Marketing your Business Locally
- Make sure your business is in all local search engines like Yellowpages.com, Verizon Superpages, Citysearch.com and AOL's City Guide.
- Sign up for Google Local Business center. Complete the registration online to be listed in their index.
- Use AdSense with geo-targeting and create a Google Local Business ad. Geo-targeted ads are served next to Google Maps right above the Google Local Business results.
- Look for a business directory in the online listings of your local newspaper. Usually you may have a listing on this page for a small fee if it is not free.
- Join the local Chamber of Commerce. There may also be a Hispanic, Jewish, or Black Chamber of Commerce if there is a large ethnic group in your area. Ask about their publications and how you place an ad or flyer in the monthly newsletter.
- Visit your local library and leave an information packet for the reference librarian. Ask him/her for local avenues of advertising. They usually let you place materials on their bulletin board for a certain period of time.
- Go to businesses that provide a complimentary service to yours. Introduce yourself and your business, leave a flyer and a business card. Ask if you may have some of their literature for your customers. For instance, if you own a web design business, approach the local Internet providers and small business alliances. If you run a janitorial service, call the local carpet cleaners and real estate management companies.
- Support a local soccer or t-ball team. The uniforms will have your business name on them and there are several times during the season when there are opportunities for photographs of you and your team.
- Have magnetic signs for your car doors or trunk to advertise your business. The copy should be easily read. Just your business name, phone number, website. If your business name does not give enough information about what service you offer, add a graphic or short phase that does. Do not use http://www.company.com, just www.company.com.
- When selecting a business phone number, play with the last 4-5 numbers to see if you can have a word relevant to your business as part of you phone number. For example, 22CLEAN, 333-WORD, 55DESIGN, 353-CAKE, 47FIXIT, FOR-HIRE. This takes a little creativity, but it makes your phone number easy to remember and puts your business out there where people will see it.
- Business cards are inexpensive. In fact, you may get free business cards from VistaPrint.com. All you do is pay shipping and handling. When you meet someone, give them a card. If a friend asks for your website, give her a card. Drop your cards into the local restaurant lunch giveaway jar. When having your car serviced, pin up your card to their bulletin board.
What other sources of free or inexpensive advertising do you use? Please leave your ideas and suggestions in a comment to this post. Thank you!