If you want to promote a store, you have plenty of choices. It’s like going to the supermarket. Too many choices.
That’s why I am going to help you decide which is better for you.
I have helped many shop owners to promote a store or. But, in these last years, things have become more challenging. The reason why is, of course, the internet.
I love to promote a store on the internet. It’s easy to make a campaign. And most of all, it’s easy to evaluate the success of the campaign.
But, the main way to promote a store should always be offline. Specially, the kind of promotion made near your store.
When you promote to people passing by your door, or maybe two streets ahead, it’s easy to convince people to use a couple of minutes of their time to visit your store. And this is important, because when you promote your store you create a desire in your customers. But then, after an hour, a day, or a week, that desire decreases. So, your best chance of convincing your customers to buy is right after you promote a store.
But Fernando, is this valid for online stores?
No. It isn’t.
The best way to promote a store is in the same environment.
This means that if you have a brick and mortar store you should try to promote your store, in first place, offline. But if you have an online store, then, the main way of promoting should be online promotion.
With this in mind, let’s get to business and study the best ways to promote a store.
I’ll start with the offline promotion, if that’s OK with you.
Promote a store offline
Let’s take a look of three promotions: the window store, a sidewalk sign, and a flyer.
1 – Using the store window
The store window?
Yes. Definitively. The window on your store is the best way to promote your store.
It is not just a display. It’s a way to communicate with your potential customers.
But first you have to find a message – the promotion message. And this is true for all types of promotion we’ll be seeing.
Now, that you have your message, take a look at your store window. Does it have the same message?
Remember, a message can be written, but it can be not written, too.
You can use a sign, a poster, or any print art to help you promote the store – and yes – it helps. But the window display should give the message, or at least part of it.
Let’s have an example. Let’s imagine the message you chose to promote your store was: “The store for young entrepreneurs who like to wear casual clothes”
You have to create a theme, in your window display, that reinforces the message. Also, the products should be in accordance to the message.
Another example, if your message is “We have the lowest prices”, you should display low price products and use signs.
Or another example. If the message is: “The biggest choice in town”, you should display a lot of products and say it in a sign.
Don’t display on window without a plan. In retail, everything is connected.
2 – Sidewalk sign
I love sidewalk signs. They are very effective.
Firstly, customers can see them directly. And sometimes, or a lot of times. the storefront is not easily seen, but the sidewalk is. Of course you have to put it perpendicular to the storefront. And I’ve seen many sidewalks that are parallel to storefront. They are ineffective.
Secondly, you can put a sidewalk at a distance from the store. This is useful when your store is located on a street near the main street. This way, you can “steal” customers from better commercial streets.
The only problem with sidewalks is that some local authorities don’t allow them. But if they do, you should use them.
3 – Flyers
You can give flyers to passing by customers, or you can put the flyers in mail boxes.
Again, there are some local authorities that don’t allow distributing flyers in the street. There are environmental reasons for them to forbid. So, before making the flyers, see what your local authorities allow.
But you can use the flyers in house’s mail boxes.
And let me tell you that it is very effective. But you have to understand one thing. The effectiveness of the flyers increases as you distribute more flyers. The first flyer won’t have a huge impact. But by the 4th or 5th, the results are amazing (if done well).
Promote a store online
Let’s move to online promotion.
1 – SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is a technique used to put your web site on top of Google search(or other search service).
For example. You sell clothes for teenage girls in West London. Someone searches for “clothing store for teenage girls in West London”. If you’ve done a good job in terms of SEO, then your website should appear in the first page.
Of course you need a website. A page in Facebook won’t do it.
The difficult part of SEO promotion is to guess how people search for the products you sell. And then having the site made in a way that Google “thinks” your store is the best match.
2 – Online advertising
That’s why it is easier to advertise online than using SEO. But online advertising costs money.
Online advertising is huge. There are dozens of ways to advertise online.
The most used is Google adwords. Google remarketing is also a popular way.
You can do the advertising yourself. Yes, it is possible, even for someone with no special skills.
Or you can leave it to pros, and hire someone to do it.
It’s your choice, and it depends on your budget and your free time.
3 – Social media
Everyone talks about social media marketing.
It can be a good way to promote a store. But I think I should warn you about this.
If you don’t have a lot of your time available, or money to spend, social media is ineffective.
It’s easy for a retailer to waste time on Facebook or Pinterest, feeling happy when someone shares a photo of a product. But then not seeing results.
Let me tell you this. You don’t get money by having people share or like yous posts. You get money when they visit your store and buy products.
Don’t loose your sight from the goal – Selling.
If you read some books or blogs about social media marketing, they’ll say you it takes time to make money promoting on social media. They say: “first you have to connect with people.”
Maybe that is the way for a big company. But not for you, a small retailer.
But if you’re willing to spend some money, advertising in social media is great.
I’ve done several campaigns for myself and for other retailers, and Facebook (for instance) is a great way to make people go to your store.