With the increasing wave of digitization across our society, it’s no surprise (or secret) that e-commerce has come to dominate retail. One 2021 report revealed that 54% of US consumers prefer to shop online, and this number is quickly growing. In fact, that statistic was already a 9% jump over 2020, showing a huge increase in e-commerce preference in a single year.
Even many traditional department stores have leaned into the trend, moving much or all of their business online. But for some businesses, it just makes more sense to maintain their brick-and-mortar store. For these entrepreneurs, does the internet hold any useful potential?
The answer, of course, is yes. More specifically, the internet can present brick-and-mortar businesses with marketing channels and opportunities that can help them drive interest, increase visibility and foot traffic, and maximize their return on investment from outreach efforts.
If you have a physical storefront in need of a fresh audience, here’s how to branch out into the realm of digital marketing and get your business the attention it deserves.
Optimize Your Social Media for Local Audiences
When your business is tied to a particular location, sometimes social media can feel like shouting into the void. You may be wondering: how will it help my bottom line to earn likes from people across the planet?
Fortunately, there are ways you can play the social media game in a way that calls out to local audiences.
1. Incorporate Local Culture into Your Content
Sometimes we forget that culture can be more specific than your country or region. Culture can be as specific as your city! By engaging with the local community through your content, you’ll attract hometown residents with similar interests.
For example, incorporate posts celebrating the victories of your town’s sports teams, highlighting local charities and relief efforts, or even giving a shout-out to other businesses in the area — just as long as they aren’t direct competitors.
2. Join Local Online Groups
You can also go to your audience by engaging in location-specific forums, subreddits, or Facebook groups. You may not be able to directly advertise in these conversations, as many forums prohibit sales messages, but simply dropping a website link into your bio or signature may attract a few curious locals.
3. Location Hashtagging
Whether you’re posting some of that local culture content or simply showing off your new storefront, don’t forget the power of hashtagging. Of course, start by tagging the name of your city or neighborhood, but don’t stop there. Do a little digging to see what’s popular for your area. Many places have unique hashtags beloved by the locals, perhaps playing off a nearby area code or nickname for residents. Tapping into these can help put your posts in front of potential customers.
Keep in Touch with Your Existing Customers
While social media is a great tool to grow your audience, don’t forget to stay in contact with your most loyal current customers! Even if they already follow you online, pairing that passive engagement with a more proactive approach can help keep you on customers’ minds.
1. Reach Out with Automated Emails
Automated emails are a fantastic way to encourage another visit to your brick-and-mortar store. Invite customers to join your subscriber list with a few pieces of personal information, such as birthdate and address. Then, you can use email automation to send them welcome messaging, receipts for in-store purchases, and even a special coupon on their birthday. These thoughtful touches make customers feel special and more likely to drop by again.
2. Segment Your Audience by Location
What if you have multiple storefronts? In that case, email automation sweeps in with the incredibly useful ability to segment your audience by location. Tailor your messaging to specific towns or postcodes and send your customers targeted announcements about their nearest store, such as sales, product launches, or special events. This will help you build a community around each of your locations and foster better customer loyalty.
Stay Organized with Factoreal
Digital marketing is a big playground with many opportunities for growth. But while you’re busily trying to manage your storefront, it may be tough to commit time to your online efforts.
Fortunately, Factoreal has your back. We created an easy, omnichannel marketing platform that empowers you to manage all of your business’ digital accounts in one convenient place. Schedule posts, automate emails, even send out a local SMS blast. Plus, Factoreal helps you monitor the success of your marketing campaigns with clear insights and analytics.
Ready to reap the rewards of online marketing for your brick-and-mortar store? Contact our team today!