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From restaurants, accounting firms, IT companies, and home service providers, we work with a lot of small businesses right here in Indianapolis at Roundpeg. While some of our other clients have their sights set on reaching new customers and clients all over the country, these kinds of local businesses care about the folks right here in their community, making local advertising and outreach a high priority.

Every business owner understands (or hopefully they do) the concept of “you have to spend money to make money.” However, for small businesses with often times limited budgets, the consideration for where that money is spent is essential to nail down. Whether it’s a Facebook ad, radio or TV commercial, Google Adwords, or even a billboard, small business owners with small business budgets need to get the most bang for their buck out of advertising.

As a small company ourselves, we understand this predicament all too well which is why we are always researching and experimenting with new avenues for cost-effective, local, digital advertising. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the next big opportunity for local small business advertising may be Nextdoor.

Nextdoor Offers

Nextdoor, the social network comprised of 200,000 neighborhoods across the US where residents can review and offer up recommendations about local businesses, has rolled out an intriguing new advertising option for local businesses in Portland, San Antonio, and Indianapolis called Nextdoor Offers. Having played around with the platform for a bit, here’s a quick rundown of the program and some of my thoughts, good and bad, about Nextdoor Offers.

The offer

Nextdoor Offers allows business pages to create and promote unique offers, coupons, and promotions for your business. The extent and type of offer is very flexible. It can be as simple as a unique, one-off special such as $50 off your next in-home HVAC inspection. Or, you can choose to use this platform as part of your digital marketing strategy for a larger promotion, like a financing campaign for hardwood floors. Unlike advertising on other social platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook, these ads are exclusively for the specific offer and (as of yet) don’t allow for ads focused on collecting reviews or building a following.

What does it look like?

Building the offer itself is really straight forward: Give the offer a title, provide any details or terms and conditions, set your dates (these ads can only be run in 30 day windows), drop in an image and you are off to the races. One thing that really stood out to me is you can tweak the offer to better cater to your ultimate goal from the ad. Want more people visiting your brick and mortar shop? Make the offer only redeemable in-store with a special code. Want to send people to a custom landing page where they can fill out a contact form? Make it redeemable online and provide a landing page.

Like Facebook, Nextdoor doesn’t want the images you use to contain text. Unlike Facebook, which allows up to 20% of the ad image to contain text, Nextdoor does not allow any text at all. So, any custom graphics you are using elsewhere may not be usable. Nextdoor does, however, provide a selection of stock images you can use if your original photography is lacking. The final offer will then be pushed to an Offers page where users can see all the offers in their area, inserted into their own personal newsfeed and will also be featured in Nextdoor’s email digest.

Who sees it?

The most unique aspect of Nextdoor Offers is how you determine who sees the offer. When you set up the ad, you are presented with neighborhood zip codes within a 10-mile radius of your location that you can then pick and choose where the offer will appear. Each zip code is assigned a dollar amount based on the number of users in each neighborhood, typically in the $1-15 range. Your total budget is determined but how many zip codes you choose to receive the offer.

Is it worth it over Facebook?

With a comparable budget range and design process similar to that of traditional Facebook advertising, albeit with fewer options, you may think that you may be better off just sticking to Facebook. However, I would tell you to pump the breaks because I see quite a bit of potential with Nextdoor Offers. This opportunity is a major step in the right direction for making Nextdoor a more viable advertising platform than it was when Page talked about it a year ago, outlining its limitations and hefty price tag.

Sure, Facebook may allow you to reach a larger audience, but Nextdoor Offers puts your business in front of a very high quality prospect. People are on Facebook for lots of reasons: getting news, keeping touch with family, or looking at pictures of their friend’s dogs just to name a few. People are on Nextdoor for a much narrower reason: they are extremely invested and interested in their neighborhood and the communities and businesses around them. Nextdoor gives you access to better quality prospects over quantity.

Now with a more focused audience and a more budget-friendly price, I’m definitely interested to see where the platform goes, potentially opening up to other cities and different advertising options. If you are a local small business in one of the areas where Offers are available, I recommend at least giving it a look. And if you’re not, it seems there are pilot programs for other cities.

Online advertising is one of the most powerful tools businesses can use to gain visibility in the marketplace and attract high-quality customers. Want to learn about all your online advertising options? Grab our free guide to online advertising!