It’s a tough world out there for retailers. The rise of Amazon’s shopping trends makes a new challenge for retailers vying for the consumer’s attention. Whether you’re adopting eCommerce or just looking for new ways to drive more traffic to your showroom, there is a solution for your goals.One way to stand out is through digital retail marketing. Digital marketing for retail stores is a great solution, but is it the solution for you? Keep reading to find out!
Why Digital Marketing?
We’ve prepared a thorough overview of some of the most popular forms of digital marketing for retailers. Before we dive in, though, it’s important to answer a simple question. Why should you embrace digital marketing?
The simplest reason for this is that the way consumers shop has changed. Amazon and other digital retailers have managed to dominate the marketplace, and it can often feel difficult for more traditional retailers to get their fair share of consumers.
Simply put, digital marketing is how retailers can engage with potential buyers. With things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, you can ensure that your advertisements go wherever your customers go. And with the majority of consumers now surfing the internet via their smartphones, we cannot overstate how important this is.
Another reason to use digital marketing is price. It is ultimately one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing your products that is available. And since there’s no putting the digital age back in the bag, digital marketing represents something with serious long-term value to you and your company.
Finally, as you might imagine, digital marketing helps to boost your bottom line. It is vital in generating more leads, converting more customers, and creating more sales than any other forms of marketing. And along the way, you’re able to build your brand up in a major way, making digital marketing a “two birds with one stone” proposition.
What Are the Demographics of Digital Marketing?
It’s understandable for a retailer to be curious about the exact demographics for digital marketing. Who is it that you’re targeting, and why is this an effective marketing technique for that group?
While we firmly believe that digital marketing is very effective for demographics across the board, it is particularly effective for Millennials. And because the Millennial demographic is starting to dominate the marketplace, focusing on techniques that appeal to them is especially useful.
Why does this work for Millennials? Research has shown that Millennials reject traditional advertisements. Instead, they respect companies that offer free content, that focus on community, and that desire to build a genuine relationship with their consumers.
Different forms of digital marketing help focus on these different qualities. And you don’t have to pick just one form of digital marketing, either: by embracing as many strategies as you can, you increase the number of people you can influence.
Finally, digital marketing is forward-thinking. We live in a world where people have internet-enabled devices in their bedrooms, kitchens, and even on their refrigerators. And this is in addition to carrying the internet around everywhere in the form of their smartphones.
No matter where a retailer’s consumers are, they are likely to be connected to the internet. And through digital marketing, you can make sure you are always connected to them!
If you had to pick the face of modern digital marketing, it would definitely be content marketing. And the advent of content marketing effectively changed how retailers looked at creating advertising.
Traditional advertisement methods are a lot like a message in a bottle. Retailers and advertisement bureaus would create something like an amazing commercial and cast it adrift in the world. All they could do was hope that the right audience would view the right advertisement at the right time.
Content marketing, then, is when retailers decided to stop sending out a message in a bottle to random people and to start sending out specific invitations to their specific demographics. And it’s all based on a very simple idea: “how can we make ourselves useful for our customers?”
Modern demographics such as Millennials (more on them later) are very cynical about traditional advertising. Put simply, they spend more time online and value authenticity and education over sales. Which is why content marketing focusing on giving them something they can use.
Maybe you are educating consumers about an interesting topic. Or you’re providing instructions on how to solve a unique problem. Whatever your content, the ultimate goal is to become a source of valuable, useful, and relevant content to the consumer.
Once customers trust you to provide such content on a regular basis, they will feel like they have a relationship with your company. And they are then much more likely to buy something out of sheer loyalty for a company that has helped them out!
Social marketing is one of the most popular of the modern marketing techniques for retailers. In order to fully understand social marketing, we have to go back to school. Or at least, back to everyone’s favorite class: Psychology 101.
This is because social marketing is based on psychological research into consumers’ needs and desires. Such marketing, when done right, can activate the pleasure centers in consumers’ brains and engender brand loyalty. Interestingly, though, most of the principles of social marketing fly in the face of traditional marketing techniques.
For instance, traditional marketing often focuses around creating a perceived need for consumers and then taking care of it. In a nutshell, the retailer must sell the customer on the idea of a problem before being able to sell the customer their solution.
In social marketing, you focus on providing for consumers’ current needs rather than creating new ones. Similar to content marketing, your focus would be to provide relevant content that helps them in the here and now.
Under traditional marketing, there is another simple idea. The company is out to benefit itself more than the consumer. Under social marketing, a retailer would focus on ways that both the company and the consumer could benefit, making the consumer feel more like a valued partner than just another customer. This works on an organizational level as well, as similar organizations are incentivized to team up for mutual profit.
Other differences between traditional and social marketing involve time spent on the marketing itself. Advertising campaigns take longer with social marketing because you are trying to craft long-term changes in consumer behavior rather than grab short-term profits. The payoff is big, though, as the ultimate goal of social marketing is a much deeper consumer commitment than you would otherwise receive.
If social marketing seems a little too theoretical for your tastes, then you might enjoy SEO marketing. This is a form of marketing that many companies try to make sound mysterious to understand (usually so they can sell you something). However, the basics of SEO marketing are as simple as they can be.
In a world of digital marketing, Google will always be the bottom line. This is by far the most popular search engine, and when customers are searching for something they need, Google is what they turn to.
The mission of your company, then, is very straightforward. You need to find a way to get as high as you can in the consumer search results, increasing the likelihood that they visit your page.
And this is what SEO (an acronym for Search Engine Optimization) is all about. It’s a collection of techniques that are intended to take your knowledge of how Google ranks pages and use it to jump your site to the top.
While the idea of SEO is easy, actually pulling it off is more of an art. It starts with finding the right keywords for your content. By selectively including a few such keywords in any given article, it helps that article jump higher when people search for those keywords (or variations of them).
You’ll also need to include a few links in your articles. This goes back to the spirit of providing relevant content for your customers. They are more likely to use your site as a resource, and the bots Google uses to rank pages understand that.
Finally, there is a human element. Providing content tailored to a specific area, reducing your bounce rate, and other factors that showcase your site’s usefulness to consumers will ultimately give you an edge over your competition.
Best of all, you can always see how well you’re doing. Keep an eye on the page rankings to see how well your SEO marketing strategy is working!
Finally, there’s PPC marketing. As an acronym, PPC stands for “pay per click.” To some retailers, PPC marketing may have another nickname: “the easy way.”
The basics of PPC are that a retailer can have their advertisement appear prominently on a site. For every click the advertisement gets (a click that sends the consumer to the retailers’ page), the retailer must pay a small fee.
While PPC can work with any website, one of the most popular methods is search engine PPC. This is when the PPC link appears directly on the search results. That’s why it is so popular, of course. Rather than stressing too much about getting to the top of the Google results, PPC marketing allows you to pay for the privilege of doing so through PPC ads such as GoogleAds.
Because of this, some people criticize PPC marketing.
That leaves us with a more fundamental question, then. Is it worth it?
As long as you have crafted a compelling website, then PPC marketing will always be worth it. Everyone who has ever worked in sales understands that the most difficult part of the game is finding the right audience for your product. With PPC, you bring warmer leads directly to your site, and the cost of bringing them there is simply a drop in the bucket compared to the potential profit from anything they buy!
What Is the Future of Digital Marketing?
So far, we’ve focused on digital marketing methods that are tried and true. If we’re being honest, some of these techniques have been around for many years, but they have been versatile enough to adapt to changes in how consumers surf the internet.
Nonetheless, it’s understandable that retailers should ask the question: “what’s next?” If these are the techniques of digital marketing now, then what do we think the future is going to hold?
Part of why these old paradigms are…well…old is that they revolve around many old-school internet ideas. That means a large focus on content delivered via websites and even e-mail. Is it still effective? Sure. But it often feels like a “Web 1.0” idea in a “Web 3.0” world.
What’s on deck for “Web 4.0?” Things like integrated marketing efforts will become huge. This means using things like CRM software to send consumers an e-mail after they browse your site. Then marketing hits them on multiple fronts instead of one at a time.
Speaking of CRM, automation is only going to become more popular. And this is a way of having your cake and eating it, too. You can deliver an experience that feels personal to consumers, but it’s delivered through efficient automation.
Finally, there’s the emerging focus on “disruption.” Instead of merely evolving existing industries, the most successful companies will focus on how they can “disrupt” these old industries and create something entirely new.
Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing for Retail
There is no escaping the fact that we live in a digital world. As a retailer, you can either sink or, via digital marketing, begin to swim.
And like swimming, it may feel slow and tentative at first. But your every attempt at digital marketing moves you one step further. And after a while, you’ll look back and be absolutely amazed at how far these new marketing techniques have taken you and your company.