Digital marketing is not just for online businesses. Brick and mortar locations can also use the power of digital marketing to drive new business. Consumers today use the internet for more than just online shopping. In fact, most consumers will visit a brick and mortar location’s website before they head into the store. The businesses that learn to use digital marketing for their physical locations will see an increase in sales and customer loyalty.
This question comes from Robin Estevez from FoodTown. He asked "How can I use digital marketing to increase sales in a brick and mortal location?” This is a question I’ve been asked quite a bit. What's great is that statistics show users want to connect with brick and mortar locations online. Here are a few stats every brick and mortar business owner should consider when evaluating the effectiveness of digital marketing for traditional retail businesses.
Omnichannel customers use multiple channels to shop during their retail journey in addition to the retail location, including apps, digital marketplaces, coupon sites, and interactive catalogs. The Salesforce Publicis.Sapient study further reveals that shoppers are using their phones in several ways while shopping in a retail location.
Our agency works with a number of local businesses, helping them increase their online visibility and in-store traffic. In this episode of the SMA Marketing Minute, I’ll share how you can use your website, local SEO, social media, and email marketing to help grow your in-store sales. Let’s go!
Today's question comes from Robin Estevez of Foodtown in New York. What he wants to know is, how can we use digital marketing to increase the sales of a brick and mortar store? Digital marketing isn't just for online businesses. It actually could be very effective for traditional businesses as well when you want to drive foot traffic or you want to connect with your customer base or you want to even reach new customers and bring them into your store. There are a number of ways that you can use digital marketing to help you achieve your goals.
We're going to be talking about a couple different tools. We're going to be talking about your website, we're going to be talking about social media and we're going to be talking about email marketing, and how can we use these three tools to help bring more sales to your traditional brick and mortar store.
It makes sense that if you're an eCommerce site or you're strictly trying to engage with people online that your website is going to matter a lot. It matters just as much for a brick and mortar store as well. The reality is your customers are making first impressions about your company, about your business and interacting with you on how they engage with your website. 72% of millennial shoppers are going to research your website and check you out online before they ever step foot in your door. That's your digital front door. Your website is going to leave either a good impression or it's going to make them question a couple things.
Here's another stat that's important, two-thirds of the shoppers in your store are using their phones to check cheaper prices or even look stuff up online to compare the prices from in-store to what you have online as well. Brick and mortars need to take their website more seriously than ever. Having a great website that has a ton of value, content, prices, understanding about the company, how you act, your return policy, adding all this value to your customers, they get to understand a little bit more about your store and can connect a little bit deeper.
Here's another thing you can use your website for. You can have landing pages, you can have offers on your website as a brick and mortar store. You can build your email list. You can start building your customer base, your lead base, so you can educate people even before they step foot in your store.
People are going to find your business by how well your business ranks online. Just having a website, putting a website up and forgetting about it isn't going to work. You need a local SEO strategy. Local SEO is a little bit different than a broader SEO strategy. You've got to know what directories to be in. You've got to make sure that all your listings are claimed and that you have your location right because again, when people want to find you, what are they going to do? They're going to Google online. If you come up and your address comes up and there's directions and it's easy to find you, you have a higher chance of getting connected with that potential customer. Understand that your website is just as important whether you're doing business online or you're doing business in-store.
Then, you need to market that website by having a strong digital marketing plan and SEO strategy that's going to make sure that you're ranking for the localized keywords, that you're ranking for the terms and phrases that people are looking for right now because they want to head into your store to shop. "Grocery stores near me," for example for Robin. Maybe it's auto parts store near me, auto parts store in Melbourne, Florida. Those types of localized campaigns, when you're going to drive localized traffic to your website, they can check you out, they can find out how to get in touch with you or they can find out where your store is, that's a very powerful way to use your website to generate more business in-store.
Another tool is social media. Social media is a great tool for all types of businesses. The key behind social media is you have to be social. You have to engage with people. You have to start a dialog and have a conversation. A lot of time, social media, all we see is highlights. We see perfect pictures of perfect people and we are starting to gloss over that because it's become the norm. We're sick of the same old, same old. What brick and mortar stores can do, they can use Facebook Live and broadcast live from your store. Tell people what you've got going on. Tell people what's going on in the business and what you're working on in the business or use Twitter to share information and highlights and tips on shopping and how to get better deals. Building your base and adding value to them, giving them a reason to connect with you on social media and reason to have a relationship, because that's really what social media is about. That's a great way to build trust with people. When you build trust with people, they're more likely to come and buy and shop at your store.
The last tool is email. Email is still a really powerful tool. Again, the key with email now is segmenting. Not everybody wants to see every single message you want to put out. Certain people are really into certain types of things. If you can segment your list according to different types of shoppers or different types of seasonal shoppers and giving them the content that they want to see - letting them know about an upcoming sale for a holiday or a special event that you've got happening - that adds value in their inbox.
We get overloaded with email in today's society, but if a brick and mortar store, if a local business can use email and add value, people could have a reason to keep you around. They're going to have a reason to keep you in their inbox. "Hey man, they sent me a lot of great coupons last time. I saved a ton of money when I went in to that store, so I want to make sure that I get their emails." Or, "Hey, they showed about this raffle that I could win and I submitted it and I won so I'm totally staying connected to this business." Crafting your email message is important, but then segmenting your email message so you have the right message going to the right person and again, at the right time. Digital marketing can be really powerful and email is one of those tools that I think we often overlook because we just get so bombarded with it on a day-to-day basis, but the businesses that do it right have a huge ROI.
All right Robin, I hope that answers your question. Brick and mortar stores can really benefit a lot from using a digital marketing strategy by having a website that looks great but also works great and adds value to the clients, that it ranks well so that when people are searching for those key terms in your area they can find you. Having a social strategy that's built on building relationships as opposed to just blasting out content that doesn't really matter. Thirdly, using email marketing and segmenting your audience, making sure that you're giving people the right message at the right time. Using these three tools and putting them together to work for your local business, your brick and mortar store, you'll not only drive more visitors to your website, but you're also going to drive more buyers into your stores.
That's this week's episode of the SMA Marketing Minute. We'll see you guys next week. Until then, happy marketing.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January, 2017, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.
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