How Smart is Your Local Business Marketing?

How Smart is Your Local Business Marketing?

Local market

Every weekend without fail, my local electronics retailer runs a flyer in the local newspaper. It highlights special offers and discounts and proudly displays “This weekend only!” in the header.

The flyer’s nice and bright and there’s a huge collection of images, from large-screen TV’s to computers to video games to smartphones and more.

Great, you might say. Can never have enough advertising or marketing, right?

Wrong.

You see, every weekend the retailer puts out his flyer, it’s always the same. Same products. Same discounts. Same busy flyer with image overkill and small text.

Because it’s the same, customers now wait until the weekend to buy anything. They sit by their breakfast tables waiting for the newspaper to be delivered, grab the flyer, and drive on down to the retailer to maybe buy a new TV, or phone, or games console.

While this is great for weekend traffic, the store’s pretty empty during the week. The busiest it gets is when one of the sales associates gets the vacuum cleaner out and does a round of the store.

Sure, you could say that the retailer must be doing alright, as the weekend business covers the quiet week, right? Possibly. But think how much better it could be.

Mix It Up a Little, Mix It Up a Lot

With very few exceptions, the retailer’s flyer has the same products and offers on sale every weekend. Now, this could be down to the fact that he has less of a relationship with suppliers than the bigger outlets. But he could still make his offers more selective and therefore more effective.

  • Carry out an audit on what’s the most popular product, and then who the most popular supplier of that product is. Then look at what accessories are available for that product. Contact the supplier in question and show them your information and what that relates to in hard sales figures. Then offer to promote the heck out of their brand for a weekend. Better still, have a manufacturer appreciation day during the week to show off their products, with offers only for that day.
  • Take the “less is more” approach with the flyer. The human being is primarily a visual person – it’s how we’ve communicated through the ages and it’s still true today. Instead of assaulting the eyeballs, though, highlight one great product per page and then have four or five smaller additions to complement. The litmus test is how your eyes are drawn to the information – if they go where you want the eyes of the customers to go, you’re on the right track.
  • Stop the regular weekly offers. When something becomes a regular fixture, we know when it’s going to happen. This takes the edge of it, and lessens any impact. Change the advertising up. Compare a weekday ad instead of the usual weekend ones, and tie it into a truly unique offer. The promise of the sexy sale that day will beat the sameness of the weekend flyer – try it.

Take It to the Masses

The beauty with an electronics retailer is that you can pretty much guarantee the audience – male, 18-45, gadget-friendly geeks (and I say this with nothing but love, as I’m one of these geeks).

The great thing about that demographic is that they’re very web-savvy too. They’re hanging out on social networks, online forums and blogs. So take advantage of this.

What People Are Doing - Inside Innovation - Business Week

Do the research to see where your audience is. Then market to that audience accordingly. If you find you have a lot of potential customers on Facebook, consider running an ad on there specifically tailored to your audience. The great thing with Facebook ads is that you can really drill down into your target audience.

Or try banner ads on forums and speak to niche bloggers about special offers that their readers can benefit from (obviously this works better if you offer e-commerce options as well).

I’ve used my local retailer as an example here, but you can swap the ideas for your own business. Yes, social media is international, but so many businesses forget that their local customers are online too – it’s not all down to simple local advertising. And if you’re unsure of how to market effectively online, speak to a company or agency that can help you.

The thing is, local businesses tend to market locally and with the same approach. A flyer in the weekend paper and maybe some radio ads, and with the same offers week in, week out.

This definitely works, and weekend sales might be all you need to get by. But do you really want to continue just getting by at weekends, or do you want to be a business for every day of the week?

image: Kodak Agfa

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
91 comments
local advertising
local advertising

Advertising locally can benefit any business, especially small businesses and sole traders. Thank you for the post sir! Its so true!

local advertising
local advertising

Advertising locally can benefit any business, especially small businesses and sole traders. Thank you for the post sir! Its so true!

Renee
Renee

Great points Danny. To me, this all basically breaks down into the following three words: don't be predictable. It human nature, if people always know what to expect, they will tend to get bored, and boredom from ads is probably the last thing a store owner wants to achieve.

On a second note I like the addition to the 'Please check this box' statement below.

Renee
Renee

Great points Danny. To me, this all basically breaks down into the following three words: don't be predictable. It human nature, if people always know what to expect, they will tend to get bored, and boredom from ads is probably the last thing a store owner wants to achieve. On a second note I like the addition to the 'Please check this box' statement below.

Vanie
Vanie

We should be able to create new ideas in marketing our products, unique promotions and advertising to attract the attention of our customer's products.

Like usual..great post Danny

Vanie
Vanie

We should be able to create new ideas in marketing our products, unique promotions and advertising to attract the attention of our customer's products. Like usual..great post Danny

Pat
Pat

I couldn't agree more with the fact that social media is a great way to get advertising for local businesses. Trying something new, such as social media will help make your business stand out from those that just stick with the old age and not the new age, which is internet. If your not on the internet, then your business is not going to survive.

Pat
Pat

I couldn't agree more with the fact that social media is a great way to get advertising for local businesses. Trying something new, such as social media will help make your business stand out from those that just stick with the old age and not the new age, which is internet. If your not on the internet, then your business is not going to survive.

Ignacio Molins
Ignacio Molins

Great advice.
I would also check on the peridiocity of the ad. I could presume people are not going every weekend to buy electronics, and a once a month mailing ad would be sufficient to keep on calling the attention. For boasting up weekend revenues i would go as you online!

Ignacio Molins
Ignacio Molins

Great advice. I would also check on the peridiocity of the ad. I could presume people are not going every weekend to buy electronics, and a once a month mailing ad would be sufficient to keep on calling the attention. For boasting up weekend revenues i would go as you online!

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Hmm... I'd get tired of the weekly sales offers pretty quickly. It gets old after a while and people catch on you know. I see that with a lot of local stores around here.

Like you said, I'd consider doing an audit to see which products are most popular and then maybe doing a sale once a month, not weekly. Just my take anyway.

In terms of how we do this with our software product, we do sales when we go to conferences. First month free if you sign up. But the special is only a conference special. So far, so good.

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Hmm... I'd get tired of the weekly sales offers pretty quickly. It gets old after a while and people catch on you know. I see that with a lot of local stores around here.

Like you said, I'd consider doing an audit to see which products are most popular and then maybe doing a sale once a month, not weekly. Just my take anyway.

In terms of how we do this with our software product, we do sales when we go to conferences. First month free if you sign up. But the special is only a conference special. So far, so good.

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Hmm... I'd get tired of the weekly sales offers pretty quickly. It gets old after a while and people catch on you know. I see that with a lot of local stores around here. Like you said, I'd consider doing an audit to see which products are most popular and then maybe doing a sale once a month, not weekly. Just my take anyway. In terms of how we do this with our software product, we do sales when we go to conferences. First month free if you sign up. But the special is only a conference special. So far, so good.

Daniel M. Wood
Daniel M. Wood

Great article.
You need to mix up your marketing, run different discounts, new products, not every weekend, sometimes a Wednesday campaign, sometimes a new product launch (with full price) and so on.

There are lots of reasons for people to come to your store, you can have a coupon day, a product show case explaining how to use your camera in the best possible way and so on.

Running discounts gets you one type of customer and if it is every weekend that is the only time they will come.

Daniel M. Wood
Daniel M. Wood

Great article.
You need to mix up your marketing, run different discounts, new products, not every weekend, sometimes a Wednesday campaign, sometimes a new product launch (with full price) and so on.

There are lots of reasons for people to come to your store, you can have a coupon day, a product show case explaining how to use your camera in the best possible way and so on.

Running discounts gets you one type of customer and if it is every weekend that is the only time they will come.

Daniel M. Wood
Daniel M. Wood

Great article. You need to mix up your marketing, run different discounts, new products, not every weekend, sometimes a Wednesday campaign, sometimes a new product launch (with full price) and so on. There are lots of reasons for people to come to your store, you can have a coupon day, a product show case explaining how to use your camera in the best possible way and so on. Running discounts gets you one type of customer and if it is every weekend that is the only time they will come.

franz
franz

using flyer indeed one of the cheapest way to get connected to the clients

franz
franz

using flyer indeed one of the cheapest way to get connected to the clients

ken
ken

Health care professionals get stuck in a similar rut. They know they should offer some kind of "special' to attract new patients, but they have no idea how to differentiate their practice from others in the commmunity -- so no further attempt at marketing is ever made. A receipe for underperformance!

ken
ken

Health care professionals get stuck in a similar rut. They know they should offer some kind of "special' to attract new patients, but they have no idea how to differentiate their practice from others in the commmunity -- so no further attempt at marketing is ever made. A receipe for underperformance!

ken
ken

Health care professionals get stuck in a similar rut. They know they should offer some kind of "special' to attract new patients, but they have no idea how to differentiate their practice from others in the commmunity -- so no further attempt at marketing is ever made. A receipe for underperformance!

Margie Clayman (
Margie Clayman (

Local advertising is an area that needs a real shot in the arm. Some of the local ads we get on television are just humiliating - for me - because they're on MY television!!

We're really past the time when this kind of lazy, irresponsible, pointless local marketing is acceptable. Budgets may be small, but brains can be big - there's no reason to still have the "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!" auto commercial.

Glad I'm not the only one feeling that way :)

Margie Clayman (@margieclayman)
Margie Clayman (@margieclayman)

Local advertising is an area that needs a real shot in the arm. Some of the local ads we get on television are just humiliating - for me - because they're on MY television!!

We're really past the time when this kind of lazy, irresponsible, pointless local marketing is acceptable. Budgets may be small, but brains can be big - there's no reason to still have the "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!" auto commercial.

Glad I'm not the only one feeling that way :)

Margie Clayman (
Margie Clayman (

Local advertising is an area that needs a real shot in the arm. Some of the local ads we get on television are just humiliating - for me - because they're on MY television!! We're really past the time when this kind of lazy, irresponsible, pointless local marketing is acceptable. Budgets may be small, but brains can be big - there's no reason to still have the "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!" auto commercial. Glad I'm not the only one feeling that way :)

Howie at Sky Pulse Media
Howie at Sky Pulse Media

The number one priority for local brick and mortar marketing is the sign in front of the store. After that you have some great points here. Facebook Ads work great for businesses just not for Facebook. The click through rate is half that of traditional ads. But do you really care if Facebook has to serve 1000 ads just to get you the three clicks you pay for? That is their problem not yours. I still read the circulars and I get some sent electronically. What I notice is I mostly look at ads when I have money to buy something or when I am in need. The goal is to bring people in. The second is to sell and sell more to each person. A savvy marketer can work with the product mix to see what mix of sales work. Lastly go door to door with candy in the local neighborhood and say hello. In all seriousness they should possibly look at peers who do it right and learn from them!

Howie at Sky Pulse Media
Howie at Sky Pulse Media

The number one priority for local brick and mortar marketing is the sign in front of the store. After that you have some great points here. Facebook Ads work great for businesses just not for Facebook. The click through rate is half that of traditional ads. But do you really care if Facebook has to serve 1000 ads just to get you the three clicks you pay for? That is their problem not yours.

I still read the circulars and I get some sent electronically. What I notice is I mostly look at ads when I have money to buy something or when I am in need. The goal is to bring people in. The second is to sell and sell more to each person. A savvy marketer can work with the product mix to see what mix of sales work.

Lastly go door to door with candy in the local neighborhood and say hello.

In all seriousness they should possibly look at peers who do it right and learn from them!

Darren Sproat
Darren Sproat

Danny, Yes, you've written about something that has confused me for a long time. Why do some businesses advertise a "this weekend only" sale and repeat it every weekend? It almost seems desperate, doesn't it? I am responsive to advertising that is creative. A business is essentially throwing out a resume every time they advertise. If it never changes then people have a habit of concluding, "been there, done that".

Danny
Danny

Great point, Ignacio,

Like you say, will people buy something every weekend? Probably not - so, again, do your research and make it really hit the target when it has the best chance. :)

Danny
Danny

Great point, Ignacio, Like you say, will people buy something every weekend? Probably not - so, again, do your research and make it really hit the target when it has the best chance. :)

Danny
Danny

See, you're keeping the sense of "urgency", which is always a strong call-to-action for promotions. And you're making it exclusive. Another great point.

So why can't all businesses do that, mate? ;-)

Danny
Danny

See, you're keeping the sense of "urgency", which is always a strong call-to-action for promotions. And you're making it exclusive. Another great point. So why can't all businesses do that, mate? ;-)

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Daniel: I like the idea of a "product showcase." For me, running a sale weekly or every weekend can get tiring pretty quickly. It sets a certain kind of tone. One that reads: "Meh, another sale, whatever. I'll come back next week when they're doing it again." In other words, hosting a weekly sale gives me no compelling reason to stop in now. Make sense?

As for the product showcase, depending on the product of course, that sounds like a neat idea. You can bring (potentially) lots of people in and show them how to actually use the product. Now that would be neat.

Danny
Danny

That's the biggest problem, Daniel - like you say, when you run things the same all the time, is it even a sale anymore? No - it's just your everyday products and I have no reason to come to you. ;-)

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Daniel: I like the idea of a "product showcase." For me, running a sale weekly or every weekend can get tiring pretty quickly. It sets a certain kind of tone. One that reads: "Meh, another sale, whatever. I'll come back next week when they're doing it again." In other words, hosting a weekly sale gives me no compelling reason to stop in now. Make sense?

As for the product showcase, depending on the product of course, that sounds like a neat idea. You can bring (potentially) lots of people in and show them how to actually use the product. Now that would be neat.

Danny
Danny

That's the biggest problem, Daniel - like you say, when you run things the same all the time, is it even a sale anymore? No - it's just your everyday products and I have no reason to come to you. ;-)

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Daniel: I like the idea of a "product showcase." For me, running a sale weekly or every weekend can get tiring pretty quickly. It sets a certain kind of tone. One that reads: "Meh, another sale, whatever. I'll come back next week when they're doing it again." In other words, hosting a weekly sale gives me no compelling reason to stop in now. Make sense? As for the product showcase, depending on the product of course, that sounds like a neat idea. You can bring (potentially) lots of people in and show them how to actually use the product. Now that would be neat.

Danny
Danny

Could some of that be due to red tape though, Ken? I know that with the pharma companies I've worked with, legal issues and red tape tie their hands in what can and can't be done, sadly.

Hari
Hari

But I think health care have more future business than other

Danny
Danny

Could some of that be due to red tape though, Ken? I know that with the pharma companies I've worked with, legal issues and red tape tie their hands in what can and can't be done, sadly.

Hari
Hari

But I think health care have more future business than other

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Margie: I usually only see those commercials when I'm up to 2:00am writing away or breaking my website :-)

But in all seriousness, I agree with you. I think some local businesses can do far more creative things with their marketing.

Danny
Danny

Haha, do you watch Family Guy, Margie? It reminds me of the wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtespeLin2c

But at least he's entertaining, while these repeat ads are anything but. ;-)

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Margie: I usually only see those commercials when I'm up to 2:00am writing away or breaking my website :-)

But in all seriousness, I agree with you. I think some local businesses can do far more creative things with their marketing.

Danny
Danny

Haha, do you watch Family Guy, Margie? It reminds me of the wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtespeLin2c But at least he's entertaining, while these repeat ads are anything but. ;-)

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Margie: I usually only see those commercials when I'm up to 2:00am writing away or breaking my website :-) But in all seriousness, I agree with you. I think some local businesses can do far more creative things with their marketing.

Danny
Danny

See, that's another way local businesses could really get super smart, mate (tying into your need quote). - Build a database. - Store what's been sold. - Make a calendar reminder to follow-up with a product that complements. - Tie in seasonal sales to that original purchase. - Send out individual flyers as opposed to hundreds of non-relevant ones. - Rinse and repeat. Is this perfect? No - but it might just be enough to separate from the pack. Speaking of packs, did you see the new option just for you? ;-)

Danny
Danny

See, that's another way local businesses could really get super smart, mate (tying into your need quote).

- Build a database.
- Store what's been sold.
- Make a calendar reminder to follow-up with a product that complements.
- Tie in seasonal sales to that original purchase.
- Send out individual flyers as opposed to hundreds of non-relevant ones.
- Rinse and repeat.

Is this perfect? No - but it might just be enough to separate from the pack.

Speaking of packs, did you see the new option just for you? ;-)

Danny
Danny

That's the perfect point, Darren - consumers are smart. We know when something's lame and uninspiring, and we'll go elsewhere. It's why there are so many boarded up windows in the local town and city centres. Ah well...

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  1. [...] How Smart is Your Local Business Marketing? originally appeared on Danny Brown | Social Media Marketing Blog – The Human Side of Media and the Social Side of Marketing under a Creative Commons license.   If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! [...]

  2. [...] is the original:  How Smart Is Your Local Business Marketing? Tags: breakfast, fact, only-one, retailer, sale-every, the-retailer, then-it-should, [...]

  3. [...] Local advertising is an area of the marketing industry that definitely needs a bit of a revolution. As Danny Brown notes, sending out the same lazy flyer every weekend with the same discounts will maybe do one favor for you – it’ll drive traffic to your business over the weekend. Not much else though. If you’re a local business, how can you bring your advertising and marketing into the 21st century? [...]

  4. [...] problem with constant bargains is that customers get into the mindset that they’ll only wait for these bargains, and ignore you the rest of the time. Get ignored by customers and… well, you don’t [...]