With approximately 4.2 billion users, the Internet has become the most promising source for new customers. Don’t get us wrong. Having an online presence is important, and even more important is creating a great user experience to increase online sales. But a major function of your website should be to attract customers to your brick and mortar. When a customer is physically in your store with products and services within reach and your top sales associates guiding them through the buying process, that is when you can make the biggest sales. There are a few things you can do to get customers from the Internet into your store.
1. Influencer Marketing
Conventional marketing strategies work, but how effective are they as consumers become more conscious decision makers? According to an article written by marketing expert Sujan Patel, consumers are going to extreme lengths to avoid advertising. He explains that there is such a surplus of competing products that consumers don’t know who to trust. Instead of relying on commercials or online ads, customers are now turning to online influencers for opinions that are genuine.
Forbes reports that 1% of millenials trust advertisements, while 33% of them trust blog reviews for their purchases. Influencer marketing is a new and growing strategy. Influencers have a large impact on every day decisions made by their consumers. In fact, 40% of people admitted to purchasing a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.
How do you get an influencer to partner with your business? The first step is to target influencers with a similar following to your brand. For example, if you own a clothing boutique, it is obvious that you should partner with a fashion blogger with a style that mirrors your own. If you are a restaurant, invite bloggers who write food reviews to have a meal at your restaurant. Influencer marketing is a partnership. A lot of the time, an influencer will promote a product or brand that they are passionate about for free. But at the end of the day, for many influencers, blogging is a job. You may need to include some type of incentive to attract an influencer to work with your brand. Incentives include discounts, paid promotions on social media, or cross advertising.
If you can get an influencer to post about their experience in your store on social media or on their blog, you can succeed at your goal to get online viewers into your store. Consumers will support your brand because the influencer does, which means you don’t need to do the hard work of converting them. Make sure to provide exceptional customer service so that they visit your store again.
2. Behind the Scenes Content
At this point, we all know how powerful social media can be for a business. But a lot of social media marketing strategies are overlooked. Everyone wants a beautiful feed that promotes their business, but many underestimate the power of behind the scenes content.
When we think of the brands we monitor religiously on social media, the one thing that they know how to do really well is build a connection. Customers don’t want to see product and service promotions every day. Anyone can go to Amazon and buy virtually anything at the click of a button. What makes your business unique in comparison to such competitors are the people behind your business. Customers want to see your team on buying trips and attending conferences. They want to see store displays, first looks at new shipments, and company milestones. The point of social media is to create a forum where you can exchange information openly and honestly with your customers. You shouldn’t hide yourself behind online pages.
Your feed can showcase behind the scenes content, but to go the extra mile, post frequently to your social media stories. You may only be able to post 1-2 times a day to your feed, but you can showcase all your new arrivals daily using your Instagram or Facebook stories, or by streaming live on either platform. Incorporate videos of your staff restocking your store, preparing for an event, unpacking boxes, or sharing their favorite new arrivals of the week. If you are a B2B business, you can share meetings with clients, exciting collaborations, business trips, and more. Seeing the product or service in use, in real time, encourages people to pull the trigger for fear that your store will run out of stock. This is especially true if you are a small business with a limited inventory.
Consumers like stories because they allow them to co-create with you. A study conducted by Forbes found that 42% of millennials are interested in helping companies develop new products. Thanks to the features available in stories, like polls and the ability to ask a question, you can now rely on your customers to tell you exactly what they want from your brand.
3. Videos and Podcasts
Video marketing matters. It is a digital marketing strategy you must do in 2019. Create an even stronger connection with your audience by starting a YouTube channel. If you are a retail store, take your customers along the journey to expos and buying trips. If you sell clothing, you can create impressive lookbooks with models showing off arrivals that will hit the floor in weeks to come. If you sell tools or appliances, you can create videos showing the products in action. If you sell food, you can do taste test sessions, showing candid reactions to new offerings on your menu.
Another new strategy that is taking the marketing world by force is podcasting. Approximately 22% (12 million) of the U.S. population are avid podcast listeners. To start a podcast, you don’t need the latest technology. Start small. But you will need interesting discussion topics and guests to move the conversations.
Neilsen’s Q3 2017 Podcasting Insights found that Podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies and brands on social media. So if you aren’t sure you want to start your own podcast, you may want to consider reaching out to local businesses with podcasts you can guest star on. Talk about you store and why customers should visit you. Keep in mind that podcasting may not be the right avenue for you. Research shows that most podcast listeners are affluent and educated. Think about your target market and whether they fit within this group.
If you are thinking of new ways to connect and engage with your audience, give these strategies a serious try. Get customers from the internet into your store by showcasing your brand’s personality. The more rapport you build with your customers, the more they will visit you.
Do you have another unique idea to get customers from the internet to your store? Leave a comment below!