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Five Creative Advertising Ideas for Local Businesses

April 08, 20239 min read

As an marketer, I'm often asked about the difference between advertising and marketing. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, advertising refers specifically to the practice of promoting a product, service, or brand through paid channels such as print, broadcast, or digital media. Marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of activities that include advertising as well as market research, product development, branding, and sales.

For local businesses, advertising is a critical component of a successful marketing strategy. Advertising can help these businesses reach new customers, build brand awareness, and differentiate themselves from their competition. However, with so many different advertising options available, it can be challenging to determine which methods will be most effective.

To help you get started, let's take a look at five creative advertising ideas that local businesses can use to promote their products and services.

1. Social Media Advertising

Let's dive deeper into social media advertising, which is one of the most effective ways for local businesses to reach their target audience. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer powerful tools for audience targeting, allowing businesses to create highly personalized ads that resonate with their ideal customers.

Get Creative with Audience Targeting

One creative way to use audience targeting is to create ads that specifically target customers who have previously engaged with your brand. For example, you can create a custom audience on Facebook that includes people who have visited your website, added items to their cart, or previously purchased from you. You can then create ads that speak directly to these customers and offer them exclusive deals or promotions.

Create Fun Video Ads

Another effective way to use social media advertising is through video ads on Facebook and YouTube. Video ads are more engaging and better converting than static ads, as they allow businesses to tell a story and showcase their products or services in a more dynamic way. You can use videos to demonstrate how your product works, share customer testimonials, or simply entertain and engage your audience.

Break the Mold with an Influencer Collaboration

When it comes to partnering with local influencers, this can be a really unique way to create advertising campaigns that are tailored to your local community. Influencers are people who have a large following on social media, and can help businesses to reach new audiences through sponsored posts or partnerships. For example, a local restaurant could partner with a popular food blogger in the area, who could promote their restaurant to their followers and create content that showcases the restaurant's menu and atmosphere.

Social media advertising offers local businesses a variety of creative ways to reach their target audience. By using audience targeting, video ads, and partnering with local influencers, businesses can create unique and engaging campaigns that resonate with their community and help them to achieve their marketing goals.

2. Outdoor Advertising

Now, let's move on to outdoor advertising, which is a great way for local businesses to get their brand in front of a large and diverse audience. Outdoor advertising includes billboards, bus wraps, and signage, among other options.

Billboards and Other Outdoor Signage

One creative way to utilize billboards and signage is to create eye-catching and memorable designs that will capture the attention of passersby. Consider using bold colors, large fonts, and clear messaging that will resonate with your target audience. Keep in mind that billboards and signage are often seen by people who are driving or walking by quickly, so your message needs to be easy to read and understand at a glance.

Mobile Billboards

Another innovative approach to outdoor advertising is mobile billboard advertising. This involves placing advertisements on trucks, vans, or buses that travel through targeted areas, providing exposure to a variety of audiences. Mobile billboard advertising is appealing and effective because it allows businesses to reach a wide range of people in a specific area, such as a downtown district or shopping center.

Mobile billboard advertising can also be used for event marketing, where businesses can drive around an event or festival and promote their products or services to attendees. This approach can be especially effective for businesses that sell products that are relevant to the event, such as food or beverages.

Outdoor advertising can be a powerful way for local businesses to reach a large and diverse audience. By utilizing billboards and signage, and mobile billboard advertising, businesses can create eye-catching campaigns that are sure to capture the attention of potential customers.

3. Event Sponsorship

Event sponsorship is another creative way for local businesses to get their brand in front of potential customers. By partnering with local events and organizations, businesses can not only increase brand awareness but also connect with their target audience in a more personal way.

Research Local Events

One way to get started with event sponsorship is to research local events and organizations that align with your business goals and values. For example, if you own a fitness studio, you may want to sponsor a local 5K race or marathon. Once you have identified potential events or organizations, reach out to them to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Leave Your Mark

To create a memorable event sponsorship, consider creating branded merchandise that can be given away at the event. This could include branded water bottles, tote bags, t-shirts, or other items that align with your brand and the event's theme. By providing attendees with useful and memorable items, you can create a positive association between your brand and the event.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Another way to maximize the impact of your event sponsorship is to promote the event on social media and in-store. This can include creating social media posts and stories that highlight your involvement in the event, as well as promoting the event in-store with flyers, posters, and other promotional materials. This approach can help to increase attendance at the event and generate excitement around your brand.

Event sponsorship can be a powerful way for local businesses to connect with their target audience in a more personal way. By partnering with local events and organizations, creating branded merchandise, and promoting the event on social media and in-store, businesses can create a memorable and impactful event sponsorship that resonates with potential customers.

4. Local Print Advertising

Another creative advertising idea for local businesses is local print advertising. I was the head of marketing for a direct mail company for almost 5 years. While many businesses continue to overlook print advertising in the digital age, it is still a valuable way to reach a local audience.

Newspapers and Magazines

One way to utilize local print advertising is to place ads in local newspapers or magazines. This approach can be particularly effective for businesses that are targeting a specific demographic or geographic area. When creating ads for print media, be sure to use eye-catching graphics and clear messaging that will resonate with your target audience.

Direct Mail

Another approach to local print advertising is direct mail flyers or postcards. This involves sending advertisements directly to potential customers via mail. Direct mail can be a cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience, particularly if you are promoting a specific product or service. When creating direct mail advertisements, be sure to use clear and concise messaging, as well as eye-catching graphics or images that will capture the attention of the recipient.

To make your direct mail advertising more effective, consider including a special offer or discount that encourages the recipient to take action. For example, a restaurant may offer a free appetizer to customers who bring in the postcard or flyer.

Local print advertising can still be a valuable way for local businesses to reach a targeted audience. By utilizing local newspapers, magazines, or direct mail businesses can create eye-catching campaigns that attract and convert potential customers.

Search Ads

The final creative advertising idea for local businesses is search engine advertising. Search engine advertising, typically called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach a local audience and drive traffic to their website or physical location.

Text Ads

One way to utilize search engine advertising is through Google or Bing text ads with creative local targeting. This involves creating text ads that target specific keywords and geographic locations. For example, a local bakery may create ads targeting keywords such as "fresh bread" or "local pastries" and targeting users in the surrounding area. By using creative ad copy and targeting, businesses can create highly effective text ads that resonate with potential customers.

Maps Ads

Another approach to search engine advertising is through local map ads, such as Google Maps. Google Maps ads allow businesses to promote their location on Google Maps and appear in the search results when users search for nearby businesses. This can be a valuable way for businesses with a physical location, such as a retail store or restaurant, to drive foot traffic to their location.

Google's Local Service Ads

Finally, businesses can also utilize Google's Local Service Ads (LSAs) to promote their services on Google. Google's Local Service Ads are designed for businesses that offer services such as plumbing, electrical work, or landscaping. When users search for a service on Google, Local Service Ads appear at the top of the search results, making them highly visible to potential customers.

Search engine advertising is a highly effective - if not creative - way for local businesses to reach a targeted audience and drive traffic to their website or physical location. While predominently pay-per-click, and therefore always called "PPC", search advertising comes in multiple pay models including CPM (cost per thousand) and CPL (cost per lead), so "PPC" is no longer the most accurate term for this type of advertising.

Sometimes "Creative" Means New or Different

Local businesses have a variety of creative advertising ideas to choose from to reach their target audience. By utilizing social media advertising, outdoor advertising, event sponsorship, local collaboration, local print advertising, and search engine advertising, businesses can create highly effective campaigns that resonate with potential customers.

It's important for businesses to think creatively and experiment with different advertising approaches to find what works best for their business and target audience. Remember to consider the unique aspects of your business and the community you serve when creating advertising campaigns.

Ultimately, advertising is an investment in the success of your business. By trying new and different advertising ideas and staying up-to-date with the latest advertising trends and technologies, local businesses can attract new customers and drive growth for their business.

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