Everyone has their own definition of marketing success. It’s the reason why they put some budget into social media and search platforms to help the company grow.
Larger brands who have years of success under their belt, for instance, usually market to keep ahead of the competition and to reinforce values the company has spent decades and millions of pounds building and reinforcing.
Smaller businesses, though, market themselves to get their voices heard. They want people to know they exist, that their product is better than in other markets, and that they offer a really friendly, personal experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
There are more small businesses than ever in the UK, though. Even if you carve out a niche for yourself, you’re still competing against 5.5 million others who want to survive past their first year.
Though the internet and most social media platforms provide an incredible way to reach out to new markets and deliver a creative message, it can still be incredibly beneficial to build up a strong, visible local audience and network of loyal customers and brand advocates.
To do that, you’ll need to get bums off seats
While everyone has their own definition of marketing, arguably the Holy Grail for the medium is interaction and experience.
For small businesses that can not only be people visiting a website, but getting them to come into the shop and interact with the sales floor and – depending on how hands-on they are – the owner.
All of this in a marketing sense falls under the umbrella of relationship building and reputation management. High street performance also varies from region to region. With so many companies complementing their premises with an online marketing strategy, is it really possible to get people to put down their tablets and visit your shop?
The answer short answer is yes. A longer answer depends on how you do it, but if you’re looking to increase footfall to your shop specifically then there are ways to improve your chances through digital marketing.
Apps like FourSquare are dedicating themselves to the problem, and are pushing the analytics side of their business to provide local data to local businesses and show them more information about how footfall ebbs and flows to predict future store traffic.
5 ways to drive people to your shop with digital
That all sounds quite technical though. Isn’t there an easier way to get people to your shop with the current tools at your disposal?
The good news is it’s a resounding yes. Here’s how:
1: Target who you want to attract through social media
If you’re looking at getting more people through your doors without actually going out there and dragging them inside then social media marketing is going to be essential to reaching out to people and encouraging them to visit.
Paid social media is also more effective then dragging people in from the street. Facebook’s paid services allow small businesses to specifically target the people that matter most, which also counts for Instagram thanks to Facebook’s acquisition.
Before you put money into targeting audiences though, it’s essential to know who you want to attract and who’s most likely to make a sale and become a long-term brand advocate.
2: Making use of the technology available to you
The most commonly used and accessible social media platforms are constantly evolving so they can attract advertising revenue and provide better insights for business owners.
Whilst most (like Pinterest) are adapting to offer better targeting tools like Facebook does, Facebook is staying one step ahead of the game to provide advertisers with footfall metrics and ads designed to specifically pull people in-store.
There’s a brilliant case study on Facebook about how they trialled the system to attract footfall to Ikea’s Cardiff store, with the ads providing a 31% uplift in targeted 22-25 year olds and an 11% increase in store visits.
3: Creating content and incentives to draw them in
So, there are ways to reach out to passers-by and people at home through social media, but that will count for very little unless you again know your market and what they like.
The content you produce not only has to attract their interest but also be clean, clear and crisp. There’s no reason not to take photos of the interior of the store and the team who work there to show the friendly side of your brand and that you are real people who will listen.
Smaller businesses can also show some pride in the local community, highlighting the people that visit your store on a regular basis (with their permission of course), charity events and more happening in the area.
4: Share promotions and deals that make the mouth water
The same as above; if your content is incentive-focused then that can increase your chances of people coming to visit your shop if you post and share exclusive deals and offers on social media.
As well as targeting people on platforms like Facebook, why not create coupons and vouchers that not only save people money but can also only be redeemed in-store? Not only will they travel in to redeem their offer, but they may also pick something else up when they visit.
The same can be true if you concentrate on building a targeted following and produce content that promotes offers on items in stock that pique interest. Why not post some pics of your latest offer and offer a flash sale in-store over 24 or 48 hours?
5: Google is your friend when targeting customers
Social media will be important to driving footfall back to your shop, but incentive-driven inbound marketing through paid search and organic techniques can also play a large part.
Part of the basics of online marketing are optimising your website for search engines to let people know you exist. Are your business details up to date through Google My Business, and is your website optimised to help it appear in local search results for people looking to buy what you have to offer?
People use search engines to fulfil a need. If they’re looking for a local shop that has what you sell, then you can begin attracting footfall organically from doing little at all if your SEO is done right.
Find out more about local marketing and attracting more people to your shop through organic inbound techniques by contacting the Webpresence team today.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo. Do you publish content yourself, or need content for your own website? If you’d like to collaborate on anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.