A common question we hear from clients is “What are my options for local online advertising?” Great question! Since the internet has been billed as a global connector, many overlook the great opportunity it holds for targeting a local demographic. More and more, consumers are turning to the internet as a go-to resource to find businesses through search engines, online directories, and other sources. Not only can these searchers find contact information for businesses in their area, they can also see reviews and other details of area businesses.

There are several internet advertising options to help small business owners reach local customers. Here are some tips to get you started with your local advertising strategy:

1. Before jumping into paid advertising, make sure you have listed your business with the major search engines—Google, Bing, and Yahoo— to increase your online visibility. (Click here for details on how to do this.)

2. Search out listing services relevant to your industry and submit your business information.

3. Check out your local newspaper websites for affordable online advertising.

4. Explore search engine advertising options using pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns through Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo Search Ads for targeted local advertising. Each of these platforms offers comprehensive tutorials to walk you through the process of setting up your ad to reach the right people in the right location using targeted keywords. Here is a very helpful video on how Google AdWords Auctions work.

5. Consider investing in paid social media advertising across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. Check out this WordStream article “Social Media Advertising: Which Platform is Right for Your Small Business” for a great breakdown of the four major social media platforms, including the types of ads they offer and the average returns you can expect.

6. Look into direct advertising on websites. Are there any local websites you have come across that you think reach your target audience? Contact the owners of the site directly. You can usually find an “advertise” or “contact” page to submit your request for advertising options/pricing.

7. Display advertising, typically run by ad networks instead of individual website owners, allows you to save time because you can buy a number of ads across multiple sites in a single shot. Some of the biggest ad networks include Google Ads: Display Network, Conversant (formerly ValueClick), and Advertising.com.

Hopefully this helps you understand your basic options for local online advertising. Stay tuned to OpenVine’s small business blog for more detailed information on these options.

Need some help determining the best types of online advertising to reach local customers? We can walk you through a variety of options to help you reach your target audience. Contact us today to learn more.

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