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10 Creative Digital Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses

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10 Creative Digital Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses


How did you find your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or antique shop?

Maybe your friends showed it to you. Maybe you just saw a nice sign and came in one time. Or maybe you saw one of their amazing marketing campaigns.

One social media ad or a blog post from an influencer can do wonders for a local business.

However, there is a problem: for local businesses, it’s often harder to find budgets for marketing activities.

They often don’t have the resources of huge commercial chains and corporations to pour them into advertising, celebrity collaborations, and so on.

Nonetheless, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive.

You’ll just have to get more creative with it.

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In this article, we hope to inspire you with marketing ideas that local businesses can implement on a smaller budget – or even for free!

1. Collaborate With A Local Influencer

You might not have a budget to buy a promotional post from an Instagram blogger with 1 million followers, but micro-influencers can be just as (if not more) effective.

And who is a better candidate for collaboration than a blogger or an industry expert who lives in your area?

The problem is, how do you find such an influencer?

A simple Google search won’t do – it’ll likely show you bigger accounts and popular names and not micro-bloggers.

Besides, it’s difficult to make Google focus on a specific town for this task.

What you need here is social listening software.

Such tools are able to find accounts with any given number of followers that talk about particular topics.

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In addition to that, you’re able to choose your town in the settings to make sure you only get relevant results.

You can filter your search results by the minimum and maximum amounts of followers and look through the profiles.

Choose the people you think will be a good fit and reach out to them!

You can invite them to your store and give them a tour or offer a free product.

This is a mutually beneficial collaboration. You help them create content, and they raise your brand awareness by connecting you to their audience.

Screenshot from Awario, January 2022

Pro tip: You can also create a social listening alert with your brand name and look for the influencers mentioning your company organically.

Maybe there’s a blogger that is your regular visitor and you don’t even know it.

If that’s the case, you can foster these relationships to promote your business even further.

2. Write Your Business Into A Local Narrative

People love stories!

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That’s perhaps one of the most essential parts of human experience – creating and consuming stories.

You can create a story around your brand to make it more memorable.

Create a character that would always sit in your cafe in a particular seat with this specific drink, or make up a lovely anecdote about the building your business occupies.

Sometimes you don’t even have to make up everything – you can do a little research about the town’s history and find out some unexpected and exciting stories.

Talk to the local historians, go to the archives and museums, and maybe you’ll discover something that will bring you even more clients.

The screenshot of a cafe's page from Tourist Adviser
Screenshot from Tripadvisor, January 2022

Once you have the narrative, incorporate it into your brand.

Add it to your description on the website, social media, and review sites.

Create social media posts and blog posts referring to the story.

Make sure it runs through all your marketing messages so that people remember it.

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3. Create Search-friendly Content About Your Town

Local SEO is a great way to get more customers. First, you bring more traffic to your website, then you get more foot traffic in your store.

However, it’s something that every business should do – so I wouldn’t call it a creative marketing idea.

The thing is, businesses tend to optimize their website for the most obvious requests; for example, “buy furniture Nashville.”

The content I’m talking about is more entertaining in nature. Its goal is to tell locals and visitors about your town and simultaneously promote your business.

Both goals should be represented in your social media posts, articles, or videos.

Lists are a great type of content here.

For example, an article about the top five coffee places in your area will be a great way to mention your business organically and give value to potential customers.

Of course, you don’t want to promote your competitors, so choose a topic that will allow for representing different businesses.

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For example, you could craft an article about amazing dating spots can feature cafes, museums, and sightseeing places in one list and make sure that only your restaurant is mentioned in it.

The screenshot of an artcile about Milwakee
Screenshot from milwaukeemom.com, January 2022

Think about timing, as well.

Holiday marketing is an effective way to bring more attention to your business.

Offer some holiday-related products and activities and then publish a guide titled “What to do with your family in (town name) on (holiday name).”

This will please both the search engines and potential clients alike.

4. Join And Engage On Local Facebook Groups

Screenshot of local Facebook groups
Screenshot from Facebook, January 2022

Facebook Groups are THE places your audience hangs out.

By joining a Facebook Group in your district, you kill two birds with one stone: you are able to learn more about your clients and at the same time promote your business.

The ultimate rule of promotion on Facebook Groups is to not be too sales-y.

You don’t want to post about your discounts and new offers every other day.

Even if such kind of spam is tolerated in the group, it’s unlikely to make people actually interested in your business.

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What you could do instead is to initiate conversations that would allow you to bring up your business organically.

You could do it in a sneaky way from your personal account or in a more genuine way, without hiding the fact that you’re a local business owner.

A great way to do it is by actually trying to give value to the people.

For example, you are a bookstore owner and you want more locals to know about your bookstore.

You can ask people in the group if they would be interested in participating in a reading club and what kind of books they would like to read.

It doesn’t even have to be book-related: You can start a conversation about anything, for example, should you allow dogs in the store or not.

Your goal is to start a discussion that will draw attention, but be wary of controversial topics.

While they can generate a lot of buzz, you will certainly alienate a lot of people.

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5. Utilize Your “Localness” In Digital Marketing

As a local business, you have an inherent advantage over corporations and chains in that it’s much harder for them to target specific locations since their shops are everywhere.

You can benefit from this by creating such hyper-focused ads yourself.

Here are some tips on how to create such ads aimed at people in your local communities:

  • Use Google Search Console to find new ad group options based on what’s the driver of search impressions.
  • Try including your Zip Code or name of the street in the ad and make it visible.
  • Talk about the distance to your location in your targeted ads.

6. Take Care Of All The Reviews

Now, asking for reviews or monitoring your business on Yelp is not the most creative idea.

But the thing most local businesses neglect is that review sites are not the only place people talk about your business.

Social media, blogs, and forums are equally important when it comes to reviews.

Nowadays, everyone with a social media profile has an audience – even if it’s just their family and friends.

And they might post an opinion about your business.

You’re lucky if they tag you and you’ll see it – but what if you miss the post, either because they don’t tag you or because you have too many notifications?

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best place for tea ☕️ time.
nak breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner pun boleh! 😋

📍Lisette’s Café & Bakery, Subang Jaya
Open daily (8am – 10pm) pic.twitter.com/136gNbvvTy

— Luqqyyyyyy (@luqqssssss) November 11, 2021

If it’s a positive opinion, you’re missing a marketing opportunity; you could repost it, save it, and use it in your marketing materials in the future.

If it’s a negative opinion, you’re risking a reputational crisis by ignoring it.

Use a social media monitoring tool to make sure you notice every time your company gets mentioned, both on review platforms and elsewhere.

You can choose free options; for example, a combination of Google Alerts and Tweetdeck.

Or, opt for a more robust social listening tool that offers real-time notifications, covers more online sources, and provides handy filters to organize your mentions.

7. Reach Out To Local Media

Almost every town has a local newspaper or online media, and you’d be surprised how influential they are!

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While you’re creating content for your own website and social media, don’t forget to establish contact with your local media.

You can participate in the topical materials about local businesses in your town or even give commentaries on the news events – from the perspective of a local business owner.

The links on their website will be good for SEO.

In addition to that, your commentary and perspective will establish you as an active member of the community that will draw more attention to your business.

8. Dive Into Event Marketing

Speaking about the community, if your business allows it, organize an event for the locals.

Given the interconnected world we live in now, it can even be an online event if you don’t set a goal of driving customers to your physical store.

The best option is to organize an event with a purpose everyone feels connected to — maybe there’s an issue in your community that needs more attention and funding to solve it, and you could organize a charity event to highlight the issue.

You can promote the event on local Facebook Groups or run social media ads.

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During the event try to communicate with new people and establish connections.

That way people will feel welcome and will be enticed to come again.

You can even set up a series of events or regular meetings to get a long-running marketing effect.

9. Run A Social Media Contest

Christmas is one of the most popular holidays in the world for many reasons, but one of them is non-stop gift giving. People love gifts!

While your customers are not your friends or family, you can try handing out small presents to promote your business.

One way to boost foot traffic to your business is to launch a contest. You could promote it through social media and your website.

For example, you could suggest that the first 20 people that come to your place on a specific day will get their product or service for free.

This tactic works great for newly opened businesses that need to get the word going.

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10. Form A Local Partnership

As a local businessperson, you’re a part of the community.

Try to establish relationships with other local business owners.

This will not only help you have a support network to consult and exchange experience with.

Regular communication with other businesses gives you a lot of promotional opportunities.

You may discover local brands and businesses that perfectly supplement and support your brand while targeting similar audiences. Consider offering them cross-promotional opportunities.

This tactic kills two birds with one stone: on one hand, you’re raising your brand awareness and utilizing the goodwill of your partners.

On the other hand, by establishing these relationships, you’re building a support network for local businesses, a community that can represent your interests.

You can start by connecting and engaging with local businesses on social media.

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Try running offers for bundles with both of your products, promoting in each other’s stores, and organizing events together.

These 10 tips are great to use as jumping-off points for your local business.

Use your strength and the resources available. The power of community can be much more effective than money poured into advertising.

More resources:


Featured Image: Sammby/Shutterstock

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Beginner’s Guide to Optimizing Websites for Better Rankings

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Beginner's Guide to Optimizing Websites for Better Rankings

You want to rank on the #1 spot in Google. I get it. Everyone wants that spot but how come you’ve never been able to get your keywords there consistently?

I wrote this guide for you to get some of your keywords there in 30 days or less.

Just like a car needs regular tune-ups to keep it running smoothly, your website needs periodic SEO maintenance to help it maintain a high ranking.

Here are some routine tasks that me and my team in SEO Hacker do for our client’s website upkeep.

Publish fresh or update old content regularly

One crucial element to maintaining your website rankings is your content. Without content, search engines can’t take into account that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.

With that said, do you consistently create original and satisfying content? Have you also backtracked some of your old content and looked to see if there are articles that needs updating?

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With Google’s recent helpful content update, it’s important to consider how you create content.

Below are some guide questions to help you re-evaluate previously published content and how you create new content:

  • Does your content demonstrate your expertise and depth of knowledge from using a product or service?
  • Does your content primarily summarize what others have to say without adding much value of your own?
  • What impression will your content leave on a reader? Will they learn something new or experience something satisfying?
  • Do you create valuable content while keeping Google’s guidelines and core algorithm updates in mind?
  • Does your content promise to answer a question without a clear, confirmed answer yet, or one that hasn’t been confirmed?
  • Does your visual content follow Google’s image SEO best practices?
  • Is your content and web design and interface mobile-friendly?
  • Is your content likely to receive backlinks because of its resourcefulness and value?

These questions will help you plan and create substantial content for your website that’s aligned with your audience and Google’s recommendations.

Check your internal and external links periodically

Did you know that backlinks help to establish the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of your website? Links are an active and powerful ranking signal to this day.

When other websites cite your website or web page via links, it shows Google that you’re authoritative and trustworthy.

To maintain your website’s rankings, you will need to check your internal and external links periodically. Internal links or interlinks are hyperlinks that point from a page in your site to another page on your site.

Internal links help users navigate your site and find the content they are searching for.

What internal links do for SEO is that it helps search engines find and understand the value, relevance, and relationship between your web pages.

On the other hand, external links or outbound links are hyperlinks that point from your website to an article on a third-party website. Every time you link to another website altogether, it is an external link.

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I’m guessing your next question here is, does creating outbound links matter in SEO?

Some SEO specialists agree it matters in SEO, while some don’t. In any case, how I decide is if it helps the reader know more about the topic or the content that I wrote, I will link out for sure. Every external link included in our content is meant to cite relevant and authoritative sources.

Consequently, these links let my readers learn more about the topic deeply. In addition, it also gives me the opportunity to build some expertise and authority to the content I wrote as well.

An experiment done by Reboot Online showed how external links can help improve your website’s ranking. Their study concludes that “outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.” To learn more about their updated study in-depth, you can read about it here.

What this study and my personal experience concludes is that linking to sites with good contextual authority has a positive impact on your content’s rankings when done correctly. It helps send trust signals to Google.

But why do you need to occasionally check your hyperlinks?

Remember, we create content for people. If someone clicks on a link and receives an error message, they are more likely to leave the site. Links that no longer work or are inaccessible are called broken links. While broken links do not directly affect your website’s rankings, inaccessible links directly affect user experience – which I could argue is a ranking factor.

Optimize your titles, meta descriptions, and alt text for images

You shouldn’t neglect the small details like titles and meta descriptions that contribute to your website’s organic traffic and ranking. Titles and meta descriptions play a major role in making your website visible in the search results.

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These elements aren’t considered on-page ranking factors per se, but what they do is they help searchers see and understand what your website or your webpage is about straight from the search results page.

meta description screenshot
A lot of people click on titles and meta descriptions on search engine results pages (SERP) that contain relevant summaries. When searchers click on your website’s title and meta description related to their query, your click-through rate (CTR) increases.

On the other hand, adding alternative text (alt-text) to your images plays a role in making your websites rank because of its importance on Google Image Search. If an image doesn’t load or is inaccessible to a web browser, an alternative text provides a helpful description of the image to users.

In essence, adding alternative text to images is like hitting two birds with one stone: it helps searchers who may have images or scripts turned off in their web browser understand what your image is about. Similarly, it helps Google bots crawl and index your website better.

So, if you haven’t optimized your website’s titles, meta descriptions, or your images’ alt-texts yet, now’s the time to do so. If you don’t know how to optimize your meta description, here’s a helpful post where we share some useful tips on how to do it.

Key Takeaway

In SEO, nothing is sacred. This is why SEO is never a one-time fix. Rankings in search results aren’t permanent. Search engines like Google constantly update their algorithms. Plus the fact that your competitors can catch up and get ahead if they employ better SEO strategies. Whatever tactic or strategy you have in place now for your website to rank may not work tomorrow.

This is why SEO maintenance is important. By regularly performing these and other web maintenance tasks, you can help your website earn high rankings in search results and keep it there.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

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