April 20, 2022
Case Study

Local Marketing: 3 strategies that worked for small businesses with physical locations


Local marketing has taken on a new level importance as the post-COVID era leads to business openings and increased ability (and perhaps desire) to interact in-person.

Our latest case studies come from small businesses, but the simple SEO, social media (Facebook) advertising, and event marketing tactics they use can be leveraged by any business with physical locations.

To help spark new ideas for your company, read on for examples from a medical spa, gym, and chiropractor.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Local Marketing: 3 strategies that worked for small businesses with physical locations

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

“Best is better than better, but better is still better than bad,” Flint McGlaughlin taught in Above-the-Fold Strategy: 4 ways to write powerful sub-headlines.

This lesson applies to far more than sub-headlines. It is true for all of marketing and business.

But when I hear that quote, I especially think of the small business. Especially a local business with a shop or other physical location looking to promote its product or service

An effective strategy in this case requires more than just getting a click, you must attract a customer to your brick-and-mortar location. Without the massive budgets of a B2C or B2B brand, these small businesses often must settle for “better” and overlook the shiny “best” technology and platform investments of their big-budget marketing peers.

But when you’re just trying to attract customers from your town, better can be good enough.

In this article, we bring you fairly simple tactics that can be easily replicated without a massive budget. First, a medical spa that improves social media performance by using real photos in its Facebook advertising. Then, a gym that recaptures its search engine ranking after overlooking SEO. And finally, a chiropractor that turns to event marketing (on a small scale) to attract new customers.

Quick Case Study #1: Real photos reduce advertising cost per lead from $50 to $5 for medical spa

“When we first began to advertise on Facebook, we used stock images for ads. These ads performed poorly. The cost per conversion was exorbitantly high, around $50 per lead,” said Marina Victoria, Co-Founder and CEO, CADMEN group of brands (CADMEN Barbershop, CADMEN Clinic, and CADMEN Academy).

Creative Sample #1: Facebook ads with stock images

Creative Sample #1: Facebook ads with stock images

The team decided to change the images from stock photos to real clients’ successful results from Cadmen Clinic.

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ads with real photos of customers

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ads with real photos of customers

After only three days, cost per conversion improved from $50 per lead to five dollars per lead.

“From this experience we learned a lesson; viewers engage more with authentic imagery. They want to see the real results, what it might look like on them, and what they can expect from the treatment. It wasn’t necessary to invest in things like graphic design, just a simple picture change made all the difference,” Victoria said.

Quick Case Study #2: After letting SEO slip, gym improves search ranking from 81.7 to 4

Intent91 is a personal training gym in Worthing, West Sussex, United Kingdom. As a small local business, search ranking is crucial for its success.

“We've always heavily focused on social media (mainly Instagram), Facebook Ads and then referrals. We also often do local outreach e.g., leaflet drops,” said Miles Branford, Marketing Executive, Intent91. “We let our website slip.”

The team stopped blogging, stopped updating keywords on its pages, and got comfortable with its SEO (search engine optimization) and position in search engine rankings.

“So comfortable I stopped analyzing our Google Search Console – terrible I know! When I did check, I was in for a BIG shock,” Branford said.

On February 17th, 2022, the gym was ranked number 81.7 for “personal trainer Worthing.” It was also ranked pretty low for similar keywords such as “gym in Worthing,” “Worthing gym,” and “personal training Worthing.”

“I had to do something, and fast,” Branford said. “I started by getting Google Reviews, 85 to be exact. Optimized and updated all our blogs, making sure they were fresh, had ‘good’ readability and ‘good’ SEO (I use Yoast). Added keywords to photo alt text, YouTube videos, and saved the photo files as a keyword (making sure I didn't keyword stuff).”

The team wrote four new blog posts and released them over a two-week period, posting on social media as well.

“I then reached out to any website that had mentioned us over the past 12 months and asked them to link to our website. This included articles in Sussex World, BLK BOX and Robert Luff,” he said.

By March 11th, 2022, the gym reached a position four for “personal trainer Worthing.” They also saw a big jump in the other keywords mentioned earlier.

“This has been a big wake up call for our SEO and Google ranking,” Branford said. “Saying this, we're happy with the recovery and now it's time to try and get that number one spot!”

Quick Case Study #3: Chiropractor gets 11 new clients by hosting local presentations

If you search for local marketing ideas, you’ll likely find an emphasis on tactics like local SEO and local listings on third-party websites and directories.

Important tactics, for sure, as described above.

But here’s an advantage of being in the same city as potential customers – you can actually go talk to them.

“The marketing strategy that has helped my co-founder and I generate the most revenue for our business has been hosting presentations in front of small- to mid-sized groups of people interested in improving their health,” said Dr. Kira Capozzolo DC, Chiropractor, Twin Waves Wellness Center.

The wellness center offers chiropractic services, which puts it in the health and fitness industries.

To increase their client base in 2022, the team sent out a 550-email campaign to relevant local businesses – places like yoga studios and fitness centers.

In the email, the team included a personalized video tailored to the industry of the recipient that explained why it could benefit the recipient’s clients to learn about Twin Waves’ services through a free presentation.

Out of 550 emails, the response rate was 3%. From there, the team scheduled four total presentations at local businesses and successfully signed 11 new clients from the campaign.

Related Resources

Local Marketing Chart: How do customers search for products and services?

Value Proposition: How a local business doubled its space in 9 months

Hard To Stay In Business Against Us: Raising the barrier to entry in the escape room industry (Podcast Episode #12)

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