If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely interested in expanding your local customer base. To accomplish this objective, more than general advertising efforts are needed. The strategy you choose needs to be locally focused. So, what kind of things can you do to attract people in the area to your business? There are plenty of choices and we have broken out a number of them below - all of which, are designed to return great results and without costing a fortune.

1. Claim, Verify & Create Local Listings

The internet is the first places people turn to when finding a local business that offers the services they seek. Therefore, local business listings are a great way to advertise your small business. Google MyBusiness profiles are essential. These profiles appear next to or part of relevant search results before they even click on a link. Next, you should look at other directories where potential customers are looking for similar services. Searching for similar services to those you offer, will show you directories where your competitors are listing and it would be prudent to list your business alongside them.

2. Run a Referral Promotion

To set your business apart from others, you can give your current customers an incentive to talk positively about your business to their friends and aquaintences. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful froms of advertising you can leverage since most people trust personal recomendations. Use this knowledge to your advantage and provide a benefit-in-kind in return for spreading positive comments about your business which result in a new customer sign-up.

3. Distribute Printables

You can have business cards, flyers or brochures printed in bulk for a relatively low price. You can offer your printed marketing collatoral to your customers so they have something to pass to their customers, friends and aquaintences. you can place these pieces in local businesses, with the right permission, so that potential customers can understand the value your business brings to the table. Try and place these in businesses which don’t directly compete with yours but those which your customers go-to for other services or products. You may also wish to experiment with leaving your items in coffee shops or libraries.

4. Wear Branded Swag

It’s an inexpensive way to get your brand out there to increase brand awareness and leave a breadcrumb in potential customer’s minds. You can advertie your business by sporting branded t-shirts, jackets, hats, bracelets, lanyards and more. It’s an investment thaat doesn’t stop giving until you stop wearing.

5. Make Use of the Local Newspaper

The local newspaper provides various opportunities for advertising. You can place an ad or get a listing in the appropriate section (whether that be in the classifieds or elsewhere). You may even be able to submit eductional content that people will benefit from. As a result, they may be inclined to make contact with your business.

Related: Marketing Support & Guidance Services

6. Do a Radio Contest or Giveaway

If you think up an interesting concept for a competition or are willing to give away a desirable, yet relevant, gift, you can use that to your advantage. You can enlist a nearly radio station to spread the news about your contest or giveaway. This will likely generate a lot of excitement. All the while, your business will be getting tones of exposure.

7. Host an Event

Your event can be pretty much anything you need it to be but it has to target people within your target audience. You could host a party, demo, festival, workshop, anniversary sale, charity event or webinar. The options are endless and don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Of course, you could go for a fancy and formal if you like but for the most part, it doesn’t take a lot for people to enjoy themselves. You just have to get them to come..

So spread the word far and wide, through multiple channels. Use bold signage to let people know. If possible, hold your event out in the open where you can attract more attention on the day of the event.

8. Send Direct Mail

Traditional marketing channels still hold plenty of value, even in the modern world of digitial marketing. It’s a great way of getting noticed and targetting in specific regions or areas. Not only that but doing so repeatedly will keep your business front of mind, increasing the changes that people will come to you when in need of what you offer.

With services from Royal Mail, offered throughout the UK, you can target your efforts, get help with printing and have mail pieces delivered at a reasonable price.

With programs such as Every Door Direct, offered by the United States Post Office, you can target your efforts, get help with printing, and have your mailpieces delivered at a reasonable price.

Related: Email Marketing Services

9. Try Paid Local Ads

Paid local ads will represent great value and an advantage for those operating out of your service area. Placement in prominent, noticable places on web pages and in search results can work extremely well. For example, search engine ads appear above even the top websites in organic search results. You can’t help but see them.

If you carefully target your ads to appear in the most relevant search results and to those most likely to become your customers, you can attract many to your business. When creating your ads, focus your efforts on the local area, your target demographic and search terms consumers will use to find you and your business.

Related: Paid Advertisement Services

10. Try Vehicle Wraps

For those of you with company vehicles, have you considered vehicle wraps? If you wouldnt mind using your own car, wraps might be a great option for you to increase brand awareness. Car wraps will attract attention, while also giving people valuable information about your business such as an idea of your services and your contact info. The great thing is, they never stop working. Even when parked, your vehicle will be advertising for you.

If you’re already doing some local advertising or not, it wouldn’t hurt to try out a few other methods too. The more you advertise, the mor exposure your business gets. The higher the quality of your efforts, the more sales you experience. There is no doubt, that’s exactly what you want. So take some time to think about what methods of advertising might help you to reach a good portion of your target demographic and appeal to them most. Then, take action. When is the best time to take action? Now!