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Advertising your Independent Local Business on a Budget

Posted by Stuart Walters on January 30, 2020

We all know that advertising and marketing your business is important in any industry, but it can be very expensive... Often, for local independent businesses, the cost of advertising and marketing can feel overwhelming and puts a huge strain on budgets. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. Here are some top tips from Alexander Advertising on how to advertise and market your business on a budget. 

Our first bit of advice is to think local. And by this we mean, is there anywhere you can advertise to the local area? In Oxford, for example, getting yourself listed on local directories (like Independent Oxford!) and going to local networking events can be one of the best places to shout about your business. And, this doesn’t have to cost much at all. Local directory listings often don’t cost very much (and they’re good for your SEO, but we’ll get to that later), and local networking events are very often free or have low membership costs with their own benefits 

It’s not just local directories and networking-that you can make the most of in the local area but sponsoring local events can also be a great and cost-effective way of getting the word out there about your business. Sponsorship is great because not only can you give something back to the small and local events in your community but it’s an ideal opportunity to advertise to the local area. Some local events and businesses that you can sponsor include: 

  • The BunkFest in Wallingford. This is the biggest FREE festival in the whole of Europe, and sponsorship is relatively cheap! You can choose to sponsor various elements of the festival or have an ad on the big screens.  
  • Deddington Festival. Another festival in the local area is Deddington festival. The sponsorship options start from as little at £100!  

It’s not just festivals and events that you can sponsor. There are also other sponsorship opportunities available including local football teams or event venues. One of the best examples we would suggest at the moment is the Oxford Playhouse. This theatre is a great asset to Oxford and has a huge range of sponsorship options available, perhaps for a slightly bigger budget than the local events, but still a good viable option and it’s an ongoing opportunity to advertise rather than a one-off event.  


Now it’s time to talk digital 

One of the most common ways that people find out about new places is using trusty Google. Did you know that you can actually pay to be at the top of Google? Getting in front of people right at the time they are searching for services or products that you offer can be extremely beneficial to any business. It doesn’t need to be hugely expensive either. Depending on the industry, you can pay as little as £1 per click to your site. It’s relatively easy to set up and control using the Google Ads platform and is well worth the time if you have the budget.  

We all know that you can also advertise on social media, but the cost of social media advertising is often misunderstood. Usually, to target the local area, you can do so without breaking the bankTo give you an idea of numbers, you can reach 1000 people for around £5 - £9! Therefore, you can easily run a successful campaign with a budget as small as £50. Also, one of the biggest advantages of social media advertising is that you can pause it whenever you like – meaning that if your desired goal has been met you need not spend any more money. The targeting options are also extremely advanced, you can target people based on many interests, demographics, behaviour, location, and more. Social media advertising is available on all platforms, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  


Other ways to use social media 

There are other ways that you can use social media to shout about your business. Our top tips are as follows: 

  • Join local groups and relish the opportunities to network and shout about your business 
  • Ask your family and friends to share your posts 
  • Engage with your audience, reply to comments and monitor what is being said about your business online 
  • Try and post as regularly as possible, life can get busy but social media moves fast so keeping on top of regular postings can be very beneficial to your reach and engagement online 


Local SEO 

Social media advertising is not the only way to increase your visibility online in the local area. Working on your local SEO can make a huge differenceDid you know that 72% of consumers who’ve completed a local search then visited a store within five miles?! (Source: HubSpot). If that statistic can’t convince you to work on your local SEO, nothing can!  

If you’re not up to scratch with the ins and outs of SEO, it is basically the ways in which you can optimise your site so that you show higher up in search engine results pages. Local SEO basically encompasses everything you can do to be shown more often for people searching in your area. Any example would be, instead of just optimising your site for ‘gutter cleaning services’ also optimising your site for ‘gutter cleaning services in Oxford’ too. A few of our top tips for local SEO would be: 

  • Create a Google My Business account, optimise it, and use it like any social media channel. Google My Business accounts allow you to amend the information about your business in maps including your address, opening times, photos etc. They also allow you to respond to and manage reviews (we would highly recommend asking people to give you Google reviews for local SEO too) 
  • Include locations on your website. For example, you can include a map in your footer (in most CMS systems this is easy) and include the word ‘Oxford’ or ‘Oxfordshire’ in some of your copy. 
  • Engage with the local area to get links from the local area, this can be as simple as signing up to all your local directories (free, freemium, and premium listings all help with your SEO – but try to get a ‘follow’ link where possible). 


Traditional options 

Whilst we are a big advocate for working on your digital marketing and advertising channels, we also think that for advertising locally, local magazines and newspapers are still one of the best ways to do this! People often pay attention to local publications to find out what’s going in the area so it’s a great place to shout about your business. They are often much cheaper than bigger publications and some other advertising options (although obviously the reach is smaller) but can really help to get the word out there. 


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