You can have the trendiest paint products, the most helpful and knowledgeable employees and the best promotions in town, but none of that matters if people don’t know about your business. While there are many benefits to being an independent retailer, one of the ongoing challenges is promoting your business and building your brand awareness. Fortunately, with the emergence of the Internet, mobile technology and social media, the playing field has begun to level out. Here are five ways to take advantage of the great equalizer and increase online exposure for your store.
Have An Effective Website. Your web page should be a complete reflection of your brand, products and the services that you offer. It should be professional, modern and appealing to the eye – and also functional. If you’re not an expert on web design, consider hiring a designer to create a web page for you that’s easy to read and easy to navigate. You’ll want to ensure that customers can view it on their mobile device as well as their computers.
Utilize Journalists/Bloggers. As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. Local reporters and bloggers are the perfect way to get your business promoted. Do some research and find out who writes about Home Decor in your area and team up to create some great content about your store. Keep in mind that journalists and bloggers are often busy and deal with several inquiries a day, so keep your messages to the point when initially contacting them. They are also looking for fresh story ideas, so be sure to give them a unique angle or something newsworthy.
Master Social Media. Using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are simple and effective ways to communicate with your target market on a daily basis. You can use it as an opportunity to build your brand and company voice, as well as a way to promote your sales and in-store specials. Aim for one Facebook post, three to four Twitter posts and one Instagram post per day to optimize social media effectiveness. Note: it is often better to not engage in social media at all than it is to do so sporadically; either jump in with both feet or stay out of the pool.
Engage Customers. One of the most effective forms of promotion is – and always has been – word of mouth. It’s one thing to manage your own social media presence, but it’s quite another to have customers doing the work for you. Give people incentive to visit your website by offering contests and by building a rapport with them by responding to their messages. It’s also smart to encourage them to write reviews and testimonials for your business by offering a discount or coupon as a thank-you.
Blog. Blogging is a popular and highly effective way for businesses to promote their brand and create engaging and interesting content for readers. Not only does it provide fuel for social media, increase website traffic and make you more Google-search friendly, but it can also lead to increased sales. Best of all, blogging allows you to control the message. You should strive for at least one blog post per week, and don’t forget to promote it on social media!