Local marketing has always been a cornerstone of small business.  But it’s turned into a buzz phrase.  The odds are pretty good that no Google employee has ever worked in your town, yet here they are trying to sell you local marketing services.

In fact, if you type local marketing into Google, there are other billion-dollar companies that want you to buy their local marketing services, including Facebook, Hubspot and Podium.  What do these places know about your town?

Probably not very much.

But local marketing doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  Small businesses didn’t have access to big media twenty years ago. Local marketing meant local – advertising in local media, sponsoring local events and mailing flyers to local residents.

Online activities have at least somewhat replaced all three of those.  Radio listening has given way to online music streaming or podcasts.  Local events are advertised online.  And mail volume is way down, in part because Facebook messaging, email and online bill pay is so much faster.  Google and Facebook have become the gateway to your local residents.

Unlike old media, these companies make a ton of money on small businesses.  Google made more than $140 billion in 2019 on ads, and most of that was paid by small and mid-size businesses.  That’s because, unlike older national media, Google can let every company target who they want.  That doesn’t just mean targeting specific towns – you can target only married people, only people who have visited certain websites, or only people who have just moved into town.

The bad news is that these ads are expensive.  The good news is that you don’t have to buy them!

Local Marketing Strategy

A good local marketing strategy is different than it was twenty years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s changed completely.  Personal recommendations are still one of the most effective marketing techniques, whether those recommendations happen in person, over the phone or online.  It’s still important to be part of your community and sponsor local events or activities like Little League teams.  Delivering flyers to residents is still effective for many businesses, although it might be an uncomfortable experience if you’re not a natural salesperson. (Mailing flyers or postcards, on the other hand doesn’t generate many calls for most businesses).

All of these old-school tactics are still important.  But your online presence also needs to be a major focus of any local marketing campaign.

That doesn’t mean paying Google for ads – it means placing high in the search results because you have great online reviews and an active website that specifies your business’s service area.  It means showing up in Facebook feeds because you’re providing valuable tips that help your customers solve problems.  In short, the best way to show up when your customers search for “local painter” is for Google and Facebook to know that you are an active business and that your website is going to provide value to their customers.  It’s going to answer their question.

So when you’re putting together your local marketing strategy, don’t let these companies fool you into dumping all of your time and resources online.  And definitely don’t spend it all on ads.  Instead, spend that time and money making sure that the content you’re putting online answers the questions potential customers are asking:

  • Who provides painting services nearby?
  • What kinds of services?
  • Do they have experience with jobs like mine?
  • Do they do good work?
  • Have their customers had a good experience with them?
  • Are their prices fair?
  • How can I reach them?

Answer these questions, and you’ll get local marketing results online without having to buy pricey ads.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your company find new customers online, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.