As Seen on Yahoo! Finance Learn More

Blog, Internet Marketing Strategies, Local Business, Marketing

How Local Business Can Affordably Advertise Like Big Brands: Part 1

Mike Arce

Mike Arce

Coca Cola, Doritos, Nike.  All these brands could stop advertising today, and 30 years from now you’d still know exactly who they are and what they do.  Why is that?

Another question you could ask is, “if they have this type of presence already, then why continue to spend so much on advertising?”

Big brands like these understand something that almost every local business owner doesn’t.  And this understanding drives them to advertise themselves in an entirely different way.  I sit down with many local business owners each week, and for years I keep hearing a similar request to achieve their sales goals:

“When a potential customer needs something we offer, I want to be in front of them.”

This makes sense, right?  But bigger, more successful brands have a slightly different request.  We’ll get into that in a minute.


Imagine that you’ve made the decision to buy a loved one a necklace – an expensive one.  For this example, pretend you’re not loyal to any particular jewelry store and you don’t have any negative past jeweler experiences.  You’re totally neutral.  Got it?  Okay, great.

Imagine that you started your search on Google by typing in “jewelry stores near me” and these 3 options appeared:

  1. Radiant Jewelers
  2. Philip’s Jewelers
  3. Jared’s

Now, I’d ask you which option you’d pick, but that question isn’t fair to the survey.  If you’re reading this, you’re most likely an entrepreneur or marketing professional and you think a little differently than others.  But which option do you think the average person would pick?

Did you choose Jared’s?  If so, why?  Is it because you’ve heard the name before?  There’s a good chance that you’ve never shopped at Jared’s, you don’t know anyone that works there, and you don’t know anyone that has shopped there or shared their experience with you.  Yet, you’ve chosen them.

The funny thing is, almost every business owner requests the same out of their marketing company when it comes to their SEO (search engine optimization) or PPC (pay per click) campaigns – “I want to be at the top!”  But in this example… the top jeweler didn’t even get picked.  In fact, the 2nd option wasn’t even picked.  You chose option #3: Jared’s. Now is where the ah-ha moment sinks in!

Familiarity creates comfort and trust.  And in the buying process, this is very important to understand as an uncomfortable mind doesn’t buy.  Skepticism creates walls and barriers, and a lack of familiarity or recognition creates skepticism.


I mentioned earlier that local businesses say “when a potential customer needs something we offer, we want to be in front of them.”  But that’s not what big brands say.  They think a little differently.  Bigger, more successful brands say:

“We want to be in front of our potential customer until they need us.  Then, we’re the obvious choice.”

Let’s pretend you’re responsible for helping out with a Super Bowl party, and you’re in charge of the chips and soda.  You don’t know the demographic of people attending.  You only know that 50 are expected and they want chips and soda.

So you go to the grocery store and walk down the chips isle.  You’d probably grab Doritos, Tostitos, or Lays off the shelf, right?  Maybe all three.  Now you go down the soda isle.  Let me guess – Pepsi or Coca Cola make it in the cart, right?  Of course!  You know that the majority of people would enjoy that.  Or do you?  Is this just something that you’ve been trained to believe over time…

Let’s face it – at a Super Bowl party, you can put just about anything in a bowl and it’ll be gone by halftime.

Seeing those brands as much as we have, we’ve grown to trust them.  So how can a local business do that?  That’s got to be expensive, right?  Well, not nearly as expensive as you may think.


Local businesses are companies that offer a product or service (typically service) to their community, whether that’s a town, city, or region.  Very rarely does a local business work statewide.

There are three types of local businesses:

  • Those that you drive to (dentist, chiropractor, doctor, barber, etc.)
  • Those that drive to you (plumber, HVAC, carpet cleaner, etc.)
  • Those that do both (massage therapists, personal trainers, etc.)

The first option will typically pay the least in the advertising style that I’m about to recommend, but all will be very affordable in relation to what most believe.

Let’s take a dentist for example.  Typically, a dentist won’t advertise further than a 7 mile radius.  Some keep it as close as 3-5, and some go as far as 10-15.  After working with many dentists, we’ve found that a 7 mile radius seems to be the sweet spot.

So now that we’ve found the radius, it’s time to find the demographic.  Many dentists like working with families.  There’s more people to serve and refer, and the longevity is better.  Men don’t usually book the family dental appointments.  This isn’t me being stereotypical.  This is me being factual.

We listen to all of our client calls. Four out of 5 times, it’s typically the mom that books family dental appointments.  More specifically, they are married women between 26 and 45 years old with children.  Great, now we have our target:

  • Women
  • Age 26 – 45
  • Within 7 miles of your dental office

You can go a few steps further to get even more specific by targeting women that are also health conscious and have interests in healthy eating, exercise, kids activities, etc.  Usually it’s these moms that are focused on taking ultimate care of their kids, and dental appointments are a part of their process.


There are SO many marketing and advertising outlets out there.  The internet has opened up so many possibilities.  But which should you choose for your local business?

Many owners immediately go to SEO and/or Google AdWords as their first stop.  This makes sense on the surface.  The thought process kind of works like this:

“When I need something, I go to Google.  I find a company, call them, and if things sound good, I book an appointment.”

Though this does happen, what made you choose the company you chose?  Think of the Jared example.  What made you choose them?  What will make your potential customer choose you?  Sometimes SEO and Google AdWords aren’t the best first choice – mostly because people don’t understand the comparison of Google Ads automation tools and software. They go it alone, and build their campaigns manually, with no knowledge of scripting or automation. It can be an expensive lesson to learn, and questions are likely to arise:


  • “Why did only 1 out 100 people (1% Click Through Rate) actually click on my company?”
  • “Why did only 1 out of 20 people (5% Conversion Rate) actually call me or fill out a form?”
  • “Why am I getting bad leads?  The callers aren’t educated, or they’re all wanting a deal.”


  • People may not like your offer, or may feel more comfortable choosing a more familiar competitor instead.
  • People may not like your website or landing page, or are skeptical as they’ve never heard of you.
  • The majority of the people choosing you may be shoppers that are calling a bunch of people, as they may not care about quality as much as they care about getting a great price.  Those that want quality may have felt more comfortable going after a familiar competitor.

Getting leads is one thing.  But getting good quality leads at a low price is another.  We work with big name brands as well as many unknown local brands. The CTR (click through rate), Conversion Rate, and Closing Rate are all better for the bigger, well known brands – not just the lead flow.

In order to eventually advertise like big brands, first your local business has to understand everything that was just discussed. So stay tuned… tomorrow we will outline 6 ways you can get there!