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How to Advertise Your Business in a Small Town

Local advertising in a small town is vastly different than advertising in a city.

Word-of-mouth and reputation reigns supreme.

I moved from a population area of around 150,000 people in a 15 minute radius to 7,000 people in a 1 hour radius. Here’s what I learned after culture shock.

In-Person, Real World Marketing

Get to know the local businesses and what they’re all about – become a regular!

Getting to know the local businesses has a great dual benefit – not only do you get to purchase quality goods and services close to home, but you also get the chance to become a regular and known to the other local business owners.

The best clients I have are the ones that I know on a personal level from interactions at their own business.

Owners and employees at local establishments are the same people that would be purchasing your product or service in a B2B or a B2C.

Get acquainted, become a regular, and appreciate what your local businesses have to offer.

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Support local events and causes – this is a great way to get your name out there

This is not a quick marketing tactic, but over time you can gain exposure in a meaningful way. Supporting local events and causes can be a great way to broaden your horizons. When you take part in initiatives that directly benefit your community, you not only gain priceless experiences, but you also let people know who you are!

  • Volunteer as a coach or at a nonprofit
  • Support local sports teams with a banner or sports jersey
  • Donate to a local event such as a golf fundraiser or art walk.

So if you’re looking for a way to make a positive impact and spread the word about yourself, supporting local events and causes is definitely an avenue worth exploring. Donations may spread you too thin and are not a high-value marketing tactic, so be careful with your budget on this topic.

Get involved with the Chamber of Commerce or other business groups in town

Joining the Chamber of Commerce or other business groups in your town can be a great way to grow professionally.

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Clear Skies Marketing Group was sharpened in a business coffee group with other entrepreneurs at the IceLab. In addition to gaining access to fantastic networking opportunities and resources that can help you succeed, it’s also a fun way to get involved in the community.

Nothing beats meeting with locals who have the same interests and passions as you – from swapping business stories and experiences to coming up with great ideas for local events, joining such forums really helps keep things dynamic and buzzing.

And let’s not forget the camaraderie you’ll build when figuring out solutions to challenges together!

In short, there are ample reasons why membership has its perks; go ahead and take advantage of them.

Vehicle Branding to Maximize Your Equipment Purchases

In a small town you see the same people driving the same vehicles.

When you utilize your work vehicle for brand recognition, you are taking a necessary expense and making it work harder for you.

Big-name brands will roll in from out of town and they are spotted easily. There’s no surprise to that marketing technique.

Going to the grocery store or a local shop could be an advertising opportunity.

Are Printed Flyers Relevant?

After listening to a colleague at a coffee meet-up, the first thing that came to my mind was… flyers!

His target was so specialized to parents of college students visiting for a week.

They are known to visit local eateries, but also look for other adventures to take advantage of while they are there.

His service, was adventure!

A long-tail marketing plan would include some social media and search ads, but in the immediate, an opportunity presented itself to put up flyers in the local restaurants.

This works in a small town because restaurants often have “flyer boards”, which have been long gone in larger cities due to over-use.

He needed to fill a few slots for the weekend, so approached the local restaurants to post a flyer during the week and filled his spots no problem.

Flyers may be old-school, but don’t overlook them.

Local Newspapers are Hit or Miss…

I’ve interviewed several business owners after doing a newspaper advertisement to check effectiveness and it’s mediocre at best.

Hard to track unless your using specific number and often used in a long-term brand awareness style campaign.

There are some businesses that can benefit from newspaper advertisements, but those have an older demographic.

Newspapers are great for informing the community, don’t get me wrong, they’re necessary. I just have a hard time integrating them into marketing plans, even in a small town.

This level of advertising should be treated as level 3+ after the primary advertising methods have been established.

Digital Marketing in a Small Town

Google Business Profile – Show Up on Local Search

The #1 way to show up locally on Google maps is to make sure your Google Business Profile is on point.

Start by following Google Best Practices for your profile.

Then, treat it like a social media profile by adding pictures and updates.

Since people aren’t searching yellow pages anymore, they’re asking Google for businesses and services near them.

We need to take this a step further now since there may be more than one business type in one location.

Make your profile stand out by getting reviews, adding services, updating hours, adding pictures, and adding updates.

This is one of our core services, so let us know if you need help with local search.

Use hyperlocal social media marketing

When it comes to hyperlocal social media marketing, it really can’t be overstated how big of an impact it can have.

For free…

Hyperlocal targeting allows you to engage people in your immediate area and create a real connection with potential customers.

The idea is to join the conversation online that is happening around your small town activities.

Be a voice that represents yourself as well as your business.

Check out the full article here: Hyperlocal Social Media Marketing.

Local Facebook Marketplace Groups

Beware here since we’ve typically seen Facebook Marketplace groups as bargain hunters looking for low-costed items up for sale.

If that’s your target market, however, then get the word out about your service.

I’ve seen smaller service companies do well on here to raise awareness, but there are also a lot of guidelines do not allow for self-promotion.

Recommendations from previous clients on here are awesome advertising, but that brings us back to making good connections.

I see a ton of “where do I get this service?” or “who does this service the best in town?”. Make sure your previous customers are happy enough to spread the word about you.

Remember to add value to the community in a space like this instead of just blasting an advertisement.

Eric Hagelin
Eric Hagelin

Post Author: Eric Hagelin

Founder of Clear Skies Marketing Group

“I believe that small businesses are the backbone of America and I have made it my mission to deliver helpful tips and results to small business owners to increase their web presence.”