It is easy to understand why some traditional stores, those little shops around the corner, shirk and dodge the eventuality of turning digital. The digital world is pretty huge but then again, it is an eventuality and even small businesses and brands cannot and should not try to escape it. A survey by the Webs Small Business Digital Trends revealed that 63% of small business owners are using digital strategies in their overall marketing efforts. Eighty percent of these business owners serve as their own webmasters with Facebook as their primary advertising platform. Their reason for going digital: to generate more leads.
An integrated digital marketing strategy, like the one serviced by a digital agency in Toronto, Ontario, can do that and so much more. Traditional brick and mortar stores might say, “We don’t need likes and shares, we need customers.” Sure. But tradition and digital should not compete with each other. These two forms of marketing are meant to work hand in hand. If businesses are able to connect offline and online marketing, the possibilities become endless. Clearly, the time is now for traditional stores to turn marketing efforts into digital. Here’s how an average store can shift gears.
Pull your audience with content
Digital marketing is about “pulling” your audience in as opposed to “pushing” them towards your brand as what traditional marketing does. With distributing flyers and buying advertisement spots on TV, the information about the brand is pushed and the relationship is mainly one-way with the company rallying for popularity. With online marketing, marketers produce great content to pull the audience towards their brand. The relationship is two-way because the objective of this type of marketing is not mainly awareness or popularity but engagement.
Content marketing plays a big role here because it is the content that makes a brand relevant. Stores going digital must focus on content to capture the audience, look credible by buying likes and views from SocialBoosting, and keep interactions alive. Before publishing your first content or post, map out a plan on how you want people to recognize and engage with your brand. You must be clear about “who you are” and “what you stand for” before you can come up with great content and pull your audience in.
Focus on customers
Whatever the marketing strategy, the focus should always be the audience. Know who they are, what they like and dislike, what their frustrations are or their dreams, etc. It is not enough that you know bio-data information, you have to go deeper if you were to direct your efforts on winning them over. You can do this by constant engagement and interaction.
Tell your story
Small and traditional businesses have amazing stories and humble beginnings. Share them. People want to know who you are. Storytelling is an effective way to get people interested and build a human-to-human connection. Post content that puts emphasis on what your brand stands for. If you are selling beauty products for example, Dove commercials are a good example.
Know the rules
Social media is a favorite among small business owners. They are easy to use, free, and most of all, they have a very wide reach. However, social networking sites also have rules. If you are planning to go digital and employ social media marketing, you must educate yourself on these rules or all your efforts will go to waste. Facebook, for example, do not allow posts that are “very promotional.” Figure out ways on how you can utilize social media better.
Need a ruler?
Yes, you do. There are several analytics app you can spot online to organize and measure your digital marketing success. This will give you an idea which of your posts got the most likes and shares and those that did not. Measuring online metrics is important to give you direction in your digital strategy. An analysis of data about digital traffic, audience, and trends are a must so you can tailor-fit your brand and content marketing to what your market wants.
Always go visual
We are visual animals. It is actually amazing how most people can watch a show on TV while watching something on YouTube. According to a Nielsen survey, 28% of people worldwide have what they call “multi-screen habits.” A 2014 research by eMarketer also showed that photos accounted for 75% of content posted on Facebook and 87% of interaction rate, the highest among all forms of content.
Social media is a great platform to post videos and photos. There’s Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to name a few. To improve user engagement, remember to publish more photos and videos that educate, help, intrigue, and are of interest to your audience.
The online-offline connection
Always remember that you must be integrating offline with online efforts. Multi-channel attribution is necessary to seamlessly integrate your online and offline marketing strategies: how many of your online visitors actually went to your store and vice-versa. This is important so you know if your digital tactic is working.
There are several ways to use digital marketing to drive in-store traffic and promote your brand. One way to do this is to start a “retweet and win” contest or encourage Instagram followers to post a photo of your product for an exclusive discount. The key here is exclusivity. To ensure in-store digital marketing integration, you must make your fans and followers feel special like giving away special vouchers for those who will download your app. If you are an online retailer, you can integrate online and offline stores by asking followers to print a coupon and redeem discounted items in your actual store. There are many ways to create and maintain an online-offline connection, so be creative. Booklets are still a good marketing strategy, so get the facts straight.
Keep options open
Technology is an ever-evolving tool. Do not stop at Facebook or Twitter. Do not be contented with just having a website. That is not so cool anymore. To be successful at digital marketing, one must learn to ride with it. Do not be afraid of trends and changes for they are nothing but opportunities.
If your business is looking to expand and get bigger, you should not stay deeply rooted in, well, your roots. Remember that technology is your friend, probably the best one you’ll ever have.