for the purpose of networking.
14. Connect With Influencers
Part of your local marketing ideas should be to connect with influencers. An influencer is someone who has influence in a certain area and people listen to them when they post on social media or speak somewhere.
These people are already successful at influencer marketing, so partnering with them for your local marketing ideas is an excellent choice.
They already have an audience you may benefit from, and many will trust the advice given from an influencer.
15. Use Employees for Word of Mouth Marketing
As we have discussed before, word of mouth marketing is very strong. People listen to word of mouth suggestions, especially if they are getting the same information over and over.
What better way to get your business into the local market than by using word of mouth? You can do this by getting the help of your employees. Have them spread the word about your business and services to people in your local market.
16. Carefully Manage Your Yelp Presence
I have been on the fence with Yelp for quite some time. Yelp owns all the reviews that go up, so if you get a bad review on your business from someone in a bad mood or from someone who had a one-time bad experience, there is no getting it down.
That being said, Yelp is massively popular. Everyone goes there to read reviews, and it is free to use for your business. Perhaps even more importantly is that it is a great place to gain traction in a local market.
Just manage your Yelp presence carefully and it can be a really good tool for most of your local marketing ideas.
17. Have a Solid SEO Strategy
Yes, SEO can cost a lot of money. However, you can also learn some about it yourself and utilize several free SEO tools to get your business listed properly.
You can also use Yoast SEO on your website and make sure that proper techniques are being utilized in a way that will get your business website listed and ranked on Google.
This isn’t to mention putting in effort for local SEO strategies. And yes, there is a bit of a difference when compared to traditional search engine optimization.
18. Offer Free Consultations
Another really good way to connect with a local area is to offer people free consultations. This will help get them in the door and get them learning and talking about the services you offer.
While this is not a guarantee you will get their business, you still have the chance of spreading brand awareness. This means the potential customer now knows what you do and how you can help for future reference.
19. Ask For Testimonials
A fantastic way to market your business online is to ask current and former clients for testimonials. You can control these better than you can on Yelp, and they are coming directly to you via satisfied clients.
You can then use these testimonials on your company website, business cards, flyers, social media, and more.
20. Give Free Samples
Give some free samples of your product (if applicable) to people in your local community. The best local marketing ideas always start with getting involved within the community personally.
You can hand out these free samples by going around yourself and meeting people. This makes you and your business more likable and memorable to potential clients.
21. Start a Podcast
If starting a podcast pertains to your business in any way, shape, or form, then you should do it. You can create and post podcasts for free on most major platforms including iTunes and Google Play.
Of course, you’ll need a decent server for your audio files. And this might cost a bit extra every month. But the capabilities and marketing value is often worth the expense.
Podcast content gets your brand out there and allows people from all over to connect with you. Definitely look into starting a Podcast for your business today.
22. Be a Public Speaker
If you are given the opportunity to speak at any type of community function or event you should do so. It is free marketing and you can even talk about your business as part of your presentation.
This is a fantastic way to connect with the community and get everyone interested in what you are doing locally.
23. Be Personable and Accessible
One of the most important local marketing ideas you will have is to be personable and accessible. Being personable and allowing customers access is important in the fact that it builds trust between both parties.
Make sure you always treat customers well and give excellent customer service. Clients will always remember this and your business brand will thrive.
Marketing your brand the right way is of utmost importance in the online world we live in. Make sure you are backed by a hosting platform that provides you everything you need to be successful online as well.
Local marketing ideas will come and go. No matter which ideas you choose to run with, make sure you are reaching out to the local community first. The expansion will come from there.