Many small businesses need foot traffic more than they need leads. For them, digital marketing seems like an bother more than a necessity.
Your business may not need digital marketing to open its doors and operate. But at some point the flow of Relationship, Referral and ‘Round here customers will dwindle. What then?
Digital marketing enhances a small business’s ability to drive more business, both online and off. Building an audience of potential customers online can create a new flow of customers offline. That is the flow we must achieve so the Three R Types of Customers aren’t all we have.
For retail and local small businesses that need foot traffic to drive revenue, here are five steps to ensuring digital marketing can help:
1. Create a Reason for Customers to Engage
Whether you run a Facebook Group about local issues, host a website forum for customer questions or participate in Twitter chats for your industry, give your customers a reason to comment, ask and engage with you online. Maybe you share great content they want consume. Perhaps you answer questions about local issues on Facebook live. Whatever the online focus, make it something your customers will come back to, week after week.
2. Establish Consistent Communications
Commit to engaging with those customers on a schedule. Daily blog posts, Facebook live videos every Monday-Wednesday-Friday, weekly email newsletters … whatever the mechanism, make the schedule predictable. Remember the days before DVR when you had to turn on the TV at a certain time to see a show? Create that expectation in your audience.
3. Create Foot Traffic Engagement to Enhance that Relationship
Events in your store location are the perfect way to drive foot traffic from your online audience. Maybe you give away free product. Or have live entertainment, a guest speaker, chair massages or even hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail bar. But enticing the online audience to deepen their commitment and relationship with you is required. Remember, they’re not foot traffic now, so do something to incentivize them to be.
4. Reward the Online Audience with Offline Value
The simplest form of reward for your online audience is a coupon or discount you share exclusively with a given audience (like your Facebook fans or Twitter followers). But it can be much more than that. Reward fans who come to your offline events with shout-outs or shares of their content. Turn foot traffic into content with interviews and pictures you share online. Share their stories with your audience to illustrate the awesome in each customer. The more valuable you make them, the more valuable they’ll feel and more loyal they’ll be offline and on.
Those are my quick ideas. What about yours? What events, sales or other motivations have you used to move your online audience in-store and create foot traffic? The comments, as always, are yours.