Local marketing is crucial for small businesses, as smaller companies typically provide products and services within a limited area. One of the first things you do during the formative stages of your business plan is conceive of and implement a local marketing strategy. Your plan should include both traditional and Internet-specific strategies.

The Basics of Local Marketing
Start by identifying your target market and figuring out, from a demographic standpoint, where they are and how to reach them. Then, break that market down into sub-categories and tweak your strategy to ensure you appeal to each of them directly. Be sure to collect feedback in the early stages of your strategy and adjust it going forward as needed.

Then, use these tried-and-true tips to expand your visibility in the offline world:

  • Attend community events and distribute promotional material to community groups that match your target demographic(s).
  • Submit a press release to your local newspaper(s) when you plan to participate in a community fundraiser, charity event or awareness campaign.
  • Advertise grand opening promotions and giveaways on local radio, TV and newspapers.

Harness the Power of the Internet
The beauty of the Internet is its equal reach both globally and locally. Here are some of the ways in which you can put the Web to work for your locally oriented small business:

  • Register your small business and create a listing with all the major search engines — sites like GetListed.org will be a great help, and giants like Yahoo! and Google offer locally oriented sub-categories.
  • Be sure to register with any local search engines which service your community and the surrounding area
  • Use geo-targeted keywords in your website content, tags and meta descriptions to attract local customers
  • Build a blog and start back-linking campaigns with other local businesses to improve search engine rankings and synergize your local marketing efforts.
  • Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to support your marketing strategies.

These tips will help you and your business reap the rewards of local reach and connect with a wide base of potential customers. And finally, remember that no strategy is “set in stone”, you will want to adjust your marketing efforts based on what resources work best for your business.