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Beginners Guide To Marketing Your Physical Store Online
It is no secret that one of the best ways to increase your sales is by getting more and more people to visit your retail store. But while you can market your ecommerce store online, can you do the same for your physical store?
To answer your question, why not?
Contrary to the popular belief that the web is discrediting your physical store and slating its power, the web is actually empowering and enabling business owners to discover (and reach out to) potential customers and helping them design an efficient online marketing campaign that promotes their retail store and generates plenty of foot traffic.
Thus, saying that the emergence of web based marketing has led to the demise of your physical retail store is far from the truth. If used right, online marketing tools can be used to lure customers and shoppers to your retail store. Although there is intense competition between ecommerce stores and retail stores because customers today are more inclined to use the Internet and the social media to make online purchases, it does not mean that brick and mortar businesses have lost their appeal. One does, however, need to come up with a high quality strategy to combat with online stores.
Luckily for you, we at AOK have compiled a few pieces of advice to help you market your physical store online. Read and act through each of the following points and you are guaranteed to be in a much better position to get more visitors to your retail store.
Leverage Social Media
When it comes to marketing your physical store online, social media can prove to be much more than just social. These social networking sites are most likely to be the first contact you have with your potential customers. As such, you need to be smart and capitalize on it (social media marketing) as it is the ultimate way to promote your physical store and create sensation around it.
Here are a couple of ways you can get your social media strategy started.
Create a fan page on Facebook:
Studies have shown that Facebook holds the most promise for online marketing as majority of people are Facebook users. Apart from this, Facebook also offers a variety of ways to reach and attract new customers. Saying that it is a social media powerhouse is in no way an overstatement. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you create a fan page or business page on Facebook which can then be used to connect with customers and generate both, online and foot traffic to your retail store.
You can use your Facebook company page for everything and anything that involves and helps your marketing strategy. You can trigger engagement by starting conversation with your audience, and then when your fan page becomes popular among your intended customers, you can take advantage of your business’s growing visibility to announce local events, special discounts running in your retail stores, and much more. Sharing customer testimonials featuring the customer experience when they visited your store every now and then is also a brilliant way to get users to visit your store. There are also many user friendly features on Facebook which let you advertise and promote your business on a greater level.
Upload video tutorials on your YouTube channel:
Videos have taken over the online marketing world today. As such, it is extremely important that you too enter the realms of online video content if you have not already. YouTube is perhaps your best bet (though Facebook is not far behind) when it comes to video marketing. It is the most popular video hosting website and the second largest search engine.
Once you have set up a YouTube channel for your company, you can start uploading videos and sharing them with your audience as part of your retail store promotion strategy. The best way to go about this is to upload video tutorials that give a step to step guide on how to use your products and any other related queries. You can also create a behind the scenes (BTS) video whereby you can share a more personal side and humanize your brand. As long as your videos are found helpful, funny or charming, you are set to gain a lot of viewers and ultimately a lot of traffic to your store as it will get your business under the spotlight.
Go visual with Instagram and Pinterest:
In an age where visual content has long replaced the traditional text-type content, it is strongly recommended that marketers and business owners start stepping up their visual game, if they have not already. Marketers can use networks like Instagram and Pinterest to boost their visual marketing strategy while at the same time promoting their store by representing their brand’s personality and creativity via visual images.
You can snap pictures of your products, post candid shots of your customers shopping in your store, create short videos of the manufacturing process and share them on your Pinterest boards or Instagram profile. Basically, by posting these behind the scenes snippets, you are humanizing your brand and making it more approachable which tends to create a positive buzz. Your customers will have no choice other than to make an effort and visit your store, even if just to feel those positive vibes.
Engage in real time conversation through Twitter:
The best thing about Twitter is the simplicity it offers. Unlike other mediums where marketers might find themselves feeling overwhelming and submerged because of so many complex features they have to offer; twitter keeps it really simple. It is more about building real-time, two-way information feed to and from your customers in order to help them in case of any queries. Thus, by simply offering advice and engaging in real-time communication with your audience on Twitter, you get to have insights into customer opinions which triggers foot traffic.
Optimize Your Website and Social Profiles for Local SEO
Statistics show that around 97% of people tend to start their retail marketing search online.
One of the smartest ways to market your physical store online is to optimize for local search engine optimization (SEO). No matter how hard you try to market your physical store, you will never generate the response the way you can when you optimize for local SEO.
Make Your Site and Social Profiles Appear Geo-Sensitive:
We have already discussed how social media can help you market your store online. By adding a couple of location based keywords to your social profiles, you can optimize them for local SEO and ensure that they get a top ranking on all the major search engine result pages (SERP).
Similarly, you need to optimize your website as people tend to judge your store by it. Your website design, the time it takes to upload, and how user friendly and mobile friendly it is, are some of the ways users tend to base their judgment on. In addition, you need to make your website geographically relevant so that you can capitalize on local searches and drive more traffic to your store.
Offer Great Customer Service
Satisfied and content customers make a brilliant promotional strategy for your online store. If you offer extraordinary customer service via online mediums, customers feel immediate gratification which makes them wonder how well they will be treated if they were to visit the actual store. There are quite a few ways you can enhance your online customer service in this day and age.
Enable online appointment setting:
More often than not, it is because of the time constraints (and the possibility of waste of time) that people prefer online stores to that of retail stores. Whatever the scenario, customers prioritize their comfort and avoid going to the physical stores.
By setting up online appointments, not only will you be making your customers happy, but will effectively also be able to attract foot traffic via online marketing.
Add a Live Chat window:
With live chat window pop-ups, websites have taken the customer service and engagement to a whole new level. A live chat window pop up invites the audience to chat with a company representative, offering them instant responses to any potential queries they might have regarding the company or products.
Embrace Online Local Marketing
As mentioned earlier, businesses need to embrace local marketing if they wish to generate an increasing rate of foot traffic to their physical store. With the help of locally relevant online marketing strategies provided by the best SEO company Toronto has, it enables you to send the right message to the right person at the right time, which then allows retailers to create a unique engagement model that drives foot traffic and increases store visits.
Set A Pop Up Store Where You Can Reach Your Target Customers:
Setting up a pop up store means that you need to take location into consideration in order to attract your target customers to your store. This usually happens with the help of the data you retrieve from your loyal customers and analyze it to work out where most of your target audience resides. Thus, online marketing strategies (e.g. email subscriptions generate data which can be analyzed) help you decide the prime location for your physical store which is likely to attract plenty of customers.
Get Involved with Your Community:
Getting involved with the community is a brilliant way to target the local buyers to come to your physical store. You can do so by getting actively involved in supporting local causes and charitable events. Online marketing comes when you feature these events and your place as a supporter on the monthly newsletters that you send out via email to your customers or even post a blog entry that covers the events.
Run Special Discounts to Customers Who Visit Your Store:
In order to drive visitors and increased in-store spending, you need to run special discounts online. For instance, you can motivate your customers to visit your store by offering them social coupons on social media and telling them to bring it with them to your store to avail special discounts. This shows how online marketing and interaction can lead to an increase in in-store sales and revenue.
Also, these online turned offline promotions offers help retailers quantify the return on investment (ROI) that the online marketing can generate. Thereby, offering a holistic view of how online marketing can drive in-store revenue.
Display Ads On Local Online Newspapers:
Another way online marketing can help you promote your physical store is by displaying ads on local online newspapers. Because when it comes to searching for local stores, customers tend to trust the local newspaper websites to direct them to a well reputed store where they can find what they are looking for. This will drive quality leads to your store. Also, these ads are relatively inexpensive and are likely to cost less than 25 cents.
Provide an Unforgettable and Unique In-Store Experience
Though this may seem slightly out of context, it is not. You need to connect your online marketing strategies to that of your offline to ensure that the online marketing strategies you carried out for your physical store are a success.
Shoppers are smart, savvy and empowered more than ever today. They (mostly) prefer to browse online but complete the final transaction at the store. As a result, you need to ensure that your retail store looks the part (as portrayed on social networks and website) so that you can effectively convince the customers to come back again. You can do so by providing them with fast service with real-time in-store inventory, hospitable salesperson, immersed ambiance that appeals to everyone and an amiable atmosphere overall. This tends to trigger immediate gratification (among visitors), ensuring that they had a memorable in-store experience.
The secret behind successfully marketing your physical store is that you need to make your store appear like a delicious experience. One which customers want to visit again and again. The marketing ideas mentioned above are set to give you exactly this.