Marketing to an offline, local audience is different than marketing to a global, online one. While certainly, digital marketing can help create awareness of your brand with local shoppers, you’ll also need a healthy mix of offline tactics to balance it out.
Here are tips for both online and offline marketing that will help your retail brand drive in-store sales.
Online Marketing Tactics
Although you’re trying to reach people locally, understand that for 81% of consumers, research for a product begins online. Shoppers are searching for brands like yours, so it’s important that you are found online. These tactics specifically help you target local customers.
Establish a Strong Social Media Presence
Consumers have become accustomed to seeking out a brand’s social media profile, and if you don’t have one (or more), you’re missing out on serious opportunity to connect with your customers.
Choose the social sites that your audience spends time on. If you’re trying to reach Millennials, Instagram is a great channel. If you want to connect to Gen Z, get on Snapchat. Facebook, too, is a great all-purpose social media channel for Gen X and older generations, and because it allows you to post photos, share blog content, and promote sales and offers, it packs a lot of bang for your buck.
Update each social account you manage at least several times a week, if not daily. Track how many redemptions of offers and clicks you get so you understand which sites are driving the most in terms of traffic to your site and sales in your stores.
Invest in Social Media and Search Engine Ads
Another way to leverage social media—as well as search engines—and create awareness of your brand with people who might not know about it is through online advertising.
You can target exactly who you want to see your ad, down to how old they are, where they live, their interests, and more. If your customers are women in their 30s with teenage children who live in the 92116 zip code, you can create an ad that only appears to them.
On social media, the ad will appear either on the sidebar (Facebook) or in their social feed (Facebook and Instagram). On search engines, when people search for terms you’ve targeted, the ad will appear at the top of results.
Again, this is easy to track, so pay attention to which terms or offers move the needle.
Maximize Email Marketing
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to retain customers. Invite customers to get on your list when they’re checking out so they get exclusive offers. And make sure those offers are exclusive! If you’re promoting the same coupons on social media, there’s no value in them subscribing to your list.
Be careful not to bombard your subscribers too often. Pay attention to your unsubscribe rates, because they’ll let you know if you’re sending too many emails.
With digital marketing as reinforcement, you’ll now want to add other marketing tactics to really drive local sales.
Participate in Community Events
The more you are seen in your community, the more people will associate you with good things. If there are street fairs, sporting events, or fundraisers that you can get involved with, do so. These all give you the opportunity to get out in the community and get to know your customers. You aren’t directly trying to sell to them, but by just networking, you start to build relationships you can then nurture.
Whatever event you’re involved with, focus on providing value. If you’re participating in a fundraiser, donate products or gift cards for the raffle. At a street fair, have freebies to give away and then hold your own contest for people who sign up for your email list.
Partner with Other Businesses
Small business owners are keen to support one another, and other businesses around yours might be great for a partnership.
Partnerships can come in many forms: you can simply swap flyers to be passed out to customers at one another’s stores. You can hold events together. You can offer a discount at the store next door with any purchase at yours.
Hold Your Own Events
People who might not otherwise visit your store will be more likely to come if you’re holding a free event like an open house with prize giveaways or a party. Offer guests discounts if they make a purchase that night, but also be sure that you’re giving away small items to entice people to come. Add food and wine and you’ll have a packed house!
Focus on Stellar Customer Service
This might not seem like a marketing tactic, but the better the customer service you offer, the more people will come back…and tell their friends.
Use a virtual phone number that lets you record a message for callers with key information like your hours and address. Make sure your staff is trained to be welcoming and helpful to customers. Interact with each and every shopper so they feel like their experience is personable, and you stay on top of that relationship.
Combining online and offline marketing tactics is the best way to target local customers and get them to come back to your store again and again!