Advertising to Brick and Mortar Small businesses online (florists, cleaning companies etc)


I've got a product that is aimed at offline small businesses; florists, motels, cleaning companies and the like. I'm looking for ways to advertise to them online.

There is so much content on the web aimed at online businesses and SEO that it's hard to find ways to target the brick and mortar businesses.

Things I am trying :

  • Facebook ads target at people who describe themselves as self-employed or business owners.
  • Creating articles / content that they would find useful
  • Press Release to magazines and newspapers
  • Emailing small business blogs asking them to review.
  • Google adwords but it seems so expensive.
  • Talking to business associations and communities for specific verticals.
Questions I have :
  • Who sells banner ads / text ads aimed at this market ?
  • What google adwords would work (hard question I answer I know) ?
  • What websites or blogs are worth approaching ?


Marketing Advertising

asked Dec 31 '09 at 19:32
Sam Howley
108 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


Why not ask them?

In fact, it sounds as if your case fits the conditions for direct marketing: It's a rather small target audience whose members should be easy to research. Also, they are unlikely to be online much (and if, not about their respective businesses). They probably also appreciate to have somebody talking to them in person.

Just research their addresses, create a direct mail offer and sent it out. Usually, post services have special prices for such kind of mass mailings. You may want to employ a copy writer for writing the letter(s). Or just get a book about copy writing and write it yourself.

Of course, you can also call or visit them.

As soon as you have a direct contact, it should be easy to ask them if they are online, and what sites they frequent.

Concerning keywords: I just tried "florist supplies" and Google estimates about a dollar per click. Your click-through-rate could be bad since your product is probably not what people expect -- but it's rather close to your target audience.

Hope this helps.

answered Dec 31 '09 at 23:58
Claus Schwarm
1,599 points
  • Thanks for the suggestions, I think I will follow your advice and phone some of the target market what they think. – Sam Howley 14 years ago


Online, I would be concentrating on the vertical communities, forums, and groups. I'm sure florists and hoteliers have places to gather.... cleaning companies, maybe not so much!

Try to engage with those communities, and include specifically tailored content for those verticals on your website.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of building products and speaking in terms aimed at the technology and startup world. If you sell to florists, most of your engagement needs to happen in that community.

Google Adwords is a matter of iteration, tracking, and testing. The knowledge in this article by Patrick turned my campaigns around.

Having said all of this, I wouldn't be afraid of offline promotion if viable for your numbers.

answered Dec 31 '09 at 22:14
Benjamin Wootton
1,667 points
  • Thanks for the useful feedback. FYI cleaning companies have many very active forums, in fact I have had a much easier time finding popular forums / websites for people running cleaning companies than anything else. – Sam Howley 14 years ago


I don't think trying to reach offline businesses using online methods is the best way to reach these types of businesses. Small business owners just are too busy running their daily, day-to-day operations to be going online and look for a solution to a problem they don't know they have.

Secondly, the yield on direct-mail is marginally slim. You should expect it to be so. While its worth investigating, I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Again just my hunch.

I think that the most effective way is probably face to face or actually cold calling. Think about how yellowpages, groupon, yelp have been able to reach local business. Direct sales. If it were me I would be out there talking to as many people, until you reach that "magic" tipping point where you get more inbound leads.

answered Jan 21 '12 at 09:40
31 points

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