Getting people in the door is a challenge many local businesses face at some point or another. Whether it is caused by predictable seasonal changes or unknown slow periods – it’s always nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve to increase the traffic to your store.
Here are a few local marketing ideas to get you started:
1) Run a Promotion
Promotions encourage action – typically a purchase, but it doesn’t have to be. They come in all shapes and sizes – discounts, exclusive offers, or featured products, for example. You’ll usually see, “for a limited time only” included with these tactics.
Successful promotions create a sense of exclusivity and urgency that provide significant benefit to your consumer if they act in time. Promotions create an incentive to buy; they give your audience a reason to visit your store.
2) Host an Event
If you have something to celebrate – throw a party! Make it a big deal and invite your consumers to join in the celebration. It’s an opportunity to make them feel important and appreciated. Events can also be a way to share your accomplishments with your community and invite them to be a part of your joy and success.
Possible events include a grand opening, an anniversary celebration, or the kick-off of a sale.
If you don’t have something to celebrate, consider hosting someone else’s event or meeting. There is immense value in sharing your space with local groups, businesses, boards, etc. It’s a way to get more than just your brand in front of a new audience; by allowing them to use your space you expose them to experience, even if just in passing, your products and services up close and personal. While this may not spark immediate action, it makes you recognizable in new minds for the next time they are in need of your product or service. This is a low effort local marketing tactic that has the potential of producing great results.
3) Provide a Coupon
This is yet another opportunity to encourage a purchase – but puts the decision more directly in the hands of the consumer (as compared to a promotion where you decide what the “deal” will be). There are many ways to make this possible; email blasts to your marketing lists, exclusive offers to your loyal customers, shareable coupons (i.e. refer a friend incentives), coupon apps (e.g. Retail Me Not), punch cards, and so on.
Well-known examples of this type of incentive are Kohl’s Cash, Macy’s Star Rewards, Cartwheel by Target, and Groupon. A few good local examples include Coborn’s Penny Pinchers, St. Cloud Radio Marketplace, and coffee shop punch cards.
Bonus Idea: Provide an Experience
Simon Sinek, well known author, leader, and speaker, says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” You have an incredible opportunity as a local business to be much more than a “store” – that place they go to buy a product or service. Rather than just being a stop on an errand run, find out how you can become a destination. The answer lies in the experience you provide – in store and out.
How do you make your customers feel? Why do they want to buy from you, rather than your competitor across the street? How does your product or service improve their life, even after they leave your store? Answer these questions to create an experience they’ll remember and want to have again and again.
Local Marketing Tips for Your Success
It all comes down to giving your customers a reason to come back to your store. You can do this by lowering prices, offering discounts and hosting events – but the results from these efforts are usually short lived. For a more steady and sustainable traffic increase, focus on creating an experience your customers want to keep enjoying.