With 2016 upon us, technology has laid the path for a wide variety of brick & mortar marketing options for business owners. Whether you own or manage a vape shop, bar or yoga studio, the success of your retail marketing efforts relies on making the best choices regarding the investment of your time and money. But what is most important and where is the marketing budget most wisely used in 2016?
Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher whose opinion is the right opinion when it comes to marketing your brick and mortar business. Some people are doom and gloom when it comes to having a brick & mortar business altogether but in reality, even the biggest online giants will never be able to eliminate brick and mortar business altogether, primarily due to the fact that they will not be able to provide a similar customer experience.
I personally make it a point to keep myself on the forefront of the brick & mortar marketing strategies as this makes up a significant portion of my client base. I have seen many brick & mortar businesses succeed and I have seen many of them fail. Follow these tips to get the most out of your time and money in the upcoming year.
Of course, in an ideal world these things would have already been planned out a few months ago however, it is easy to let things get too ‘busy’ to take the time to implement marketing strategies. This list consists of several precise suggestions for making the most of your 2016 brick & mortar marketing efforts.
1. Build Customer Lists and Take Advantage of Email Marketing & Rewards Programs
If you are not already collecting the names and email addresses of your customers, you should start today. The easiest way to increase your business is by getting more business out of your existing customers. There is a good chance that most of the people who come into your shop will not mind giving you their contact information in exchange for customer appreciation specials, special events, etc…
According to a study conducted by Outbound Engine, an outbound email marketing company, there are several shocking facts about human email behavior and email marketing specifically. Here are a few examples:
- Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers. (McKinsey & Company)
- For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25. (ExactTarget)
- 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. (Salesforce)
- If an email does not display correctly, 71.2% will delete it immediately. (BlueHornet)
2. When it Comes to Online Presence, Image and Accessibility are Everything
Even if your brick & mortar business does not have eCommerce functionality, having an effective web presence is more important today than ever before. Your website should be the hardest working, around-the-clock sales representative you have ever had. On the other hand, failure to use the internet as the powerful resource that it is, can be detrimental to your business because you have much less exposure than your competitors who have likely figured this out. That said, a professional branding image is extremely important when it comes to web design for your brick & mortar business and having a responsive website is important for both your users and for Google.
This does not mean selling your products or services online is absolutely necessary. In fact, I believe it does more harm than good in many cases. Read more to find out if it makes sense to have an eCommerce website in place.
Since image is such an important aspect determining the effectiveness of your online web presence, it may be time to consider re-designing your logo (or getting one professionally designed period). I recommend 99designs for logo design as they will enable you to have many designers compete for your business, allowing you to choose the one which fits your business best. Best of all, the logo competitions are basically the same as what you would pay to have a single logo designed.
3. Active Social Media Participation
In 2016, simply having social media sites established is not going to be enough. Under the Web 2.0 participatory web structure, social media pages with active users, posts and participation are much more likely to be favored over those which are not participating. There are some programs which can make this easier on you. HootSuite is one of the social media management programs in which you can schedule posts ahead of time, post simultaneously to various social media sites, measure audience participation and be more involved across more social media outlets without having to invest more time. They are also offering a free 30 day trial of HootSuite Pro so you can try it out to see how it works.
4. Content Marketing is the Key
Content marketing is putting out information which is designed to increase your client base and engage your customers in interacting with your social media pages, and keeping your existing client base. This type of marketing requires a little more thought than some of the other 2016 brick & mortar marketing tips but it is an important one which must be considered.
Here are some examples for how to go about your 2016 brick & mortar content marketing campaigns:
- Create and distribute content which you can use for your website to enhance existing pages. It’s always great to kill 2 birds with 1 stone when it comes to writing content.
- Create a series of useful YouTube videos which teach your existing or potential customers how to do something that they likely enjoy doing or have to do.
- Create and distribute content which will attract potential clients. Think as if you were a client and the information which you would find most useful.
5. Focus on Customer Experience, Online and Offline
Regardless of whether or not Amazon starts delivering customer goods within 30 minutes of placing an order online or online doctors make a huge impact on the medical world, there is still going to be an advantage for brick & mortar establishments. This advantage is providing an enjoyable customer experience. There are many ways of going about this but here are a few examples:
- Replacing or re-motivating employees who are less than pleasant towards customers. Zack may be your buddy but if he can’t smile and treat the customers right then you are likely to be losing business as a result.
- Optimize your website for mobile devices and for speed. Search engines like it and so do your clients.
- Create customer appreciation specials which provide fun experiences for your customers to come in. Consider having a local art show or displaying local art on an ongoing basis.
- Allow customers who come in the door to have the best experience possible, whatever it might take to make that possible. If you sell clothes let them try them on with assistance of a worker. If you provide a service, make candy available to your clients.
- Make your clients smile. It will make them want to come back.
When creating strategies to increase your business and grow your client base in 2016, the above steps will put you ahead of your competitors and provide your clients with a customer experience which makes them keep coming back and telling their friends about you.
Also, remember any time you try something new, put a system in place for tracking and measuring results so you may evaluate the overall impact and measure / optimize results.