I facilitated a web chat with the SBA late last year to offer tips to small company owners on holiday marketing. Many business owners asked about the holidays, but the majority of them were related to the age-old issue of “how can I obtain more foot traffic to my store?”
Here are five tried-and-true steps you may want to consider:
1. Start outdoors and look inside.
If your store is in a pedestrianized area, find out who visits it. While sitting outside or close to your window, take note of the demographics of people who come and go. I believe they window shop. Have they previously visited a different local retailer?
Next, evaluate your window displays and signage critically to see if they appeal to the people in your target market. If you own a coffee shop and most of your business occurs between the hours of 8 and 10 in the morning, consider ways to maximize your merchandising and window display. By doing this, you’ll be able to attract more clients throughout these hours. This might be as simple as taking advantage of the chance to hand out coupons outside, offer guests samples of your baked products, or post sidewalk banners announcing your most current specials.
Read more: How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Small Business
2. Plan a community celebration with a newsworthy connection.
One of the easiest strategies to increase foot traffic is to host a community or philanthropic event. A great way to do this and make it stick out is to relate it to a recent event. Consider that your neighborhood NFL team or high school squad is taking part in a crucial game. Consider partnering with nearby businesses to hold a related event or provide discounts on game days. Plan the event as a block party or in a well-known downtown location (even if you have to take your business on the road for a few hours). Don’t forget to support your neighborhood; consider donating with some of your earnings.
Promote the event in advance on your website and social media. For the biggest impact, don’t forget to email and send fliers to your contact list as well as local media outlets, including radio stations.
3. Organize a seminar
Retail and service-based businesses may both improve foot traffic by educating their customers on how to get more value out of the things they buy (even if a transaction isn’t completed that day). Florists can teach a session on flower arranging, and realtors can teach a course on property staging to attract potential sellers. Of course, make sure to spread the word about your event with press releases and marketing, whether it is offline or online.
4. Place-based services can entice passersby.
You don’t need to be a tech whiz to advertise your small business using mobile applications that target clients in the neighbourhood of your business. Customers in your area can find out more about your most recent sales and limited-time offers by visiting websites like Think Near, Groupon, Living Social, Foursquare, and others. For instance, you can schedule discounts to be delivered at key times if you want to enhance foot traffic during off-peak hours.
5. Engage existing customers with fresh strategies.
It’s always energizing when a restaurant or store you’ve been frequenting for a while begins to do something fresh. And because of the power of social media, developing something innovative or distinctive and doing it effectively may spread quickly.
So think of ways to draw in existing or older clientele. It may be as simple as announcing a new type of discount (it may seem obvious, but offering something worthwhile at a discount for a certain period can be attention-grabbing) or notifying them of a new product or service you’ve released.
A simple sale is always a great method to entice loyal customers out of hiding. Send an email or electronic newsletter to your contact database and disseminate it on social media. You might even have a sneak preview sale beforehand for a select group of customers.
If your small business offers services, you might want to consider rewarding current clients who refer their friends and family to you.
If you’d like to draw in more customers, encourage attendees of an event you host to sign up for your emails. Offering a modest incentive, such as a free present in exchange for an email address, is always beneficial. Following that, stay in touch, launch an e-newsletter programmed, send out regular updates about new product lines, company news, and events, and begin engaging with your clients on social media. (For advice, see this blog.)