February 13

Guide to marketing a local business


For a local store or business like- a salon, spa, bar, boutique, restaurant, real estate agent, coffee shop etc. local business marketing strategies are slightly varied from established and reputed brands. The marketing efforts should be applied for reaching existing and potential customers within a small radius. In particular the activities should be designed to make the business locally relevant with the customers and community surrounding the store. The range of such a marketing plan is decided by the store’s location and also if they happen to be the only location within a region.Ultimately, all the work should be focused on driving sales.

Marketing for this kind of concentrated small segment area is called “local marketing”. The catchment area is very close to the local business. So under what circumstances would local marketing be most effective?  We discuss 10 effective design marketing tips to market a local business to local people. 

Guide to Market

1. Relevant locally for local business  marketing  

Firstly, the business will be relevant if it is grounded in and familiar with the community that it operates in. It should resonate with the local taste and sentiments; add value and be reflective of the goals and achievements of the community. This will give rise to marketing and outreach ideas that organically make sense for the people in those communities. In a way, this helps the business to stay in top of people’s mind when they’re considering for similar products and services.

2. Emotional quotient for local business marketing

Secondly, customers can be drawn to local stores and businesses if provided with an emotional gratification. There are a few ways to develop that emotional bond with the local community.

Use of local phrases and idioms for advertising, to captivate the local minds and strike up an instant rapport.

Dialogues like, “save the traditional arts”, “buy from local artisans”, “made from local resources only” “local produce” etc. can motivate the customers.

Throw light on how the local business has created employment avenues for the local people and contributed to the economic growth of the area.

Draw cultural references while designing for the business.

3. Storefront for local business marketing

Thirdly, the store itself can be a step towards promoting the business. This is a tangible space for the business and provides validity for the local customer.

  • The storefront should always have a signboard. A signboard should clearly display: Name, logo, address, contact details, timings and website or app (if any). It should ideally be in the local language and should be clearly visible from a distance.
  • Dress up the storefront. The window display should be an invitation to the passerby. A well-designed window display encourages impulse sales and peaks a customer’s curiosity. Updating a storefront regularly, keeping in sync with the local festivals and flavors is a good way of showing solidarity and boosting footfalls to sales.

4. Customer Service

Customer is king! Hence customer service is an essential part in retail marketing. Aim to give the customers, best possible experience by training the staff on how to interact with shoppers. This can include everything from teaching employees on how to build customer rapport, to leveraging tools and resources to improve the checkout experience.

  • Maintain an after sales service i.e. a customer should be able to contact the business incase of complains and other help needed. There is a significant chance of converting a satisfied after sales customer into a loyal one.
  • Run promotional schemes. Sales and discount coupons, special birthday or anniversary discounts, VIP discounts for regular customers, buy 1 get 1 free, free gifts marked with business logo and address etc.
  • Keep customers entertained.

5. Word of mouth

Even though it is not a part of paid advertising but it can be pre-planned under passive marketing. Going back to customer service under what circumstances would local marketing be most effective? A customer that feels valued and appreciated is most likely to suggest the same services to his/her friends and family. They can share their product experiences over a casual conversation. To reach this marketing goal, products and services have to maintain its standard and quality. Even though abstract, this “word of mouth” advertising is still a very reliable form of advertising for local businesses to grow.

6. Doorstep advertising in local business marketing

It is a canvassing technique, in which the local business owner or a hired person can walk from door of one house to the other, trying to sell or advertise a product and service or run surveys to gather information before launching a product store. Data gathered are very insightful and useful in understanding the local people’s like and dislikes, indicates spaces for introducing new products and unfolds far reaching areas that otherwise is impossible to reach.

7. Accessing the community in local business marketing

The most commonplace examples are the local social gatherings. These are, religious places; town halls; local shopping complexes; local spaces like bus stops, parks, food courts, movie halls; cultural events like fairs and festivals; schools and colleges; office spaces; local transportation like auto, rickshaw, taxi, bus etc. While, any kind of advertising is good for the local business to grow, but, while doing so, one should be sensitive and respectful towards the resident community. Advertising is always better received when it is done in designated spaces and areas. Else, it will be considered to have defaced a public space and this may carry a bad perception for the business.

For example: Sponsor or co-sponsor a local event or festival. This will draw in a huge crowd of people and generate interest for the business.

8. Tying with other local businesses

Partnering with a bigger and established local brand or a local celebrity can provide a ready market. Leveraging on their fame can propel a business to newer heights. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that people like to trust and value more, the opinion of an established brand or a celebrity then a business with no footing. So try and get endorsements from a brand or a celeb that has a connection with the product or service.

  • Ask them to promote charity event or fun activity that relates to them and their audience
  • Request that they wear a promotional item from your business when they make a public appearance
  • Ask them to appear at a promotional event you are hosting

9. Traditional Media

This is one of the earliest and effective forms of marketing. There are three kinds of media – Print media, Radio and Television: 

Print media: 

Print media includes business card, pamphlet, leaflet, hording, billboard, the local magazine and newspaper ads, a listing in the yellow pages etc. These kinds of advertisements can be displayed at designated spaces or handed out locally as a form of direct advertising.


If a local business makes use of this medium effectively, they can reach customers in the comforts of their home. Television, is viewed by all age groups hence it confirms a wider audience for the business. Advertising in the local news channels and popular entertainment programs will boost repetition and build brand familiarity. With clever use of viewership data and targeting apt time slots a local business can do effective product placement.


It is one of the oldest mediums but still stands tall when it comes to local access of customer bases. A large section of people tune in to local FM stations every day. This is attributed to the acceptance of FM radio and ease of access via mobile apps. Radio advertising has a few added benefits compared to television and print media.

  •  Deeper reaching abilities- Can advertise products reach to people who are constantly on the move and do not have time stare at a screen. It is heard in remote villages where there is even no electricity.
  • Significantly higher quality recall- Regular listeners could remember elements like name of the program, name of the RJ, the main sponsors of the program and even the contests that are run on the FM channel. This clearly shows that FM Radio has a very high involvement category, much more in comparison to television and print.
  • Works with small budget- A radio ad is significantly cheaper compared to a television commercial and has wider audience reach then print ads. It has best of both the worlds and proves perfect for local business advertising

10.New age media

Lastly, New age media is that content which is available on-demand through the Internet. This content is made available using different forms of electronic communication through the use of computer technology. A giant market has recently been created by the extensive use of various social media webs, apps and forums. Any business, from local to global can create a space in this medium. It is distinctively faster, effective and interactive then traditional media.

A local business can benefit from new age media. The following are few tips under what circumstances would local marketing be most effective for advertising by a local business with the new age media:

Create a Website and maintain that regularly.

  • Hire help to make your websites SEO friendly (Search Engine Optimized). Search Engine Optimization lets a business to get prioritized listing while doing an area search for nearby services.
  • Let Google auto suggest help. Simply type in the business type, service offering, product name, or other descriptive label that people should use to find the business. Then include a hyper-local keyword.
  • Build a Social media presence by regularly posting your business ads on Social Sites.
  • Provide testimonials for your products and services
  • Create a dialogue between the business and its customers. Encourage people to share product experiences and write reviews.
  • Value customer’s feedback and suggestion.
  • Always be prompt while reverting to queries and suggestions.

In conclusion for a local business marketing you should always remember that people wants more then just utilitarian value. They want- a dream, an experience, an excitement and an inspiration. A local business irrespective of how nascent in its existence should always aspire to reach these expectations of a customer. Larger brands have larger acceptance and credibility - so small biz needs to work harder to deliver on value propositions and brand drivers.


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