Big-box retailers have been closing up shop for years now. You shouldn’t have to follow in the footsteps of a Sears or K-Mart but devising a digital marketing plan for your small retailer can be lucrative.
During 2016, Sears spent a reported $68 million on advertising. However, since November 24, 2017, advertising on television, print, and radio ceasedthroughout the holiday season. Their goal was to focus more on the digital marketing side of things and try to connect with an ever-growing online audience.
While this may not have been the smartest move for such a big corporation (since television advertising equates to about one-third of ad spending and is still regarded as the most effective form of advertising), digital media marketing is the perfect place for your small retail business to thrive.
There’s little doubt small retailers need to establish themselves in the digital space. In today’s fast-paced environment, you can’t rely on the tactics of old to bring you closer to the future. That’s where digital marketing comes into play.
(This isn’t saying digital marketing should be solely relied upon by failing retailers like Sears and K-Mart to help with revenue growth. Digital marketing is only a slice of the marketing pie. )
Before you begin to do absolutely anything, ensure you know exactly what you want to accomplish. One problem I’ve seen many businesses do is treat digital marketing – especially social media – as a magic wand; it’s not.
You aren’t going to send out one tweet and become an overnight success, it doesn’t work like that. Devise a plan for what you want, establish a voice, and meet expectations, but prepare for the worst. Digital Marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for the problems in your business, but these tips can help you get started and move toward a future-thinking one.
Why Not Sell Online?
As a retail store with a brick-and-mortar location, you aren’t just locked into selling your products on-site. Create a storefront on your website that customers can access and is easily navigable. You can create a merchant profile on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or wherever you deem your products would be a great fit.
Despite closures in 2017, retail stores grew exponentiallythroughout the year. However, why set a blockade around the 192 million online shoppers? You may not have to close your store and sell exclusively online, but having dual storefronts can help open a new line of revenue growth, potentially.
Check to see if services like PostMates, TaskRabbit, or UberEats (if applicable) is offered in your city and become a partner with them to build a rapport with your customers and clients. It’s a sleek way of offering customers in your city same day delivery.
How About Writing Blogs
Blog posts provide a powerful addition to one’s website and help establish two things with relative ease; relationship building and Search Engine Optimization. While complicated to go into minute detail, Search Engine Optimization increases the likelihood of a customer reaching your site through organic search. The more you write, the greater the likelihood of being found. Like social media, blogging is a form of advertising that is entirely free (except for the time that you put in).
Just like in the next section, writing blogs, or simply creating content, reaffirms the notion of relationship building. If you run a retail clothing store, write a blog post about what’s in fashion, or what may be on sale in the coming week. Allow for a steady stream of content but remember to build content around your store and what you offer. Be clear and don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your blogs.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Social Media
Social media, while a small part, is an extraordinarily important asset. Setting up a Twitter account, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and more, are completely free and can be used to establish your brand outside of your website.
Think of digital marketing as a web: Your product or services lie in the middle, your core fans and customers spiral out towards the middle of the web and your potential customers are outside the rim of that web. Social media helps with casting that web further.
There is no one-way to use social media, either. Whether you want to use Instagram to show off some of the new products you have in store, create a dialog on Facebook, or use Twitter as a customer service platform, you can. You can use one, two, or all social media platforms to get your message across, but take a look at who your target audience is and which platform of choice they use and attack that.
Develop a Voice
Your voice in social media is how your audience will perceive you. Look at Moon Pies, Wendy’s, or Netflix’s social media accounts. Those accounts are friendly and have a light, slightly sarcastic tone that fans love. But that may not be the direction you want to go in. Ultimately, it comes down to your audience. Who is your target audience? What are their demographics? What do they like to do? All of these help factor in creating a successful digital marketing brand.
For online presence and branding, you may need to design a logo, font, and a set guideline to follow for consistency throughout your growing list of digital media channels. This includes a color guide, list of logos, placement of logos on videos and photos, and more.
Set [Realistic] Goals
Even the professionals will tell you that placing a deadline on garnering a specific amount of followers and generating a profit from that is almost impossible. The internet is like the ocean. Today it could be smooth sailing and the next it could bring choppy winds and high waves. Even if you don’t meet the numbers you were expecting, that doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you need to compensate for what you lacked in other areas. Find your niche and attack it like you would your problems.
If you think relying on just one or two aspects of digital marketing is enough, then I feel sorry for you in the long-term. You can’t just show up to play tennis without a racket. In order for you to reap the rewards of strong digital marketing, you have to sow in all parts of digital marketing. Remember, you get out what you put in. Think about how poor digital marketing continues to take down giants like Sears and what you can do to be different.