Online business and e-commerce seem to be the wave of the future. But where does that leave local, brick and mortar businesses? Can small, local businesses continue to grow and thrive in a changing, virtual market? The answer is yes and a digital marketing plan for brick and mortar shops is the name of the game.
Here’s a look at why digital marketing is so important for local/brick and mortar businesses, as well as what marketing platforms you need to pursue. You can increase your reach, sales, and growth through a targeted marketing plan that includes digital content.
Do local businesses need social media?
Social media has become part of our daily life. We know it is a way for influencers and online businesses to connect with their followers. It’s also a powerful digital marketing tool. Social media use keeps you top of mind and in front of your ideal customer during their everyday life. This has never been more important for local businesses. As online shops and services grow, brick and mortar shops need to stay relevant and connected.
Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and more give you an effective and low cost solution to getting the word out about sales, new products, and other promotions. However, they are more effective at building relationships, sharing your story, and building a fan base that would never think of shopping anywhere else. In addition, for younger generations, social media is where they search for ideas, solutions, and recommendations. Having a social media presence exponentially increases your chance of getting found by your ideal client.
Voice Search Changing How We Shop
In 2020, over 50% of Internet searches were performed via voice search. This has steadily increased as voice activated devices and voice assisted search on smartphones became commonplace. This trend is only going up. It is projected that within 5 years, almost all searches will be spoken, not typed into a search bar. What does this mean for local businesses?
Well, this will completely change how most people shop, especially the younger generations. When they want a pizza delivered, they will simply say, “Order me a pizza” and have the AI do the work. Which means that you need to be visible online, even if you are a small, local business. This is how you will be found and continue to grow your business. When someone needs a pizza, you want your restaurant to be the one the AI calls!
Digital Marketing to Expand Reach
Local businesses are no longer confined to Main Street. Through an Internet presence you can reach new customers across town and around the world. Just because you are tied to a physical address, doesn’t mean you can’t reach the world at large. This means expanded opportunities and more income potential. Any store or service provider can increase their customer base by reaching out to more people in a larger area.
However, how do you build a relationship with someone who isn’t going to stop by your shop or drive past your business? Marketing tools such as blog posts, podcasts, social media, and video series all help bring your neighborhood shop out to the far reaches of the Internet. They say it is all about location, location, location and that is absolutely still true in the digital world. Where will you show up for new potential fans and clients?
How to Target Your Ideal Customer Efficiently
Online marketing, especially on social media, is more efficient than traditional advertising. Instead of broadcasting on a radio ad or publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper, hoping that the right person will see your ad. Digital marketing gives you the resources to first find your ideal client, and then market to him or her. Targeted ads use many factors, including search history and personal preference to decide who sees which ad.
Not only that, but often ads are served to potential clients multiple times before the person engages. This gives you more advertising power for your budget. Also, once people do engage, you can retarget them and continue to grow that relationship. Since it takes an average of 21 touch points for someone to commit, this is a much more efficient way to interact with potential customers.
Brand Awareness for Small Businesses
Still not convinced? What about the importance of brand awareness and how to get it? You don’t just sell a product or service, you have a brand culture. How you speak to clients, the words you do and don’t use, your core values, etc, all constitute your brand. It is through brand awareness that you get easily recognized and build a reputation.
Brand awareness is easier when you have an online, branded presence. Potential clients will know what you stand for and why buying from you is different. This is a recipe for loyal and consistent fans.
Keep Current and Past Customers Engaged
It is much easier to sell to people who have already bought. They are more invested in what you have to offer. It isn’t a matter of if they will buy, but when they will buy again. However, our world is very noisy. It is full of distractions. Keeping past and present customers engaged makes future selling even easier. You stay at the forefront of their mind. Also, it continues to build the relationship you already have established. People buy from those who they know, like, and trust.
Email campaigns, online content (such as blogs), and regularly popping up in someone’s social media feed all help keep them engaged. You don’t want your warm leads to go cold. Plus, so many are vying for that same customer’s attention. Once you have it, keep it focused on you and all you have to offer. Making the decision to buy is taking people longer than ever before. It used to be 5-7 touch points. Now it is an average of 21! Continual engagement is the best way to obtain consistent conversions.