Marketing and Advertising in Bellingham
One major pain point for small businesses is marketing and advertising. Many find themselves asking "where do I start?" This blog post will go over some of the ways you can advertise here in Bellingham and beyond.
Please note that due to COVD-19, some of these options may have been modified or are not available at the moment.
Join Local Networking Groups
Joining groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or Sustainable Connections is not only a great way to get your name out there, but it also provides the opportunity to connect with other local businesses. Here are a few networking groups here in Whatcom County:
Chamber of Commerce: Being a member gives you promotional and sponsorship opportunities, business resources, and the opportunity to attend networking programs and events. Starting at $300 per year.
Sustainable Connections: Members can have their businesses advertised to the community through the events and job boards, monthly newsletters, social media, and directory. Networking events and workshops are also available to members at a free or discounted rate. Starting at $190 per year.
Women's Professional Network: Benefits include getting listed on the member directory, free announcements and event listings on their website, and networking opportunities. Starting at $120/year.
Whatcom Women's Network: Limited to one per person per profession to ensure a noncompetitive atmosphere, members meet weekly (currently via Zoom) to "combine a social atmosphere with networking, business promotion, and quality member-to-member referrals." $20 per month + $30 to join.
Connections: As a member, you receive can business referrals, expand you professional network, and get access to social events and professional presentations. $15 per month.
Another great way to network is to join Facebook groups. There are a number of them focused on Bellingham and Whatcom County. However, if you're going to join these groups, make sure you follow the rules. These groups are not supposed to be a place for free marketing but rather a way to collaborate and help those in the community. Make sure your posts offer value to those in the group.
The following groups provides the community with information about the current status of local businesses and how to support them:
If you're looking to connect with other local business owners for advice and support, here are some great groups:
Partner with a Local Businesses
Another great way to get your name out in the community is to partner with other local businesses. This is where joining a networking group can be very beneficial since you already have business connections. Some ways you can partner with another business is by doing cross-marketing, sending each other referrals, or sponsoring events. Here are a few annual events in Bellingham that are always looking for sponsors.
Local publications are a great way to get information out to those in the community. They provide informational, helpful, and trustworthy content that can help you establish your business.
WhatcomTalk: With over 18K followers on Facebook and over 65K unique visitors per month, their reach in Whatcom County is large. They describe themselves as a "community social network delivering positive stories about what it's like to live, work and play in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and the surrounding Whatcom County area."
CascadeWeekly: This publication is distributed in more than 600 locations in Whatcom and Skagit County and brings in 40,000 readers each week. They provide information on upcoming events, reviews for restaurants and films, news about local art and music and more.
Bellingham Alive: "We speak to where you live" is the motto of this magazine that is available in over 400 newsstands from Seattle to the Canadian border. They have a wide range of advertising options depending on the season, such as 30 days of giveaways, pros to know, menu talk, and shop local.
It's important that you get listed on online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp, and Apple Maps. Make sure your hours are always up-to-date and that your contact information is correct. If your business is listed but hasn't been claimed, be sure to claim it! They will ask for verification, typically by mail, and that will give you the ability to update and add information to your page. Being listed on these platforms is free, but they do have upgrade options where you can choose to pay for added features.
Here are some directories we recommend getting listed on:
Digital ads are great because you can target potential customers in a way that isn't available for traditional marketing. Most digital advertising platforms have a wide array of options so you can target your idea customer based on demographics. Here are some common platforms to purchase ad space:
Even thought digital ads have taken over, traditional advertisements can still be very effective. Let's get into some traditional marketing methods you can utilize in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
A great way to make sure our message gets all around town (literally) is to advertise on the bus. They offer different placements and ad sizes so you can choose the one that will fit your marketing goals. Learn more about bus advertising.
Advertising in the mall can be a great way to reach shoppers. There are plenty of places to advertise within Bellis Fair. Learn more about mall advertising opportunities.
Bellingham International Airport
The airport has opportunities to advertise using digital video, physical displays and sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about their advertising space.
Some of the advertisements that stick with us the most are the ones with a catchy jingle or slogan. That's why advertising on the radio can be a great way to build awareness for your brand. The Cascade Radio Group provides advertisement spots to 5 radio stations that serve the Whatcom County area and beyond.
KPUG 1170 AM
KISM 92.9 FM
KAFE 104.1 FM
KGMI 790 AM / 96.5 FM
KBAI 930 AM / 98.9 FM
Determine the message you want to convey at they can help you from there. Learn more about advertising on the radio.
Sending mail can be an extremely effective way to market your business, especially those with local storefronts. It allows you to reach those in the community in a way that's very personal.
If you have a coupon or deal you want to offer, consider advertising with Hometown Values. This magazine is mailed out to over 30,000 homes in Bellingham. One great thing about advertising with them is that those who are interested in the coupons may hold onto the magazine for a longer period of time than a single piece of mail. It offers value to those in the community. Learn more about advertising with Hometown Values.
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
EDDM is a service provided through the USPS that lets you send direct mail based on mailing routes. This is a great way to run a large, direct mail campaign without purchasing a mailing list. Learn more about EDDM.
Thinking About Marketing & Advertising for Your Business?
Marketing is not one-size-fits-all. It will take a lot of trial and error, and the success of your marketing depends on a wide variety of things such as timing, audience, and luck. The best thing to do is try out a variety of marketing channels and see which one sticks.
In addition to bookkeeping, here at Summit Bookkeeping, we can help you manage your social media accounts and run ad campaigns on Facebook and Google. Give us a call at (360) 756-5020 to learn more.