Have you ever wondered whether there’s a secret to achieving your goals?
Regardless of your business’s size or the type of retailer you are, investing in the right marketing strategies can be difficult and requires effort and time. And even if you try your best, the sales for your store are still not coming.
While the term “brick and mortar” basically describes any physical store that doesn’t expand its presence in the digital/online world, your marketing efforts can and should focus on this direction.
Just because you have a local store doesn’t mean that you can’t follow what 2022 demands; to gain and expand your online presence.
If you’re wondering what strategies you should add to your marketing plan for your local store, keep reading our article to unravel some essential information.
Why is Brick And Mortar Marketing So Important?
Everything is rapidly changing and, especially in the last two years, due to the covid pandemic, many local stores have struggled to survive, or worse, they didn’t make it.
Additionally, with so many eCommerce stores available, the competition is at its highest, and both physical and online stores are adapting to new strategies.
We completely understand that, as a local store, you might not have a huge budget to invest in as bigger companies do. So, what you need is a good marketing plan to fit your needs.
This way, you can:
- promote your business,
- get more awareness,
- understand your audiences, and
- target the right customers
to grow your business, get more sales, and even establish your brand in your industry or niche.
|Everyone can try their best, but making the right marketing choices is not easy.
As a digital marketing agency that has worked with plenty of online stores and local businesses, we collected the most valuable strategies any brick and mortar store could try. We will share our knowledge and expertise with you, so pick up a pen to keep your notes.
Top Online Strategies You Need To Try
1. Register your business in local listings
This first and most crucial step is to ensure that all your business information, like your name, address, phone, or website, is online.
Who doesn’t pick up their smartphone and start asking Google for information? We search for anything online, like stores near us, business information, directions, reviews, and the list goes on.
Many local stores still don’t have a Google Business Profile. This is where you need to start. It’s a free service by Google, and it only requires a simple verification. It’s not difficult to set it up, but you should update your profile when any changes occur in your business.
Remember that the more information you add, the better and more optimized your profile is.
So, your address, opening hours, website, customer reviews, social media accounts, products or services, images of your store, and more can be found with one search. Isn’t it great?
You also need to find all the other potential listings that can be a great fit, like Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, or TripAdvisor; anything that applies to your type of business.
✰Tip: You can use Moz Local and check where your business is listed and find any missing opportunities.
2. Acquire the Google Map Pack
Even if you don’t want to offer online services, creating a website for your business is like finding the right place to open your store; it’s your showcase.
An SEO-optimized website and an Optimized Google Business profile can help your business appear in the Google Map Pack.
The best way to explain this is through an example. Let’s say that someone is searching for a Greek restaurant in Chicago. Check the image below to see the first results we got back from Google.
And now, consider this; Is there a better place to show your business when someone is searching for a restaurant nearby online? And, if you were the one searching and had all these results, would you continue searching or start reviewing these profiles?
So, appearing in these first results is what could bring the relevant traffic to your site or get you more customers and sales.
But let’s face it; everyone is trying to achieve the same thing. The competition is always there, so don’t lie to yourself. All these demand time and constant updating, so remember to keep up the good job!
3. Optimize your site for local SEO
As the title suggests, now we’ll dive into your website and how it can be optimized to appear in local searches. Any brick-and-mortar business should invest in a good SEO strategy for their website.
There are many things to do, from having a well-designed and fast website, conducting in-depth keyword research, and integrating local-based keywords into your pages to technical setups and link-building strategies to acquire authority.
And of course, don’t forget the king; creating quality content!
If you’re interested in learning more, we created the ultimate SEO and Content Marketing guide to help you.
✰Tip: Add Local Business Schema Markup on your site.
Don’t panic if this sounds foreign; in short, this is a piece of code (like a unique language) that tells Google what type of business you are and what your information is.
This way, you’ll make sure that Google knows more about your store and will help improve your local rankings. Our professional advice is to find someone to add it to your site and ensure that it works properly.
4. Use your Social Media accounts to level up your game
Who doesn’t use social media at least once daily? Even baby boomers brought social media into their lives and are active users.
The first and most important thing is to understand where to start.
Think about what social media platforms your ideal customer might be using; start from there and create accounts on one or two different platforms.
Add your information and keep up with engaging posts specifically made for each platform. This way, your followers can take a good look at your store and your products and learn your business success story.
Create your community, ask for reviews and recommendations, provide helpful information, and use any data from each platform to know your target audience.
So, what can social media offer?
You can bring more traffic to your site, strengthen your other marketing efforts, and understand more about your audiences.
✰ Tip: Use a social media content calendar to help you keep track, organize and schedule your posts.
✰ Extra Tip: Consider starting with a Facebook business page if you don’t already have one.
Setting this up is free, and with a minimal budget, you can get all the extra features. In addition, you can start collecting valuable data since you’ll have access to demographics and audience insights.
And why not, once you have the extra budget, start with Facebook ads to expand your reach and get more leads and sales.
5. Online Advertising focused on local targeting
Here is where you need to focus, especially if you have the budget to invest.
Setting up a campaign with Google Ads is a great start to try and acquire the entire first page on Google.
The first page usually includes the organic results (from your SEO efforts), the map pack (as we saw earlier), and ads. Depending on the search, the ads could be found at the top of the page or lower.
Let’s take a look at the results when searching for a flower shop in Chicago. Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could show up on those first results and in different sections of the first page?
Setting up your campaign can also give you great insights. For example, available metrics will show how many people clicked on your ad online and came to your store or requested directions or calls from Google Maps.
So now you can understand even more about how online advertising is helping you engage with your customers on a local level.
As for the actual strategy, we recommend creating a Google Ads campaign focused only on your service areas. Expanding your reach could bring extra traffic (your campaign will get more impressions and clicks), but your conversion rate would probably be lower.
So, using geo-targeting and setting up only the locations close to your business and the areas where you offer your services or delivery is what your store needs.
Don’t forget to include local-based keywords in your strategy and mention your service areas in your ad copy (headlines and descriptions).
✰Tip: When setting up your target locations, you can also be even more specific. For example, you can set a radius around your store or even specific postal codes.
You can learn more about the importance of advertising on Google and how to start, check out our Google Ads guide.
Off-line Strategies you shouldn’t ignore
We know that everything said so far refers to online methods. What about sharing a few off-line strategies that you can follow to get a complete marketing plan? Let’s review some below.
1. Be a store that shares a purpose with customers and makes it unique
Offering a great customer experience is, as you know best, one of the most important things when running a business. So, try to find what can make you stand out and why people should still visit your store.
Ask yourself; can you offer a unique service that will attract more visitors (like a store that sells shoes but also offers some custom solutions or restorations)? Is anything in your store that doesn’t promote quality customer service?
Don’t try to think in advance here; simply try to listen to your customers.
For example, consider whether your store equipment is updated to 2022 (like providing all payment methods) or if there are any services customers are asking for and you’re missing out on.
Start like this, and you’ll be spot on!
2. Be a part of your community and plan special events at your store
Try to participate in any local activities or events to ensure that people will get to know more about you and your store.
Be creative. Try to plan a few events at your store while contributing to community actions, and in the meantime, let more people know about your business and visit your store.
Organize, for example, a small party to celebrate with loyal customers, a special event promoting a new service or product, or even host guests who will educate your visitors.
Public relations are and will continue to be a part of any business owner’s plan.
So always keep it as one of your go-to strategies, and remember that it will never lose its power.
3. Embrace some old-fashioned marketing strategies and the power of word-of-mouth
Many of the so-called “outdated” techniques and strategies are still in the game and could actually benefit your local store.
We won’t dive into many details here, but flyers and brochures, in-store discounts and promotions, signs, and even “cold” calls could make a huge difference, so don’t overpass them!
Client testimonials and reviews remain one of any business’s most prominent credentials.
And word-of-mouth is still the best marketing strategy to help your business gain trust and awareness. Never forget about that!
Here’s a checklist summarizing all our recommended strategies to make sure you won’t miss anything:
After all this information and tips, we are confident that some of you are already planning or have started writing down your strategy ideas. However, others might be more confused or unsettled, and that’s completely normal.
Either way, our goal here was to make any owner get to know some of the best marketing strategies they can follow for their brick-and-mortar store.
If you’re looking for professional advice, feel free to book a consultation call with us to discuss your digital marketing strategy.
There are always ways to stay up-to-date and let your business grow and evolve. But I kept one final tip for those of you who made it here.
✰Tip: Get to know the “click-and-mortar” business model, also known as “clicks-to-bricks”, and see if it fits your business.
This is how any local store can combine selling their products or offering their services both online and in-person.
For example, a restaurant can offer delivery or pick-up services, but people can order from their website. Or an apparel store can create an eCommerce store and sell products both online and in-store.
We know that this is not an easy one. It definitely needs careful consideration, but at least now you have all the options.
We shared some of our knowledge and best practices to help you take your marketing plan one step towards success and ways to grow your business.
Now it’s time to start planning and taking action.