You can advertise your local business online in dozens of different ways. You can decide to do the advertising on your own or hire a company to do it for you. In most cases, it is best left to professionals to do the marketing for you because they know what tools to use, what targets to set, and how to achieve the goals you want. But if you’re thinking about doing it yourself, keep reading!
The Two Main Types of Online Advertising for Your Business
While the terms marketing and advertising define two different things, they can be used interchangeably in the online world. The two main types of online advertising include free advertising and paid advertising.
Free advertising is when you don’t have to spend money to advertise your business (obviously), but you do need to spend a lot of your time.
1) Search Engine Optimization
While PPC (pay per click) refers to paid advertising to place high on the search results, search engine optimization (SEO) does “not” have to be paid. So what is SEO?
In a nutshell, it is the act of optimizing and enhancing information about your business online, so your business shows up or ranks on the first page of search results pages (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). Ranking on the first page of search results is important because 95% of clicking happens on the first page and the top five links get over 60% of the clicks.
Just up until a couple years ago, SEO was relevant to your business website. But, today SEO is more than just having your website rank on these search engines.
If you’re a local business, you want to improve your Local Search SEO to rank for Local Searches, the map section of the search results, e.g. Google Maps 3 Pack, Yelp.
Today, 70% of clicks for local businesses results in a purchase or a visit on the first day, so really putting effort into maximizing your Local Search SEO, Google Local Search – 3 Pack, will pay off big in a big way.
Below is a screenshot of Local Searches on Google. If you notice, there are only three listed, this is called the Google 3 Pack, and if you are ranked in the top three, your business will benefit from a lot of traffic.
For a guide to ranking your business for Local Searches, check out our guide, “Is Your Business a Top Choice to Your Customers in Google’s Local Search?” Or, if you would like to save time and have a pro do it for you, come check out our “Business Listing & Reviews” and schedule a free strategy call.
2) Email Marketing
Email marketing can also be free way of advertising your local business online, if you don’t use any paid versions of the email marketing software tools. Email marketing is great because you can deliver offers, promos, updates, etc. straight to your customers’ inbox. It is also a great way to build trust and relationship with each customer. But the key is collecting customer emails. You need to create a system to collect emails, and once you do, you need to build out a system to deliver the emails.
WARNING, there are a lot of people that sell email lists, DO NOT BUY THEM. Purchasing email lists were a good way to start your email marketing campaigns five to ten years ago. But today, marketing to a purchased list is not effective any more. You need to collect your emails organically for the best results.
3) Facebook Posts, Instagram Posts & Other Social Media Posts
Social media posts are also free forms of online advertisement for local business, and they give people an understanding of your brand and convert them into loyal customers. The key with successful social media posts are that they need to be engaging and need to be viral for people to actually see the posts. According to many studies, only 5-10% of your actual followers see your posts.
However, the problem with free posts is that social networking websites are now making it more and more difficult for your free posts to have their deserved outreach. For example, Facebook recently updated its algorithms for the news feed making market penetration even more difficult for businesses. In short, they want you to “pay” to be visible to your target audiences.
You can do paid online advertising for your business using a plenty of methods. Paid online advertising is a great way to create instant traffic to your local business. Once again, it is best to take advantage of the professionals because the competition is tough when you are competing with hundreds and thousands of other similar businesses. Paid advertising includes the following:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) ads on search engines
- Display Ads or Banner ads on other websites
- Email marketing using third party softwares
- Paid Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, etc.
- Retargeting ads
- Influencer Marketing
1) PPC Ads
These are the ads that appear on search engines as “ads”, “featured”, “paid”, “sponsored”, or “promoted” ads. PPC ads involve bidding on certain keywords, and based on certain algorithms, the search engine chooses your ad to appear for that keyword users are typing in to search. You don’t pay unless people click on your ad.
PPC Ads are great for online advertising because people searching for a specific phrase or keywords have very high intent of purchasing. So, for example, a person entering the keywords “insurance agent near me” or “best Korean BBQ”, they have very high intent of getting insurance or looking for a Korean BBQ restaurant to eat at.
Depending on your business, your competition, the quality of your ads, and various other attributes, the average cost per click will vary.
2) Banner Ads
These are display ads that appear on other websites. You can design attractive display ads and make them appear on other websites that you think the people who are interested in your products often visit. You pay for every click or impression on your ad.
Most banner ads are not very successful in converting people into actual customers, but if you’re doing it correctly, like using banner ads for remarketing (read below for remarketing ads) it can perform very well.
3) Email Marketing
You use third-party software tools to create emails with links to your landing pages, video messages, images, etc. The paid software allows features like open-rate tracking, customer categorization, AB testing, etc. to make your advertisement more effective.
Again, the key is collecting customer emails, if you don’t have a smart way of collecting emails, than you will not be able to run any successful email marketing campaigns.
4) Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Advertisement
With billions of people using these platforms every day, it can pay off to advertise your business, products or services on these social networks. You must pay the social networks for your ads to appear on users’ feeds.
Social network ads are very cost-effective online advertising for your business and get a good response from your target audience. Moreover, targeted ads allow you to advertise to only the potential customers that fall under your specific requirements and location.
5) Retargeting Ads
Retargeting ads can be a combination of all the paid advertising methods for your business, but you are only targeting people that have engaged with your business or your business website. Below is a simple description on how retargeting ads work:
- A visitor goes on a website and browses the products he/she is interested in.
- The visitor buys something or does not buy anything and closes the website.
- The visitor goes to other websites or goes on social media accounts.
- The visitor sees an ad based on what he was searching or what he bought when he last visited the website. This is the retargeted ad.
Retargeted ads can be much more complex than this, but it is one of the most effective ways to convert a person into a paying customer.
6) Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is another ingenious method to reach out to your target audiences through reputable and influential personalities. In this type of advertising, you pay a famous film/TV celebrity, sports star, musician, etc. to advertise your products/services in their social media posts. Since they have hundreds of thousands and millions of followers, this type of marketing can also generate handsome revenue for businesses.
You must know that creating a website for your business is not an absolute requirement anymore, but it is only going to help all the other forms of advertising, free or paid.
Marketing sucks up your budget and can prove to be fatal for your business when done ineffectively. Really study your option(s) carefully before implementing your advertising channels, especially if you are paying for them.
If you would like to find out how we can help you achieve your advertising goals, schedule a free strategy call with us and we would be happy to discuss with you how all these online advertising methods will bring in more customers for your local business.