5 Local Advertising Ideas To Support Your Brand

international marketing

On this site, we commonly focus on small and mid-sized businesses with a broad geographic market but many businesses primarily draw customers from a relatively small geographic area. Mostly, these are businesses with a physical location that limits the distance customers are willing to travel to visit your location. In other situations, an online brand might focus on the unique problems and demands of people in a small geographic area. Whatever the reason, local advertising is an important tool for these brands in creating awareness, building a customer base, reminding customers to make repeat purchases, and generating revenue that sustains growth.

In earlier posts, we focused on digital marketing efforts as part of your local advertising such as Google My Business, which generates highlighted results like the one below when users in your area search for physical businesses. Today, we’d like to focus on the physical elements of your local advertising strategy.

local advertising

Building a local advertising strategy

The first step is to understand your customers and prospective customers so you can design local advertising that delivers. You need a deep understanding of their major pain points, how they frame a conversation around these pain points, and where you might reach them. By building a persona like the one below, you are in a position to design local advertising that resonates with them and delivers results.

market persona
Image courtesy of Dribble

Armed with a persona or a few of them, and research on the local environment (legal, technological, competitive, cultural, and economic factors in the geographic area you plan to target with your campaign), you can now build a detailed marketing plan that outlines strategies and tactics that are most likely to grow your business revenue.

Below are some options for local advertising to consider, based on your personas.

1. Outdoor advertising

Not all communities offer the same opportunities for outdoor advertising, which includes billboards, bus benches, subway stations, taxi cabs, buses, and more. There’s even the option of using mobile billboards mounted to tractor-trailers that drive around the town (often these require a permit).

What are the benefits of outdoor advertising?

Even in today’s digital age, billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising remain one of the most effective forms of advertising. To simplify matters, we confine our discussion below to billboards but most of the discussion relates just as well to other forms of outdoor advertising.

Unlike TV, radio, and online advertisements, billboards allow advertisers to control their ad space, including how and where their ads appear. Billboards reach many people over time and are cost-effective, flexible, and designed to capture the attention of motorists and pedestrians when strategically placed at carefully targeted locations.

Because billboards are strategically placed along busy roads and intersections, people are more likely to notice the large and eye-catching displays. A great example is the Chick-fil-a ads featuring a cow that jumps out of the billboard in 3D (see example below). People can choose to click on an Internet ad or change the channel if they want to avoid watching a commercial, but they can’t avoid your billboard as they travel throughout the day.

outdoor advertising

It is possible to run an ad on the radio or TV, but the price means you can likely only afford to show your ad several times a day. On the other hand, your billboards work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Compared with other forms of advertising, billboards allow customers to be exposed repeatedly to brands and services. The content is shorter than it would be in other forms of advertising, making it easy to recall when faced with a need to purchase a product to solve your problem.

Billboards are incredibly effective at building brand awareness. Many people recall a billboard because they see it multiple times and can later associate it with a brand or company because of the unique graphic opportunities provided by the medium. In addition to being memorable and catchy, billboard designs provide a great way for potential customers to learn about your business and store it away until they may need your services. Placing your outdoor advertising along busy interstates encourages travelers to stop by your business to take a break, buy food or lodging, or satisfy other immediate needs. You can plan your ad spend to start your campaign just a few miles from the exit to your business or much farther away so travelers can plan their stops to include your business. A great example of a company that built its brand almost entirely with outdoor advertising is South of the Border, which attracts over 8 million visitors a year, more than most theme parks.

Billboards allow companies to reach a large group of customers with a single advertising tool. Using local companies, such as minneapolis billboards, ensures they have the expertise to help you make optimal decisions when considering outdoor advertising

Where to place your outdoor advertising

Obviously, if you followed other posts on this site, the effectiveness of your outdoor advertising rests on choosing the right location to place your campaigns. Below are some options to consider based on your target market and personas.

  1. Shopping centers and malls

While malls are losing their cache among consumers, multi-use shopping centers more than fill the void. These shopping centers include retail, entertainment, and, often, living space in a convenient location that attracts a wide range of consumers and extends the amount of time they spend exposed to your campaign, especially when consumers live in the center.

  1. Airports and transportation hubs

Transportation serves both residents and visitors to your area, which offers fertile ground for local advertising.

  1. Stadiums and sporting arenas

Sporting events are popular in most cities, even ones without a major league team. Whether advertising at a little league ballpark or a heavily-attended stadium, you can reach a large number of folks with diverse backgrounds or in targeted demographic groups, depending on your choices. Even minor league teams, like the Savannah Bananas, draw large crowds with their low prices and relaxed games.

savannah bananas

  1. Colleges and universities

Advertising at local colleges and universities allows a great way to reach younger consumers, a group that’s often challenging to reach.

  1. Museums

Another group that’s challenging to reach or at least to target is high-net-worth consumers. Museums are great tools for local advertising to these audiences. Also, consider specialty museums to reach targeted consumers. For instance, try a children’s museum or one dedicated to a particular interest, such as the DC Spy Museum.

2. TV, radio, and other traditional advertising platforms

Both of these mediums are declining in effectiveness due to exploding options that better suit consumers. As you can see in the graphic below, traditional marketing of all types faces declining interest due to a number of drawbacks over digital marketing.

ignore digital marketing
Image courtesy of Lyfe Marketing

Newspapers are nonexistent in many locations or only exist in the digital space.

3. Local PR

Public relations is still a viable form of local advertising or rather promotion. You’ll find firms that specialize in crafting press releases and others that focus on getting media attention for your business in local papers, TV, and radio. This free advertising works better than advertising because people tend to believe in public relations more than advertising. Of course, you can’t predict whether a media outlet will pick up your PR since they don’t get paid for including it. In many cases, firms find they must also use paid advertising to encourage local media outlets to pick up their PR.

4. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are a great tool for local advertising as it not only creates brand awareness but builds positive attitudes toward the brand because consumers care about companies that support things they value.

You’ll find numerous sponsorship opportunities from sponsoring a little league team to a public charity to a fundraising event. Again, tie your sponsorships to your target market to ensure their success.

5. Networking

Networking isn’t often considered local advertising but what better way to create awareness, build your brand reputation, and interact with the community than to attend local networking events? I’m lucky to live in the DC Metro where there are a host of local events for any group your brand wants to connect with. Before the pandemic shuttered everything, I attended so many networking events that I almost never had to plan dinner during the week because the events provided food. I also got very tired of pizza, although I could tell you which pizzerias offered the best options in the area as I tried them all at various events.


Local advertising is just as important as digital marketing, including local SEO. If you have a physical location or offer products specific to a particular geographic location, local advertising is likely even more important for you.

In this post, we shared our top 5 favorite methods of local advertising. You should consider adding one or more of these tactics to your marketing plan the next time you build one, especially if you serve a specific geographic region either exclusively or rely on that location for much of your financial success.

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