It seems like every day, there’s a new report about the shrinking of retail stores. The future of retail is looking grim. Sales decreased by 2.9% in the month of March 2020.
While the internet makes it easy for people to buy what they want online, it also makes it easy for online retailers to disappear with just a few key strokes. Once a business establishes itself online, it becomes easier for larger competitors to follow suit and gain a foothold in the marketplace. Local retailers that rely solely on brick-and-mortar stores for their revenue are at a disadvantage.
To combat this, local retailers are looking for ways to remain relevant to their customers in this ever-changing world. One of the best ways to do that is by embracing new technologies and using digital marketing to their advantage.
Why Are Smaller Shops Disappearing?
There are many reasons why smaller stores are struggling, but the biggest one is probably the shift to online shopping. According to business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, 47% of consumers in developed markets now buy products or services online.
A smaller store’s greatest asset is its ability to meet the needs of its local community. Being located near the neighbourhood centers, they are able to provide what the people in the area want. However, with the advent of online shopping, that has become much more difficult.
When a consumer wants to purchase something online, it is much easier for a larger competitor to provide what they want than it is for a small shop to stock the goods required. Especially since the latter usually doesn’t have the money to spend on digital marketing.
If you’re a local business looking to fight back, how can you do it? There are multiple ways, but let’s take a quick look at some of the more cost-effective ones.
Keep Up With The Trends
If you want to remain competitive in this ever-changing world, you need to know what’s hot and what’s not. To this end, it’s critical that you keep pace with emerging technologies and new trends in the marketplace. This way you’ll be able to provide your customers with the best experience possible.
For example, if you notice that your competitors are gaining a leg up in the marketplace because they have adapted to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and are making the most of it, you can bet that you’ll want to follow suit.
Invest In Marketing
Since your small business lacks the funds to invest in traditional methods of marketing, you have to resort to more affordable and effective techniques. This, in turn, makes digital marketing a top priority.
The benefits of digital marketing include the ability to target the right audience, engage with them, and, ultimately, convert them into paying customers. In a nutshell, this makes digital marketing a great option for any business, regardless of its size. In fact, even big businesses have recognized the merits of this type of marketing and have begun to adopt it.
If you’re interested in using digital marketing to grow your business, here are six ways you can use social media to become a more efficient brand.
1. Create Customer Awareness
The first step in any digital marketing campaign is to establish customer awareness among potential consumers. To get started, simply create a hashtag for your campaign on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram and share relevant content using the hashtag. This will help increase the chances of your content being seen by the right people in the right place at the right time.
For instance, if you’re selling clothes, you might want to create a hashtag like #clothesmitemystyle or #mystyleisavintage to highlight your clothing products. On the other hand, if your product is equipment for sports, you could use hashtags like #equipmentforthebody or #sportswearmadesimple.
2. Establish Relational Capital
To build and grow a profitable business, your brand must be perceived as a valuable and worthy brand by your customers. To achieve this, you need to create a solid, long-term relationship with your customers by consistently providing them with value and responding to their needs.
To start, create a relationship through authentic and genuine interactions with potential customers on social media. For example, if you’re on Instagram, engage with your followers by responding to their questions and showing them that you’re paying attention to their comments. Establishing a solid connection with your followers in this way will make them more receptive to your offers and the content you share. In other words, they’ll feel that you’re listening to their concerns and that you care about what they have to say. This, in turn, will make them more inclined to become brand advocates and purchase your products or services if and when they need them.
3. Gain Recognition
Even if you’ve already established your brand, you’ll still want to continue building upon it. One way to do this is through brand advocacy. To put it simply, brand advocacy is when a consumer promotes a product or service associated with a brand, organization, or business. Basically, brand advocacy lets others know about your existence and enhances your image among customers. To get started, simply create a Twitter account for your business and start using the #advocacy tag to share your stories and encourage people to learn more about your company.
Many companies, organizations, and brands exist solely on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, so being present there is a great opportunity to show your product or service to the right audience. If you can do this effectively and tastefully, you’ll be able to gain favor and loyalty from customers who see you there. Additionally, your social media accounts will serve as a hub for customers and potential customers to find information about your company, products, and services. To effectively use social media as a tool to gain customer loyalty and increased sales, you must be consistent and create engaging content. To learn more, check out this informative blog post by HubSpot on how to use social media for marketing.
4. Establish Credibility
When customers encounter a business or brand for the first time, they often have concerns about whether or not this business, brand, or company can be trusted. To build a trusting relationship with your customers, you need to assure them that you’re a legitimate business by providing them with a safe and secure environment to do business with you. To this end, you need to establish and maintain a good reputation among your customers. In order to do this, you must work to remove bad reviews from the internet and engage with your customers through various means of communication. For example, you could reach out to customers via email to address any concerns or questions they might have about your company.
5. Generate Leads
The ability to generate leads from social media is a valuable asset to any business. When a potential customer discovers your business, organization, or brand name through social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, they often wonder whether or not they can trust you. To answer this question and develop a trusting relationship with your customers, it’s important that you generate leads from social media. To do this, you need to focus on building a following on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram and engaging with potential customers while also keeping your followers engaged.
To get started, simply establish a Twitter account for your business and start using the #yourname tag to include your name in your tweets to let people know who you are. Additionally, you can take advantage of the platform’s 140 character limit to engage with your customers effectively. Keep your tweets short and sweet, and engage with your followers by responding to their questions and comments. This will make them more inclined to purchase your products or services as a means of expressing their gratitude for your response. It’s a valuable tool that can help any business, regardless of its size, garner support and enthusiasm from customers interested in what they have to offer.
6. Measure Success
In order to know what’s working and what isn’t, you must measure the results of your efforts. To this end, take advantage of your social media accounts to track the results of your digital marketing campaign. To start, simply follow the instructions above to build a Twitter account for your business and use the #advocacy tag to begin sharing your stories about what your business is doing. From there, you can measure the results of your campaign by keeping an eye on your follower count and the engagement rate of your followers. More and more businesses are turning to social media to gain traction in today’s ever-changing world, so it’s imperative that you measure the results of your efforts and determine what’s working and what’s not.