5 Ways To Do Local Marketing without breaking the bank

The rise of powerful digital networks has given more tools for retailers to do local marketing campaigns. Nowadays you can reach out to customers within specific geographical zones and venues through listings and ads that leverage mobile devices’ positioning systems. Evidently, such can come at a non-negligible cost, however there are ways to leverage those tactics without causing too much damage to your ad budget.


  Snapchat Bing Facebook Google Instagram
Audience (daily active users worldwide) 100 million 1.23 billion 1.47 billion 3.5 billion 1 billion


Snapchat Geofilters

Snapchat boasts 100 million daily active users and can provide an opportunity to reach a significant audience. The platform is popular among teenagers ages 13-17, which can be a hard demographic to reach through traditional marketing.


Snapchat has a local marketing program called “Geofilters”. A national Geofilter can be seen by 40 to 60% of the daily Snapchat audience (40,000 to 60,000 people that is).


A Geofilter is a location-based overlay you can find by swiping right on your Snapchat photo. If you create your own Geofilter, anyone on Snapchat in the location of your choice can use that filter on their Snapchat images and videos. A Geofilter can help alert foot traffic of your business’s nearby proximity. It can also spread brand awareness to users both in and outside a specific location, as users can send a Geofilter to anyone no matter their location. At the time of writing, Snapchat roughly charges US $5 per 20,000 square feet.



Local Geofilters can have impressive scope. For example, Bell Media executed a Geofilter campaign for five hours at The Quad at the University of Alabama (a well known facility at the school), and reached more than 19,000 people. The Hoopsfix All-Star Classic, an annual event showcasing British basketball talent also utilized Geofilters to great effect in 2016. Aiming to promote the event beyond the arena in Brixton, London, Hoopsfix founder, Sam Neter, turned to Snapchat. The filter went live the evening before the event allowing the Hoopsfix team to show some behind the scenes action of the arena coming together, expiring just after the event came to an end. The 25 hour campaign cost $30 and when the filter expired it had been used 389 times and received 91,346 views.


Bing Places

Bing controls a smaller share of the search market than Google, yet its demographic is highly targeted. It is the default search engine on many Microsoft products, 87% of Bing users come from Edge (previously Internet Explorer), the default web browser on Windows 10. Microsoft product consumers tend to be older, middle class, and for lack of better term less tech savvy. 85% of Bing’s traffic comes from the US (one thing that is good to take into account if your target market is based in this part of the world.


A few years ago, Bing launched a local marketing program named “Bing Places”: a free online listing service linked to the Bing search engine. It serves three types of businesses: “(1) a local or small business with a storefront, (2) a chain business with multiple physical locations, and (3) a business providing services at customer locations”.



It typically takes thirty minutes to set up and verify one listing. Once your business is listed, Bing Places enables you to become more visible to online customers who use the Bing search engine. Your business can be featured in Bing and Bing Maps results, including popular local search results, when people search for businesses similar to yours.


When Bing Places showcases your business to online customers, this includes your business’s Yelp! reviews, business hours, and contact information, hence customers know when you’re open, how to get in touch with you, and how well you serve your customers.


Of course, you can use this service in conjunction with the Bing Ads program.


Facebook Local Awareness Ads

As you certainly know, Facebook controls a significant portion of the global internet traffic (1.47 billion active users during the second quarter of 2012).


Facebook offers a local marketing program called “Local Awareness Ads” It consists of campaigns which “let you reach Facebook users based on the business location they’re closest to” and are advertised as an alternative to boosted posts and traditional ads.


You can set up the ads to serve people near your location with directions to your store. You can also choose to provide a phone number so they can easily call you or even let users message you if they have a question (all from within the ad itself).



EI School of Professional Makeup in Los Angeles wanted to reach out to 18- to 35-year-olds who have an interest in makeup products and services, and live within driving distance of the school. They turned to Local Awareness Ads and used the “Call Now” call-to-action button to entice  to learn more about the school. In only 30 days, The EI School generated roughly two million local impressions at a cost of only $0.002 per impression.


“We see a 100 percent increase in local leads when we run local awareness ads,” stated Chris Gauthier, consultant at EI. “We’re spending $40,000 less per month and getting a 50% increase in sales.”


Google Maps Ads

As expected, Internet giant Google is also invested in local marketing services. It is possible to conduct Adwords advertising campaigns on Google Maps, which can be an alternative to or complement for a conventional text ad.


If a consumer is near your restaurant, on Google Maps, they may find themselves looking at an ad of your making. A prospective consumer will input something to the effect of “(a cuisine) food near me.” If you optimize your ad in accordance with AdWords best practices, you stand a good chance of being found.



In 2016, the Google Maps team has introduced “pins”: company logos that indicate physical locations on Google Maps for companies that buy ad space. Users will see these pins when they have an opened Google Map, while getting directions, and during navigation while they’re driving. The pins are designed to be straightforward and low-key to avoid distracting drivers.


Instagram and Facebook Store Visit Objective

Available on both Instagram and Facebook, the Store Visit Objective program enables businesses to optimize for in-store visits and sales with their Facebook Ads.

The ads have some interesting features, such as:

  •      A store locator map that can be placed in a carousel ad
  •      Copy and CTAs that may change based on the proximity of the store
  •      It is powered by a single creative template, make it user-friendly for marketers



There is one important aspect to mention: Store Visits Objective can only be used if your business has multiple locations. Therefore this disqualifies small and medium-sized single-location stores.


More and more online local marketing programs are popping up, promising efficient targeting at a reasonable price. Local marketing practitioners rejoice: there is something for you out there.