The Best Way Local Shops Can Use Marketing
Discover how independent shops can find new customers, generate more sales and save time through digital marketing that works.
Has someone ever asked you what your social media strategy is? Or perhaps what marketing you’re currently doing?
Cue the awkward tumble weed…
Marketing can feel like the last thing on your mind when you’re running a local business or shop. There’s a million and one other things you need to be doing and marketing seems like something you can save until tomorrow.
Now it doesn’t matter if you’re struggling to find new customers or you own a bustling shop – marketing, specifically digital marketing, can save you time and money. This should make it a top priority for shop owners and entrepreneurs who value either time or money (or more likely, both!)
So where do you even start with marketing a local shop or brick and mortar business?
You may think because you’ve built it, they will come. Well, sometimes if the location is perfect, you can just about get away with it. But is this hope and pray method of business really sustainable? Wouldn’t you like to have more control? Wouldn’t you like to create a brand that lasts the test of time regardless of what location is trendy at a certain moment in time?
Here at Bula Marketer, we’re in the business of marketing… and as a result, we’re in the business of attracting new customers, delighting them and turning them into lifelong fans. This marketing process is how you turn a brick and mortar shop into a predictable business. And a predictable business can give you the lifestyle you want – less stress and more control.
Independent shops often don’t have big marketing and advertising budgets. And the good news is that modern technology creates a platform where entrepreneurs, like local business owners, have the ability to create extremely targeted marketing campaigns that get results.
Forget relying on people walking passed the door, these strategies allow you to control the visibility and engagement you have with your customers.
Marketing can be quite a board term and incorporates a lot of different areas of business. We’re going to focus on digital marketing as this is the best way you can reach and engage with potential customers at scale. This means leveraging automation and marketing software to create a marketing plan that runs on auto-pilot and doesn’t add to your workload.
Too much marketing advice for shop owners and local businesses doesn’t actually help solve the real painpoint – time. I’m confident all shop owners could do amazing marketing on their own, but the truth be told, time is a valuable commodity and there simply isn’t enough of it when you run your own business. That’s why the real way to win at brick and mortar marketing is to leverage automation and processes that don’t need your input.
When the big high street chains and brands are spending millions on TV ads and billboards, you’re customers aren’t looking at them, they’ve got their heads in their phones… and that’s exactly where you can reach them.
This article was born out of shock at what advice I was reading when I searched for “local business marketing.” Unfortunately, wishy washy advice and generic insights flood the top of search engines and following that advice won’t help get real results. This article is focused on actual marketing strategies that will drive measurable results for your local business. These strategies are developed from an approach to digital marketing that every successful business follows. It’s about understanding how to find and delight new customers and turn existing customers into lifelong fans.
So without further ado, let’s start saving time and money with 4 fundamental business principles that every brick and mortar business can implement.
1. Local Search Presence
It doesn’t matter how good your shop is, people need to be able to find you. Local SEO and showing up when someone searches for your type of business in your local area is vital.
Searching on your phone is often where a customer journey begins. Having this visibility is a big reason why some shops are full, and others are empty. Footfall isn’t isolated from digital marketing – the number of people entering a shop starts long before they got close to that street. Being able to reach and engage with people before they’ve even stepped foot in your city means you can present yourself as the best shop to serve a particular industry.
Having this search presence is also likely to impact other opportunities for your business as you’ll quickly be seen as an authority in your town/city.
Searching for a brand name also means people can quickly see reviews and ratings. Understanding how all this works and how it can influence your shop’s appearance online is vital for your shop to grow and develop. Bad reviews and negative comments can harm a local business so being proactive and having control over your brand online is a must for a local shop owner.
Luckily, here at Bula Marketer, this is one of our expertise. We can set up you with Google My Business and help you optimise your account so you get seen when people search for you. It won’t take us long and can have a huge impact on your exposure.
2. Social Media Marketing & Re-targeting
When we talk about social media marketing, we aren’t here to talk about buying fake followers or trying to increase the amount of likes on a post. That won’t pay the bills I’m afraid. This is about real social media marketing – the stuff that real marketers do.
It’s similar to traditional Direct Response Marketing and it’s focused on ROI.
Hyper targeted ads based on the behaviours and interests of people will ensure you can find and engage with people who share your values and are likely to visit your shop.
You can pay to get your ad in front of exactly the right people – and as long as you have a good sales funnel and back-end offer, you can actually acquire customers at a profit! That may sound a little bizarre and too good to be true. But think of it like this – you spend £1 on a ad to get a customer’s attention and get them in the shop. They then buy a low cost product/service. But because you’ve been clever and implemented an effective sales funnel, that customer keeps coming back and the ROI on that initial £1 can be huge.
It’s about understanding the lifetime value of a customer and utilising systems that allow you to grow profitably.
This approach to social media and using it to get direct responses means you can scale a business and the rate at which you find new customers.
Combining creativity and great offers with a scientific approach to customer acquisition is the key to social media success.
Online and offline marketing exist in unity with both sides influencing the other. A physical shop still needs to ensure it has systems in place such as re-targeting and direct response marketing to ensure it can grow effectively.
N.B. – Did you know that out of 100 coffee shop Facebook profiles we reviewed, almost all of them hadn’t correctly set up a business page.
Independent shops value quality. The reason people go to your shop instead of a big chain is the attention to quality and ethics. So utilise your passionate customer-base and showcase your knowledge to delight them with education and advice.
This attention to education will help build trust and eventually lead to better brand-customer relationships.
Creating written content, videos, or pictures can all help tell your story. It’s about finding a medium that works for you and that you can effectively communicate to your audience through.
N.B. Don’t underestimate what good writing can do in your shop – funny messages, personal storytelling, and sales copy are all important to develop a more meaningful relationship with customers.
As your customers learn more about you and your products, they will be happier to spend more and buy more.
4. Website with a sales funnel
A good website is good for business.
But he’s the little secret about digital marketing. A good website doesn’t necessarily mean something that’s beautiful and looks amazing. It’s about a website that gets results.
Sales funnels, marketing funnels or whatever you want to call it, the process of attracting a customer, delighting them and turning them into a buying customer and then a raving fan, will allow you to reach ultimate success.
But this shouldn’t be something that you make up as you go – there should be a systematic process in place for capturing leads, engaging them and converting them. A website and digital sales funnel is the perfect setting for nurturing a customer journey and ensuring that even when your customer isn’t in your shop, you can still engage with them.
Repeat purchases are based on customer satisfaction and being able to engage with your customers and delight them 24/7. Digital marketing is a massive opportunity to achieve this. The brick and mortar businesses that notice this trend and take advantage are likely to see stronger brand recognition and better customer satisfaction ratings.
A website is also a great way for local shops to enter the world of e-commerce. It may sound like a whole new world, but it can be a great way to find new customers and expand your business. E-commerce owners often enjoy a more automated business model that requires fewer man hours so if you’re looking to cut back on the hours you’re working, e-commerce could be something to explore.
So there you have it, 4 simple ways that local shops can use digital marketing to grow their business.
For help in getting started or to simply chat about what works and what doesn’t, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. We’re here to achieve our mission of helping entrepreneurs do great things.
The infographic below highlights just a few ways we’ve managed to help a coffee store, North Star Coffee, use digital marketing to grow and develop.
…and let us get you started with digital marketing.