How to Get the Word Out Locally #3: Advertising & Paid Media

In this six part series we will share some practical strategies that anyone - be it a small business, startup, non-profit, established company or just the individual looking to promote themself - can utilize to get the word out on a local level.

In part three, let’s dive into the wide world of advertising.

Let’s face it, as important and effective as organic promotion is, it will only get you so far. In order to reach the maximum number of your target audience you will have to invest in some advertising and promotional materials.

This can be a daunting, even scary proposition. It shouldn’t be.

Fortunately, because you know who you are trying to reach (see Part 1) you can determine where best to spend your advertising budget. There are a multitude of options available to you, each serving a unique purpose and often engaging a distinct segment of the local population.

Here are some strategies on how to leverage them.

Traditional Channels

Just because we live in a primarily digital world does not mean traditional media is dead. Far from it. There are still significant segments of the population that actively consume and even rely on these channels for both entertainment and information.

  • Print: Take out an ad in the local newspaper or magazine(s). We would also lump billboards or other public displays in this category. The ad sales departments for each of these options should be able to tell you specifics about their distribution and customer makeup which will help you decide whether to invest in these options and to what degree. If you determine this is a worthwhile option, put an emphasis on making something creative that will catch the reader’s attention with a clear CTA or promotion.
  • Television & Radio: Local network affiliates and stations have commercial spots to fill for practically all of their programming. If you know that a significant chunk of your target audience is tuning in to a particular network or program, it may make sense to purchase some air time. If you do, be sure to design your ad to grab their attention right from the outset or they will tune you out.
  • Snail Mail: Also known as the original inbox...junk mail and all. While this is often a blanket option, there are some services that allow for a more targeted mailer approach. We find that the most effective mailbox campaigns include a special offer or promotion. By adding value to your mailer you increase the chances that the recipient will take action.

Digital Media

In Part 2 we discussed how to use social media effectively. Now it’s time to take your digital strategy up a notch with highly targeted ads.

  • Facebook / Instagram: Simply put, you need to use Facebook Ads. Not only does it offer the most robust targeting options, it unquestionably has the greatest reach across its connected platforms. As an added bonus, you can quickly use the the ads platform to gather data about your target audiences without spending a dime. Once you settle on who you want to promote yourself to, we highly recommend taking advantage of the A/B testing options to hone in on what creative, messaging and CTA are the most effective.
  • Twitter: While we don’t recommend this as your primary advertising channel, Twitter is a solid place to reinforce your promoting efforts elsewhere. If a good amount of your target audience is active in the twitterverse, throw a few of your ad dollars that way. This can be especially effective if you are promoting something around an event that locals will be tweeting about.
  • LinkedIn: Besides the obvious Facebook-esque promoted posts, LinkedIn also offers the ability to directly message anyone via their paid InMail service. For individuals targeting professionals specifically this can be a very effective investment.
  • Snapchat: This is a very fun option if you have a presence at a local event or like to have a presence there without actually being there. Custom Geofilters with your branding can be surprisingly inexpensive, especially at local gatherings where there is little competition. Not only will you increase awareness, you will have the added benefit of user-generated content doubling as indirect brand advocacy. If your target skews younger this is a no brainer.
  • Search / Display: Google (and to a much lesser extent Bing) offers a very easy solution to advertise practically everywhere else on the net through a single easy-to-use platform. Get prime positioning in local search results relevant to your interests, display ads on websites that your audience visit and show up in their favorite apps — all within your budget. We suggest trying every option to start and optimizing based on initial results.
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Ultimately, the best advertising strategy is to be as diversified in your approach as possible. Test as many channels as you can, iterate your creative and targeting and adjust your areas of focus accordingly.


Part 1: Social Media
Part 2: Community Outreach

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