Over the last few years the entire marketing landscape has changed, forcing local business owners to think beyond in-store marketing if they want to thrive in business.
Read on for a more comprehensive look at the core concepts mentioned in this video.
(0:12) Customer Loyalty
A customer that feels valued and appreciated is more likely to frequent your business and refer you to friends and family. In fact, research shows that it’s anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, depending on your industry. Here are a few marketing tips to ensure you keep customers coming back to your local store.
(0:31) Customer Communication:
Placing emphasis on customer communication is essential to long-term marketing success in your business. Regular communication with customers keeps you top of mind, reinforcing the relationship and encouraging them to frequent your store. There are a variety of marketing channels that you can use to communicate with your customers such as email, social media, and direct mailers. Choose the medium that makes the most sense for your business and make sure to contact your customers regularly to build trust and loyalty.
(0:51) Reward Repeat Customers:
Set up a customer loyalty program to reward repeat customers. There’s a reason airlines and big-box retailers regularly adopt customer loyalty programs. When executed properly these programs not only boost your bottom line, but also improve your brand’s reputation.
It’s also important to thank customers. There are a number of ways to reward customers and show appreciation. But when all else fails, never underestimate the power of a ‘Thank you.’
(1:40) Be Responsive:
When a customer provides their opinion or recommendation about your business, make sure to be responsive. Customers use a variety of channels to provide feedback about your business, make sure that you’re monitoring how your customers communicate so that you can react appropriately to their feedback in a timely fashion.
(2:03) Customer Service:
Customer service is an essential part of being a good retailer. Aim to give your customers the best possible experience by training your staff on how to interact with shoppers. This can include everything from teaching employees how to build customer rapport, to leveraging tools and resources to improve the checkout experience.
By using reporting data and analytics in your iPad-based point of sale software, you can gain better insight into your customers’ needs to improve their purchasing experience. If you’re struggling with customer service and retention, follow these 6 steps for exceptional customer service.
(2:39) Improving Local Marketing
(2:43) Claim Your Local Online Listing:
Each local business index allows you to claim your business page and customize it. Claiming these listings online and keeping them current ensures that customers have the most accurate information about your business when they search for you online, such as your business hours, business locations, menu items, and how to contact your business.
(3:05) Encourage Reviews:
When customers are shopping at your retail location, encourage them to review your business. This way, when prospective customers are searching for your business online, they will be able to see how other customers are responding to your services and your business. This will enhance your credibility and encourage customers to shop in your business.
(3:21) Participate in Local Events:
Generate local awareness for your business by participating in local events. Some ways you can do this include sponsoring your local baseball team, hosting an event or class in your retail location, or giving away balloons or samples at a local event. There are a ton of creative and inexpensive ways to get involved in your local community. Think of it as retail Karma, if you support your community, it will support you.
(3:36) Use Local Offers and Promotions:
Once you understand what is valuable to your ideal customers, create marketing offers and promotions that will drive foot traffic to your local store. Window signs, discount flyers, and local coupon programs such as Living Social are just some of the tried and true ways you can add value to your offers. Whatever you decide, make sure the impact of your local marketing efforts can be measured through the use of a special in-store code or online data.
(4:04) Team Up With Other Business Owners:
One of the fastest and most underutilized ways to find new customers is to partner with other local businesses that compliment your services. For example: If you’re a flower shop owner who happens to know a local events photographer, why not work together to attract new clients? If you’re unsure about how to identify the right business partner for your local business, test the relationship with a small group of customers to gauge the quality of the relationship.
Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can afford to skimp on branding. Make sure that all of your marketing collateral is visually appealing, consistent, and an accurate reflection of your brand. This includes business cards, t-shirts, hats, signage, and even the digital marketing aspects of your business.
(4:37) Digital Marketing:
The lines between online and offline local store marketing continue to blur each and every day. Your presence might be local, but your digital footprint has a huge impact on the amount of potential foot traffic you can drive to your business. Here are a few ideas to help you market your local store online.
(4:44) Gather Email Addresses at the Point of Sale: Out of all of the marketing channels that exist online, email continues to be a huge driver in incremental sales for all business types. Social platforms are making it increasingly difficult to get eyeballs without paying for them, but once you have an email address, it’s one of the most affordable ways to upsell customers right in their inbox.
(5:06) Use Social Follow Buttons Online and In-Store: The idea behind social follow buttons is simple, they encourage customers to follow you on social media, which then becomes an additional channel to build community and drive in-store sales.
(5:18) Leverage Paid Search Advertising: Targeting local search results is beneficial to local businesses. When done right, paid-per-click advertising helps you show up in the top local search results for your business type and increase sales.
(5:28) Create a Mobile-Friendly Website: Even if you don’t plan on selling online, having a website improves your customer reach, regardless of the products or services you offer. With 51 percent of searches happening on mobile, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re losing sales to the competition.
(5:40) Consider E-Commerce and Third-Party Marketplaces: There are a variety of ways to extend your in-store sales online, including your own website or a third-party marketplace like eBay or Etsy. Before taking this leap, consider your available resources. After all, expanding sales online is not much different than any other business expansion.
(5:57) Start a Blog for Your Brick and Mortar Business: You may be wondering why your local store needs a blog to market its business. The answer is simple. A blog is a great tool for showcasing your expertise and, most importantly, generating organic traffic. Traffic that you can upsell at your leisure. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer you might want to start a blog about the latest fashions and trends in your industry or share Snapchat Stories with outfit ideas, discount codes and additional forms of content that might interest your audience.
(6:24) SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO is the process of getting free traffic via search results on popular search engines like Google and Bing. This is hands down the best way to increase awareness and even sales for your business. Whether you have your own website or are leveraging other digital channels such as Google My Business, or Yelp, it’s a good idea to hire an SEO consultant who can help you identify the best keywords to target for your business. Then, sit back and watch the digital and physical foot traffic come in.
(6:40) Make the Most of Social Media: It goes without saying that social media is no longer optional for local retailers. However, beware of stretching yourself too thin. You don’t have to be on every single social media channel to be effective. Choose the one that makes the most sense for your local business and share content that adds value to your online community. The easiest way to do this is to focus on what you know and create opportunities to share insights about your industry, products, and services in an interesting way.
Ready to learn the holy grail of social media marketing for local store locations?
(7:08) Frequency, Relevancy, Engagement, Analytics
(7:14) Frequency: As the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Building relationships with customers takes time whether in-store or online. Social media isn’t any different. Stay top of mind and build trust by communicating with them on a regular basis.
(7:21) Relevancy: One of the major benefits of running a small business is that no one knows your customers more intimately than you do. Build trust and authority by being authentic — addressing their concerns and interests. For example, if you’re a flower shop owner, one way you could stay relevant is about sharing industry secrets on how to extend life of your flower arrangements, or how to DIY the perfect wedding bouquet.
(7:24) Engagement: While Likes, Comments, Reactions, and Shares aren’t the be all and end all of social media marketing, they tell a bigger story. How engaged your audience is, is often a reflection of how relevant your content is and how likely you are to grab the attention of customers and increase additional foot traffic or digital sales. So while you shouldn’t get too hung up on vanity metrics, make sure your efforts are contributing to the overall success of your business.
(7:28) Analytics:This leads us to the importance of analytics. Does foot traffic or website traffic tend to spike each time you post a promotion on your Facebook page? Have customer referrals increased ever since you launched your Instagram business page? As mentioned before, Likes, Comments, and Shares are great, it’s social proof that you rock. But we can’t emphasize this enough, it’s important to have systems in place that allow you track the impact of your social efforts on your local store’s sales.
(7:35) The Paid Side of Social Media
You may be hesitant to spend money on social media marketing for your local store, but the ability to target your ideal customers has come a long way. Social networks like Facebook have sophisticated targeting capabilities that allow you to serve Ads to existing customers and people that look like your current customers by uploading email lists, targeting page fans, or website visitors.
Ultimately successful local store marketing is about testing ideas, seeing what works, and improvising. Now that we’ve provided you with a rundown of possibilities it’s time to experiment, innovate, and do more of what works for your business.