Can Digital Advertising Help Your Local Business? (With Examples)

Digital Advertising For Local Businesses


How Does Digital Advertising Work?


When you use digital advertisements to promote your business, you are purchasing impressions or attention from your target audience. 


If you have a product or service you want a certain group of people to see, you can pay to promote your business on any medium. 


Websites, Magazines, T.V., Radio, Influencers, Billboards, etc. 


With a proper marketing strategy outlining the who, what, where, when, and how, you can get in front of your target audience with the perfect messaging. 


Imagine your business made a solution for single mothers. 


How would you let single mothers know about your solution? 


First you would have to find where single mothers spend their time and attention. 


Then you should explore what options you have for promoting your business in those spots. 


Google Ads (Ads on Google Searches), work great for finding specific audiences. 


For this example, you could target someone who types in “Help for single mothers” or “assistance for single mothers”.


Whoever types this in, most likely is a single mother or knows a single mother who needs some sort of help. 


Now you have their attention, it is important to get your messaging right to get their click to your website or to start a phone call directly from the ad. 


You can also find which T.V. shows single mothers are likely to watch and pay to show your advertisement on that channel. 


To get an ad on T.V. you just have to call your local T.V. provider or use a Programmatic Advertising Partner. 


Same thing with Facebook groups or blogs for single mothers. 


The Main Idea 


Find your audience, get in front of them, and make your pitch.


I am sure most of the people reading this have been bombarded with ads at one point. 


I am sure there are even ads you can recite from memory. 


  1. G. Wentworth comes to mind, or Education Connection


You don’t want to just show your ad all the time and hope the right person sees it. 


Your campaign should be targeted to the right people. 


An ad helps people already in the market for your product find your local business. 


Too many ads can give a bad impression to your potential customers. 


Also ads cost money, and you want to make sure you are not blowing money on ads that are actually hurting your business. 


Each ad campaign your local business runs should have a goal, a defined audience, and an offer. 


What Kind Of Leads Can You Expect From Digital Advertising? 


Digital advertising is very straightforward.


You show an ad to people with the right messaging, who are in the market for what you sell and they will convert. 


But what are the quality of those leads? 


In business, the highest quality leads are typically from referrals of people you already know and trust. 


Smart advertisers focus on building trust through their ads before they ask for the sale. 


When I set expectations with our clients, I explain that the campaign won’t be fully optimized until at least 3 months after the launch.


We need enough data on what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t working. 


Let’s say we launch your digital advertising campaign for your local business and we get 2 leads on the first day. 


Lead 1 is a perfect fit and the Lead 2 is not so good of a lead. 


In digital advertising, there are ways to take that data back to the platforms you advertise on and say “I want more of Lead 1s and I want to exclude people like Lead 2”. 


When you run your campaign for a longer period of time, you will get more and more data and over time you can tailor the quality of leads to your preference. 


Also, as a general rule of thumb, the less steps the lead has to take to convert (or make the sale) the more leads you will get. 


However, you may get lower quality leads. 


If your marketing funnel (the lead sees your ad, clicks ad, fills out form, and submits) is very tedious, you will get a lot less leads, but the leads you do get will most likely be higher quality leads. 


It is up to you on whether or not you want to get as many leads as possible and vet them later or get fewer leads but higher quality ones. 


My Thoughts On Lead Generation 


Usually, with ads I look at the campaign as a foot in the door to a company. 


You should advertise a lower cost product or service to get more people to try out your business. 


Then you can try to remarket to them with email or retargeting ads to get them to buy into a more expensive product or service. 


You wouldn’t want to advertise your most expensive product to an audience of people who have not even heard of your brand. 


I look at the barrier of entry as the same as the price of your products. 


If you sell a $5 sample you are more likely to get more leads and the ones who like it will come back for the $50 full product. 


But if your product is more money than the lead is willing to lose, you may lose the lead.


It is best practice to work on growing trust through the ads first. 


Make a cheap sale to let them test out the waters with your business, then grow that brand recognition and trust to make a life long customer.


When Does Advertising Make Sense? 


Are you at the point of business ownership where you are wondering if advertising is right for you? 


When growing a business sometimes it seems like advertising is the best way to jump start your growth.


This is not always true and here is why: 


Before Starting Paid Ads


Before you start investing money into paid ads you need a few basic pillars established first.


You need to have a steady base of recurring customers.


This does not have to be 1,000 returning monthly customers, it can be as little as 5-10. 


But this shows your business a few things: 

  1. Your product is good
  2. People like your product
  3. You know more about what type of people are buying your products

If you have not sold anything or only sell to a few products people that don’t seem to purchase again, I would recommend not investing in paid media just yet. 


You also need a steady source of new business. 


My mentor, Ilise Benun, outlines this framework in her Simplest Marketing Planner 3.0:

Content, Networking, & Outreach. 


These are the basic pillars of marketing that don’t require thousands of dollars spent on advertising. 


It is also important to utilize all three, as one source of business could dry up and you may be scrambling for new business. 




If you need help with your content marketing, you came to the right place.


BluBird Marketing is amazing at content marketing and grabbing attention from the right people in the right places online. 


Posting content around the benefits of your products or services allow interested visitors to find and explore your products without you trying to sell them on the spot. 


It is a lot less threatening for the customer and allows you to start building trust between the customer and your brand. 


I don’t just mean posting on social media (however this can be very effective if done correctly).


But the power of search engines like Google can drive thousands of new visitors to your website or online store every day for free. 


Every visitor that finds your website or social media is a new opportunity to sell your products. 


I would not worry about posting “consistently”. 


The main idea is to post quality content that delivers a lot of value to your audience for free. 


The more quality content you post the better. 


But posting 3 times a week of sub-par content can actually hurt your brand by fatiguing your audience. 




I have met a lot of business owners who brag that all their business comes from referrals. 


I agree that business from referrals is usually high quality leads who value you and pay you what you are worth. 


Networking is very important for growing a new business but it should not be the only thing driving new business. 


Imagine hypothetically if a global pandemic happened and networking events got canceled. 


“Brenden, that would never happen”.


I know it is unlikely but imagine if something happened to your only source of new business to where it stopped being so effective. 


It would be wise to have leads coming in from other channels that you can rely on. 


Now to properly utilize networking, you should consider being a part of 3 types of groups. 


  1. Your industry specific networking group 
  2. Your target audience’s specific networking group 
  3. A general business networking group 


A colleague of mine was a marketer for attorneys and he was a part of a digital marketing networking group, the Florida bar chapter in his area, and a BNI group. 


These three networking groups kept him very busy and grew his clientele.




The final tactic to use for brand new businesses is outreach. 


Finding the right people and connecting. 


Not necessarily selling anything but trying to establish a professional connection. 

LinkedIn is a great tool for this kind of outreach.


For product based businesses, this could be owners of local stores or managers of distribution companies. 


It is important to grow your network with the right people through outreach. 


Remember, the best way to get someone to care about you, is to show that person you genuinely care about them. 


When Should You Start Paid Ads For Your Business? 


Paid ads or Paid Media are advertisements delivered to your target audience with specific messaging that would encourage your audience to take an action. 


I personally manage over 30 ad accounts and I have seen consistent returns of over 1000% or 10:1 ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) for several clients. 


Paid ads can be very lucrative and can grow your business to new heights. 


However, the brands that get the biggest returns have been advertising for several years or even decades, and are spending north of $10,000 per day on paid ads. 


If your business has the budget to start advertising immediately and you are able to maintain that budget for 2-3 months then I would say you should look into advertising. 


Especially if you can afford a digital advertising partner that knows what they are doing. 


Each industry is different and the cost of advertising varies by industry and location. 


But advertising should not be looked at as an experiment but as a monthly investment that you are not expecting to stop any time soon. 


Google recommends advertising for a minimum of 3 months to start seeing consistent results. 


This is why I would recommend that most new businesses do not invest in advertising right out of the gate. 


It is important to grow your business organically first. 


What Digital Advertising Channels Should You Use?


The digital advertising channels you choose are important for the success of your campaign.


A digital advertising channel is where you choose to display your ad. (Google, Youtube, Facebook, Bing, Programmatic, etc.)


Earlier we touched on how important it is to understand where your audience spends their time, this should come in handy when selecting your channels.


Most of the campaigns I run are multi-platform campaigns. 


We send traffic to a landing page from Google, Display, Bing, and Facebook. 


Then we retarget those visitors on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, until they click through and convert. 


Once they convert, we can follow up with Email Marketing.


There is not one superior platform, it all depends on your target audience and which channel can get your local business in front of them. 


I would recommend if you are just starting out to try Facebook or Google Ads for your local business. 


Here are two great articles on how to set up campaigns on those platforms properly:


2022 Guide For Setting Up Profitable Facebook Ad Campaigns


2022 Guide For Setting Up Profitable Google Ad Campaigns


How Do I Start Advertising? 


If you made it this far, you are ready to take the plunge and start paying to promote your local business.


Whether you are able to sell anywhere in the world or can only target within your city, digital advertising can help your local business. 


You can always use the articles provided above to create and launch your first campaign. 


However if business owners can agree on one thing, it’s that you get what you pay for. 


If your business is your passion and you want to grow it properly, it is important to have an expert marketer on your team. 


I have spent years studying and managing digital marketing campaigns and I am still learning new things every day. 


I say this because whether you hire a marketer or you try to tackle digital marketing yourself, there is going to be an inevitable learning curve, which unfortunately is going to cost you money. 


If you want to work with a digital marketing agency that has a long track record of successful campaigns I can’t recommend Half Past Nine enough. 


Setting up a discovery call with Big Sea can give you a strong idea of where your digital marketing is currently at and where you should take it. 


If you currently work with a marketer or agency we would still love to audit your campaigns.


It is important to have a second pair of eyes to see where things could be improved. 


Real World Digital Marketing Examples


Local Bowling Alley – Google


This local bowling alley client has been advertising consistently for almost a decade. 


This is why their returns are so high and they have remained profitable even through the 2020 pandemic. 


To put in perspective a conversion for this client is a lane reservation. 


This means you pay a minimum of $10 to reserve a lane for one game. 


The client has told us on average people stay for 3 games.


Also this $10 does not include shoes, food, drinks, or games. 


Basically the $10 is the minimum this bowling alley will make per lead but could generate $20-$50 in revenue easily. 

Looking at their Google Ads within the last 30 days, we can see we have spent less than $400 for 154 conversions. 


Now let’s take into perspective what this means.


154 conversions at a minimum of $10 in conversion value is $1,540 in revenue. 


We know about 99% of the time the customers spend more once they get to the location.


This is a tremendous 3.8:1 ROAS for this local bowling alley. 


Meaning they are practically quadrupling their investment. 


Local Windsurfing Company – Facebook


This local windsurfing business sells windsurfing gear and offers lessons. 


We run dynamic product ads on Facebook for them.


Where Facebook delivers the proper ads to the people who are most likely going to buy.


For this campaign particularly, we are advertising the “Large Products” which are products worth $600+.


Then, we are retargeting the purchasers of these products with “Accessories” which are less expensive and can help with the larger products.

The average price for Accessories is about $300 and for large products, it’s closer to $1000 for this client. 


We can see that we are getting on average a cost per purchase of $200. 


That’s about $3,200 in revenue for $1,200 in ad spend in just one week on Facebook. 


This brings our return on ad spend to about 3:1 for the month of June. 


Actually, a ROAS higher than 1:1 is great for a local business. 


The easiest audience to convert are past customers. 


If you break even on your ads, you will make your profit from returning customers. 


I hope these examples open your eyes to the possibilities you can achieve as a local business.


The main idea is to keep your ads running consistently to allow the machine learning to optimize itself.


Before this article ends, I want to encourage you one last time to reach out to Half Past Nine to run your ads to make the most out of your business’ advertising budget. 

Get The Marketer On Your Team