You're a small business owner. Finding ways to promote your store when facing competition from big-box stores, discount brands and other online sellers can feel like an impossible task.
In the digital world, where consumers are overwhelmed with choices, how can you make your store stand out, and attract customers all year round?
1. Digital Marketing
It might seem the obvious choice, but for some people this can be the most daunting as it involves basic “digital skills”, and even those who do have those still get it wrong. You want to bring more customers to your store and you’re on a tight budget? Email campaigns are a great idea but what if you don’t have the email addresses of people who aren’t customers, and buying lists online is the least recommended thing to do in the marketing world. What’s left? Well, you could always stick up a few posters.
And then there’s Facebook advertising: probably your best bet, and the rates are really flexible. It seems difficult at first, but it isn’t, and you can find a lot of content online easing things for you. Did you know that you can promote your business locally? You may want to create a “boosted post” that entails a temporary offer, a discount of sorts that your store is running temporarily. If your outreach is 5,000 people (which you can easily reach for less than $200) and that 10% of them take you up on your offer, that’s already a win.
You don’t have to worry about managing your Facebook page (although keeping the content updated and relevant helps to retain people who already visited the page) and you will still get the benefits of Facebook exposure. All you need to do is to tailor your offer to your target, find a really nice picture, geo-localize your post to your area, and set the demographics that you’re after (age range, gender, etc), and you’re good to go!
2. Customer reviews
This one is a no-brainer and a big cost saver. 68% of people say they trust businesses/stores that have positive reviews. Assuming you already have a core of loyal customers that keep on coming back to your store, why not ask them to write a review of your store/practice? Send them an email with a couple links to the platforms and websites (e.g. Yelp) where you want to be listed and reviewed and ask them to write something about you.
Perhaps offer them a discount of some sort in return. If they care about your services and dedication, they’ll want to help. It’ll take them only a few minutes, and it will do a lot for you. After all, customers move. They change locations, they are sometimes disappointed in their usual stores, and look online for new options. That’s where your store’s online reviews come in handy.
Testimonials are similar to reviews but work for both your Facebook page and website. As mentioned in the point above, people trust their peers more than they trust you, this is a phenomenon that changed the marketing world years ago, when people finally had means to express their feelings about a company, store or practice.
Again here, if you have satisfied customers, why not conduct a brief interview, video or text, and post their impressions online on your Facebook page or website? Bonus points if it comes in the form of an “journey” that people can relate to. That’s what we call the power of storytelling, everyone likes a story better than a list of facts.
Customer testimonials, backed up by credible pictures or videos, always earn trust. Of course the list could be much longer, but for the time being, the three points above should give your enough benefits, and will take a little time to implement.