For a small retailer, attracting customers to your store is of the utmost importance. No customers, no sales. Many retailers may think that just using print ads in local papers will do the trick. Not so in this new fast paced, online, gotta-have-it-now world. So what can a small retailer do to attract customers to their store without breaking the bank?
Get Yourself Noticed on Google – Website SEO is so important that hundreds of companies have cropped up in the last decade to help businesses optimize websites so they can reach the all important “above the fold on page one” status on Google. That type of optimization was all about keywords – your website had to be full of specific keywords for which you wanted to be found in the search engines. Now in 2017, websites need to be optimized once again for voice search. Smartphone voice search has eclipsed desktop search, and the way people use voice search is different. Instead of ranking in Google only for “XYZ satin finish paint”, you have to also rank for “Where can I find satin finish XYZ paint near me?” If you don’t change the way your website can be found through voice search, your competitors may have already done that and potential customers will be driving straight past your store in their quest for satin finish XYZ paint. You need to find out what customers are searching for and the exact “long-tail” keywords that are being used for those searches. Google has resources you can use to research keywords. Searchengineland.com has some great tips for optimizing your website for voice search here.
Google also has something called Google My Business. Ever noticed those boxes to the right of the search results on Google that list a specific business related to what you just searched for? That is a Google My Business listing. It’s free! It can help your business to appear on Google Search, Maps, and Google+. You can add photos, your website address, your phone number(s), your hours, a description of your store, and you can also allow Google ratings of your business to appear in the listing. It is absolutely a must for any small business, so check it out now!
Keep in Touch – Keeping in contact with your customers is one of the most important things you can do to keep them coming back. Social media is a great low cost way to do that. Have you posted anything on your Facebook or Instagram account lately? If not, do it! Seeing your posts roll by often (on a daily basis is not too much!) on social media will keep your business name fresh in your customer’s mind and then when they are in need of your products and /or services, they will seek you out first. Also, if you are not curating and using an email list of your customers, you are missing out on many great marketing opportunities that can draw customers into your store. Remember to use engaging subject lines that will prompt them to open your email!
Give Back To Your Community – Make it a priority to promote the fact that you are a community-minded store. Hold recycling events, carry a selection of “Green” products, sponsor local events and the local Little League team. There are so many things you can do as a local retailer that will benefit your community. Customers of today are very tuned-in to their communities and will spend their money at like-minded stores if they have the chance to. Let it be known that you give back to your community every chance you get.
Promote “Shop Local” – Promoting this theme to your customers is a must, and will help to generate added foot traffic to your store. Many people would rather shop at a store that they know will generate the most revenue for the local community! Did you know that if just half the U.S. employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue? Revenue that would stay in the local community! Take a look at Independent We Stand’s list of “Did You Know” facts about shopping local. You don’t even have to remember them all to promote shopping local. You can find a collection of FREE graphics created by them on IWS’s website, (or you can find them at PDRA.org) that can be printed and used in your store, on your website, in print ads, and in your social media.
Attracting customers to your store used to be as easy as placing an ad or two in the local papers or yellow pages, but not any more. Now, it’s all about making your store stand out above the rest. Use this short list of ideas as a starting point to get yourself informed about all of the ways you can easily and inexpensively draw those customers to your store!