To maximize your retail business, make sure you’re keeping up with the latest and most creative marketing tactics to grow your profits and drive success.
With retail stores projected to come back on the up and up in 2018 and beyond, entrepreneurs that adapt to a changing industry and customer base have huge potential for business growth. Get creative with marketing campaigns both online and in-store, so you can drive business, grow foot traffic, and increase new and existing customer purchases to maximize your retail profits.
1. Target your advertisements locally.
Especially when it comes to your small business, think where and how you can target customers locally. Use local newspapers, partner with other small businesses, and incentivize customers for referring friends and neighbors. If you’re creating a digital campaign on Google Ads or social media channels, configure the campaign for a reasonable local reach based on miles from your business. As you manage this campaign, play around with the location reach to determine where exactly your customer base is.
Research community opportunities for events, town halls or free advertisement spaces to promote your business locally. Get involved in nonprofit events, sponsor local sports teams, and think of creative community-focused ways to get involved and improve your visibility.
2. Start a loyalty program (if you don’t already have one).
Show customers you appreciate their business, and keep them coming back to earn points, discounts, and rewards. The key to an effective loyalty program is to ensure that the rewards are tangible and attainable.
Rewards like early access to sales, coupons for every set dollar amount spent, or personalized promotions are great customer incentives that make it worthwhile for the customer to choose your business over a competitor’s.
Research different apps that link to customer emails, debit/credit card numbers, telephone numbers or your existing CRM to determine which program works best for your existing business processes.
3. Set up a Google My Business page.
According to Adweek, 81 percent of customers conduct preliminary research before coming into your store to buy. When customers are looking up where to buy your product or service in your area, be sure your business appears on the largest search engine: Google.
List your business on Google My Business to include your location, hours, contact information, and pictures, and encourage customers to give your business positive reviews when they’ve had a great experience.
Google My Business is a cost-effective way to get your business in front of new and existing customers that are researching where to shop locally, and can be optimized to improve your business’s search engine rankings.
4. Repurpose your marketing campaigns across channels.
Just started carrying a new product? Have a special sale going on? Posted a new article to your website’s blog? These are all opportunities to create a marketing campaign that you can send out via email, share on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or promote through local advertising channels.
If you have great marketing content, don’t be afraid to use it to promote your business wherever it makes sense. For example, if you’re counting down to a big sale, create a countdown campaign and post it to your digital channels to drive awareness as the big date nears.
However, try not to be too redundant. Consider the channel and what those users are looking for, and if you’re exclusively selling in-store, always include messaging that drives customers to come to your retail location.
5. Track your marketing campaign.
Before you spend the money on marketing, identify ways you can actually measure if your marketing efforts were effective. Consider implementing customer surveys via a follow-up email. For example, after they’ve purchased from your store, an email survey is a great way to ask questions like, “How did you hear about us?” or “How satisfied are you with your experience?”
The feedback you receive will insightful so you can continue to better your business. Try to gather customer information during the purchase, such as how far customers are traveling and track how much they’re purchasing. If you have a website or run digital campaigns, use tools like Google Analytics to measure site traffic and campaign engagement.
You could also use different in-store discount codes for different channels. For example, the discount code or promotional code featured in a local magazine could be different from the one you sent out via email. If customers are only redeeming with the email code, you can assume that email is a more effective way to reach your customers.
If something doesn’t work, don’t keep trying the same marketing strategy expecting to see ROI. Think of new and creative ways to get your business in front of potential and existing customers, and make sure you have a method to monitor whether it’s worth the investment.
Bruce Hakutizwi is an expert on entrepreneurship and buying and selling businesses. He is the U.S. and international manager of BusinessesForSale.com, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small- and medium-sized businesses. With more than 60,000 business listings, it attracts 1.4 million buyers every month. He regularly write about entrepreneurship and small business topics.
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