Let’s face it, as a local merchant, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest online marketing platforms. First you were told you needed a website, then email marketing, then a facebook page and google advertising. Now Patch, Yelp and tons of other marketing platforms are ringing your phones asking you to spend on their platforms. It’s become an absolute nightmare, and the worst part is that even if you do end up devoting some of your marketing resources to these platforms, its impossible to establish a true ROI (return on investment) from that effort because they convey success based on likes, click throughs and impressions, not customers.
We feel your pain.
After working closely with hundreds of local business owners, we found a few key frustrations:
- They wanted to see how their efforts resulted in customers, not impressions or clickthroughs
- They needed suggestions that could help them achieve their goals
- They didn’t know where they should focus their efforts (yelp vs facebook vs google, etc)
If you think about how an ecommerce business markets itself online, it boils dow to the following process: advertisements and promotional codes drive a consumer to their site, and the online transaction enables the ecommerce business to attribute an actual sale to a specific marketing push.
For local, consider the following parallel process of closed loop marketing:
Step 1: Pick a promotion.
In order to focus on customer visits and sales, a marketing campaign needs to be tied to an offer or promotion. Now, these offers don’t need to be 50% like you might see in a groupon daily deal, they could be as simple as $2 off Or 10% off. This way a customer can claim the online offer to their phone and redeem the offer the next time they visit your business. And, in case a merchant does not know what offer to use, they can start with a simple, generic 10% off coupon.
Step 2: Market the offer
Based on the goal of your marketing campaign (i.e to reward loyalty or acquire customers), you should decide to post the offer on facebook, twitter, or in an email campaign, or capture web traffic from google or yelp by posting the coupon on your website.
Step 3: Get Customers
Consumers who find the offer online will use the offers next time they visit. Be sure to always ask the consumer where they found your offer.That way you can actually attribute that sale to your marketing campaign.
This process is known as offer-driven marketing. The offer is important because it lets you measure the effectiveness and true ROI of a marketing campaign in a way that makes sense to your business.
It’s time to answer the questions that are on everyone’s mind: how much are facebook likes, email addresses or web visitors really worth to your business. Once you understand that, you can make an educated decision on what platforms you should use for your business and focus on driving sales from those assets.