What is Local Advertising and How Does it Work? [+ Examples]

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Kayla Carmicheal
Kayla Carmicheal


A couple of years ago, I ran to every grocery store and convenience store in my area, looking for one specific thing.

I wasn't going to rest until I found it, and it took months upon months of searching high and low, almost every week, until finally, my eyes settled on the slender, enticing beauty in front of me, right there in my local grocery store.

A bottle of Coke with my name on it.

Finally, I could indulge in a drink I don't even prefer, just because my name was on it. This is the effect of the Share A Coke campaign: a global company taking steps to localize their efforts.

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The great thing about this type of marketing, called local marketing, is that it favors small businesses. You don't have to be the Coca-Cola Corporation to start a local marketing campaign and have it be effective.

Here, let's explore what local marketing is, and how you can use it to maximize your own marketing efforts in 2020.

What is local marketing?

Local marketing is the strategy of targeting audiences close to the location of a business with messages reflecting the local market. A business wanting to use local slang or influencers to attract customers living nearby would benefit from local marketing.

The messages using this method relies on proximity. Local marketing materials engage with the communities to build a presence. Tactics like local influencers, advertisements, or hosting public events are all examples of local marketing.

Check out this Instagram post from beauty brand Frank Body. Frank is using local marketing by connecting their products to a cause specific to their home region, in Australia:

A post like this shows how local marketing can start small and then expand to the masses, by having the sale apply globally. This sale builds Frank's reputation as a brand that cares about the local population.

Small businesses can benefit exponentially from local marketing, especially in building a loyal customer base by using local assets.

However, without an understanding of local audiences, you lose that foundation for how you can connect with a crucial part of your market.

For instance, let's say you lead marketing efforts for a tech company, and after conducting market research, you've found that a common perception about your brand is that your laptops are of lower-quality than competitors.

To switch that perception, you might invite students, young professionals, and business owners in your area to perform important job functions on your laptops in-store, documenting opinions. After, the participants share high praise on social media to their followers, tagging your brand. Using those posts, you have now created a user-generated marketing campaign.

This is how local marketing shows that focusing on locality and market research can resonate with a wide audience as a result.

Let's look at some more ideas to crack into the world of local marketing.

Local Marketing Ideas

These ideas can be scaled to your business and its needs. Remember, you don't always need millions of dollars to be effective, you just have to focus in the right areas. Use these examples as inspiration when shaping your campaign.

1. Support a cause.

Does your brand want to lead a cause marketing campaign? This can be woven into local marketing. Conduct market research on social issues important to your target audience, like Smirnoff did with inclusivity.

Through research, Smirnoff found that 12% of millennials identified as transgender or gender non-conforming. To show their support, the company created a campaign called, "We're Open."

This London-based campaign took action to help marginalized groups safely at night by enlisting the help of volunteers with the help of Westminster Council. By taking action in a specific location with a specific community, Smirnoff solidified their stance on a global issue and took action to support it.

2. Personalize your efforts.

One of the key aspects of local marketing is how personalized it can be. Like the "Share a Coke" campaign, personalized messages can make consumers feel special. Coca-Cola isn't the only global brand making local strides.

Have you ever seen the location-based mugs in Starbucks? The colorful mugs usually come with the city you're nearest to printed on them, or with popular landmarks that define the area. It's a fun way to be proud of where you're from or collect a souvenir on vacation.

This interactive "Mug Map" on Starbucks's website shows how the massive coffee company uses their global resources to keep local marketing a prominent feature of their brand. You don't have to look far to feel included.

Personalized marketing doesn't have to be super expensive, though, either. If you're a B2B company, think about how customers in Perth, Australia can benefit from an Australia Day promotion.

3. Get focused on demographics.

Let's say you want to tap into a certain group within your total audience. Activia wanted to do the same, and started conversations about the well-being of women after recognizing that typically, women are their own worst critic.

They jumpstarted this campaign with a video that showed interviews with American women talking about their connection to well-being, and specifically targeted women in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 55.

By doing this, Activia started a conversation in a demographic that makes up a large portion of its target audience. They also improved the perception of their brand in this demographic globally by focusing on experiences to which other women can relate.

4. Host local events.

Similar to the tech company example (above), grocery store Lidl found, after market research, that the public perception of their brand was centered around low-quality food. In order to change that, they invited food specialists based in London to a private farmers market in a popular area.

The result of this was high praise on social media about the high-quality of Lidl food at competitive prices. The brand used some of the praise on social media on banners in their store, sparking a domino effect of praise and brand awareness in the London area.

By holding community-specific events, you can ignite the interest of customers in a certain area and invite them to explore your brand. A public demo of products would be a great way for a small B2B company to build a positive reputation.

So now that you have a couple of ideas of how local marketing can look, you're probably wondering how much this is all going to cost you. Let's explore that next.

How much does local advertising cost?

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that the cost of ads fluctuates depending on your goal. Even so, there are handy benchmarks to point to when considering online ad costs. Here are a few of them for the most popular ad platforms, based in CPM (cost per impressions), unless otherwise noted.

  • Google Ads: $2.32 per click
  • Facebook: $1.72
  • LinkedIn: $2
  • Instagram: $5
  • Snapchat: $2.95
  • Microsoft Ads: $1.54 per click

Online advertising can cost thousands per month for small businesses, so make sure your decisions are informed when you make them. Ad costs can also change based on location, and that's where location targeting comes in.

Location targeting allows you to pick and choose certain geographic locations to advertise in. This can tie in directly with local marketing. If you only want ads to appear in a certain city, region, state, country, or continent, you can.

What's helpful about location targeting is that you can set up ads that are most beneficial to certain audiences to make sure you'll have a more impactful ROI. Most ad platforms have the option for location targeting, so be sure to look for that when considering ad space.

Additionally, when you buy ad space, track your analytics so you can measure performance.

When it comes to ad tracking, HubSpot has an ad tracking platform within the CRM. It does the heavy lifting of data collection for you and measures the ROI of your campaigns, allowing you to sync real-time results with the rest of the campaign.

Advertising online can be a tricky business, and if you're just starting out with the possibility, we have a complete guide available with everything you need to know about it.

Next time I share a Coke with someone, I'll think about the market research Coca-Cola most likely conducted to figure out how many bottles of certain names to send to specific regions.

How will you use local marketing to impact your business?

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Topics: Local Marketing

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