How To Apply Online Marketing Tricks To Your Brick-And-Mortar Business
In these days of online "warehouse" shopping, it's only natural for business owners to spend much of their marketing energy on an optimized, user-friendly website, social media and online advertising to get new customers interested in their products or services. But if you do business primarily through a brick-and-mortar store, you can't afford afford to neglect your outreach to prospects outside the Web -- and you might find that the necessary marketing techniques are more closely related than you think. Here are some ways you can translate a few of those snazzy online marketing and promotional concepts to the more "old school" world of brick and mortar.
"Going viral" is a term usually applied to a person, saying or event that takes the Internet by storm through rapid, broad-based sharing by cyberspace dwellers. But you can go viral in the real world, too, as long as you know how to make news in a big way and make the media wise to your doings. Such doings can take a variety of forms, including:
- Participating in an important local festival or public charity event
- Hosting a party for the local business community
- Celebrating a major holiday in style
- Getting involved in community cleanups and other civic-minded efforts
- Appearing in a print or TV interview as the expert on a particular subject
These are all newsworthy activities -- which means they can and should make the print, radio and/or TV news. Get word out to the local media outlets via press releases, feature article pitches and phone calls. give the outlets plenty of advance notice so they can schedule coverage in their broadcasts or publications. Now you're going viral the old-fashioned way!
One of the great benefits of having an online storefront is the ability to promote your company and make sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your brick-and-mortar store might not be able to keep its doors open around the clock, but it can keep its lights on -- including the lights built into or around your storefront signage. Illuminated custom signs have been enlightening prospective buyers at all hours of the day and night for decades, providing "always-on" brand awareness for brick-and-mortar stores just like yours.
An illuminated custom sign can take a variety of forms, depending on your budget and your need to reach beyond the confines of your store window or front entrance. Options include:
- Neon or LED signs gracing the establishment itself
- A floodlit base-mounted custom sign
- Three-dimensional signage with lettering that casts dramatic shadows or silhouettes when lit from behind
- Illuminated billboards overlooking a freeway, heavily-trafficked city street or even your own parking lot
There's also the option of lighting up the building itself through the strategic placement of directional spotlights. Whichever method you choose, you'll be reinforcing your brand message and identity 24/7.
Interacting With Your Audience
Social media has provided business with an extraordinary means of entering into active communications with their target markets -- but not a wholly unprecedented one. Long before LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or blogging ever entered the scene, an established interactive marketing technique accomplished much the same thing on a more local scale. This tried-and-true method is called networking.
By meeting with specific groups of like-minded businesses and individuals, you can spread the word about your business while learning more about the occupations, interests and concerns of your prospective buyers. This makes networking not only a great way to keep your company in the conversation, so to speak, but it also serves as an invaluable (if unscientific) form of market research. The more you know about what your target audience wants, needs and cares about, the more effectively you can refine your marketing message to them. From chamber of commerce groups to meetings revolving around particular interests or industries, you're sure to find promising networking events in your area.
Brick-and-mortar businesses can take their own local world by storm even without the full force of the Internet behind them. Try these techniques for your own store, and then amplify your success further by investing in online marketing as well!
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