Local business owners have a lot of options for promoting their business online, and may not be aware of all the things you can do to help drive traffic to your business. Remember that even as a local business, most people in your local community are using smartphones and the internet.

Unless your business is located in a very small town where everyone goes to the same hardware store and knows each other by first name, you cannot underestimate the effectiveness of online marketing.

In this handy article we’re going to show you a few creative marketing ideas you can do online for a local business. After reading through, you can check out this blog which contains even more small business marketing ideas.

Set up your Google My Business and Yelp

If you haven’t already, you should immediately add your business to Google My Business as well as Yelp.

Google My Business is a free service that allows you to completely manage your online presence on Google searches, as well as Google Maps – the latter being quite important for a local business.

It should be noted that a Google My Business listing should not be used as an alternative or replacement for having an actual website, but rather used as a complementary service. For example, you can embed a Google Map on your website, set to your business location.

As for Yelp, many business owners make the mistake of believing it is mostly a restaurant review service. This is quite untrue, as only 19% of businesses reviewed on Yelp are in the restaurant category. It may be the highest category, which gives Yelp that reputation, but all local business types have a place on Yelp.

reviewed business by category statistics

As you can see from this chart, shopping doesn’t fall far behind restaurants, followed by home and local services. Nightlife is actually the least reviewed business category, but to be honest, Yelp currently has 141 million users, so 2% is still a lot of people.

Start blogging

Blogging is a great way to promote your business and help yourself climb the Google search rankings. But of course, your blog should have a purpose, and not necessarily simply promoting your business or your 4th of July sales (that’s what social media is for).

Your blog should serve to illustrate that you’re an expert in your particular niche. So for example, if you own a mechanic and auto-parts shop, you should blog about things like car maintenance, going a bit in-depth on topics like using alcohol in air brake systems, mentioning specific products you have in stock, etc.

If you aren’t a talented writer, that’s okay – you can even outsource the writing to a freelancer or creative writing industry. The point is, your blog should be a source of valuable information, not a daily diary for your business.

Social media pages

Having social media pages is a great way to interact with the local community and people within your area, but I’m sure you’re already aware of that. One great thing you can do however, which is often overlooked by local business owners, is how precisely you can dial Facebook ads to an exact audience.

Business pages can purchase ads on Facebook, but you can get really in-depth with exactly who will see your ads. This can save you a lot of money on advertisements, and help you experiment to discover exactly who your target audience is.

For example, let’s say you want ads displayed to everyone between the ages of 18 – 45 within a 25 mile radius. That might cost a bit, right? But if you narrow it down – say, displaying your ads to only women between 18-25 in a 25-mile radius, that will drop the price of the ads a bit.

Now you can experiment with this – displaying your ads to various demographics, and monitoring your ad performance, to figure out which demographic gets the most engagement.

Partner with other local businesses

Finally, partnering with other local businesses in your area can be beneficial, especially through social media. You might agree to mention each other’s businesses on your social media pages, or host a local community event together. A daycare, for example, could mention sales being run by a local children’s boutique, while the boutique mentions the daycare’s enrollment offerings.

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