There’s a lot of marketing advice out there for online businesses. Whether you’re a retail business trying to drive sales online, a SaaS company trying to get leads or anything in-between, there are plenty of articles, webinars and videos to get you pointed in the right direction. But if you’re running a local business? Well, you kind of get the short end of the stick.
Fortunately, there are some proven ways to market a local business online. One of the best ways to do this, in my experience, is by using video ads on Facebook.
In this article, I’m going to talk about three types of Facebook video ads that are relatively affordable, easy to create and that you can shoot on your iPhone. More importantly, they are the exact sort of content that will help put your local business on the map!
1. Brand Story Ads
Local businesses have an intimate, neighborly feeling that big chains simply cannot hope to replicate. People buy into that feeling, which comes with a sense of community and exclusivity (“This is our store/restaurant/plumber/etc.”).
Local businesses thrive when they meet needs in the local community. As a result, they feel like a part of the community — supporting local businesses feels like supporting the community.
This is a great angle to use in your online marketing. Locals love to hear about why and how people in their community started a business, so creating a brand story video ad can be a great way to get people to engage with your business.
If you’re not sure what your brand story is, here are a few questions to get you thinking:
• Why did you decide to start your company?
• What are your goals and passions?
• How did you get started? What challenges did you overcome?
• Who has your business helped in the local community?
• What makes you different from the competition? Are your products handmade? Do you offer a guarantee on your services that no one else can match? Do you have behind-the-scenes content that you can share?
With this sort of video, your goal isn’t so much to drive new customers to your door as it is to build awareness. If you do it right, people will come to check out your company, but even if they don’t show up in droves, you’re still making them aware of who you are and what you do.
As people become more familiar with your business, you can focus instead on content that makes people feel like you’re all on the same team.
As a rule of thumb, brand story videos should be fairly short and to the point (30-60 seconds). Your goal is to share your “why” and create a connection (this brand awareness-building video is a great example of that). Focus less on explaining every detail of your business or why people should buy from you. If you build a connection, they will come.
2. Testimonial Ads
What’s the best way to feel “local”? Feature local places, events and, most importantly, people!
Testimonial ads are a particularly great choice for local businesses. Why? Because if you can get people in the community to review your business, it proves that you are actually a good, trustworthy business. After all, unlike online reviews, testimonial ads for local businesses come from people in your community.
Now, a good testimonial ad doesn’t have to be incredibly professional — and arguably, even for bigger brands, the more raw and authentic the video is the better.
Following up with a testimonial ad after a brand story ad can be a solid one-two punch combo. Start by running your brand story ad on Facebook and then create an audience based on people who have watched your ad for a certain amount of time. Then, retarget those people with your testimonial ad.
Since they already know about your business (and have hopefully created a connection), your testimonial can help your potential customers begin to trust your business. All of a sudden, your company isn’t just a name.
Testimonial ads are great, but they can get tiresome if you try to stuff too much content into one ad. In general, you want to keep them to 45-60 seconds — three to four testimonials. If you have more content than will fit in that timeframe, create more ads.
3. Event Ads
Finally, another key advantage local businesses have over big brands is the ability to connect with the community through local events. Whether you sponsor an event yourself or participate in a larger event with other businesses, events can be a great marketing opportunity — one that is particularly well-suited to Facebook video ads.
Before the event, you can piggyback off of announcing the event to talk about something relevant to your business (and your customers). During the event, snag a ton of footage that you can use after the event in ads showing how connected you are to the community.
In any case, a good event ad should be short, sweet and to the point (less than 60 seconds). It’s not your job to get people to attend the event. Instead, the goal is to use people’s natural interest in local events to build awareness for your business and promote a sense of community.
While the big chains might have more resources than you do, they can’t connect with their customers the way a local business can. It feels good to support a local business — especially one that feels like a real part of the community.
As a local business, this is where you can really shine. Video advertising might seem intimidating, but you don’t have to match the production value of a big chain. Local customers don’t care about how polished an ad is. Instead, they want to feel like you’re a real, likable, local business that they feel connected to.