Growing your business
How To Master Offline and Online Promotion: Loyalty Schemes, Local Search and Content Creation
As the world of business ventures deeper into the realm of the online, high-street retailers are increasingly faced with the conundrum of where to focus their marketing efforts. Whether to let go of their physical presence and dive into e-commerce and online marketing, or to remain static using solely offline innovation to maintain customer satisfaction.
But why should you have to choose just one or the other? As, looking to the future, perhaps the best solution will rely on a blend of the two? Conducting both online and offline strategies in harmony with one another in order to boost sales and brand awareness - as affirmed by the 350 businesses surveyed in our recent research, where 61% highlighted that having an online presence – to compliment trading in-store – has been a positive development. This week we explore just how to do it . . .
Launch A Loyalty Scheme
There are many ways to maintain footfall and customer satisfaction on the high street - and these methods don’t necessarily involve online exposure, although it certainly does help. Just one of these strategies is to launch a loyalty scheme. This is a well-known form of customer retention that’s still proving hugely popular amongst high street traders; and when supercharged by the internet, the possibilities become advantageous and plentiful. In fact, studies have found that “up to 64% of small businesses that have implemented a customer loyalty program see a return on their initial investment".
Whether recorded on stamp cards or leaflets, loyalty schemes usually involve the customer’s repeat purchase to activate any sort of reward – customer retention, check! Making sure these schemes are showcased in-store is essential, but syncing efforts up with your online presence is the real key to a fruitful future.
So, leave them by the till, at the door, not in a basket on the floor (unless it’s a noticeable basket) and really consider how your loyalty scheme could go beyond boosting customer retention across channels. For instance, whilst a set amount of award stamps could bag your customer a free product, you could also offer a reward for their initial sign up to your mailing list, helping to build your email marketing audience. Offer the same thing for a 'follow' or 'like' on your brand’s social media to boost your following here too: a share for coffee, or a 10% discount on your next purchase when you tag a friend.
Caffé Nero utilize a great blend of digital and physical marketing in their loyalty scheme, using a mobile app which acts as digital stamp collection system - but one you must carry on your person to receive that revered coffee stamp via barcode. You can even link a debit/credit card to the app, making payments even simpler.
They’re also using their customer data to promote great incentives online, such as double points weekends or a free drink when you share the app with a friend. Heck, they even offer a free coffee for every customer that signs up to this revolutionary pseudo digital stamp collection system, what more incentive could you want? Free coffee, free data, free promotion.
Get On The Grid
Registering with Google My Business is an essential - and super easy – way to put your physical store on the map for customers both near and far. This platform indexes your business as a location, so it will appear in search engine results for customers searching by area and allow them to tag their location on social media too. It’s never been easier for your business to expand its sphere of influence!
This is a rapidly developing tool, with research by Google stating that local search is growing at 146% a year from the use of terms such as “shops near me, where can I find”, “where can I buy”, and “where can I get”. And that 76% of these location-based searches result in a business visit within one day too.
Create Real Content, Both On Screen and Off
Creating an online blog can be a sure-fire way to simultaneously connect with online audiences, whilst sharing information about the products and services that your business offers too. You can also use your blog content to fuel your social media channels, keeping existing customers in the loop and sparking interest in new prospects.
Bring this content to life by having your team keyed up and ready to deliver the best snippets of knowledge regarding the product/service in store. You could consider giving presentations or lessons on how to use your products.
As one business owner quoted in our high-street survey, “I run creative workshops - so people come in to pay to learn how to make stuff, private parties, events and talks held at my shop. I keep things very unique and keep arranging events to draw people here”.
Whether it be through content writing, loyalty schemes, public speaking or, indeed, by developing a mobile app, there are hundreds of ways of raising your business profile. And as the presence of the internet continues to grow, it seems a coupling of both physical and web-related material is key to maintaining success as high-street business. As David Spickett, UK Managing Director at Liberis, explains: "as consumer behaviour evolves, the majority of high-street businesses are moving towards an integrated offline/online strategy. Ensuring that your customers can find you in both areas will give your business the support to scale, and the ability to cater to a larger, more varied audience".
So it’s true: go online, or go home!