While a great number of businesses are focusing on expanding nationally or internationally, not all businesses can provide a product online. This is especially true for services. Doctors, babysitters, lawyers, and mechanics (particularly those working for or running small businesses) can not provide their product or services to someone far away.
Whether this describes your business perfectly, or if you just want to increase local business—maybe you want to increase local traffic to your brick-and-mortar store—then taking advantage of Facebook Ad’s ability to target local business is the route you want to take.
How to Target Local Business with Facebook’s Ad System
It’s no secret that Facebook has a fantastic targeting system. You can target customers based on behaviors, interests, age, all sorts of demographics—including, most important for this article, location.
When you want to create an ad designed to only target local business, go through the Ad system as you normally would. If you’re new to creating Ads, you can see our Beginner’s Guide here for a walk through.
In the audience block in the create-an-ad tool is where we’ll focus in on targeting local business.
Under the “Locations” tab, you have two options when you’re looking to users in nearby areas.
The first is to type in the desired zip code. This will target only the people in that particular zip code. Keep in mind that if you’re in a big city, there may be multiple zip codes and you could be missing out on business unless you include all of them. Orlando, for example, has more than five zip codes, and Oviedo sits right on top of it. By targeting only Oviedo, I could miss out on other close by users.
The second option is my personal favorite, because it gives you a bit more leeway. If you type in the city’s name instead of the zip code, you get the option to add a radius around the city you want to be targeted. You can target only Oviedo, or you can target your city +10, 25, or 50 miles. This also allows you to exclude certain locations if you choose.
Creating a radius will help you make sure that your can be seen only by those nearby, but also by those who aren’t directly in your city lines. After all, someone two miles outside of your city isn’t too far to come to you, but they could have been missed without that radius including them in your target audience.
On the other hand, using a radius too far (for some businesses 50 miles would be pushing it) can result in your ad being shown to—and clicked on—by those who are highly unlikely to visit your business. People may be willing to travel a bit further for a great doctor or a fantastic restaurant on special occasions. A small bookstore, on the other hand, may not get that same attention, and instead lose business to big chains that are closer to the user.
After you’ve targeted your location, you can continue through the Ad system as you normally would, including adding more demographics to increase how highly targeted your ad will be. The more you’re willing to spend, as always, increases the number of users your ad will be shown to.
Why You Want to Target Local Business
As said above, certain businesses function solely in a brick-and-mortar store. Some services you just can’t distribute across the country. How would you feel if you discovered the perfect restaurant to take your significant other to for their birthday, only to realize it was across the country? Now you have to start your search over and you have a craving for that herb-crusted trout dish you saw.
Even if you can distribute your product, it’s often productive for small businesses to focus on local customers. It can cut down on shipping costs, as well as the risks associated with shipping like damaged or lost products. If you have a brick and mortar store, why not get people to come in so you can get to know them face-to-face and build a strong, loyal clientele.
Customers can have an automatic sense of loyalty when buying local, knowing that they are supporting small businesses as well as putting money into their economy and their neighbor’s business. Buying local can be good for everyone—especially for you as the business owner.
How to Appeal to Local Users
If you want to increase local traffic, targeting local business as your audience in Facebook’s Ad system is only the first step.
Just as with every other aspect of marketing, you have to motivate those users to take action on what they see. There are several simple ways to appeal to local business.
- A great method of motivating local users is creating a Facebook Offer. You can create an offer and promote it through the ad system, targeting local business only. You can offer a certain percentage off, a free sample, or a buy-one-get-one deal. This can encourage people to come by your store or business in order to redeem it.
- Just as you can create a Facebook Offer, you can create and host a contest on Facebook. You can promote your post through Facebook’s Ad targeting system, asking users to participate. A local restaurant, for example, could ask that users post a picture of themselves with their favorite soup of the day for a chance to win dinner for two. This increases sales as well as building excitement. I once saw a local shoe store ask users to post a picture of them and their favorite place to run in their athletic shoes for the chance to win a $50 gift certificate to their store. People took pictures all over town in their shoes; it was extremely successful.
Local business holds contest for local residents.
- Having a map showing your location on your Facebook page can show people how close you are to them. You are targeting local business—show them you’re just up two streets and around a corner. I’ve seen some with business pages that have uploaded directions, informing users that they are “behind the Best Buy and next to Subway.” Local users will be more likely to know exactly where you are, and familiarity can build an automatic rapport.
- Support the community that supports your business. This may not be a post that you pay to promote through the Ad system, but having volunteer or charity work that your company has done on your Facebook page can help you build a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. This is something to have on your page for users to see once they’re on your page. Once users have followed your Ad back to your site, they’ll be happy to see that you’re helping their community as well as supplying great products and services.