Last night I was in visiting with Round Rocks Fly Fishing in Logan, UT. These guys are great. It’s a great shop to visit with a very knowledgeable staff that wants to do right every time. We got talking about what I do and then got into a little discussion about some marketing tactics. Thus, I was inspired to write the following post.
As a local retailer you have a lot of options and opportunities. There are many ways to outdo big box and online retailers. As easy as online is customer still value personal interaction and will buy from you if you give the service. If the service is not there then you will be showroomed. Here are some tips to get them in your store and keep them coming back, but remember customer service is key.
In marketing your store I would recommend avoiding the traditional media buys such as TV, radio and newspaper. These are struggling avenues anyways. You have a lot more leverage through online mediums anyhow. You may not sell online or make it a focus, but you can still dedicate your marketing online. Content creation tends to be the most difficult on the surface, but you can usually find some ambassadors to create that for in store discounts. I will point out a few key marketing techniques that can enhance your local business presence.
In Store Events
The key to in store events is not so much what it is, but it is how consistent it is. I’ve seen running stores do very well with this in turn outs from 30 to 100 depending on the activity. Mostly because people know when to plan for it. Host an educational night, a mix and mingle, an activity, a giveaway or a contest night. Make it fun and engaging and most importantly consistent. Whether it’s every week or once a month just keep it the same. Nights are valuable to be with family, but if you do something 2 or 3 nights a week split it up between managers so that only one of you are there a night. You can even reach out to your vendors and have them send a rep to bring a demo set to get people to try and use at no cost to you. As a manufacturer we provide these to retailers all the time. It brings value to both brands.
Also, DON’T CLOSE THE REGISTER. The number one problem I have seen with in store events is that the store closes down the register and people can’t buy from you. They are in your store, they will buy if you let them.
Get involved in the local community. There may already be loc events that you can sponsor or partner with. You may have community events to get involved with. Find a way to do so. However, if those events do not exist then you may want to go out of your way and create something. Maybe it’s a competition or even a service project. People will come out. Maybe just a little at first, but keep it consistent. Use local mediums to get the word out. If it is service related this is usually a good way to get free press from a community paper or newsletter. Keep involved in your community.
Maintain a Blog
You probably went into business because you love the Bobbie, sport or activity that you sell goods for at your shop. This means that you must know a thing or two about the topics within this passion. You also likely associate with others in this arena as well. You can write content and recruit these others to write content for your store blog. The best thing that you can learn is to be the authority in the avenue that you serve. If you are a running store then be the authority in running, a fly fishing shop then be the authority in fly fishing and tying, or if a scrapbook shop then in creativity and crafting and so on. Share this passion and knowledge with all of your potential customers. You can then use this content to share on your social platforms.
There are a few key items that you can incorporate into your social media tactics. First and probably most import is to LISTEN! There’s nothing more important that you can do in the social sphere than to listen when your customers are talking. The biggest mistake I see is when a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram question or comment goes unnoticed or unanswered. People want to be heard or they will stop talking, stop sharing and worst of all, stop buying. If you’re not listening then close the account. Also, don’t direct link your accounts unless your going to pay attention to all of them. Here are some basic pointers on each social sphere.
- Use this to keep your fans informed and educated.
- Facebook is great and easy to accumulate more fans. Don’t be afraid to spend some money here. This medium can be much more valuable than Google ads because you can target location, demographic and interests. Also, don’t focus just on your city, remember that people from neighboring towns drive through and may need your product.
- Be top of mind relevant.
- Please listen and answer when people comment or post.
- Keep your events updated.
- Watch your analytics data. One of the key metrics is engagement. Keep this high. Do so by sharing good information that gets likes, comments and shares.
- Store contests can go really well. Often you find a solid brand that is lesser known to give you free product for a promotional contest. Use some fan gating to get likes and leads.
- Personally my favorite medium, but can get noisy.
- Listen, listen, listen. I can’t emphasize this enough. You customers will stop paying attention and stop talking about you if you don’t listen.
- You need to post regularly. Because of all the noise a post can become irrelevant very quickly. Make it valuable posts. You can share articles from news outlets that you enjoy or just simple updates or images with inspiring quotes.
- Have your staff submit posts.
- Use a scheduling app. I personally like Buffer because it posts at the best times for my followers.
- Take the content you created for your blog and make a simple 2 minute video about it.
- Take a GoPro on your outings and capture those. Use the GoPro app or some other basic video software to create quick video content to share.
- You hopefully do what you promote. Post your personal photos. Have every staff member send theirs to the Instagram lead.
- Have customers send you photos or better yet tag and hashtag your store then you repost those with a reposting app.
- Make pictures stop the scroll. Have content that people want to see and make it relatable to your industry.
If you follow these pointers for each medium you will find some lift and success.
Your customers come into your store because they value what you have to say. They want to hear from you. Are you reaching them? Do they know your doing a clinic night? Do they know you are having a sale? do they get to learn from you? Use this medium to build a list and keep your key customers informed. They would love to hear from you.
I hope that these tips can help any small business find improved success and efficiency in their marketing tactics. If there is something I may have missed that you find valuable, please share in the comments.