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What Are the Different Types of Local Advertising?

By Daphne Mallory
Updated May 16, 2024
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Small business owners still rely on local advertising to reach new customers and grow their revenue. Technology has brought about new types of local marketing, but the traditional methods still apply. Word of mouth is the oldest form of local marketing, and print ads are one of the most traditional methods used. Businesses often market to a local audience through broadcasting, either through local radio or television. New technologies that involve local marketing include social media and mobile phone marketing.

Word of mouth works as a local advertising strategy by simply telling people about a business. Owners can have their employees, friends, or family members tell others about the business and recommend it. Small business owners often develop a script, sometimes called an elevator pitch, to tell strangers about the business in a very short period of time and use it at every opportunity. Companies can also send representatives to trade shows, fairs, and other local events to pass out materials and tell potential customers about the business.

Marketing through print is a very common form of local advertising. A small business owner can print his or her own marketing materials, including business cards, to pass out to others as well as flyers that can be posted on message boards in grocery stores and other public places. Businesses often purchase print advertisements in local newspapers, trade magazines, and other publications. Another form of print advertising often involves writing press releases about events related to a business and faxing or emailing the information to local media outlets.

Radio and television stations are often used for local advertising. Business owners can purchase air time on stations and usually have 30- or 60-second commercials produced to promote their products or services. When a business owner knows the types of customers the ads are most likely to reach, he or she can usually purchase advertising space during programs that those customers are likely to listen to or watch, such as the local news programs.

Local advertising through new technologies can take several forms. Business owners often take advantage of free listings for businesses online and create social media pages to market to loyal customers. Strategies can include offering discounts or sales to people who sign up for a company’s online newsletter. Small businesses can also market themselves by purchasing banner ads on the pages of local blogs, chambers of commerce, and other types of websites. Mobile phone marketing is a relatively new strategy, and businesses are starting to use audio and video ads through smartphones to market themselves to customers.

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Discussion Comments
By Perdido — On Apr 21, 2012

Flyers can be a good way to do some free local advertising. They have their disadvantages, but if you use them correctly, they can work for you.

I made up a bunch of flyers on bright pink paper to advertise my jewelry store. I knew better than to put them on people's windshields in parking lots, because this often makes people angry and drives them away.

Instead, I asked permission to put them up near the cash registers of local clothing and accessory stores. I knew that women were my main target, and these places would be where I could capture their attention.

I did see more customers the week that I put the flyers up, and I really believe that they helped my business. Free advertising is the best kind, in my opinion!

By seag47 — On Apr 21, 2012

I think that newspaper advertising is the best kind for local businesses. Bigger chains could probably benefit more from TV and radio ads, but businesses unique to certain towns would likely have more luck in print.

It's even better if businesses can advertise in the free weekly paper that comes out in my area. It is made up of mostly ads, but the cool thing is that everyone gets it in their mailbox. Sure, some people may never read it, but at least they have the chance to, whereas newspapers that you have to subscribe to don't make it into everyone's hands.

People in big cities may not have time for the newspaper, but people around here really depend on it for local news and sales. Everyone I know still reads it, and many of my friends pay attention to the ads.

By kylee07drg — On Apr 21, 2012

@shell4life – Many local stores offer special deals to customers who hold a credit card account with them. I have credit cards with several clothing stores in my area, and I frequently get special offers for savings.

This is a very effective form of local advertising. The discounts are usually at least 30%, and this really entices me to come shop there. They are also usually only for a limited time, so the store even gets to determine when they will see an increase in customers.

Of course, they probably hope that you will not pay your whole balance off and the interest rates will pile up, but I never let this happen. I'm sure they are still glad to have made extra sales, even when people do pay off their debt on time!

By shell4life — On Apr 20, 2012

If any of my favorite clothing or shoe stores ask for my phone number and email address, I happily give it to them. I want to receive a text message or email whenever they have a major sale going on, and I often end up getting coupons this way.

If they have a social media page, I will join it. I am all about saving money, and I love shopping so much that I almost have to seek ways to save.

There are people who don't like receiving these types of advertising on their phones or computers, because they feel like it's an invasion of their personal space. All they have to do is not give out their numbers or emails. I am sure that the stores have plenty of people eager to save like me on their mailing lists, and this is excellent advertising for them.

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