Your business is awesome.

You know it. Your employees know it. Your partners know it.

But do local consumers know it?

No matter how great your business is, it doesn’t really matter if customers don’t come through the door, right?

That’s where local marketing comes in.

With the right small business advertising tactics, you can put your name in front of consumers in your community, drive more foot traffic, and boost sales.

But what are the best local business advertising channels to use?

Let’s get right into it.

Here’s how to promote your business locally to drive the most results.

The 5 best local advertising channels for small businesses

There are dozens of local marketing tactics out there just waiting to be added to your strategy.

And while having all those options may seem like a good thing, it can make it difficult to know where to start.

Not to mention, it can be hard to determine which of those marketing tactics are actually effective.

That’s why we did the hard part for you.

Here are the top 5 best small business advertising channels you should focus on to win big.

1. Paid search

All hail the most effective marketing tactic for local businesses: paid search.

Paid search is when you pay to place ads on the search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase site traffic. This strategy is also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising because instead of paying a flat fee, your business is charged each time someone clicks on your ad.

You’ve likely encountered PPC ads countless times when scrolling on Google or Bing. These ads appear on the top and bottom spots of the SERPs and are marked with a bolded “Sponsored” tag. All the results that appear between paid posts are organic.

Search engine results pages with the first two results highlighted with purple arrows pointing to them and the "sponsored" tag circled

The beauty of paid search is that it puts your business in front of the right customers — aka, people who are actively searching for your offerings. This strategy is also relatively fast-working and highly measurable.

To secure a PPC ad, you have to bid on the keywords you want your ads to be associated with in the SERPs. Because up to seven paid ads can appear on one page, Google will determine how to rank them based on things like bid amount, ad quality, and ad relevance.

2. Email

Ten bucks says you’ve received hundreds of marketing emails in your life, so you’re probably pretty familiar with this tactic. This digital marketing channel enables you to connect with consumers directly to boost brand awareness, promote products, and keep customers engaged.

Did you know 50% of consumers are influenced to make at least one purchase per month by marketing emails? That should be a pretty compelling reason to implement this strategy in your local marketing.

Don’t know where to start? Consider the following email types:

  • Promotional emails: These emails inform consumers of new products, sales, and special offers.
  • Newsletters: With these regular email sends, you can bring subscribers company updates, new product releases, blogs, and more.
  • Transactional emails: These automatic emails include things like order confirmations, abandoned cart messages, and thank you emails.
  • Welcome emails: Welcome customers to your email list and encourage them to browse your products.
  • Lead nurturing emails: Nurture emails focus on moving consumers through the marketing funnel by engaging and eventually converting interested leads.

3. Organic social

Social media is king in the modern age — like it or not. In fact, 62.3% of the global population uses social media (that’s over 5 billion users!). That’s why organic social is a tactic you just can’t ignore.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to do any TikTok dances or post about what’s “living in your head rent-free.” Social media is just another way to put your business on the map by meeting consumers where they are. Plus, it’s a great way to build rapport with community members and earn customer trust.

Instead of creating a business account for every social media platform, focus on one or two channels where your target audience is most prevalent. For example, if you cater to a younger audience, Instagram or TikTok may be your best option. If your target demographic is middle-aged or older, you might have more luck with Facebook.

Once you’ve created your accounts, it’s time to start posting. Here are some organic social media content ideas you can implement into your strategy:

  • Promotional posts: Showcase new products, sales, and events to drive more traffic to your store or website.
  • Employee spotlights: By recognizing one of your employees or customers on your page, you can build greater relationships with your community. (Learn how we helped a telecom company boost engagement by 4,500% with employee spotlight posts!)
  • Customer testimonials: Got a positive review that makes your business look great? Post it on social! 72% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
  • Company updates: Has your company reached a major milestone, received an award, or participated in a big event? Be sure to share these exciting updates with your audience.
  • Culture posts: People love people. That’s why photos that show the human side of your business make you come across as more authentic to your customers. This can include things like goofy photos of employees, holiday party photos, and event photos.
  • Contests and giveaways: Hosting online contests and giveaways is a great way to boost engagement.
  • Memes: Don’t underestimate the power of a good meme. If it makes sense for your audience, posting funny and relevant memes is a great way to gain a positive image and make your business stand out.

4. Paid social

When it comes to social media, paid social is a whole different ballgame — but it’s just as effective (if not more so) as organic. This local business advertising tactic is ideal for ensuring visibility and closing in on your target audience by putting content in front of those most likely to buy. Then, you get access to audience data and performance metrics to gauge how your ads are doing.

There are lots of paid ad types, depending on the social media platform you choose, but let’s dig into the main three.

Image ads

Image ads are the most popular paid ad type across pretty much any social platform you can think of. These visually engaging ads catch consumers’ attention with attractive imagery and concise messaging. They also include limited copy in the body of the post.

Curology sponsored Facebook ad

You can use image ads to promote just about anything, from products and services to promotions and sales.

Carousel ads

Carousel ads combine multiple photos into a single ad, displaying them side-by-side with an arrow users can click to rotate between images. Because carousel ads have so many interactive elements, they generate excellent click-through rates.

Chewy Facebook carousel ad

Here are some of the best use cases for carousel ads:

  • Promoting multiple products from the same category or collection
  • Displaying the benefits of a product or service
  • Highlighting different product features
  • Showing a step-by-step process
  • Telling a visual story

Video ads

Video ads are visually appealing and easy to digest, but these paid ads tend to be on the more expensive side. If you do decide to run paid video ads, be sure to keep them short and concise. Social media is a fast-paced environment, and people won’t stick around long to watch lengthy videos.

Like image ads, you can use videos to promote just about anything, and like carousel ads, they’re ideal for telling a story.

BookRaid sponsored Facebook video ad

5. Local events

Digital marketing is huge, but that doesn’t mean offline advertising is dead. Event marketing offers excellent opportunities to create buzz for your business while connecting with community members on a more personal level.

Here are the best ways to take your business away from the screen with local event marketing:

  • Hosting: Hosting your own events gets customers in the door by showing them a good time. If your event is a success, you can expect major sales and return customers.
  • Exhibiting: Take your business to the events your community already looks forward to. Exhibiting at things like school events, pop-up markets, and vendor shows increases awareness and drives sales.
  • Sponsoring: Sponsoring local events like high school sports, church fundraisers, and charity walks creates awareness for your business while positioning you as a pillar of your community.
  • Networking: Networking at local events is another effective way to increase visibility and build trust.

Small business advertising tips

Now that you know the best local advertising channels for small businesses, it’s time to start strategizing. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Manage your business listing: It’s crucial to claim your business listing on Google My Business and ensure it’s accurate and up-to-date at all times. This ensures that consumers can find your business and boosts web and foot traffic.
  • Leverage AI: No, AI is not going to take your job. In fact, AI tools can help you lighten your load by writing marketing copy like emails, social media posts, and review responses for you so you can focus on running your business.
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly: Mobile accounts for 59% of all web traffic. That’s why it’s vital that your website is mobile-friendly to offer a good user experience to those who visit it.
  • Keep compliance in mind: If corporate gives you marketing funds to spend, you need to make sure your marketing assets are fully brand- and legal-compliant to ensure you avoid legal risks and receive reimbursement.

Get local business advertising support from the experts

Now that you know how to promote your business locally, it’s time to execute.

Make local marketing easy and boost sales without lifting a finger when you partner with the small business advertising experts at BrandMuscle. Our services and solutions are trusted by over 1.5 million local businesses across industries ranging from insurance and manufacturing to healthcare and telecom — so you can feel confident you’ll get the support you need.

Get in touch with one of our local marketing experts to learn more.

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