Top 7 Ways for Land Based Retailers to Leverage the Internet
Owning a land based store can be both challenging and rewarding. For entrepreneurs focused on a retail location it is a common side effect for these businesses to lose sight of some of the cool and innovative ways the Internet can help their business grow. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or annoyed with the technology we would advise you to embrace some of the tools noted below which can create a competitive edge in today's changing retail world. Today we're sharing our Top 7 tips on what is working for local retail based stores across the world.
Regardless if you are a land based retail location or an e-commerce entrepreneur remember that all businesses use a marketing funnel. Over time marketing has taken over more and more of the pre-selling and credibility building that customers have come to expect.
1. FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM
Do you have a Facebook & Instagram page for your business? This is perhaps the most important method of attracting new customers to a local store, yet so many land based retail store owners have never even considered it.
There are a so many ways to drive awareness, engagement, events and even sales through Facebook that it is a real opportunity for those who embrace this platform. Using precise geographic ranges plus advanced demographic targeting a local store can really target their perfect audience. Own a pet store? Target pet owners in a 10 mile radius. Own a Flooring company? Target female homeowners 35-60 who have iPhones in a 16 miles radius. Own a supplement store? Sorry - supplements are generally not allowed on Facebook, but they are allowed on instagram. So use Instagram to target athletes who meet your perfect customer profile in your local area. Targeting instagram "celebrities" for product reviews or product placement is another way to increase brand awareness. There are an endless variety of ways to target on Facebook so any local retailer can make very good use of this resource. PRO TIP: Run your Facebook and Instagram campaigns separately even if you use the same targeting and same ad graphics and copy. It is vital to understand how each audience responds to maximize ROI when you optimize as you go forward.
Getting good at Facebook and Instagram advertising should be a priority. Check out these two free videos below. If you are ready to learn join the advanced training on the link below.
"If you are not going to take advantage of this new method to reach local customers your competition may gain an unfair advantage over you."
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Do you have a Pinterest page for your business? Pinterest is a very effective visual medium used by more than 100 million users with the majority of those users being woman. For anyone who has a business that focuses on woman this is a great place to share some beautiful imagery that is relevant to both your business and your audience. Don't solely share overt advertising. Share things that will keep your audience engaged and repining your pins. Share beautiful rooms, decoration ideas, awards, new products, break throughs in technology that are related to your business and to your target audience. Content, as always, is King. Recently Pinterest has even added a buy button which you can promote sales of items directly on Pinterest.
3. FIND A COMMUNITY
Do you have a community that you can share ideas, wisdom and feedback without competitive concerns? Finding your tribe is an important concept. For entrepreneurs it can be very lonely at times. However, you are not alone. Other entrepreneurs have solved the problems you are facing and vice versa. Finding a Linkedin or Facebook group is an easy way to engage in a community of like minded business owners. This resource is often overlooked. However it can be a great source of ideas, encouragement and even give you an opportunity to give back to others. Goto linkedin.com or Facebook.com and search for groups of retailers or e-commerce people just like you. Find your tribe!
If you sell products and now even SERVICES you can sell your stuff on Amazon.com. The new local services that Amazon is testing can help many retailers that also provide services. AMAZON SERVICES INFORMATION. It's no secret that Amazon is dominating e-commerce, but it is also growing fast despite it's already massive scale. Your business can gain a lot by getting into business with Amazon ASAP.
Leveraging Amazon to sell locally services is probably one of the biggest opportunities to exist in the last 10 years. If you act on it today and get really good at it you can dominate your local market. Don't forget that reviews are a critical part of the Amazon customer mindset. Every customer touch point should be well thought out to deliver a special and memorable experience. Failing to meet customer expectations can have disastrous results. BE THE BEST!
Google Maps/Reviews - In the old days if you weren't in the yellow pages you didn't exist. Over time the yellow pages have become largely irrelevant, but local searches have not decreased. They have just changed how and where the search takes place. Most people use Apple Maps or Google Maps to find local locations. Google has a more evolved system in place to allow you to advertise your local business after verifying the address. Managing reviews on Google is an important consideration since customers searching for your address will see the Google reviews front and center. PRO TIP: Yelp Page/Reviews also matter - Yelp is one of the most used and occasionally one of the most hated platforms online. Yelp has a tendency to publish reviews and will NEVER take them down if it considers them valid. This means customers who have an axe to grind are likely going to punish you online. This is true for Angie's List, Yelp and other platforms. DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO DELIVER POSITIVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES!
BONUS TIP: GOOGLE PAY PER CALL - did you know that you can use Google Adwords to target customers and only pay when a customer calls you? This method of advertising is very effective if you understand that every call that comes costs you money. Only drive calls with relevant advertising and do your very best to start a marketing funnel (lead generation process) for every call. Be sure to measure your conversion rate and your average sale (and average profit per sale) to compare your advertising spend to your revenue to be sure you have positive ROI. This can be a very powerful method for local retailers.
Thumbtack.com - Thumbtack helps you find new customers and grow your business. The process is simple. Customers tell thumbtack about their needs and then they match up the leads by sending local resources the details of their requests (for free). If it looks like a fit, you respond with a custom quote and work out details with the customer. This can be a very effective way to generate leads. Try it out and be sure to vet leads. Thumbtack provides leads in everything from specialized product photography to complex home improvement projects.
HOUZZ - If you are a home improvement retailer or contractor you need to be on HOUZZ. You can get lead from this valuable and niche social website. Houzz is in the business of monetizing leads so you have to be careful about how to approach this resource and manage the lead process, but over time your experience will help you decide what kinds of leads are worth paying for.