Advertising on the web has changed how buyers and sellers meet up: what used to be the phone book has now evolved to almost exclusively search engines, online directories, review sites and social networks. And while all of these digital mediums are available to anyone, anywhere in the world, many of these offer ways to advertise to your local audience.
In this lesson we’ll cover the basics of local advertising for your business. We’ll explore why local advertising is important, the different places you’ll be able to buy local ads, and the things you can do to limit your reach to a local audience.
First, you have to remember that the Internet is everywhere. That means that if you’re a bicycle shop in East London, people in West London are going to be able to find you online… and people from Sydney to New York City as well. But assuming that someone in New York City isn’t very likely to hop over the pond to buy something from you, it’s probably not going to be a good idea for you to waste your advertising money on people in New York.
And that’s what makes local advertising different - it’s limited to showing your ads to people who are local to you and likely to be - or become - your customers.
You can accomplish local advertising online through a lot of different channels, and search engines, local directories, review sites, and social networks are great places to start.
On search engines, you can bid to show your ad when people type in certain search terms, and all of the major search engines allow you to limit your ads showing to only people in certain locations and geographies. For example, if you were bidding on a keyword like “bicycle repair,” you could set up your campaign to only bid if the person that typed it in was within, say, 10 miles of your bicycle shop.
So, what else? Well, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn offer business pages, as well as paid advertising to target local customers. The social networks can figure out where people are, and just like with search engines, you can specify your ads to show only to people who are nearby with a really relevant, local message.
And of course, the local directory and review websites offer advertising opportunities as well. Over and above your listing, which is usually free, you can often pay a little more to get your ad shown in premium locations like search results or even on your competitors’ listings!
And there are some pretty neat things you can do with local ads that can take advantage of someone being nearby when they see those ads. First, your message can be really tailored to someone that’s physically close to your shop. And lots of local advertising channels offer some unique features. You might be able to list your hours of operation, or only show your ads when you’re open. Or you might be able to let people get directions right to your storefront on a smartphone or mobile device, let them ring your phone number with a single tap, or let them browse all your great reviews.
Local advertising can help you find customers that are close to where you do business, and there are lots of options for running local ads.
Whether you choose to use search engines, social networks, directories or review sites, limiting your advertising budgets to people near you and taking advantage of the special local advertising features can help boost your business in the neighbourhood.
Local advertising is a great, affordable (sometimes even free) way to connect with customers who are close at hand. In this lesson we’ll talk about:
- why local advertising is important
- where you can advertise online to local customers
- some special features of “local” ads.