5 min read
In Start your own retail business and more, staff from LikendisLike Media, Inc. and writer Ciree Linsenman discuss how you can get into retail, whether you want to start your own specialty food store, gift shop, clothing store, or kiosk. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer some tips to help you market your business online.
When it comes to marketing your business, social media is more than just social. It can position you as an authority in your field and encourage your audience to depend on your wisdom. With a little dedication, creativity and knowledge, this can be an incredible tool, not only to grow your business, but also to change the way others see you. Simple online missions can multiply your relevant and real connections, manifest through customers and recognition.
The proper association of a social networking style with your particular corporate image is important. If your laundromat is known for its family movies, which run while customers wash their clothes, you can connect with your larger audience (parents) by thinking about their interests. Many parents want to know the content of the films before letting their children watch them. Creating or joining an online community of “G-rated movies” on Flixter, a social film review site, could be a productive way to increase the visibility of your laundromat with parents in your community.
Different social networking sites respond to different demographics. Online research companies can help you find the age, gender, hobbies, location, race and even political interests of your target market for precise positioning of your beginnings. These statistics are constantly changing, so it’s a good idea to do quick research every two years. Some networking sites, like Facebook, do all the work for you within their site. The highly specific ad serving systems on these sites allow advertisers to sort and target users by demographic group, and then place your ad on the pages of the same minds.
Many of these sites are community platforms and attract like-minded users with photos, announcements, videos, articles of special interest and information. Active online socialization multiplies the base of fans, members and friends. Creating a web presence with good online manners, receptivity and linking to specific, specific interest groups can expand your retail market.
To familiarize yourself with your new marketing medium, try the following six simple steps.
1. Register your business on Yelp and be sure to include photos and a detailed description. If you focus on exceptional customer service, people will naturally look at you in a positive light and you will be found faster in online searches.
Whatever you do, don’t ask people to see you again. Critics with only one review (yours) seem bogus to hardcore Yelpers. Yelp users are looking for sincerity and authenticity. They get to know each other and rely on the opinions of specific users to match their own tastes. Yelpers choose the favorite reviews and take their advice on which restaurants, auto mechanics or ophthalmologists to go to, who has the best products and why.
You can see how it would benefit your business to engage in discussions with users. Let’s say a reviewer writes on the pickup truck that you designed for him and waits for another room to complete the project. Maybe he is upset that your employee took two days to call him back and wrote something like, “The owner is not responding.” If you write answers, many people will see them. It’s a great opportunity to sincerely apologize, invite the client to find an advantage over the house, or simply to dispel the misunderstanding. You also inform the client that you will manage the additional employee training properly to ensure that their next experience will be 100%. You have just received excellent comments that you may not receive from someone in person.
2. Create a commercial or “fan” page on Facebook.com with detailed information and photos. Start online conversations with like-minded users. Use your growing visibility to advertise events, special offers, news in your industry, and how your business is helping the community. There are many user-friendly features on Facebook, which will help you in its many uses.
3. Give a professional and informative tutorial in your area of expertise once a week and publish it on YouTube, linking it to keywords so that other users can find you. If you make your videos funny, charming or unusual and start using them as your brand, users will start following you and engaging you online, which translates into the spotlight that shines on your business.
You’ll also need an inexpensive video camera and a bit of moxie to start your YouTube celebrity. And make sure you know your material before you publish it.
4. Join Meetup.com. Meetups are a great way to meet amateurs, collectors, professionals, and very specific students of many topics. Most of the events published on this site are free or inexpensive. Your raw vegan food business demands to be known by all the hungry people in the subgroups: vegetarian cyclists, vegetarians for animals, macrobiotics and raw vegan gourmets.
5. Start Instagram and Pinterest boards with inspirational images for your subscribers with related resources. Organize a contest for the most breathtaking or funniest images in your field.
6. Create baby boomer-specific ads for blogs aimed specifically at seniors, such as suddenly suddenly. Do not forget this collectively rich group, which seeks to try new products and services. Offer to host a senior photo portrait event with funky decor, costumes, a raffle and a matchmaking dance competition or a theme of meeting with another like-minded company.